Saturday, March 8, 2014

Re-Engaged (and a couple of Shirley Temple Movies)

I just got back from the State Theater. My favorite theater. I went with Vanessa, my favorite person to see Little Miss Broadway, the second film of a two film Shirley Temple marathon. I caught the first film, Poor Little Rich Girl, a few hours prior. V missed Girl because she was at work.
PLRG starred an 8 year old Shirley Temple. LMB was made two years later. Both films were directed by Irving Cummings; despite this, they are miles apart in quality.
 

 
 
Poor Little Rich Girl has a simple plot. Little girl (Barbara Barry) is lost, falls in with some show business people and becomes an overnight star. It is somewhat like Oliver Twist except its unsavory elements through the thing off balance. Barbara's, a rich girl with an overworked father that runs a soap company, is sent to school but on the way there her nanny who leaves Barbara alone for a minute to retrieve her purse is hit by a car. Barbara, not knowing what happened to the nanny, only knows she is without guidance and uses that as an excuse to pretend to be a character she read about in adventure books. Very little is said about the nanny after the car hits her. Some strange man throws her purse in the garbage then seems to have designs on Barbara. This is never quite explained, but the guy seems creepy and wants to give her candy a few times. The most successful aspect of the film is Temple herself. She is such a sunny persona that even if we don't understand why she pretends to be a character from a book when encountering the world and its problems, we do understand why all kinds of people are receptive toward her (in a healthy way) and want to help her. Actor Claude Gillingwater shows up as Mr Barry's rival and has great scenes with Miss Temple. There are no memorable songs in this one, and the songs that are played feel a  bit forced into the plot.

Claude Gillingwater also shows up as a judge in Little Miss Broadway. Jimmy Durante shows up too, and he is great as always. The songs in Broadway feel weaved into the plot a little more, perhaps because the plot involves a group of variety acts in a motel.  There are clearly defined good and bad people; all the actors are convincing; Be Optimistic is a catchy toon. And there is so much sweetness in the film, for instance the way the hotel helps acts get booked that are way behind in their rent and the way the acts pawn stuff to keep the hotel in business.  Loved it. And I am glad I was able to watch it with my gal.

We got re-engaged last Friday (2/28). This was followed  by  a few days in a hotel. The memories of that weekend will carry me through any dark days that are coming. And of course dark days will be rare with such a wonderful person in my life.

 


It was a low-key proposal. We ate at Tokyo Express in Modesto then walked down the street to the Gallo Center, and I proposed there before the Bill Medley concert.

Many of you know, I lost my best friend recently. A month before he passed, I brought this re-proposal up with him and we planned it, deciding that Medley was the right show for the evening.
He is a singer of romantic songs (Time of My Life, Unchained Melody). And Medley did not disappoint, bringing romance and a good deal of humor to his 2 hour set.

Here is what I said to V in the proposal. I think she liked it quite a bit:

As you know, this was Bill's favorite resturant. I talked this whole idea over with him about a month ago. He thought it was great. He thought very highly of you.
I started planning a sort of life change a few weeks ago, the clothes abandoning reviewing for the movie site. I made these changes so I could focus on the relationships I want to cultivate (more than even having lost a few recently) and the kind of legacy I hope to leave.

Bob Dylan said that destiny is the feeling that you know something about yourself and what's going to happen to you that no one else does.

I have been thinking a lot about destiny lately. I knew when I was very ill, if I got better, I would make films. Despite any and all set backs, I know it more today.

I knew that first month of meeting you, the day you could not make my reading and all I felt was your absence, that I loved you very much. I know it more today.

Stick with me. Our world's gonna be great.

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