Persons of the Year

Bravo, Time!

Time magazine made a good choice, I think, in naming the Silence Breakers, i.e. the people who’ve come forward to expose sexual harassment. We certainly need to clean up our society. After reading about Harry Weinstein, Louie C.K., Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Al Franken and more it’s clear that the entertainment and government need to do a clean sweep. This is an issue that’s time has come. Before sexual harassment could just be stuck in a “He said/She said” cycle.

Now since anyone can have a recorder in their pocket and fools will send unseemly messages or have photos taken, getting evidence, hard cold evidence, is possible. And when it’s shared, justice occurs.

I’ve been shocked by the revelations and with each on hoped that it wasn’t true. (Well, not with Harvey Weinstein because he was nothing to me. I didn’t get the news from him or think of him at all.)

I would expect that this is an issue all sensible people can agree on. Yet, I was surprised when I read the Variety article on Matt Lauer, not just by his licentious actions, but by his fans who pledged their loyalty to Lauer and encouraged him to forget about his NBC dismissal and to start a podcast.

(Huh? No one makes $25 million a year on a podcast and Matt didn’t gain fame by his own ideas or stories. He interviewed others. Who’s now going to agree to be interviewed on Matt’s podcast? Other than Charlie Rose and Harvey Weinstein. Lauer is toxic by his own actions.)

Yesterday, I heeded a recommendation to read the New York Times article on the Weinstein Complicity Machine. Wow! This fiend convinced people to cover for him by paying a gossip columnist to find dirt on people and then blackmailing them should they think of revealing Weinstein’s deeds, by threatening to boycott talent agencies if they supported the actresses that he’d attacked or harassed. It’s sickening, but it’s something that needs to be read. I do think Harvey Weinstein belongs behind bars.

I think we really are united to clean up society and show these powerful people that they can’t harass, intimidate and hurt other people. I feel sorry for the spouses and children of these men now that the whole world knows about this heinous, habitual actions. My hope is that all these revelations and the attention they’re getting

So Watch Sunset Boulevard or Sabrina

Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of the man who once gave the order, “Shoot a few scenes out of focus. I want to win the foreign film award.” That was screenwriter, director, and producer Billy Wilder, born Samuel Wilder in Sucha, Austria (now Poland) (1906). His mother nicknamed him “Billy” because she was fascinated with Buffalo Bill. He first got into writing as a journalist, doing all kinds of interviews and stories, and was soon writing scenarios for silent films. He came to the United States in the 1930s, dated American women to improve his English, and got a job writing scripts for Fox Film Corporation. He first became a director, he said, to keep other people from messing with his scripts. He once said, “A director must be a policeman, a midwife, a psychoanalyst, a sycophant, and a bastard.” He worked his way up the ladder and ended up producing and directing many classics of Hollywood’s Golden AgeDouble Indemnity (1944), The Seven Year Itch (1955), Some Like it Hot (1959), and The Apartment (1960), to name just a few.

Billy Wilder, who said, “An actor entering through the door, you’ve got nothing. But if he enters through the window, you’ve got a situation.”

People Will Talk

Starring Cary Grant and Jeanne Crain, People Will Talk isn’t easy to categorize. It’s not completely a romantic comedy; it’s not a satire; it’s a comedy by default. Cary Grant plays Noah Preatorius, M.D. a suave, yet eccentric doctor and medical professor. He’s the kind of doctor I like, witty and humane. For example, Dr. Praetorius refuses to let the nurses wake all the patients at his clinic (more like a small hospital) for breakfast. They aren’t inmates after all. Let them eat when they want to. Bravo!

The film doesn’t quite fit the typical Hollywood molds, which is so refreshing. I was riveted to see that this 1951 film dealt adroitly dealt with unwanted pregnancy at all. How many romantic comedies do? It was the first I’ve seen of that era that did. The Hays Code, which set a strict list of moral prohibitions for film and television, was still in effect after all.

Dr. Preatorius is finishing a lecture when Deborah Higgins, a young woman who’s auditing the class faints. He tends to her and soon tests show she’s pregnant. Kind Dr. Praetorius and his staff assumed she was Mrs. Higgins, but she trusts Praetorius and confesses that she’s Miss Praetorius and the father is a former boyfriend, she really didn’t know that well. He’s went off to war, the Korean War presumably and she’s stuck. The film handles the situation with sophistication and dignity. Preatorius sympathizes with Deborah, but doesn’t judge her or make her some sort of Mary Magdelene, well, not outright.

Throughout the film, Praetorius is threatened by a petty colleague, Dr. Elwell. A peevish, envious man, Elwell spends every spare minute trying to dig up dirt on Praetorius. Given Preatorius’ odd shadow, Mr. Shanderson, a hulking, taciturn man with a mysterious past, there does seem to be a secret or that Praetorius wants to hide. Why does Praetorius always refuse to explain Mr. Shanderson?

The film is witty and the plot refreshing. I loved that the characters have opinions and make some deft jabs at political issues like agriculture subsidies and the medical profession without getting polemical. It’s done with intelligence and wit.