Saturday, May 16, 2009

Crazy Eights

Millie tagged me to this. I'm not going to tag anyone because all the people I know have already been tagged, basically.

8 Things I Look Forward To:
1. Going to the US every summer.

2. The day Miss Vintage goes back online.

3. Rearranging my room today.

4. Getting taps put on a pair of brown shoes.

5. Visiting thrift shops, garage sales, and used book stores.

6. Eating the lemon chess pie that is currently in the oven.

7. Rain.

8. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

8 Things I Did Yesterday:
1. Finished "Star Style: At the Academy Awards".

2. Ate dinner at an Indian restaurant.

3. Started a post about Splendor in the Grass.

4. Visited a cousin who has recently had a baby.

5. Cleaned up my closet with my sister. Actually she did it more and I kept her company. She wanted to do it.

6. Started "An Incomplete Education".

7. Overslept.

8. Listened to Amy Winehouse while giving my sister a shoulder massage.

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:
1. Tap Dance

2. Give whoever decides what's aired on Middle Eastern TCM a talking to.

3. Sing.

4. Be as nice as Audrey Hepburn and half as likable as Natalie Wood.

5. Cut my hair.

6. Get books shipped to Kuwait at their regular price.

7. Collect the biggest--or at least the nicest-- collection of classic film memorabilia ever.

8. Go an an eBay shopping spree.

8 Shows I Watch:
1. Are You Being Served?

2. I Love Lucy

3. I Dream of Jeannie

4. Hogan's Heroes

5. Get Smart

6. The Beverly Hillbillies

7. Gilligan's Island

8. The Dick van Dyke Show

Friday, May 8, 2009

For Whom the Bell Tolls

I never said this blog was going to be solely about old movies, but more the past in general, so I have an excuse to post a book report I wrote for English on For Whom the Bell Tolls. Since it's been about two months since it was due and it hasn't been graded, it can safely be said that my English teacher has forgotten about the assignment. This, at least, will get some use out of it.

Major Spoilers Ahead

For Whom the Bell Tolls

By Ernest Hemingway

"No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends of of thine owne were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

--John Donne

Main Characters:

Robert Jordan: an American dynamiter volunteering on the Republican side of the Spanish Civil War.

Maria: a young girl who was raped by the Fascists.

Pilar: Pablo's wife, a strong, feisty woman who leads a small group of guerrilla fighters in the mountains.

Pablo: the recognized leader of the guerilla fighters, he is something of a coward, not trustworthy, and loves horses.

Anselmo: a member of the band of fighters who enjoys hunting but hates killing people.

El Sordo: The leader of a nearby group of guerilla fighters.

Other members of the band:



Andre: Eladio's younger brother.



Rafael: a gypsy, regarded as lazy and useless.

Setting: during the Spanish Civil War. All of the characters listed above are on the side of the Republicans, who were fighting the Fascists. The Spanish Civil War lasted from 1936 to 1939, ending with the victory of the Fascists.


For Whom the Bell Tolls is about Robert Jordan's mission to blow up a bridge in Fascist territory with the help of a group of guerilla fighters who are living in the mountains nearby. Upon arriving in the mountains and meeting the group, Robert Jordan immediately falls in love with Maria and realizes the Pablo is not trustworthy. The nearby band, headed by El Sordo, will help with the operation.

However, things go wrong when El Sordo's band is discovered by the Fascists after an episode of snowfall works to their disadvantage and exposes their tracks. They are trapped on a hill and all killed. Pablo's band wants to help them, but they know it would be impossible to do any good.

After this, Robert Jordan becomes concerned for the outcome of the operation because they are short on people and it is likely the Fascists know that the Republicans will be launching a surprise attack. Robert Jordan sends Andre with a message to someone who might be able to call off the operation, but he is delayed by too many things.

In the night before the day the bridge will be blown, Pilar wakes Robert Jordan and tells him Pablo has disappeared, and he has stolen something of Robert Jordan's, which turns out to be important to the success of the bridge. Pablo had declared earlier that the mission would not be successful, and Robert Jordan is afraid he will be right. However, Pablo comes back several hours later, claiming he had left in "a moment of weakness". While he had thrown the things he stole in a river, he also picked up a group of fighters to fill in for those who were killed.

The bridge is blown up after the Republicans drop the first bombs on the Fascists and actual exploding goes well, but Anselmo is killed by a piece of the bridge. Some of the people with Pilar were killed by Fascists, and Pablo claims all of his group was killed. Agustin angrily claims he shot them all for their horses. Pablo ignores him, but this seems to be a likely possibility.

As the band escapes on horseback through the woods, a Fascist shoots the horse Robert Jordan is riding. Robert Jordan's leg is broken and he knows he must remain behind while the band goes on. He thinks he could kill himself, but decides to try and shoot some Fascists before he dies, which is inevitable. The novel ends with Robert Jordan about to shoot a Fascist lieutenant and be killed in turn.

The story illustrates how Robert Jordan begins his mission as a stoic, rational, and somewhat cold man, but, because of his love for Maria, he lives his life in the three days he spends with the band and dies in harmony with himself and his surroundings. He finally loves someone enough to think of them during a battle, which represents the rational and emotional sides of his nature coming together. Although the end may come as a surprise to some (it did to me), most of the characters sense or know that Robert Jordan will die, even himself, and especially Pilar.

I enjoyed this book a great deal. The entire book takes place over the course of only three or four days and supplies a detailed description of what happens, as well as numerous flashbacks, one of which reveals that Robert Jordan's father killed himself. The only thing that could be distracting is the dialogue, which is written as if it were a direct translation from Spanish. All though it makes you feel as if the characters are truly speaking a foreign language, it results in phrases such as "I obscenity in thy milk". Considered one of Hemingway's best works and based on his own experiences during the Spanish Civil War, it is full of realistic and somewhat graphic depictions of war. All in all, I would give this book four out of five stars and will probably be looking for something else to read by Hemingway in the future.

The End

In a last analysis, I would probably give this book 5/5 stars. And also, I think I am glad it was not graded.

Monday, May 4, 2009

"Happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us..."

Today is Audrey Hepburn's birthday. Besides deserving a special tribute, there are a few things I wanted to say about Audrey that won't carry a post by themselves.

First random thing is her eating habits. You still hear story after story about how she was anorexic, only to have those countered by tales of her ravenous appetite for pasta and chocolate. I am rather sick of it, because there is an obvious explanation. Hepburn had a few periods of major depression, a typical characteristic of which is a decrease or increase of appetite, and she both gained and lost large amounts of weight when she was experiencing them. Having no desire to eat a substantial amount is not the same as anorexia nervosa, although they can appear similar to an observer, especially one looking for a good story. From what I have read of Alexander Walker's Hepburn biography, her supposed bouts of anorexia were just that, bouts, and not a long continuous thing, supporting the idea that the only problem was clinical depression and she did not suffer from anorexia. What people assumed was an eating disorder was simply a symptom of mental illness. This is just a theory, but it seems logical to me. What say you?

The other random thing was to say that Hepburn is the perfect example of how beauty is mostly determined by personality. If you look at her face, it is far from perfect, downright strange, but the feelings beaming from her eyes make Hepburn a sight to behold. Even if you took her eyes by themselves and gave them to someone else, that person wouldn't be beautiful unless they had the same "elegant spirit." I'll stop now before I get too philosophical, but you get the idea. Perhaps you needed a lift if you listened to me and looked at your nose from the side with a hand mirror.

The title says: "Happy birthday to us" which brings me to another point. Today is my birthday as well: I am fifteen. Which feels straaange. Coincidentally, I had ordered several books and sent them to the US about a month ago and my sister came to visit yesterday bringing them, me having bribed her to do so. You can expect a ton of book reviews soon. One of the books, Making Faces, I bought in an attempt to teach myself how to apply makeup and I tried out some of the looks today after school--my dear, loving, supportive family asked me if I was sick, had swine flu, or had been aiming for the " dead bird" look. But they were joking--I hope.

Happy birthday to Miss Hepburn! And gooooooo Tauruses!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Splash Award

The Splash award is given to alluring, amusing, bewitching, impressive, and inspiring blogs. When you receive this award, you must:
1. Put the logo on your blog/post.
2. Nominate up to 9 blogs which allure, amuse, bewitch, impress or inspire you.
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have been splashed by commenting on their blog.
5. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your Splash award.

Really, I am in something of a daze because of this. The Splash Award was bestowed upon me by the Divine Sarah of:

Cinema Splendor

who I have come to like very much lately. Especially now. Anyway, I'll fulfill the requirements by nominating the following people.

Bonnie of Peculiar Beauty: Her blog is hilarious and about a unique topic, bizarre beauty advice from the past (very bizarre). She is incredibly sarcastic and always, always entertaining. Her "Don't Kid Yourself Diet" is just what people need these days, myself included. I hope someday I can write like her.

C.K. Dexter Haven of Hollywood Dreamland: Probably he's already been given this award because he is such a good writer. And what a sense of humor! He makes fun of himself all the time, giving off a warm and likable vibe. If anyone deserves this award, he does.

Millie of Classic Forever: Maybe now she will forgive me for not telling her about my blog. But, she is definitely deserving of this award in her own right. This is not a sympathy nomination. Everything about Classic Forever--the "Picture of the Day" posts, the awesome background music, and naturally, her post about me :)--beg to be awarded this for what is probably either the second or third time. Millie has gotten this before, I know.

Sarah of Cinema Splendor: She may have just awarded me, but her funny blog is one of my favorites. It's quirky, random, and super entertaining. I only wish she would post more! No matter how often she may post in the future, I will probably always have that complaint.

Harly of Dreaming in Black and White: Few blogs are ever this stylized and personable. I love Harly's blog; I missed it terribly during Lent, to the point where people began to vaguely wonder if I wanted to become Catholic because I was asking so many questions about when it would end. And those foreign language phrases get me every time. Makes me wish I had more personality. Nobody's got flair like Harly!

Congratulations to all and thank you to Sarah!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pictures: Favorites

Most bloggers seem to have done the twenty favorite leading men and leading ladies posts, which I would do if I felt like it and I wasn't a little confused about this tagging business. Anyhow, instead, I am posting pictures of my favorite entertainers, male or female, twenty or forty, equal or not. I also want to introduce the idea of posts that consist mostly of pictures...I think I may be doing a lot of them eventually. Here are the pictures for this topic, favorites, roughly ranked.

Definite Favorites:

Natalie Wood

Audrey Hepburn

Grace Kelly

James Dean

Frank Sinatra

Moderate (some previous) Favorites:
Paul Newman

Rita Hayworth

Marilyn Monroe

Ava Gardner

James Garner

Could-be favorites if I see more of their films/work:

Deborah Kerr

Montgomery Clift

Vivien Leigh

Gene Tierney

Dana Andrews

Marlon Brando
Actually, most of these could be considered favorite people that happen to be actors, but it all goes hand in hand since a performer's main appeal is being likable. Perhaps later I will go into favorite couples.