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The Gods (and People) are Unkind
December 6th 2011

Here I am back in Boise and warm in my little house here, but my feet are always cold! Reminds me of boarding school. The house is not properly centrally heated and the heat there is reaches all parts but not the feet and the house is old. I think of the Queen Mother, who reportedly kept her houses quite cold, it is healthier and her guests used to suffer, but we do get used to overall central heating. It is very sunny outside, different from those dank November days in the UK, but it is COLD, but dry, not damp. And that’s my weather report for this week!

I went to see “My Week with Marilyn”, which is a charming film, beautifully acted, but not sure how it will do in the Box Office here. One gets so wrapped up in English personalities, that you forget that really no-one has heard of Laurence Olivier over here, many barely remember Marilyn Monroe. Michelle William gives a lovely performance of this immensely complicated person, whom everyone loved at the time. She really wasn’t a great actress, but was so luminescent on the screen, that you had to watch. Laurence Olivier was a great actor, but alas did not have that great star quality on screen. Now here’s the strange and sad thing. Olivier’s wife Vivien Leigh did have that star quality on screen, plus she was a very good screen actress, remember I did a one woman play about her and these were things she talks about. She wanted to match Olivier’s brilliance on stage and he was envious of her screen talent. Vivien Leigh gave a wonderful performance in “A Streetcar Named Desire”, with the Method Actor of all time, Marlon Brando and Leigh matched his brilliance and subtlety of performance effortlessly. She was a Method actress in her own way. When we came to the “kitchen sink” era, our version of reality plays, Vivien Leigh was rejected as old fashioned and out of touch, especially by that master snob Kenneth Tynan. How ironic is that? She was way ahead in reality work and the English theatre people of the ‘new’ era wouldn’t touch her with a barge pole. Life can be so unfair.

I saw another lovely film “ Albert Nobbs” with a terrific performance by Glenn Close, closely followed by Janet McTeer, another magical actress. I am not sure how many will see this film, as it is an odd little story, about a woman of the late 19th Century who dresses and works as a man, hiding from the drudgery and ties of a lower class woman of that age. It’s not a new story, many women did it, as far back as the 15th and 16th centuries, many signing up as soldiers and sailors just to get away from their dreary lives. But this film is special because of the care and detail that has gone into making it.

Hollywood seems only to make blockbusters and television now and really interesting films are made elsewhere. Of course the Digital age has changed everything, movies can be made so much more cheaply, we can manipulate locations, time and anything with Computer graphics, the carpenters, set builders are going to disappear in favour of computer experts, nothing is permanent and everything changes. Our industry is no different from anyone else’s with advances and changes, but it is hard for many, it always is.

I listen for news of the UK and Europe, I see that the European crisis, still goes on. How will all end, so many people and so much time wasted by the Gods of bureaucracy. I suppose it will all come out in the wash in the end, we are but mortal and thank goodness, there is not another little Hitler, ‘trying to solve our problems.’

I took my two older grandchildren to the theatre here to see “Amahl and the Night Visitors” and I think they really enjoyed the experience really more than the show. They liked watching the orchestra warming up and identifying the instruments. My granddaughter has just started to learn the violin and seems to like it very much. My grandson said that he would probably not go again if asked! I did not let them have popcorn and all the junk they are used to having at the movies. The performance was good and there was some lovely voices, but the poor little cripple boy Amahl, looked rather too well fed, to be completely believable, but he had a nice voice.

Soon, soon our website New Chilling Tales will be ready, we are the technical testing stage, which is critical, cant advertise a site from which to stream films and they dont work properly.

So onwards and upwards!!

Stay well and warm!

All content copyright Jane Merrow