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After reading the novel, I had to watch the film directed by Orson Welles. The Magnificent Ambersons is considered a classic film though not up to the level of Welles’ Citizen Kane. The film is quite faithful to the book, but I wished it included George with his rival redhead Fred Kinney, the part when Eugene falls over laughing when he sees how similar George and Fred’s conflict is to his own foolishness and how Lucy was not exclusive to George, how she would go dancing and socialize with other young men and how that made George feel so insecure.
The film was good, but not as full as the book, which is so often the case.
Welles had the actors in dark settings. I wished the mansions had more light. Buy some candles! Or get electricity!
The film was enjoyable and a classic. Reading the essay on Criterion, I learned how much Welles’ vision was altered:
But in Welles’ absence, RKO Studios recut the original version of the film mercilessly—Welles said it looked like it had been “edited with a lawn mower”—reducing its running time from 131 to the present 88 minutes. Nevertheless, what survives is still one of the most strikingly beautiful and technically innovative films ever to come out of Hollywood. It also tells a good story—about the decline of a once powerful and wealthy turn-of-the-century Midwestern family—with a conviction and maturity that are rare for the old Hollywood system.
I wish I could see the 133 minutes, but I’m glad I saw this.
Just discovered this singer from watching MeejMuse on YouTube. A jazzy tune for Christmas.
Directed by Mikio Naruse, Every Night Dreams is a haunting, poignant silent film about a young mother named Omitzu, who was deserted by her shiftless husband and pays the bills by working in a hostess bar. Omitzu is able to turn on the charm as she flirts and smokes with sailors passing by inviting them to the bar where she works. The owner realizes that it’s Omitzu’s charisma that brings in extra customers.
Omitzu’s neighbors tell her that a man has been coming around looking for her. She’s puzzled. The next day they say it’s her husband and Omitzu yells, “He’s our enemy!” The neighbors are shocked and try to convince her not to be so bitter. Give him a chance; be a family again. And so she does.
The husband returns, but can’t find work. He tries in his slow poke way, but to no avail. He urges Omitzu to quit her job and she’d love to be a housewife, but since the husband is just one more mouth to feed, quitting is out of the question.
Back at the bar, a sea captain wants Omitzu and while she’s able to handle most maneuvers, this man’s clout and impulses take the situation to a boil (though not in a modern Matt Lauer sort of style, the film’s PG not R).
Pressures build from their lack of money. Their boy, whose performance is so sweet and natural, needs medical attention, highlighting how the father’s unemployment has just made matters worse for all of them.
The film is beautiful and Naruse made me sympathize with all the characters. Omitzsu is a complex woman who doesn’t fall into one of society’s category’s of Madonna or tart. She’s pragmatic and faced with poor choices.
Unless you’ve been to a country where public baths are part of everyday life, you can only imagine how lovely it is to scrub and scrub all the dirt and probably one layer of skin off and then to soak in a big hot bath with a bunch of strangers. It’s an amazingly restorative practice and lots of fun. Afterwards you feel like you’ve washed away the problems of the world.
If you’re ever in Osaka, I highly recommend you visit Spa World, an indoors hot bath entertainment center. It isn’t an onsen, which is a hot spring and has a more natural setting, such as nearby mountains or a forest, but is indoors often in urban areas. Not only do Spa World’s baths have various international themes, like France, Spain, China, India or Iran, but there are restaurants, a big room full of reclining chairs and a movie screen showing Japanese TV, and an arcade.
Note: You’re only naked in the gender segregated baths. In the entertainment center, you wear the cabana outfit they provide, i.e. matching blue shorts and a top for men and pink for women. There isn’t a more Japanese activity to be had.