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December 25, 2010


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Merry Christmas, Mr. Kenny.


Rosemary Clooney had a face made for radio.


Glenn, I hope you had a good holiday, but most importantly, I hope neither you nor your wife were caught in the storm.

Glenn Kenny

Happy holiday to you too, Lipranzer, and thanks. Fortunately Claire and I were safely back in our Brooklyn abode for the storm. Aside from my rather foolhardily running out and around the corner to pick up a pizza, there was little getting caught to be had. And the rest of my family all made it back to their respective homes before the big snow hit. So we're right now snug and cozy and will probably make it a home matinee day.


Well, on an unrelated note, DOCTOR BULL, Ford's second or so masterpiece by my book, gets a rare screening tonight at ten, as part of TCM's Will Rogers night. A rare venture for Ford into a New England setting - a hermetically isolated small town beautifully photographed as a series of quietly tragic snow scenes, dimly lit interiors, and one or two homy refuges from the chilliness, literal and figurative, of the town - it's a remarkable mixture of comedy, unsentimental melodrama, and staggeringly visceral social criticism; the prejudice and snobbery that usually gets played for satiric laughs in early-to-middle Ford is so vicious here that it almost seems to literally pierce the screen in one early scene, and in response Rogers discovers heretofore untapped dimensions of anger and bitterness; at one point he gets so angry with Andy Devine's idiot (who tellingly is here a pernicious fool rather than, as he usually was, an amiable one) that for a moment we think he might poison him. And yet through all this there's still a sense of hope - perhaps most touchingly expressed in the film's first scene, where Ford has a telephone girl improbably read her cohort some "kinda swell" lines from Bunyan's PILGRIM'S PROGRESS. Just an amazing little (76 minute) movie, and one which has gotten very short shrift compared to the two other Ford-Rogers collaborations.

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