An evening pause: Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin sing “Move On” from Steven Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George.
Stop worrying where you’re going.
If you can know where you’re going,
Just keep moving on.
I chose and my world was shaken.
The choice may have been mistaken,
The choosing was not.
You have to move on.
An evening pause: On the ides of March, why not watch Marlon Brando at his best, as Mark Antony in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (1953).
An evening pause: Scrooge awakes on Christmas Day. From probably the best movie version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (1951), starring Alastair Sim in an astonishing performance.
An evening pause: The reaction of the ship captain in the opening section of this clip from the movie A Night to Remember (1958) exemplifies better than anything I have ever seen the clarity and courage of an open mind, willing to face new facts instantly and to react correctly, even if by doing so you risk failure and disgrace.
If only our leaders today had as much courage.
An evening pause: The central scene from the 1976 television production of George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra, starring Alec Guinness and Genevieve Bujold.
[The uproar in the streets again reaches them.]
Caesar: Do you hear? These knockers at your gate are also believers in vengence and in stabbing. You have slain their leader: it is right that they shall slay you. If you doubt it, ask your four counselors here. And then in the name of that right [he emphasizes the word with great scorn] shall I not slay them for murdering their Queen, and be slain in my turn by their countrymen as the invader of their fatherland? Can Rome do less then slay these slayers, too, to show the world how Rome avenges her sons and her honor. And so, to the end of history, murder shall breed murder, always in the name of right and honor and peace, until the gods are tired of blood and create a race than can understand.
An evening pause: What do you do when you know that you only have a few more weeks to live? From On the Beach (1959), one of the greatest end-of-the-world films ever made.
An evening pause: Deep Space 9, “The Quickening.” The entire population of a planet has a disease that kills all, horribly, but only after many years. No one believes a cure is possible, except Julian Bashir.
An evening pause: From the film, The Haunting (1963), based on the story by Shirley Jackson. Stay for the closing scene in this clip.
An evening pause: This scene, from Stage Door (1937), is considered by many to be Katherine Hepburn’s greatest film moment: “The calla lillies are in bloom again.” Though powerful on its own, in the full context of the movie the scene is even more heart-breaking, and a true tour de force for Hepburn.
An evening pause: With the death of film director Roy Ward Baker yesterday, I think it appropriate to watch a clip from one of his classics, A Night to Remember (1958). This understated but frighteningly powerful film captured the reality of the Titanic’s sinking in a style that is unfortunately rare today.
An evening pause: Henry Fonda and John Wayne in Fort Apache (1948).
“Sergeant, pour me some scripture.”
An evening pause: Lawrence of Arabia (1962). One of the greatest epic films ever made. And though the story is heavily dramatized, it captures quite accurately the substance and reality of T.E. Lawrence’s time in the Middle East during World War I. Sadly, I wonder if anything has changed.
An evening pause: The Snake Pit (1948). The story of the rescue of an insane woman (played by Olivia de Havilland). This scene expresses the longing for sanity by all the patients in the insane asylum.
An evening pause: A clip from The Time Machine (1960). Though not a completely accurate adaption, this enchanting film captured the essence of H.G. Wells’ novel. As Wells wrote,
But to me the future is still black and blank — is a vast ignorance, lit at a few casual places by the memory of [the Time Traveler’s] story. And I have by me, for my comfort, two strange white flowers — shrivelled now, and brown and flat and brittle — to witness that even when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man.
An evening pause: A concert performance of Ennio Morricone’s theme from Cinema Paradiso (1988), one of the best films ever made. Even if you don’t speak Italian, see it in Italian with subtitles, rather than the dubbed version.
An evening pause: Forbidden Planet (1956). Almost a half century after its creation, this science fiction film is still one of the best every made. The story is supposingly inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest. This is also the film that gave Gene Roddenberry his inspiration for Star Trek.
An evening pause: Thomas More, played by Paul Schofield, explains why he would allow even the devil his due in law, from A Man for All Seasons (1966).
An evening pause: From Kevin Branagh’s 1989 film of Shakespeare’s Henry V, the battle speech “upon Saint Crispin’s day”.
An evening pause: From Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier (1955), a moment of quiet reflection.
An evening pause: In our modern “politically correct” society, many people object strenuously when I express my unwavering preference for the British-American culture that founded the United States. It seems that today’s polite society considers it judgmental and unfair to suggest our way of life is superior to others. Well, before you protest, please listen to this speech from the movie Gettysburg, in which Colonial Joshua Chamberlain explains why he decided to fight for the Union in the Civil War. To quote, “We are here for something new. This has not happened much in the history of the world. We are an army out to set other men free.” Then he adds this most important point: “Here we judge you by what you do, not by who your father was.”
That is our culture. That is what we as a society have always stood for. And it is these values that I wish to propagate to the stars, a desire for which I will make no apologizes.
An evening pause: Tomorrow will be the 41st anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon. So, let’s start the week with a clip from the 1972 film version of Man of La Mancha to show why some impossible dreams are certainly possible. In this short scene, Peter O’Toole, as Cervantes, explains why he does not like to look at life, “as it is.”
An evening pause: Whoever says that the Hollywood of the 1930s and 1940s only made feel-good films with happy endings has never watched very many of those films. Here’s some stark uncontrolled anger, from one of James Cagney’s best films, White Heat (1949), directed by Raoul Walsh.