TCM, beloved by <a href=” http://jackpendarvis.blogspot.com/2007_06_01_archive.html”_blank”> many</a>, had a particularly good Saturday: Singin’ in the Rain/Funny Lady (so bad it’s good)/The Barefoot Contessa/All About Eve/Crimes and Misdemeanors/Radio Days. I’m surprised I ever left the house. (I did go to the gym, but I managed to time my interval training to “Let’s Hear it For Me,” which was pretty nifty.) At the end of Singin’ in the Rain, as I watched Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Millard Mitchell* flap their arms in imitation of Jean Hagen’s Lina Lamont, I emailed a friend that it made me think of a favorite line from MARJORIE MORNINGSTAR: “They say it’s a vale of tears, Marjorie, but there are such things as fried shrimps.”** I prefer, “They say it’s a vale of tears, but there is Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont.” But it’s actually that moment, when the three men flap their arms like spastic wings, that delights me. Then Kathy runs up the aisle and Don screams stop that woman and — oh, who am I kidding? I burst into tears.
In ANOTHER THING TO FALL, Tess Monaghan is asked point-blank what cinematic moments make her cry. We’ll get to that later this week. What’s the movie moment – the line, the image, the performance – that makes you doubt this world is a vale of tears? I’m not talking about the obvious showstoppers, but the throw-away, idiosyncratic moments that are precious to you. I’ll contribute another one: “You’re too short for that gesture.” (Addison Dewitt to Eve Harrington in ALL ABOUT EVE.)
*Used to denote things I had to look up, to maintain the transparency of the Memory Project.
** I had it close to right. The actual quote is: “Ah, Lord, they say it’s a vale of tears, Marjorie, but there are such things as fried shrimps.” I can’t decide if I’m proud of this or not.