RELEASE THE KRAKEN!

Colossal or Giant Squid

DATELINE: Deep Sea Denizen

How can anyone ever forget the great Lord Laurence Olivier playing Zeus in Clash of the Titans?  In one hilarious moment, he yelled out, as only he could, “Release the kraken!”

Good heavens, now decades later, Monsterquest  has indeed released the Kraken, a legendary god of the Deep Blue Sea. We have been accused often of being Kraken in Der Head. Now we have Kraken on the brain.

If you like your fishy monsters with a pedigree, the Kraken is your sea creature. Alas, Monsterquest  is after the Humboldt Squid: still a voracious, muscular, omonster of the deep. Never seen, but theorized to be a hundred feet in length, they have populated Jules Verne novels, but have remained science fiction mostly.

Now, there will be an attempt to prove they live in the depths and never surface. They will eat anything, including you.

This latest episode is an update of a 2006 show that captured a giant squid on camera for the first time. The 2019 version featured Scott Cassell, the same expert, whose blonde hair is now snowy white. The cute researchers are now long in the tooth, and the latest Monsterquest team is basically a new batch of thrill-seekers.

What else can you say about guys who don’t mind being attacked by angry squid. One complains, there must be an easier way to make a living—but they’d never go for it.

There is, he contends, as many giant and colossal squid (the 100 feet long ones) as there are people on earth, but they are so deep in the oceans they are never seen.

If anything comes out of this show, it is the idea that 1000 years ago these things were called Kraken—and they are highly intelligent and observant!  That may be enough to say, leave them alone.

 

 

Powell & Pressburger Early Effort

DATELINE: Forgotten Classic Film

Stars together in scene not in movie.

The two creative powerhouses who gave us The Red Shoesand Stairway to Heaven within a decade provided the free world a marvelous morsel called 49thParallel in mid-World War II.

Michael Powell and his film writer Emeric Pressburger chose to give propaganda a shot in the arm. The only real German in the movie, Anton Walbrook, plays a pacifist: Eric Portman, a Brit, is the worst of the Nazi officers.

Perhaps the only war movie set in America where invading Nazi forces have landed at Hudson Bay, the film is a curio and a delight of originality.

The cast is stunning: Leslie Howard, Laurence Olivier, Raymond Massey, and Anton Walbrook, Finlay Currie, with Eric Portman as the Nazi Uboat officer stranded near a far-off trading post after their U-boat is sunk by RAF bombers. The Nazis think they are the first wave of invaders to conquer North America.

It is amusing to see Heathcliffe, Abe Lincoln, and Ashley Wilkes fighting Nazis. This movie gives you these cerebral actors breaking form. The film is done in picaresque style, which is to say, your stars do not have scenes together.

The Nazis are ruthless monsters to the point of hyperbole, your typical propaganda approach of the era. They are their own worst enemies and self-destruction is half the battle.

One by one, the hunted Nazis fall by the wayside, deserting or captured along the way. One of those they meet is a writer, effete and genteel, who is Leslie Howard—of course, and for whom the Nazi has utmost contempt for his “degeneracy.”

Filmed in Western Canada in black and white, you still feel the majesty of the setting among the grand forests and stunning mountains that dwarf the Nazi menace.

If the final Nazi, celebrated in Germany on radio, can make it to the neutral United States in 1941, he can be repatriated to Germany. His final encounter is with a boxcar rider named Raymond Massey.

By the way, the young teenage girl at the commune is Glynis Johns.

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing Like Four Dames

DATELINE:  Great Actresses Reminisce.

Grand DamesGrandstanding with the Grand Dames

If you like good conversation with witty old ladies over tea and champagne, you may find Tea with the Dames quite your cuppa hot stuff if you enjoy BBC America.

The film is all too short but packed with anecdotes, and you are left with a sense you know these complex, often difficult actresses.

Dame Joan is now legally blind and unable to work, but the women go back sixty years in friendship. The other three are still quite active on screen.

They are literally four Dames:  English titles for accomplishments of women, an equivalent of knighthood. Dame Joan Plowright, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, and Dame Eileen Atkins, are familiar to anyone who likes good acting. Now you can enjoy their bawdy and chippy chitchat.

The group is gathered at the home of Joan Plowright, which she shared with her husband Laurence Olivier. This is not some static sit-down interview: the women wander around the house, couple off on occasion, and the entire matter is interspersed with rare clips of their early performances.

They do tend to pile on Laurence Olivier, the god their generation of actors with funny stories. At one point when they are winding down, Dame Maggie notes to the director, “Did they tell you how old we are?”

What a thing of beauty and joy to behold for those who have a sense of history and grandeur. For these old ladies represent an age gone by. They were classically trained and paid their dues.

Toward the end we see clips of them receiving so many accolades and awards, including the honor of being made a Dame by Prince Charles or Queen Elizabeth.

Unusual and delightful.

Going for It on Fourth Down: Brady Won’t Take A Knee

DATELINE:  Whatever Happened to Baby Goodell?

Featured image

Mark your calendars, news junkies. The next clash of the Titans is scheduled for August 31 at 10am in Manhattan

You may wonder who will take Manhattan, or whether the wampum is worth the worry. The judge, apparently not totally out of patience, has ordered the two principal drama queens to bring their act to his court for another performance.

Not since Becket and Henry II went at it have we felt such tension. It’s like Laurence Olivier and Anthony Quinn deciding to switch roles night after night when they performed the historical drama back in the 1950s when they did Becket on Broadway. It made Burton and O’Toole’s movie seem like pabulum

Brady and Goodell are playing switchies. One day Goodell is the bad guy, and the next day Brady takes on the role

For sheer theatrical fireworks, you have to go back to All About Eve and Bette Davis playing Margo Channing. As bad as Margo might seem, there was little Eve, little Miss Evil, who was waiting in the wings for her big moment, hoping the star would break a leg, or at least tear an MCL

Alas, it is another Bette Davis film that most scares us as a parallel to the Goodell/Brady story. Yes, we mean Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Baby Jane Goodell is an aging faux athlete insanely jealous of his glamorous counterpart, Blanche Brady. So, they begin to torment each other with sadistic dirty tricks.