Saturday, November 17, 2007

The 'Don't Get Around Much Anymore' Blues

It was only a really long seven weeks ago that I became the poster child for “No Running in the Subway.”

The good news is that the ankle fractures do not require surgery. The bad news is these fractures can’t be helped by surgery. And so I have entered the tedious land of PT—-where progress is measured in the centimeters the edema needs to resolve to ever get my foot into a shoe and by the tiny triumphs of even tinnier ankle circles.

I did get out to see Angela Lansbury at The Paley Center for Media on Wednesday. What a talented, talented woman. We know the film career--debuting in Gaslight, Oscar nod the next year for The Picture of Dorian Gray, her chilling evil in The Manchurian Candidate, and my favorite, Kay Thorndyke in State of the Union; and the musical talents--Sweeney Todd, Mame; and the iconic, comfort food TV of Jessica Fletcher; but it was her dancing that surprised me. There were clips of her performing “Thoroughly Modern Millie” at the 1968 Academy Awards, and she had legs to rival Cyd Charisse with moves to match. She was gracious and witty, and genuine. It was a thrill to be in the same room with her.

The other cinematic thrills have come through the plasma screen.

I saw Notorious, my favorite Hitchcock, for the sixth or seventh time. It is one of the sexiest films of all time, filled with real heat between Ingrid and Cary. The famous extended kissing phone scene when they are first in Rio—the sad, pitch perfect “Did you stand up for me—did you tell them I’m not that kind of woman?” and “If only you had believed in me.” I love the gorgeous tight shots when Grant finds and rescues the poisoned Bergman. It is a perfect tale of man, woman, intrigue. On this viewing I was tickled to see that a carpet I just bought for my living room mirrors the black and white floor of Alex’s mansion-—apparently I like everything about that flick.

The X-Files. I was an original fan who left after season 4. I caught season 6 a few years ago on TNT—it’s the Moonlighting season, with mostly stand alone episodes of Mulder and Scully being David and Maddie, which original fans who had hung on hated.

Sci Fi just ran one of the best eps, “The Ghosts Who Stole Christmas”—-Chris Carter’s own mash of Halloween and Holly Jolly. It starts with Mulder waiting in a car with the radio playing Bing Crosby’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

Wow. Carter chose Bing’s over the standard Judy Garland. Steed suggested it was just cheaper to license. I doubt Carter had such a restraint—he chose Crosby. That’s a huge endorsement for we poor Crosby fans.

The episode features great guest stars Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin as two dead lovers who try to lure other couples into a murder/suicide pact. It plays beautifully on themes of despair and how hard it is for some people to connect. Carter wrote the episode, and there are many satisfying digs at the series conventions, including Mulder’s first set-up narrative to Scully that rivals “it was a dark and stormy night” for bad writing.

And I’ve started to look forward to a weekly dose of Damian Lewis in Life. I first saw him in last year’s rebroadcast of the 2002 Masterpiece Theatre Forsyte Saga. His Soames was utterly poignant and repulsive. I didn’t see Band of Brothers, but in a PBS interview, he talks about these two characters:

“I guess I'm just good at playing repressed individuals. I'm lucky because those are often the roles that catch people's eyes. It's the Steve McQueen element, all that bubbling energy bottled up inside. It's a very compelling quality on the screen.”

That trapped bubbly energy in Life is seismic anger at being set up and put away in prison for 12 years. Lewis’s Charlie Crewes is then given his life back, or what’s left of it. He needs to find a way to live again, and puzzle out the who, how, and why that crushed him without mercy. He is channeling a little Steve McQueen sizzle here, bringing a distinct character to the tv landscape.

As engaging as all this is, I’m hoping there’s some RL dancing in my not-too-distant future.


Claire said...

I find Life a little disappointing, with the weekly mysteries at least. I do like Damien Lewis, though. I just want the series to move quicker on his mystery.

I'm jealous of your Angela Lansbury experience.

I also was an early watcher of the X-Files but stopped sometime around Season 5. I love that Christmas episode.

Good luck with your ankle!