It is my birthday today. I am now 54, one year short of regarding myself as "old." After all, 55 is when you can ask for senior discounts and get them in many places...
I greeted the day by muttering, "Oh, what is it now?" when the alarm clock went off. I was dreaming that I was flying (actually, floating and paddling through the air forward with my arms) over a river and was slowing losing altitude before reaching the shore. A swimmer wanted to grab me but I said, "No touch!" Thus, when I heard the alarm clock go off I interpreted it as another problem and uttered, "Oh, what is it now?" Sheesh.
I watched two lesser films noir yesterday:
"Hell's Island" (1955): Boring. And in Technicolor, which is always a strike against any film noir. ("Chinatown" overcame it.) It would have been far better were the island more hellish. I fell asleep while watching it, in fact. There - that one was easily dispensed with.
"I, the Jury" (1953): A hyperbolic Mickey Spillane Mike Hammer thriller. Overall the film wasn't much, but what made it entertaining was the exaggerated violence and sex (within a 1953 standard, of course). Hammer barges into rooms, shoves and slaps people around, talks way too loud, declares his thirst for revenge, makes suspicious facial expressions at signs of homosexuality and rebuffs women. All of this in 3-D and with Christmas card images used as scene transitions. (The action takes place during the holidays.) Sadly, Hammer was portrayed by an unconvincing actor named "Biff." That's not going to work. Parklane - the production company - tried again with a Mickey Spillane novel adaptation in 1955 and got it right by casting the sneering, unlikable Ralph Meeker in "Kiss Me, Deadly" - a favorite noir of most critics, including the Birthday Boy here. Director Robert Aldrich put it over the top in a way the novel didn't by including a nuclear explosion at the end. Good stuff.
I was a fan of the 1980's Stacey Keach Mike Hammer television show. It wasn't authentic noir, but it was one of the more watchable productions along with Magnum, P.I. It had the good sense to use "Harlem Nocturne" as opening title music.
Lately, for some reason, I've felt nostalgic about the 1972 Ford LTD we used to have. It wasn't quite the car I learned how to drive in - that would have been a '72 Chevy Caprice that the school system used for driver's training - but it was the first car I had access to when I was sixteen. It therefore represented freedom and coming of age to me. Here's a shot of my mother driving ours just after we first bought it. I loved this car, it was so powerful and quiet. And green (my favorite color)!
Recently I bought the 1972 Ford full-sized car brochure on e-Bay. Some scans:
Wide shot - I have always liked the lines on this car. Every now and then during the Seventies they got something right.
Front end - The nose was another favorite feature of this car. Back then it looked bold and distinctive. I guess it still does.
Interior - As I said, it was quiet and roomy. Ours was in this dark green patterned cloth, as shown here in burgundy. We have had more luxurious cars, but this one was my sentimental favorite.
Dashboard - Looking at this, it looks like the face of an old friend!
I see I can repurchase this car in brown for $5K. 67,000 miles. Is the trip to Oregon worth it, do you suppose?
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