Monday, July 17, 2017

LIZ SMITH: Marvelous Monday

Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn in “Two For the Road.”
by Liz Smith & Denis Ferrara

Audrey ... Marilyn ... Patricia Clarkson ... Uma Thurman ... Concerts in Bryant Park. 

“IF THERE’S one thing I really despise it’s an indispensable woman,” says Albert Finney of Audrey Hepburn in the wry, witty  1967 movie about the vicissitudes of marriage, titled “Two For the Road.”

Among rabid Hepburn fans, this is one of the three “go-to” films — “Roman Holiday” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” round out that cinematic triumvirate.
Although Hepburn had a longer (naturally) and more distinguished career than Marilyn Monroe, the two stars share a great similarity in their iconic status for millions who were unborn when these beautiful ladies ruled the screen.  They are worshipped for their compelling, if quite different, back stories, physical image and “style.”  Audrey was the elfin antidote, to all the overstated female physicality of the 1950s — MM, Liz, Sophia, Gina, etc.  Few fans know the real story of either woman, preferring the posters, photos and personal opinion. 
This September, at Christie’s in London, hundreds of Miss Hepburn’s belongings — clothing, photos, all sorts of other memorabilia — will go up for auction. This collection is expected to far outstrip the estimated projected worth of all items.  Several of the most coveted include Hepburn’s script for “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” with all her own notes, and a Givenchy dress she wore to promote “Two for the Road.” The bottom price on that is $20,000. Watch it go for twice or three times as much. Audrey’s fans don’t kid around
A blue satin Givenchy cocktail dress worn by Audrey Hepburn. Estimate: £10,000-15,000 A selection of Audrey Hepburn's ballet pumps in a variety of colours. Estimates from £1,500 A Burberry trench coat. Estimate: £6,000-8,000
SPEAKING of Monroe, yet another glossy photo book of the star, now gone more than half a century, arrives in October from ACC Art Books.  It is titled “The Essential Marilyn Monroe By Milton H. Greene.”  This promises 250 photos “a large percentage previously unpublished.” Well, they always say that. 
MM in “The Essential Marilyn Monroe By Milton H. Greene.” 
Richard Avedon, who photographed MM on a number of occasions, observed that “she could make wonderful photographs with anyone, which was extremely rare.”  True, but Milton Greene, who became her close friend and film producing partner, connected with her even more powerfully than others.  His thousands of beautiful shots are very much the basis of MM’s current, continuing legend. Many obsessed fans don’t know her movies, but they know The Black Session, The Red Session, The Peasant Girl, The Wicker Chair, The Mandolin, and endless other ravishing collaborations over a three-year period — and countless on-set candids. 
Even though they parted unhappily (thanks to Arthur Miller’s interference)  Greene never spoke badly of Marilyn or exploited her image.  Shortly before his own death in 1985, he said:  “She was a wonderful girl, who was treated badly by so many.  She really cared a lot about her work as an actress, which people simply don’t realize.”  Shortly before her passing, Monroe reached out to Milton, living in Paris with then-wife, the remarkable Amy Greene.  They had planned to meet late in August.  She died on the 4th of that month. (I know most people cite August 5th, but she died before midnight, on the 4th, a Saturday night.) 

One of Milton’s sons, Joshua Greene, put “The Essential Marilyn” together, and has been painstaking in restoring his father’s work and reputation. (Greene’s association with Marilyn has rather overshadowed much of his other fine work.)
Click to pre-order “The Essential Marilyn Monroe By Milton H. Greene.” 
THIS ‘N THAT:

... ALTHOUGH the current season of “House of Cards” was almost too dark and traveled too many familiar roads for me to completely enjoy, I must say Patricia Clarkson, in the role of mysterious Jane Davis (Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade — or so she says) has been marvelous. Her deadpan, scary intuitiveness/chumminess in regard to Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) is the fresh air, new blood needed. She is superb.
...VERY much looking forward to Uma Thurman’s Broadway debut in November.  She will star in Beau Willimon’s political drama “The Parisian Woman.” (Mr. Willimon, by the way, is the creator of “House of Cards” and this is his Broadway debut as well.) Pam MacKinnon will direct.  I love Uma!  I’ve always felt she deserved Oscar nominations for her “Kill Bill” films. 
... NOTHING to do at lunchtime in Manhattan?  Why not, until August 10th, enjoy 106.7 Lite FM’s weekly “Broadway in Bryant Park” concerts.  Cast members from “Kinky Boots,” “Beautiful,” “School of Rock” and “Soulpepper” will perform every Thursday.  This fun happening is sponsored by Aruba Tourism Authority, Lufthansa and Toyota.  I remember when Bryant Park (between 40th and 42nd Street, and Fifth and Sixth Avenues) was someplace to avoid. It’s a little bit of heaven now, even without concerts!
ENDQUOTE:  The following, from Chauncey DeVega at Salon, pretty much sums up our own feelings here. Wish we could be as giddily optimistic as some liberals, but the die has been cast, at least for the foreseeable future. The news last week that the president was sitting down for his first non-Fox-TV interview in months with Pat Robertson — that religious man of so many infamous, hateful statements--shows exactly what’s what in the president’s “ideology.” (Conventional wisdom insists he has none. Perhaps.  But he’ll adapt and adopt to anything or anyone who flatters him.) Here is Mr. DeVega: 

“The ‘revelations’ about Donald Trump Jr.’s emails and his apparent collusion with Russia — and the overwhelming amounts of other evidence pointing to the same conclusion — speak to a very important subject. But in this political moment such revelations ... are like the stained bed sheets at a cheap hotel. The sheets are washed but never truly clean. And no one is really surprised by the mess anyway.   

“Thus a painful truth for those patriotic Americans who oppose Donald Trump: He will not be impeached. His son’s emails basically admitting collusion with Russia will ultimately mean little if anything. Why is this?

“Because there is likely no amount of empirical evidence or facts that will turn the Republican Party and its supporters against President Trump. He is a tool for accomplishing the Republican Party’s goals of giving more money to the very richest Americans, punishing poor and working-class people, destroying the commons and the social safety net, creating a Christian theocracy, undermining the middle class, giving corporations full control over the country, destroying the environment, taking away women’s control over their own bodies, abusing Muslims, and denying the civil rights, freedom and equal citizenship of African-Americans and other people of color.

“In all, the Republican Party, its voters and the right-wing media have chosen political power over loyalty to country. In that context, Russia’s meddling in our presidential election to put Donald Trump in the White House is but a means to an end.”

P.S. Mr. DeVega’s doleful words should not be an excuse to give up. Rather — stay strong, fight fair (yes, we must!) and loins, girded to the max.  As DeVega notes: “There are worse things on the horizon.”   

We will perhaps have to look at the next few years as comparable to several seasons of “Falling Skies,” “The Strain,” “Colony,” or “The Walking Dead.” 
 
Contact Liz here.