Down on-their-luck con man/gambler movies (and books) are my favorite—so I’m surprised I’ve never seen Hard Eight before. It’s a great movie owing to it’s restraint and simplicity. It’s what a Tarantino movie should be.
F. Scott Fitzgerald rented out a ground floor apartment in Hollywood because he had a bad heart and wanted to avoid stairs. He lived next to his partner, Sheilah Graham.
Fitzgerald once accompanied Sheilah to Chicago where she was scheduled to do a radio broadcast.
Follows is an anecdote from Sheilah Graham & Scott Fitzgerald by Edmund Wilson:
“Fitzgerald went along to give her moral support, but was evidently nervous too. Before starting he resorted to the bottle, with the inevitable consequences of chaos and farce. Having helpfully rehearsed her before they left, he insisted, at the actual rehearsal, on sitting in the front row and beating time with an imaginary baton and otherwise distracting her to such a degree that he had to be removed by the stagehands.”
Just finished Murdoch's The Black Prince.
"A 'feeling of destiny' can lead into the most idiotic of servitudes."
The best character in George Eliot’s Middlemarch is Mr. Brooke—the long winded, doddering uncle of Dorothea. He airs his opinions and experiences openly, but always gives in to the ideas and direction of others.
When his new assistant Will Ladislaw contradicts him during a political argument he doesn’t bristle. Instead he responds, “That is fine, Ladislaw: that is the way to put it. Write that down, now. We must begin to get documents about the feeling of this country.”
In a later scene Mr. Brooke explains the best way to build political momentum: “You know there are tactics in these things…meeting people half-way—tempering your ideas---saying, ‘Well now, there’s something in that,’ and so on.”
When Mr. Brooke campaigns in Middlemarch he stands before his neighbors without a prepared speech and rambles thusly, “I am a close neighbor of yours, my good friends…I’ve always gone a good deal into public questions—machinery, now, and machine breaking—you’re many of you concerned with machinery, and I’ve been going into that lately. It won’t do, you know, breaking machines.” Mr. Brooke gets eggs thrown at him for his troubles.
I’ve also enjoyed the following passages:
“There is no human being who having both passions and thoughts does not think in consequence of his passions—does not find images rising in his mind which soothe the passion with hope or sting it with dread.”
“The troublesome ones in a family are usually either the wits of the idiots.”
“But to most mortals there is a stupidity which is unendurable and a stupidity which is altogether acceptable.”
“But indefinite visions of ambition are weak against the ease of doing what is habitual or beguilingly agreeable.”
“Where women love each other, men learn to smother their mutual dislike.”
“Everything seemed to know it was Sunday.”
And who hasn’t felt this? “He threw down his book…in that agreeable after-glow of excitement when thought lapses from examination of a specific object into a suffuse sense of its connexions [sic].”
Carol Reed's Odd Man Out
"It is alleged against me, and with perfect truth, that I stopped on the way [to my wedding] to drink a glass of milk in one shop and to buy a revolver with cartridges in another. Some have seen these as singular wedding-presents for a bridegroom to give himself; and if the bride had known less of him, I suppose she might have fancied that he was a suicide or a murderer or, worst of all, a teetotaler." GK Chesterson, Autobiograhpy
On the set of 'Get Carter'
"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
Went camping in Phoenicia this weekend and got to visit Kingston's Half Moon Books. Picked up GK Chesteron's Autobiography, a Maigret collection, and a nice copy of Middlemarch.