Robert Louis Stevenson
He was only to get 44 years on the planet, but during that time, which began on this day in 1850, he gave us Kidnapped, Treasure island, and a Child's Garden of Verse. But be honest, it's really Jekyll and Hyde that come first to mind when you think of this writer's work. Here are two transformation scenes from films of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The first is John Barrymore's brilliant silent version from 1920. The second is Spencer Tracy's from 1941.
Even at a distance of 34 years, the untimely death of Jean Seberg is still troubling. Though we wish to remember her birth on this day in 1938 and will presently remember her starring role in Preminger's Saint Joan and a year later, Bonjour, Tristesse, we cannot forget that she was the victim of a defamation campaign by the FBI during its counter-intelligence program known as COINTELPRO. Although ruled a "probable suicide," her death from an overdose of barbiturates left behind many unanswered questions. The government's involvement, to whatever extent, in the life of a private American citizen, led to a Time Magazine cover story and an investigation by the U.S. Senate. These issues resonate now as Snowden, Wiki-Leaks, and the NSA roil the news. Whatever her personal weaknesses or private difficulties, the intrusion of the FBI into her life has turned her into a kind of martyr. How very interesting that is, given her 1957 role in Saint Joan. But you know how it is: Art imitates life; then life imitates Art. And it is a difficult thing for an actor to keep one separate from the other. Here's a link to the "Can they unburn me" scene from Saint Joan. Below is a brief clip from the opening of Bonjour, Tristesse, Preminger's 1958 film version of the novel by 18-year-old Francoise Sagan.
Can it have been 23 years since Whoopi made Ghost and won an Oscar for it? Is it possible that there are grown people walking around today who know her only for The View? Surely not. There's Sister Act (I and II), The Color Purple, and so much more. Here's the $4-million-dollar-scene from Ghost. Watching it, you almost understand why she had to come back as a nun in Sister Act, the final number from which follows just after.
I like big books, and I cannot lie. My background includes talk radio, newspapers and TV news. I've hosted a morning-drive classical music program on the California coast and published nationally in Reader's Digest, the Christian Science Monitor, and Playboy. I've won awards for my journalism and my fiction. One of my essays even made it into an anthology for college English courses. For real? Yes, for real.
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