Monthly Archives: April 2013

Second Character Saturday: Glenda

“When all the stars have fallen down into the sea and on the ground, and angry voices carry on the wind, a beam of light will fill your head and you’ll remember what’s been said by all the good men this world’s ever known.”–Glinda the Good Witch

Cover of the Glinda of Oz

Cover of the Glinda of Oz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who: Glinda the Good Witch

From: The Wizard of Oz

By: L. Frank Baum

Published: 1900

The portrait of Glinda the Good appearing in G...

The portrait of Glinda the Good appearing in Glinda of Oz, by L. Frank Baum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pros: Kind, protective, wise, thoughtful, brave, magical, friendly, and a strong female role model — her court is almost entirely made up of women. Her leadership style involves letting people figure things out on their own. She keeps a careful eye on the situation and guides them as necessary but she lets them come to the conclusions on their own without spoon-feeding them the knowledge or answers. She’s also there to help when called on.

Why I chose Glinda: I choose her because my daughter recommended this TED talk. Although Mr. Stokes speaks to the Glinda character in the 1939 Movie (and I’m going back to the source Glinda in the book) I think he hits the nail on the head. And it inspired me to choose her for today’s Secondary Character.

http://www.wellhappypeaceful.com/glinda-the-good-witch/

Billie Burke as Glinda and Judy Garland as Dorothy in the 1939 movie of The Wizard of Oz [Image courtesy: Well Happy Peaceful]

Billie Burke as Glinda and Judy Garland as Dorothy in the 1939 movie of The Wizard of Oz [Image courtesy: Well Happy Peaceful]

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John Phillip 4.19.13 Thought of the Day

John Phillip was born on this day in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1817. Today is the 196th anniversary of his birth.

Self Portrait Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Collections [bbc.co.uk]

Self Portrait Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Collections [bbc.co.uk]

His father was a former soldier and a shoe maker. The Phillip family was very poor. But John’s talents emerged when he was young and a patron made it possible for the boy to be educated at the Royal Academy of Arts in the Piccadilly area of London.

He was a member of The Clique, a group of artist started by Richard Dadd. The Clique eschewed high art in favor of genre painting (paintings of every day life).  The group, who were followers of Hogarth and Wilkie,  sketched a common subject and then critiqued each other’s work.

The Artist and His Wife (Maria Elizabeth Dadd) Aberdeen Art Gallery [bbc.co.uk]

The Artist and His Wife (Maria Elizabeth Dadd) Aberdeen Art Gallery [bbc.co.uk] He married Richard Dadd’s sister Maria Eliabeth Dadd.

In 1857 he was made an associate of the Royal Academy, he earned full membership in 1859.

Disgorging the Fly (Aberdeen Art Gallery) [BBC.co.uk]

Disgorging the Fly (Aberdeen Art Gallery) [BBC.co.uk]

At first Phillip focused on scenes that idealized his Scottish past — simple, traditional, pious. In 1851 he took a trip to Spain for health reasons and shifted to painting shifted Spanish every day life. He made a total of three trips to Spain.

The Marriage of the Princess Royal (sketch) a painting commissioned by Queen Victoria to commemorate the marriage of her daughter. (Aberdeen Art Gallery) [bbc.co.uk]

The Marriage of the Princess Royal (sketch) a painting commissioned by Queen Victoria to commemorate the marriage of her daughter. (Aberdeen Art Gallery) [bbc.co.uk]

Queen Victoria, a fan of Phillip’s work –“who considered him to be Britain’s greatest portrait painter and entrusted him to paint the Royal Family portraits.  [About Aberdeen.com]– dubbed him “Spanish Phillip.”

The Spanish Flower Seller (Aberdeen Art Gallery) [bbc.co.uk]
The Spanish Flower Seller (Aberdeen Art Gallery) [bbc.co.uk]

Phillip was an immensely competent artist, his work distinguished by a boldness of handling and a strong sense of colour and chiaroscuro which seem typically Scottish. Spain bought out these characteristics, and the resulting paintings are dazzling evocations of Spanish life at its most picturesque and exotic, delighting in dramatic contrasts of light and shade and brilliant local colour illuminated by strong sunlight. [Golden Age Paintings.blogspot]

The Evil Eye (The Stirling Smith Art Gallery) [bbc.co.uk]
The Evil Eye (The Stirling Smith Art Gallery) [bbc.co.uk]

He died on February 27,  1867 in London.


Lucrezia Borgia 4.18.13 Thought of the Day

“If people knew the reasons for my fears, they would Be able to understand my pain.” — Lucrezia Borgia

Italiano: Lucrezia Borgia ritratta nella "...

Italiano: Lucrezia Borgia ritratta nella “Disputa di Santa Caterina” dell’Appartamento Borgia, nella Sala dei Santi in Vaticano. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lucrezia Borgia  was born on this day in Subiaco, near Rome, Italy in 1480. Today is the 533rd anniversary of her birth.

Lucrezia  was the daughter of the powerful Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia and his mistress Vannozza dei Cattanei, and younger sister of Cesare and Giovanni Borgia.  When she was a toddler her father took the children away from their mother and sent them to live with his cousin, Adriana de Mila. The Cardinal took an active role in raising the children, making sure they were well-educated and properly brought up. He doted on pretty Lucrezia.

“Lucrezia was educated according to the usual curriculum of Renaissance ladies of rank, and was taught languages, music, embroidery, painting, etc…” [NNDB] She studied poetry and read the classics. She could converse in Latin, Italian, French and Greek. She was also a beauty. Her long blond hair, flawless complexion, hazel eyes and graceful stature were all the fashion in Renaissance Italy.

By eleven she was betrothed to a Spanish nobleman, Don Cherubin do Centelles, but that brokered arrangement was broken for a more advantageous one, with another Spaniard, Don Gasparo de Procida. Before the two could marry Cardinal Borgia became Pope Alexander VI, and  “he annulled the union with Procida; in February 1493 Lucrezia was betrothed to Giovanni Sforza, Lord of Pesaro.” (Ibid)

Portrait of Pope Alexander VI. Painting locate...

Portrait of Pope Alexander VI. Painting located at Corridoio Vasariano (museum) in Florence (Firenze), Italy. Measures of painting: 59 x 44 cm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This time Lucrezia, at 13,  did walk down the aisle. Sforza was 15 years older than the girl and it was hardly a match made in heaven. So when the political winds shifted and the Pope wanted to annul the marriage his daughter didn’t object. But Sforza did. Alexander claimed the reason for the annulment was Sforza’s impotency, a charge the Lord of Pesaro vehemently denied — and offered to prove in front of anyone who cared to act as witness. He countered that Alexander and Lucrezia were having an incestuous relationship. He later recanted the allegations and accepted the annulment, but there were other Borgia enemies who took up the rumors.

Whispers of incest filled the streets of Rome and 14-year-old Lucrezia’s reputation was damaged beyond repair. There was also a claim that she poisoned her enemies. She allegedly had her own special formula for a an undetectable poison. She’s even supposed to have had a specially designed ring with a compartment for the poison and a tiny needle with which to administer it.

Coin of Lucrezia Borgia

Coin of Lucrezia Borgia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pope Alexander married her off again, this time to Alphonso of Aragon, the 18-year-old duke of Bisceglie, to firm up his political alliances with Naples. Although it was an arranged marriage the match was a happy one. Lucrezia and Alphonso had a baby, Rodrigo and seemed to be very much in love. Alas it only lasted 2 years. “Pope Alexander and Lucrezia’s brother Cesare sought a new alliance with France, and Lucrezia’s marriage to Alfonso was a major obstacle.” [Biography] Alfonso was attacked by assassins in the streets of Rome. He was brutally stabbed in the head, arm and leg. With the help of his own guards he made it back to the papal residence, where he was nursed  by Lucrezia and others.  But, while he was recovering an assassin (almost certainly working for her brother) gained admittance to the sick room and strangled him. Lucrezia was heart broken.

After Alphonso’s death Pope Alexander went away to survey a  “new acquisition” and “left the administration of the Vatican and the Church in the hands of Lucrezia.” [trutv.com]

English: Lucrezia Borgia presiding over the Cu...

English: Lucrezia Borgia presiding over the Curia Romana in the abcense of her father Pope Alexander VI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But the political chess game that was Lucrezia’s life wasn’t over yet. Single again at 20 her father found her yet another husband Alfonso I d’Este. The d’Este family had heard the rumors of Lucrezia’s infamous behavior, they’d seen how her last two marriages had ended, and they knew how dangerous it was to dance with the Borgas . They bulked at the union, but when Alexander applied pressure — and upped the dowry — they gave in and the wedding took place in 1502. Lucrezia was packed up and sent to Ferrara.

At first her new life in Ferrara was very difficult. Her husband was distant and unloving, her new family was suspicious and shunned her and she was removed from everyone she had every loved — especially her baby, Rodrigo. But Alfonso d’Este and eventually his family came to realize she wasn’t the murderous adulterer she painted to be.”She won over her reluctant husband by her youthful charm (she was only twenty-two), and from that time forth she led a peaceful life, about which there was hardly a breath of scandal.” [NNDB]

Possibly portrait of Lucrezia Borgia

Possibly portrait of Lucrezia Borgia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1503 Pope Alexander died and she was finally free from her role as the family’s pawn. Two years later Alfonso’s father died making the couple the Duke and Duchess of Ferrara.

During their seventeen year marriage Alfonso and Lucrezia had 6 children, 2 of whom lived to adulthood. (Rodrigo lived to be 12-years-old. Although Lucrezia tried she never saw her son after she left Rome)

As Duchess she helped make the court of Fererra a truly Renaissance place. She…

gathered many learned men, poets and artists at her court, among whom were Ariosto, Cardinal Bembo, Aldus Manutius the printer, and the painters Titian and Dosso Dossi. She devoted herself to the education of her children and to charitable works [Ibid]

She died due to complications of child birth on June 24, 1519.

English: Lucrezia Borgia

English: Lucrezia Borgia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Daffy Duck 4.17.13 Thought of the Day b

“Relax sister. I don’t know the meaning of the word fear!” — Daffy Duck

Daffy Duck, as he appears in The Looney Tunes ...

Daffy Duck, as he appears in The Looney Tunes Show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daffy Dumas Horacio Tiberius Armando Sheldon Duck was “born” on this day in Warner Brothers Studio, Burbank, California, USA in 1937. He is 76 years old.

He was first brought to life by animator Bob Clampett and voiced by Mel Blanc in director Tex Avery‘s Porky’s Duck Hunt.  Warner Brothers was looking to carve a niche out the cartoon market (and take market share away from Disney). They had had some success with Porky Pig, but  Tex Avery “wanted a character so incongruous, so nuts, so out-of place that it would put Walt Disney’s cute “Silly Symphonies” to shame.” [The Complete History of Daffy Duck]  With Daffy he had just the duck for the mission.

Daffy Duck as he first appeared in Porky's Duc...

Daffy Duck as he first appeared in Porky’s Duck Hunt (1937). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daffy’s personality changed as the years went on. He became a slightly different duck for each of his directors. For Tex Avery he was wacky. He put the Loon in Looney Tunes. He literally bounced all over the place like a lunatic shouting “Woo-hoo! Woo-hoo!”

By 1940 he’d grown more focused and ambitious. He wanted to be a movie star.

He was still crazy, but he had purpose and had control over the scenes he was in. During World War II Daffy reflected the times, first he was a draft dodging duck, then he collects scrap metal for a scrap drive (Scrap Happy Daffy). He even confronts Adolf Hitler in Daffy the Commando.

Director Robert McKimson made Daffy dapper, instilling the cartoon fowl with a bit of brains to go with his bonkers.

When Chuck Jones took the helm Daffy changed again.  Where Daffy had been “a hyperactive, carefree, if not patriotic, duck ” [The Complete History of Daffy Duck] Jones gave us “a more power-hungry and greed-driven loser. … Jones made him taller, skinnier, beakier and scruffier-looking…While he had been a winner before, and happier, Jones made him him a loser who was never satisfied. [Ibid] Jones also did a run of movie spoofs starring Daffy and Porky that were enormously popular.

By the 1950s Daffy was struggling to reclaim the spotlight from Bugs Bunny, who had become the leading Warner Brothers character. Led by Chuck Jones, the directors of this era brought out a darker side of Daffy’s personality, showing him as desperately self-glorifying and consumed by jealousy—though also more introspective. [Encyclopedia Britannica.com]

By the mid 1960s movie studios had soured on making cartoon shorts. Television, not movies theaters were the entertainment venues of choice, and the theaters couldn’t afford cartoon shorts. “the post-1964… Warner Bros…. cartoons,  are quite cheaply produced compared to the cartoons of the 40’s and 50’s.” [The Complete History of Daffy Duck]

So Daffy, along with Bugs and Porky were relegated to Television. Mostly the Warner Bros. favorites appeared as reruns on Saturday mornings, but occasionally they were given fresh material for TV specials  like Daffy’s “Duck Dodgers In the 24 1/2 Century.”  He found a home on the Cartoon Network’s The Looney Tunes Show (now voiced by Jeff Bergman and Bill Farmer)

Most recently DD’s most recent appearances have been in Robot Chicken: Immortal  and Spread Those Wings and Fly  (both came out in February of this year)

Daffy Duck

Daffy Duck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This one goes out to my friend Angie and my sister Joan.


Charlie Chaplin 4.16.13 Thought of the Day Part two

[Continued from Charlie Chaplin 4.16.13 Thought of the Day: Part One]

 

The Gold Rush (1925)

The Gold Rush (1925) (Photo credit: quicheisinsane)

Having fulfilled his contract with National, Chaplin  was free to work on independent projects for United Artists, a group he formed with  Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and D. W. Griffith in 1919. With the Gold Rush in 1925 he made the movie he wanted to be remembered by.

 

Through his work, Chaplin came to be known as a grueling perfectionist. His love for experimentation often meant countless retakes and it was not uncommon for him to order the rebuilding of an entire set. It also wasn’t rare for him to begin with one leading actor, realize he’d made a mistake in his casting, and start again with someone new…But the results were hard to refute. [Biography]

 

The Tramp working on the giant machine in the ...

The Tramp working on the giant machine in the film’s most famous scene (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Modern times

His later films include City Lights, 1931, Modern Times, 1936 and The Great Dictator, 1940. He made a half dozen more films (most noteably Lime Light co starring Buster Keaton) but they paled  in comparison to his earlier work. No one, it seemed, was interested in Chaplin sans bowler hat and mustache.

 

Charlie Chaplin from the film The Great Dictat...

Charlie Chaplin from the film The Great Dictator (with “double cross” emblem in background and on cap). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chaplin’s personal life was always in the spot light. He was married 4 times to women decades his junior. He had numerous affairs with his leading ladies. He didn’t join the British Army in WWI (which caused a lot of controversy back home in England. –Chaplin had registered for the draft, but had not been called up. He also worked for the War effort raising money through Liberty Bonds and producing propaganda films — but it wasn’t enough to satiate the flag waving mania sweeping his home country.) He was never afraid to voice his political views and after The Great Dictator (with it’s brilliant, but preachy six-minute closing speech) he was branded a radical. In the 1950’s he was a target of the House Un-American Activities Committee who “saw him as a nonconformist and therefore a communist.” [About.com] When he tried to return to the States after a trip  abroad he was denied entry. (He went to live in Switzerland.)

 

Charlie Chaplin, Vevey, Switzerland - Project ...

Charlie Chaplin, Vevey, Switzerland – Project 1/365 (Photo credit: Airflore)

He stayed away… until 1972 when he was awarded an Honorary Academy Award. He was given a 12 minuted standing ovation at the ceremony.

 

Chaplin also composed music. He wrote the songs “Smile” and “This is My Song” along with 500 other melodies.

 

After finishing his last film A Countess from Hong Kong … he composed the music to many of his silent movies, among them The Circus,… The Kidand A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate [IMDb]

Charlie Chaplin died of a stroke on Christmas morning 1977.

 

Awards:

 

  • 1929 WON Special Academy Award “for versatility and genius in acting, writing, directing and producing The Circus
  • 1941 Nominated for Best Actor Oscar  for his dual role in The Great Dictator.
  • 1941 Nominated for Best Writing Oscar for The Great Dictator..
  • 1948 Nominated for Best Screenplay Oscar for Monsieur Verdoux.
  • 1972 WON Special Honorary Academy Award for “the incalculable effect he  has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century”.
  • 1973 WON The Academy Award for Best Original Score for Limelight. (The film had not been released in the US until 1972).

CLICK HERE for Charlie Chaplin Part One

 


Charlie Chaplin 4.16.13 Thought of the Day: Part ONE

“I remain just one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician.” — Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin The Tramp debuted in 1914 -- p...

Charlie Chaplin The Tramp debuted in 1914 — pre-1923 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Charles Spencer Chaplin was born on this day in 1889 in London, England. Today is the 124th anniversary of his birth.

He was practically born to the stage. Both his parents were musical hall entertainers. His father, Charles Chaplin, Sr.  was a singer and actor, his mother, Hannah Chaplin — her stage name was Lily Harley — sang light opera. The marriage didn’t last long, and Chaplin, Sr. abandoned the family when Charlie was an infant. He had two half brothers. Sydney Hill Chaplin was four years older than Charlie and was born to Hannah a year before she married Chaplin, Sr. (who was not his father.) Hannah had another baby, George Wheeler Dryden in 1892, by entertainer Leo Dryden. Sydney and Charlie hardly knew this brother, however, because Leo took the boy away when he was 6 months old. George didn’t resurface until his mid thirties.

Hannah continued her stage career for a few years, but…

in a performance that would introduce her youngest boy to the world of performance, Hannah inexplicably lost her voice in the middle of a show, prompting the stage manager to push the five-year-old Chaplin, whom he’d heard sing, onto the stage to replace her…[Biography]

The audience loved little Charlie, but it was a disaster for Hannah…

Her singing voice never returned and she eventually ran out of money. For a time, Charlie and Sydney had to make a new, temporary home for themselves in London’s tough workhouses. [Ibid]

Hannah was in and out of mental institutions until 1905 when she was committed permanently. With the exception of one disastrous stint with their alcoholic father, the boys were left to fend for themselves,  and, eventually, thrown into the workhouse. Sydney was trained as a seaman, but both boys wanted to act. Charlie charmed his way into a clog dancing group called the Eight Lancashire Lads in 1897.

It was a short stint, and not a terribly profitable one, forcing the go-getter Chaplin to make ends meet anyway he could…”I (was) newsvendor, printer, toymaker, doctor’s boy, etc., but during these occupational digressions, I never lost sight of my ultimate aim to become an actor,” Chaplin later recounted. “So, between jobs I would polish my shoes, brush my clothes, put on a clean collar and make periodic calls at a theatrical agency.” [Ibid]

His first play was  Jim, a Romance of Cockayne by H.A. Saintsbury in 1903.  Although the show closed after two weeks Chaplin’s comedic performance  as the newsboy received good reviews. Real stage experience came later that year with a 2.5 year run with  Sherlock Holmes in which Chaplin played the Page-boy.

He toured with a vaudeville outfit named Casey’s Court Circus and in 1908 teamed up with the Fred Karno pantomime troupe, where Chaplin became one of its stars as The Drunk in the comedic sketch, A Night in an English Music Hall. [Ibid]

Español: Esta es una fotografia del Sr. Charle...

Español: Esta es una fotografia del Sr. Charles Spencer Chaplin tomada en Estados Unidos, durante su juventud, en un momento en el que, como se aprecia, se encontraba al natural, tal como era, sin los clasicos caracteres que usaba para protagonizar a su recordado personaje de cine mudo Charlot. Français : Charles Chaplin, acteur américain, célèbre pour son personnage Charlot. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He twice came to America on tour with the Karno troupe and film producer Mack Sennett promptly signed Chaplin to a contract for a $150 a week with Keystone Pictures. Chaplin didn’t like his first film, Making a Living, and it wasn’t a hit, but he was singled out for his comic timing and presence.

He wanted to create a persona that made him stand out from the crowd of comedic actors at Keystone, so he borrowed Fatty Arbuckle’s pants, Ford Sterling’s size 14 shoes and Arbuckle’s father-in-law’s bowler to invent the Little Tramp. The Tramp made his debut in  Kid Auto Races at Venice.

Chaplin with Edna Purviance in The Immigrant (...

Chaplin with Edna Purviance in The Immigrant (1917) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Charlie yearned for more creative input in his film and finally got a chance to direct in 1914. With the caveat that Chaplin would return $1,500 to producer Sennett should the film fail, he helmed Caught in the Rain . (He did not have to return the money. )

When Keystone wouldn’t give him a raise (he wanted $1,000 a week)  he went to Essanay Film Manufacturing Company  (they gave him $1,250 a week.) He made 14 films with Essanay.

By the age of 26, Chaplin, just three years removed from his vaudeville days was a movie superstar. He’d moved over to the Mutual Company, which paid him a whopping $670,000 a year. The money made Chaplin a wealthy man, but it didn’t seem to derail his artistic drive. With Mutual, he made some of his best work, including One A.M. (1916), The Rink (1916), The Vagabond(1916), and Easy Street (1917). [Biography]

He got a million dollar deal with First National Exhibitors’ Circuit to make 8 films. (His brother Sydney was his financial manager by then, and he was instrumental in making the deal.) Two of the eight movies broke the old show business rule about not working with children and animals, and those films — The Kid and A Dog’s Life were two of Chaplin’s best.

Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Coogan in The Kid

Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Coogan in The Kid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Click HERE for Charlie Chaplin 4.16.13 Thought of the Day: Part TWO


Muffin Monday! Raisin Muffins

Raisin Muffins

IMG_4757

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of white whole wheat flour

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  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder

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  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

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IMG_4567

  • 4 teaspoons of Just Whites (dry egg whites) [or 1 egg]

IMG_4747

  • 1/4 cup of Water [don’t add the water if you are using the egg]

IMG_4748

  • 1/2 cup skim milk

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  • 1/4 cup chopped prunes

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  • 1/2 cup yogurt

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golden raisin sauna

golden raisin sauna (Photo credit: shutterbean)

  • Demerara sugar to garnish

IMG_4697

Step One: Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tin with muffin pants and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Step Two: In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients. (NOT the raisins)

Step Three: Add all the prunes and wet ingredients to the bowl and mix just enough to incorporate. Batter will be lumpy.

Step Four: Last, but not least, add the raisins.

IMG_4754

Step Five: Spoon into muffin tin. Sprinkle Demerara sugar on top of each muffin to garnish.

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Step Six: and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven when tops of muffins are golden brown and the muffins pass the toothpick test. Let rest 5 minutes before enjoying.

These were my most dense muffins to date. I liked the addition of the prunes — which let me cut down on the sugar / truvia, but I think I’ll try these with some zucchini to make them a bit lighter next time. They were good, but definitely morn on the dense biscuit side of the biscuit/muffin/cupcake spectrum. I’d be interested to know what you think…

IMG_4760

More Muffin Monday madness:


Adrian Brody 4.14.13 Thought of the Day

“I always had an actor within me.”–Adrien Brody

English: Adrien Brody at the 2011 Tribeca Film...

English: Adrien Brody at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Detachment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Adrien Brody was born on this day in New York City, New York, USA in 1973. He is 40 years old.

He grew up in Queens, New York.  “His father, Elliot Brody, is a retired history teacher of Polish-Jewish descent who lost family members in the Holocaust. His mother Sylvia Plachy, the renown photographer, fled Communist Hungary as a child during the 1956 revolution against Russia.” Brody’s earliest performances came as a magician for children’s parties as the “Amazing Andrien.” His mother encouraged him to take acting lessons. He went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the High School for the Performing Arts.

By 13 he was working Off Broadway. His first film role was as an orphan in Home At last a 1988 Western. He spent the next 14 years hovering on the brink of fame. He made some good movies (Thin Red Line, Summer of Sam, Liberty Heights) but it wasn’t until he got the call from Roman Pulaski to be in The Pianist that he finally broke through as a star.

The Pianist (2002 film)

The Pianist (2002 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Broody played “Poland’s greatest pianist”, Władysław Szpilman.

To prepare for his title role in The Pianist (2002), he learned to play Frédéric Chopin pieces on the piano and shed 30 pounds off his already-thin frame. He cut himself off from his real life by giving up his car and apartment because he felt responsible to those Polish Jews who had suffered greatly and wanted to connect, to some small degree, with their hurt and despair. [IMDb]

Brody won an Oscar for his work in The Pianist. At 29 he is the youngest man to have won the Best Actor award.

Other Brody movies to put in your queue are:

Next up for Brody is Third Person with James Franco, Mila Kunis, Olivia Wilde due out later this year.

Brody Adrien at Cannes in 2002. My own picture...

Brody Adrien at Cannes in 2002. My own picture. Created by Rita Molnár 2002. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 


Secondary Character Saturday: Aliena of Kingsbridge

Hayley Atwell as Aliena in the miniseries based on the book. [Image courtesy: Ken Follett.com]

Hayley Atwell as Aliena in the miniseries based on the book. [Image courtesy: Ken Follett.com]

Who: Aliena of Kingsbridge

From: Pillars of the Earth

Cover of "The Pillars of the Earth"

Cover of The Pillars of the Earth

By: Ken Follett

Written: 1989

Pros: Strong, compassionate, loving, determined, resourceful, intelligent, resilient, self-sacrificing.

Aliena has a tumbled mass of unruly dark curls, a straight, imperious nose, soft smooth cheeks, large dark eyes and full sensous lips. She is slim but full breasted, and careless in what she wears, often going barefoot. [Ken Follett.com]

Cons: Emotionally reserved, at times aloof, stubborn and short-tempered.

Donald Southerland as the Earl and Hayley Atwell as Aliena in the miniseries [Image courtesy: TV Somthing]
Donald Southerland as the Earl and Hayley Atwell as Aliena in the miniseries [Image courtesy: Locate TV]

Prior to the novel  Aliena leads a storybook life. Then things start to go wrong. In short order she finds her father, the Earl of Shiring, thrown out of his castle and held in jail for treason. She is raped and her younger brother, Richard, has his ear cut off  before they too  are thrown out of their castle. But having promised her father that Richard will one day take back the title of Earl of Shiring she does everything in her power to toughen the boy and build a fortune.  That means denying herself  her one true love so Richard can be outfitted as a Knight.

Publicity shot for Pillars of the Earth with Eddy Redmayne (Jack) and Hayley Atwell (Aliena) [Image courtesy: xyz]
Publicity shot for Pillars of the Earth with Eddy Redmayne (Jack) and Hayley Atwell (Aliena) [Image courtesy: Eddie Redmayne Forum.com]

Best Shining Moment: Traveling over most of Western Europe in search of Jack. Because true love is worth it.

Least Shining Moment: Marrying Alfred (when she really loves Jack) because Alfred can outfit her brother as a Knight.

Why I chose Aliena: Aliena has the ability to look beyond appearances and see a person’s inner worth (or flaws).  She’s a hard worker who inspires the best in others. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty, as she showed when helping to build the wall to protect the town. She knows her inner strength and she’s not afraid to use it.

Character relationship tree from Pillars of the Earth. [Image courtesy: Ken Follett.com]

Character relationship tree from Pillars of the Earth. [Image courtesy: Ken Follett.com]


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