Dark Eyed Life

According to @CitizenScreen, doing yeoman’s* work daily on Twitter* relative to the Golden Age of film, today is the birth date of Mabel Normand, Hedy Lamarr, and Dorothy Dandridge —

  • Normand: New York, 1892
  • Lamarr: Vienna, 1914
  • Dandridge: Cleveland, 1922

— which makes for coupla at least interesting, if not compelling or fascinating at the early stages, observations.

First a note, which is the this-week publishing of Dark I’d Love, the second in my Brush Strokes attempts on Kindle. This gets the shill bit — the shilling, if you will — out of the way. Second off, the intersection of story and reality is a recurring and even consistent interest of mine — in fact, it forms part of the subject of the first book in BS, which is On Real. See what I did there?

The attempts, tries … essays of a sort … are less frequent than my interest in story + reality + dark-eyed women. Fortunately for most, perhaps unfortunately for the women … and not unrelated, come to write it — the more time I spend watching film and television, the less time writing. Weird, right?

So here’s the thing.

That these three women share a birthday isn’t all that notable. It’s fun and stuff, like we do when it’s someone’s birthday, the anniversary of their death, whatever. It’s a moment of memory and memory is a good thing. It’s not the worst thing on social media, given that it’s generally a time-suck and worse. Social media itself is about the connection we crave, and it’s fundamentally flawed at that but it’s why we do it.

[Aurora stopped interacting with me after I asked, in the 2020 election cycle, among the crowing about how many people had voted by mail, whether they wd’ve voted anyway. Understand I had no dog in the fight, not being a voter … I think there was another something or other just this week … but there it is. Marred forever. So much for civility, Do still enjoy her tweets, though.]

When I do watch film and television, which is too often for me but as noted perhaps welcome for you, I’m often taking notes, especially on the script, good lines, and so on. On balance, I need to cut back, as I often end up watching subpar stuff simply because it’s a detective show with capable actors and clever lines, even though the plot seems like it’s designed with holes in it, they’re so frequent. Bosch: Legacy, for instance.

Or maybe I’m wrong about that — maybe the overall story is good or important enough, or both, that I oughta overlook the tweaky bits — plot holes — because the story’s the thing. I’ve had several conversations with people on this, given the tendency of my faves in genre fiction — mystery, detective, police procedural — to be rife with such glaring [to me] gaps.

Well … one thing I also do, that is, another thing I do, is look stuff up on the actors involved in the show. The Bosch franchise, for instance, this year lost both Lance Reddick, a series regular, and Annie Wersching, who played Titus Welliver’s Bosch’s unstable redhead [pardon the redundancy; read Dark I’d Love for more] dalliance early in the series.

I look stuff up on the actors and actresses and while these don’t generally become rabbit holes, there’s a little excavating going on. Bruce Willis or Val Kilmer’s health … death of Anton Yelchin, the dude who played Chekov in a Star Trek movie [though I saw him in Odd Thomas] … cute;-as-a-button in High Road to China and also in Bosch for a bit, Bess Armstrong … people involved in Timothy Hutton’s Nero Wolfe from 20 years ago …

I mean, did you know Maury Chaykin had died?

And that’s what you find out.

Deaths of the actual actor involved, of course … but also death of a child [Bess Armstrong again, e.g.] … ways they’ve gotten in trouble [with law, banks, governments, &c] … a where-are-they-now kind of thing but with something more than a tweak: a twist.

They become real.

Sometimes only for a moment … one wldn’t expect it to haunt us forever, perhaps … but, like … these are people.

That sounds like a Duh! but we totes treat them like they’re not.

Notes on Twitter and the little-digging can get us there, sorta-partly.

  • Mabel Normand had a life — a short one, in fact, from tuberculosis, and with multiple scandals, sadness, failure, and despair. Also good things: she grew great enough to also direct films, for instance. In other words, life.

[We don’t have scandals? We’re just not famous enough for them to be scandals.]

  • Hedy Lamarr, too — exploitation from the start [read in a biography or perhaps a memoir once that she’d been told the camera was so far away nobody would see her naked in that early Czech film, and that they poked her repeatedly with a pin to generate the moans of ecstasy], six marriages in 30 years, starting in her teens, then nothing for 35 more years until her death.

[We still kinda see her, I think, as a powerful woman; do we think this pays for it?]

  • Dorothy Dandridge — Hollywood regularly tried to exploit her beauty sexually in film content and marketing, as well as in promotion — a trial against a tabloid, which publication, to be fair, also talked like that about white actress Maureen O’Hara, two marriages within about a decade, death in her mid-40s.

[Accidental overdose? Embolism? Is it OK to most recall her Academy Award nod?]

Focus above is on unhappy bits because our fantasies are of the other sort — that they’re lovely and famous and rich and therefore not unhappy. We aren’t wrong — they’re lovely, lauded, loaded with talent in many cases — but we are wrong, as well. And we know better, but we do it anyway. Until Richard Cory shows up again.

But then we forget anew. Perhaps a grace, that, as self-preservation.

But mostly it’d be better to get stronger, tell the truth, do right.

Good and bad and in other words, life.

 

An expression
* What it is, OK

 

Image compilation:
Public Domain

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent

What I Recalled Watching Netflix

[Television is educational.]   One Saying the same stuff over and over looks like you have different things to say. Two If you’re ever in a below-average film or streaming series, and you beat the tar out of a guy, in a house, and you gaze down in both some shock as also a certain

Read More »

Seeking the King

A line everywhere misattributed to Chesterton reads thus: The young man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God. This line is not from the great [several senses of the word] man who recently celebrated his 150th birthday, but the mid-century most unmodern novelist Bruce Marshall. The words — which do

Read More »

He’s the Guy

Those social media posts of ‘this moment in this famous film was totally unscripted!!!’ as if that by itself makes it better miss the point. Moat unscripted material, like most ideas, inventions, ideas, notions, &c … fails — such is the nature of creativity: the best stuff, it is devoutly to be wished, sticks around;

Read More »

‘Round Here

Imagine someone, potentially anyone, even you, perhaps, but let us, in any case, say. Yes, you. You pull into the diner – Earl’s, Norm’s, Dinah’s, something like that. A sort-of Googie architecture … but maybe not quite, as if it’d been a little late for the Space Age, and late is the one thing you

Read More »

Random

Unintelligent Design

Your plan is not working, they say. Ah, but my plan is working, we respond. (I just haven’t fully implemented it, yet … ) But look at the results you’re getting, they say. Things a’gonna change, just you wait, comes our reply. * The truth is, our plan is working. Mine is, yours is, theirs

Read More »

Of Love

We like lists. Here’s one. Love is a song Love is the greatest song Love is integral Love is alive Love is gospel Love is power Love is work Love is desire and fulfillment Love is suffering Love is free Love is true to reality Love is accurate Love is simple Love is individual Love

Read More »

He’s the Guy

Those social media posts of ‘this moment in this famous film was totally unscripted!!!’ as if that by itself makes it better miss the point. Moat unscripted material, like most ideas, inventions, ideas, notions, &c … fails — such is the nature of creativity: the best stuff, it is devoutly to be wished, sticks around;

Read More »

Covidomatic Libs

  Dear _____ , (supporter, donor, customer, friend, co-afflicted) In these _____ (unprecedented, challenging, dangerous, difficult) times, we know you’re _____ (standing strong, bearing up well, getting ripe, fingering the edge of the cleaver and gazing at your partner’s neck) and miss our _____ (plums, belly dancers, unmatched selection of fine wines, engine repair tutorials)

Read More »

Related

Plough Lines

“For sale: baby shoes” is a classified ad. “For sale: baby shoes; never worn” is a story. It’s Hemingway’s, in fact. * “The king is dead” is a news bulletin. “The king died, and the queen died of grief” is a story. Better yet, “The king died, and the queen and her lover died in

Read More »

Total Recall

Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this one … There was a woman who claimed to talk with God — not to Him, but with Him. The tale was well-told around town, in which there was also a priest. The priest one day after Mass asked to speak with the woman and when they’d settled

Read More »

Hey Babe, Wanna Increase My Downline?

This wouldn’t be the first time someone “posted” a “blog” on their “website” while having nothing to say. Well, not nothing exactly, but certainly not being sure exactly what he wants to say. But then that’s part of what a blog is, or was. Or maybe that’s just the bad kind; definitely it’s the old

Read More »

Is Not That Special?

From a review of a book on founding Britain’s Special Air Service in World War II, what was required of recruits — Courage Fitness Determination Discipline Skill Intelligence Training and another review noted, quoting the book — “Recruits tended to be unusual to the point of eccentricity … people who did not fit easily into the

Read More »