Summer at the Movies

I've obviously been delinquent posting to the FFLA this past month. I'm enjoying being able to come home from work at the end of the day and not turn on my computer if I don't want to. Instead of being on the computer 24/7, Hanna and I have done a lot of walking, cooking, sleeping, ice-cream eating, and movie-watching. In particular, this seems to be the summer for vintage movies. Hanna got a series of vintage science fiction films from the 1950s for her birthday, and this past week we discovered such little-known classics as Warning From Space, a 1956 Japanese film about aliens shaped like starfish who land in Tokyo and The Wasp Woman (1959), about a cosmetics magnate whose quest for eternal youth goes horribly wrong.

One of the advantages of being in a big city is cinemas that play classic movies, foreign films, and documentaries. In the last month, I've been able to see Out of Africa at the Coolidge Corner Theater just up the street from our apartment, and on the 4th of July weekend the "final cut" of Bladerunner at the Brattle Theater in Cambridge. Last night, I returned to the Brattle with my friend Natalie to see All About Eve, the 1950 Bette Davis film in which Davis plays a stage actress, Margo Channing, who is stalked by a young fan (Eve, played by Anne Baxter) who ingratiates herself into Channing's life and eventually starts to take it over. It's a truly creepy movie.

I had also forgotten how openly it wrestles with the question of Women Who Have Careers and whether or not such careers are compatible with romance. Davis's character has a loving and sexually active relationship with her director, a man several years her junior, whom she ends up marrying in the course of the film. He loves her in no small part because she's strong-willed, talented, and independent. At one point he rejects Eve's advances without a second thought because "I'm in love with Margo." And yet the film still finds it necessarily to give Margo a midlife crisis in which she wonders how she can possibly be "feminine" if she isn't a housewife.

Oh, and Marilyn Monroe makes a very early appearance as someone's "dumb blond" dinner date with a vaguely foreign accent and several of the funniest lines in the film!

This weekend, the weather's supposed to be hot and sticky; we're going to escape the apartment on Saturday night by attending an open-air production of As You Like It which is being performed free on the Boston Common. As You Like It, being one of Shakespeare's romantic comedies, has all the usual chaos of inconvenient love, exile, disguise, cavorting about in the wood, and reconciliation and marriage at the end. In short, good summer fare.

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