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October 04, 2008


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Too easy, when you post the picture of him right there - Montgomery Clift. It was his next-to-last movie (1962).

Here's some more trivia - John Huston cast his father Walter in "The Maltese Falcon" as Jacoby, the ship's captain who staggers full of gunshot wounds into Sam Spade's office with the dingus and collapses dead on the sofa. Just to be perverse, JH made Walter do take after take after take, until he died satisfactorily. I wonder what Freud would have made of THAT?

Also in "The Maltese Falcon," the Fat Man (Sydney Greenstreet) explains in an aside that Captain Jacoby knocked over Wilmer (Elisha Cook, Jr.) in escaping from the burning ship, and this despite the bullet wounds. Poor Wilmer! Two other great roles that Elisha Cook, Jr., played are in "The Big Sleep" and "The Killing." And didn't Walter Huston play James Cagney's papa in "Yankee Doodle Dandy"?

I also remember seeing Elisha Cook, Jr. in an episode of the original "Star Trek" - he played a lawyer defending Captain Kirk against murder charges.

Every time I see "The Maltese Falcon," I love it more. No one played suave menace like Sydney Greenstreet. My favorite line is Sam Spade to Wilmer: "The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter." In fact, the only thing I don't like in "Falcon" is Mary Astor's hairdo - possibly the least flattering coif in movie history.

Do you know the book? Spade tells Brigid O'Shaughnessy the story of a character named Flitcraft. It's terrific.

I have read the book, but it was years ago and I can't remember Flitcraft. I will definitely pick it up again, though - you've got my curiosity piqued.

i believe the script for "Freud," or at least a draft of it, was written by Jean Paul Sartre, who did not exactly become a lifelong friend of Huston.
-- mitch s.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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This Way Out

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Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.



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