Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Seamy Side of 1960

Last day of work, what a crunch. Almost forgot to blog. Have been watching Butterfield 8, the 1960 film about a high-class call girl that won Elizabeth Taylor the first of her two best actress Oscars. Strong material for the year of my birth, though it might seemed toned-down and moralistic by today's standards. Based on a best-selling novel by John O'Hara, who was inspired by a news item about a body washed up on a beach. I'm still 20 minutes from the ending, but I guess that's where it's headed. O'Hara is more respected for his short stories than for his novels, which are viewed as melodramatic and provocative (and hence very Hollywood-friendly). O'Hara's favorite themes were passion, ambition, class codes and class divisions. Taylor's 'romantic' interest, the cold, emotionless Laurence Harvey, is most unsympathetic - these qualities were better suited to his role as the brainwashed son in the 1963 original of 'Manchurian Candidate.'

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