Friday, August 21, 2009
I had made a personal challenge to do a blog post a day. I missed yesterday & I let myself off the hook. I can often be a disappointment to myself, but I had started my day at 4am & I returned home 12.5 hours later. It was not the birthday of anyone I cared to note & I just was not up for telling a story from my past or passing on my musings about music, movies, books or hot men. I had some interesting things put out to me about Post Apocalyptic Bohemian in the last day or two. It had been commented on that I might get a bit too raunchy or unnecessarily bawdy in my posts, but I am basically a bad boy & Goddamn it, you motherfucking cocksucking shitheads…it is my blog! Hmmm... do I need to censor myself? Another comment was made that I just seem to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE everything. This is not true. I am very complicated & very opinionated & I have done a few posts on things I dislike & piss me off, but when I started this blog it was meant to be a way to mark & celebrate the things, people, events & culture that I love.
I had a Manhattan, (alright, I had 2) at my favorite neighborhood watering hole & I started to think: What were the all the many things, especially cultural things, that shaped who I am in my deep middle-age. I have shared many of these with readers, including this week’s post about music in my childhood. Thanks to all who commented. Bloggers love to get comments.
At 11 years old, my parents were not interested in censoring what I saw (within reason) & they never shied away from taking me to movies or plays that were intended for adults. My first play was South Pacific with Janet Blair, in Chicago, at 5 years old. For some reason I was fascinated by all the sailors with their shirts off. A film that had a very big influence on me was a movie my parents took me to see at a drive-in theatre in summer 1965. At 11 years old, I saw Inside Daisy Clover & it had a profound impact on me. This film started a lifetime love of & fascination with the stage, TV & film actress Ruth Gordon. In no small way has she been an influence on me. One of her 3 volumes of memoirs contains a quote that I have always held close to me. By the way, the parents would take me to see Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Wolfe the next summer. I watched Inside Daisy Clover from the very back of our station wagon & I was enthralled. I have seen it at least once a decade since, & that is a lot of decades. Now, I am not sure that I find Inside Daisy Clover to be a quality film, but it certainly blew my little gay 11 year old mind.
Inside Daisy Clover takes place in the 1930s & was based on a novel by Gavin Lambert & brought to the screen by the producing-directing team of Alan J. Pakula & Robert Mulligan. In addition to Wood, the film stars Robert Redford (in an important early role) as a charismatic, homosexual movie star, Christopher Plummer as the tyrannical head of “ Swan Studios,” Roddy McDowall as Swan’s attaché, & Ruth Gordon as Daisy’s eccentric mother. The film received mixed reviews but has become a cult classic for its terrific score by Andre Previn, vivid performances & cynical depiction of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Daisy Clover (Natalie Wood) goes from teenage girl (she was actually 27 playing 14) to movie star practically overnight when her demented mother (Ruth Gordon in an Oscar nominated performance) enters her voice in a talent search contest. She lives in a broken-down carnival on the Santa Monica Pier, & in no time at all she is attending glamorous Hollywood parties. But Daisy soon learns that misery & pain go along with fame & fortune. Before Daisy completes her first film, the studio execs have her mother committed to an asylum without permission. Daisy tries to find happiness in a series of unfulfilled romances. She has a single day marriage to Wade Lewis (Robert Redford) leaving her alone & divorced. After her mother dies, Daisy has a nervous breakdown & refuses to work, but the cold hearted studio head threatens her with starvation if she does not report back to the soundstage. This is a story of a Hollywood dream that turns into a nightmare. It made me frightened, but thrilled at wanting to be a star.