Better late than never:
Still petite in size and looking gorgeous; may I introduce you to Sunflower #1?
I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. Sunflower #2 is taller but still not quite ready to open.
Next year, I’m planting even more. Of course, I planted a lot this year and the seeds turned out to be Purple Hyacinth Bean Vine. And no, I didn’t mix them up. That will always remain a mystery. Anyway, my plan is to have a long row of these beauties in front of the dog corral. They make me smile.
May I take a moment to speak my mind about something?
You know I love old movies. The other night, we watched Ball of Fire (directed by Howard Hawks) starring Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper. It’s absolutely one of my favorite movies, based on the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs story. Last night, we watched Lady for a Day (directed by Frank Capra) starring May Robson and a great supporting cast. If you’re unfamiliar with May Robson (who was 75 when she made this movie in 1933) and you get a chance to watch her in a movie, run, do not walk, to your television. She was such a wonderful actress. In those early years of movie making, she was already considered ‘elderly.’ Nevertheless, she played one of the lead roles, surrounded by a cast of wonderful character actors, most of them middle-aged or older and quirky.
In Ball of Fire, the supporting cast, including the men playing the equivalent of the seven dwarfs, were all wonderful character actors, none of whom were pretty and young. They were in nearly every scene of the movie. And those roles, those actors, were essential to the plot. They contributed to the fabric of the movie. It couldn’t have been made without them. Same with Lady for a Day. If you watch any Frank Capra movie, such as It’s a Wonderful Life, or It Happened One Night, you’ll always see lots of interesting character actors both middle-aged and elderly.
In those days, moviemakers thought those sorts of actors were interesting and compelling. They assumed that the audience would find them so, too. They were right. Even in television, up until the last 20 years or so, older actors and character actors were everywhere. Imagine: All in the Family had two lead actors who were middle-aged. That would never happen nowadays.
No, now we have to have young, pretty people everywhere: in print and on the screen. If there is a supporting role for a character actor, it’s very brief and there are few close-ups. How often do you find an older actor in the lead? An older actor who isn’t also beautiful? Almost never. What about character actors? They get very little screen time. The only major filmakers that I can think of offhand who use character actors consistently and with great respect are the Coen brothers.
When did everything we see become dominated by young and pretty? When did we become so shallow? I have a feeling that the Big Corporations who now run the major television networks and movie studios have a little something to do with that. It’s all about money nowadays and apparently money is only generated by shallow, inane, young and pretty.
If you look at the television series and movies coming out of Britain, you’ll see a host of interesting roles for quirky and older actors written into plots and given lots of screen time. I suspect it might be the same for other countries, though I can’t say for sure. This myopic view of what’s marketable seems peculiar to our country.
We are not a country that honors and esteems the older generation, are we? And when did anything other than pretty become something to be avoided at all costs? I’m fed up with it. And I’m sad about what we seem to value. I don’t watch much television any more. I don’t watch very many new movies. I find it all rather shallow and depressing.
Give me an older movie any day.
Or a good book.
In Other business:
Remember to leave a comment on my book review if you’re interested in winning a copy.
A Favorite Thing starts tomorrow! I’ll put the post up this evening around 8:00 pm est, along with instructions on how to link up. I do hope you’ll join in on its maiden voyage. I’d so love to have you take part.