1950 published as Lady, Toll That Bell
1960 republished with this new title
1946 Random House hardcover, 1949 Bantam paperback reissue
A few nights ago, I watched Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds‘, for the first time in decades. I wonder why? I’ve seen restored versions of Psycho, Read Window, and Vertigo multiple times, but for some reason I’d missed re-watching this one. It was a pleasure to see again. And to see Tippi Hedren with fresh eyes.
And I’m not the first to notice it. A brief Google search shows seekers asking if Tippi and Paris are related. (they are not) In the course of this, I also rediscovered that Tippi Hedren is the mother of actress Melanie Griffith. Born in 1957, Melanie Griffith recalls visiting the set during the filming of The Birds, in 1962, when she was a little girl.
I was also pleased to find that the earthy and vivacious brunette female co-star is Suzanne Pleshette, another detail I’d forgotten. She has features similar to Elizabeth Taylor, or a young Stockard Channing.
Notice, in the photo below, how the 33 year-old Hedren has similar features, or facial expression, to the 34-year old Paris Hilton. See a similarity? I think it’s there.
Since we all know the story, and suspense isn’t a factor, I was free to pay closer attention to Tippi Hedren‘s performance, and to the interpersonal drama between the main characters, played by Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy, and Suzanne Pleshette.
What a strange, dark, pensive, Freudian, romantic-erotic narrative! Where much is left unsaid, but implied. Jealousy, loneliness, abandonment, flirtation, hostility, attraction, are all explored, but not resolved. I’ve always thought of Vertigo as being the most neurotic, sexually obsessed, repressed, fixated story in Hitchock’s canon, but I had underestimated the peculiar storyline of The Birds. Before the actual birds take over the story, there’s a lot of familial and romantic turbulence. And the cast is wonderful.
Tippi Hedren looks so elegant, mischievous, and glamorous, one can see why Hitchcock selected the untrained model, fixated on her, and elevated her to movie star. Much is written about Hitchock’s abusive, controlling personality, and troubles with female leads, no need to cover that here, Hedren was no exception. Leaving all that aside, it was a pleasure to simply marvel at how lovingly photographed the neophyte actress is, and how well-crafted the film is. The moody San Francisco and northern California seaside locations, the special effects, the sound design (no music, only bird sounds make up the film’s score) the cinematography…besides being one of the most famous horror movies of all time, it’s also a terrific early 1960s time-capsule. Next time you watch it? Forget about the birds, and follow the other elements of the story. Perhaps you’ll find it as rewarding as I did.
Harry Barton: The Squeeze, paperback cover, 1955
From Daniel’s YouTube description: Actual Promposal doesn’t start till 1:58
The order of the signs went “Alex. Will. You. Marry. LOL Jk. Go To. Prom. With Me.” And I had the question mark.
True Fact Crime, June 1953; cover art by Howell Dodd.
[VIDEO] Prank: Unsuspecting Bachelors Set Up On Blind Date With Attractive Woman Who Turns Out To Be Professional Stunt DriverPosted: February 12, 2015
Ford pulled another commercial-turned-stunt by setting unsuspecting bachelors up on a blind date with an attractive woman, who also happened to be a professional stunt driver.
After chatting at a cafe, the couple take off in a new 2015 Ford Mustang and the woman lets the men know that she’s not very experienced at driving a manual transmission. Then, right when the first date banter reaches peak boredom, the driver dips off into an empty parking lot to take the dates for an unexpected thrill ride…(more)
1959 MacMillan hardcover
1960 Ace Double paperback reissue
Best Known for his novels and plays, Somerset Maugham also produced the most delightfully engaging and absorbing non-fiction, of which The Gentleman In The Parlour is a prime example. First published in 1935 it is the account of a journey the author took form Rangoon to Haiphong.Whether by river to Mandalay, on horse through the mountains and forests of the Shan States to Bangkok, or onwards by sea, Maugham’s muse is in the spirit of Hazlitt, who wrote: ‘It is great to shake off the trammels of the world and public opinion…and become the creature of the moment and to be known by no other title than ‘The Gentleman in the Parlour‘.’
“There enough raw material to sate his imagination and the journey itself takes on the contours of a story worth recording. Among the coolly-observed descriptions of ruined pagodas there’s the added treat of Maugham’s catty thoughts on his craft” – Sunday Herald (Glasgow) Read the rest of this entry »
— WSJ China Real Time (@ChinaRealTime) October 16, 2014
My secret lust for right-wing women
“I envy men of the right — their sexual lives are not constrained by the rules of sexual correctness we lefties are expected to live by.”
For The Spectator.uk, Cosmo Landesman writes: Not long ago I was out drinking with a group of friends and we started playing the If-You-Had-To game. The idea is to present players with two people they would never want to sleep with — and then make them choose which they’d sleep with. Here are some of the fiendish alternatives I had to face: Imelda Marcos or Wallace Simpson? Ayn Rand or Yoko Ono? Gertrude Stein or Virginia Woolf?
“Sorry, comrades, but when it comes to the bedroom I’ll have to vote Tory.”
Then one joker said: Theresa May or Jemima Khan? Everyone laughed at this no-contest choice. Everyone except me. How could I tell them the ugly truth: I’d prefer a night of passion with right-wing Theresa over lefty Jemima any day of the week.
But then I belong to that small, deviant group of liberal-lefty-pro-feminist men who find conservative/right-wing women super sexy. In an age when anything goes — at least in terms of sexual pleasure — ours is a lust that dare not speak its name.
I know this because later that evening, I turned to one of the group and confessed my secret longing for the likes of Theresa May, Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin — ideally all at once. I thought my fantasy night of passion would be received with sympathy and understanding. After all, this friend of mine pays a woman in Earls Court to put him on a rack and do things you don’t want to read about. He just looked at me and said: ‘You’re sick!’ Read the rest of this entry »