Sunday, April 29, 2012

Beguiling Photos: Evelyn Nesbit

Many of my film fascinations have started with a photograph, rather than a movie. Photos have the power to beguile us and leave a lasting impression long after the film has faded from memory.

Before I ever saw Garbo, Louise Brooks, Harlow or Valentino in a movie, their photographs enchanted me. Some artists, like Theda Bara, live on primarily through their photos, as most of their films are now lost.

One fascinating face that graced photos first as an artist model, next as a showgirl and finally as a tabloid star, was the infamous Evelyn Nesbit Thaw.

Famous now as "The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing," Evelyn's beauty was a the catalyst for the "murder of the century," the murder of architect Sanford White by Evelyn's husband, Harry K. Thaw. After the circus of the trial was over, Evelyn tried her hand at exploitative movies, none of which exist.
An early model for the Gibson Girl illustrations, Evelyn's sad story has faded from the front page, but, in these beautiful images, she still manages to beguile.

A lovely video tribute to Evelyn and 
a short version of her story from the 
author of "American Eve":

For more about Evelyn Nesbit Thaw, visit these sites:

The Story of Evelyn Nesbit and the Thaw-White Murder

American Experience/Murder of the Century/Love Triangle

The Sanford White Murder

A good read about Evelyn and her life and times is "American Eve" Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White: The Birth of the "It" Girl and the Crime of the Century," by
Paula Uruburu.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Never in a Million Years: The Three Stooges

Okay, a brief departure from my usual classic fluff to make room for some contemporary fluff. I have made a commitment to myself to get out at least once a month to see a new movie (as a result of feeling a bit too anchored in the past with classic film). Although I wanted to get out to see "The Deep Blue Sea" today, it was not conveniently located or timed, so I ended up seeing "The Three Stooges."
What????????? If anyone had told me a week ago I would be seeing this movie, I would have said never in a million  years. I was never a big Stooges fan. I can take them in small doses, but that's about it. But then a few things conspired to make me want to see it:

1. Generally good reviews;
2. A track history of pretty much liking the Farrelly brothers' work;
3. Larry David playing a nun called Sister Mary- Mengele; and
4. Knowing that Moe becomes a character on the reality show "The Jersey Shore"
Okay. I admit it was #3 that sold me. And that concept did not disappoint. As a fan of  David's HBO series "Curb You Enthusiasm" I simply could not resist Larry as a crabby nun with such a fabulous name. He was hilarious.

The plot is rather silly, which befits the boys (I mean, really, could it be anything other than silly?). Sean Hayes (Larry), Will Sasso (Curly) and Chris Diamantopoulos (Moe) as the Stooges do a good job of recreating the originals and Jane Lynch, Jennifer Hudson, Sofia Vergara and Brian Doyle-Murray all add to the fun. It's a real sitcom reunion!
I must say that Moe's inclusion as a cast member on "The Jersey Shore" (as Dyna-Moe) was inspired and made me laugh out loud. I mean, who better than Snooki, J-Woww and The Situation to get their eyes poked, their heads banged and takes that place of some missing stooges.
And, like all Farrelly Brothers films, there is a sweetness, as the boys do prevail in the end. It is sort of like a live-action Roadrunner cartoon where all kinds of bodily injuries are inflicted and no one gets hurt.
Best of all: no Shemp!!!!

And just to top off a Moe, Larry and Curly kind of day, I got home from the show, sat down to read the paper and saw an article about this:
It's not just a museum, it's a Stooge-eum! 

Even though this will not go on my list of 10 best, it won't make the list of 10 worst, either. There was lots of laughter in the theater and, never in a million years did I think that I'd be one of those who laughed. But I did!
Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck!