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Calais by Kathleen Winsor

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Sun August 8th, 2010, 12:23 am

OK, back at it. Anthony and Arlette are back from their honeymoon. They are *stars* and Anthony's spending money like crazy (I do recall his family was wealthy?). They star together, but also do roles separately. I'm seeing some controlling coming in on Anthony's part. Arlette is still insecure, and she's still writing names of people she *hates* on paper, putting it in a sealed envelope and storing it away. When moving she found a bunch of the old ones and seemed to have forgotten what she'd done.

What significance, if any, in these envelopes?
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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Miss Moppet
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Location: North London
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Postby Miss Moppet » Sun August 8th, 2010, 6:00 pm

"Misfit" wrote:OK, back at it. Anthony and Arlette are back from their honeymoon. They are *stars* and Anthony's spending money like crazy (I do recall his family was wealthy?). They star together, but also do roles separately. I'm seeing some controlling coming in on Anthony's part.


Me too. He sits down and lays out the plans for the future, etc. Arlette doesn't seem to have much say in it! Also I don't think he would have married her if she hadn't achieved stardom on her own. He wants a consort as much as a wife.

Misfit wrote:Arlette is still insecure, and she's still writing names of people she *hates* on paper, putting it in a sealed envelope and storing it away. When moving she found a bunch of the old ones and seemed to have forgotten what she'd done.

What significance, if any, in these envelopes?


When Arlette burns the papers with Barbara's and Pat's names on them she thinks of it as Chinese black magic - maybe she got the idea from the play? But this definitely survives in England as a superstition too. This is from Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford:

It was a favourite superstition of Uncle Matthew's that if you wrote somebody's name on a piece of paper and put it in a drawer, that person would die within the year. The drawers at Alconleigh were full of little slips bearing the names of those whom my uncle wanted out of the way, private hates of his and various public figures such as Bernard Shaw, de Valera, Gandhi, Lloyd George, and the Kaiser, while every single drawer in the whole house contained the name Labby, Linda's old dog. The spell hardly ever seemed to work, even Labby having lived far beyond the age usual in Labradors, but he went hopefully on, and if one of the characters did happen to be carried off in the course of nature he would look pleased but guilty for a day or two.


I'm not sure Arlette intends these people to die within the year, I think she's just generally ill-wishing them. I'm not sure her spells are working either! Pat and Barbara broke up but surely they would have anyway.

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Miss Moppet
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On page 363

Postby Miss Moppet » Sun August 8th, 2010, 9:55 pm

So the playwright is in love with Arlette...surprise surprise. She's catnip to married men, isn't she?

I didn't like that Jerry wanted to know why Arlette couldn't approach a character more like Anthony. Why should she? He should be glad to work with such a talented actress instead of questioning her creative process.

And now Arlette and Anthony are making a Nelson/Hamilton film. Is it a remake of That Hamilton Woman with Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier?

I think Anthony is right that he and Arlette shouldn't always star together. IRL Vivien Leigh really wanted to be cast as the second Mrs de Winter in Hitchcock and Selnick's Rebecca, so she and Olivier wouldn't be separated. She had no luck as she was thought to be wrong for the part - too beautiful for one thing. I find it hard to imagine anyone other than Joan Fontaine in that film but I'd love to see Leigh's test. It's 180 degrees from Scarlett O'Hara but maybe she could have pulled it off.
Last edited by Miss Moppet on Tue November 25th, 2014, 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Sun August 8th, 2010, 10:06 pm

I'm a bit farther. I really liked what they did with the film and what was involved in the whole thing - showing as they watched the preview and reflected back on all the parts that went into to making it whole. Especially the hated director and how he used shots from other scenes and worked them into new ones.

The marital shores have gotten a bit rocky, but they're working together on Macbeth.
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be

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Miss Moppet
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Postby Miss Moppet » Sun August 8th, 2010, 11:35 pm

The music played a martial blast, then a tender melody wove into it, usurping it as a the credits passed across the screen against the background of Mediterranean islands, moist green English countryside, warships in battle formation, Lord Nelson standing peering through a telescope, his tight breeches immaculately white...


And a title popped into my mind - Inside Nelson's Too Tight Breeches.

Maybe that's what they should have called the film.

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Miss Moppet
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On page 514

Postby Miss Moppet » Mon August 9th, 2010, 10:20 pm

To be honest the book is starting to drag a bit at this point. It rambles, goes back and forth, and doesn't always deliver what it promises. There was a big build-up to Arlette's scene in the weir, and then we just got told what happened (not much) briefly in flashback. There's not much tension at this point - we know Arlette is going to turn in a brilliant performance despite the odds, that she will take a new lover every few pages, that every man she meets will fall madly in love with her, etc. I could put the book down at this point but I'm not going to because I do actually want to finish it. But I don't think there are going to be too many twists from hereon out. There is this new man in Arlette's life but that in itself is nothing new.

Still don't like Anthony. Arlette was naive to think that he was going to be faithful with his past, but even so that doesn't excuse what he did.

Why did Arlette want the role of Elizabeth I to go to Deborah Crane? I thought maybe she needed someone she couldn't stand as Elizabeth to help her with her own part, but she doesn't seem to want to acknowledge Deborah in the role at all. Is she trying to assert herself and take back her power? Is she anxious that no-one suspect her jealousy of Deborah? I'm just not sure.

I'm a bit doubtful about some of the details of the productions. Would the director really wait for a storm to come up rather than just faking one? Would a set of close-ups be shot all together - wouldn't they have to be done as part of individual scenes so costume, lighting, make-up etc would all match? Now we're back on the stage for a play about Mary Queen of Scots. First of al there's a description of a reading, only the child playing the young Mary, who has nothing to say, walks across the stage with her attendants. Well, but it's supposed to be a reading, which is actors sitting round a table - there's no mention of blocking which is a separate process. Mary can't walk anywhere until the director decides how she's going to do it and that probably wouldn't happen at a first readthrough.

Then there's this:

The horse was a problem anyway. It might fall as it galloped across the stage.


How in the world could a horse gallop across the stage? Wouldn't it need a bit of a run-up to get up speed? Wouldn't it crash into stuff on the other side? I know horses have been used on stage but I've never heard of one galloping and I think the biggest risk would be quite a different one. On the opening night of the 1972 musical version of Gone With the Wind a horse apparently stopped the show when it opened its bowels on stage (scroll down to the comment by Ben Edwards).

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Mon August 9th, 2010, 11:11 pm

Still don't like Anthony. Arlette was naive to think that he was going to be faithful with his past, but even so that doesn't excuse what he did.


No, nor did it excuse her to begin carrying on with anything in pants.

You got ahead of me, I was tiring of it also and put it down and got sucked into that silly Maid Marian book. I'm almost done and will be back at it. I'll be slower at it the rest of the week as I'm back to work tomorrow. I do want to finish as well but I suspect I'll be taking more breaks with other books.

How in the world could a horse gallop across the stage? Wouldn't it need a bit of a run-up to get up speed?


Good point.

Interesting points as well about blocking and readings. I never studied drama in school so much of it would go over my head.
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be

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Miss Moppet
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Postby Miss Moppet » Tue August 10th, 2010, 12:02 am

"Misfit" wrote:Interesting points as well about blocking and readings. I never studied drama in school so much of it would go over my head.


I only studied drama briefly but I have read a lot of biographies/autobiographies of actors, playwrights etc and the book doesn't quite ring true. A professional's opinion would be really useful! That snooty review in PW didn't think it was accurate but who knows if they knew what they were talking about either?

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Tue August 10th, 2010, 12:33 am

"Miss Moppet" wrote:I only studied drama briefly but I have read a lot of biographies/autobiographies of actors, playwrights etc and the book doesn't quite ring true. A professional's opinion would be really useful! That snooty review in PW didn't think it was accurate but who knows if they knew what they were talking about either?


Wish there was someone who could help us with that. I've just picked it back up and they're just now starting the new play on Mary Stuart.
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be

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Miss Moppet
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Postby Miss Moppet » Tue August 10th, 2010, 12:15 pm

Okay, so now they're sexing up Wuthering Heights, which I personally think is the most asexual love story of all time. Catherine does fall pregnant, but you don't get the impression Emily Bronte had any idea whatsoever how that might have happened.

At this point it doesn't feel like the book has anywhere much to go. I enjoyed the showdown between Arlette and Deborah - reminded me of a similar scene in the film Being Julia where Annette Bening plays a stage actress who completely crushes an ingenue in exactly the same way and for similar reasons. Although I did find myself feeling sorry for Deborah - there's no evidence she actually intended stealing Anthony from Arlette, and in fact she's doing what Arlette has been doing since college, helping herself to someone else's man.


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