June 2010


Laurence Olivier and Jean Simmons in the "Get thee to a nunnery" scene in Hamlet (1948)

The 21st Academy Awards, for the film year 1948.  The nominations were announced on February 10, 1949 and the awards were held on March 24, 1949.

Best Picture:  Hamlet

  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  • The Red Shoes
  • Johnny Belinda
  • The Snake Pit

Most Surprising Omission:  The Search

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Red River

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #39

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the wonderful Mercer Mayer Little Critter books

What will you read to your children?  That question has been asked for centuries now.  Conveniently, there are classics now, well established books that are perfect for children (a truly top 10 essential books will be a future post).  So now the question becomes, how will you read to your children?  Will you pull out a Kindle?  Or an IPad, because it’s bigger?  Or will you continue to pull out the wonderful books that are still lying around.

Of all the books that I read to Thomas, the one I am most established at is I Was So Mad.  It’s one of the Little Critter books by Mercer Mayer.  I have a particular way of reading it to him and I have read it a lot of other kids along the way now.  I think I might have begun reading it when I still worked in child care back in the mid-90’s.  Either way, it is one of our favorites.  Thomas loves to hear it.  I love to read it. (more…)

John Garfield getting upset that he wasn't nominated alongside Gregory Peck and Celeste Holm for Gentleman's Agreement (1947)

The 20th Academy Awards, for the film year 1947.  The nominations were announced on February 15, 1948 and the awards were held on March 20, 1948

Best Picture:  Gentleman’s Agreement

  • Great Expectations
  • Crossfire
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • The Bishop’s Wife

Most Surprising Omission:  A Double Life

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  La belle et la bete

Best Eligible English Language Film Not Nominated:  A Matter of Life and Death

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #34 (more…)

John Updike's Rabbit Tetralogy: Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit is Rich; Rabbit at Rest

The Rabbit Tetralogy (Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit is Rich; Rabbit at Rest)

  • Author:  John Updike (1932 – 2009
  • Rank:  #75
  • Publisher:  Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
  • Published:  1960, 1971, 1981, 1990
  • Pages:  280, 353, 423, 466
  • First Line:  “Boys are playing basketball around a telephone pole with a backboard bolted to it.”
  • Last Lines:  “Rabbit thinks he should maybe say more, the kid looks wildly expectant, but enough.  Maybe.  Enough.”
  • ML Edition:  #357  (Rabbit, Run combined with The Poorhouse Fair – two dust jackets – 1965, 1969)
  • Acclaim:  2 Pulitzer Prizes, 2 National Books Critics Circle Awards, National Book Award, All-TIME Top 100 List, New York Times Best Work of Literature in the Past 25 Years (Runner-Up)
    • Note:  Updike remains one of three authors to win the Pulitzer for Fiction twice (the others being Booth Tarkington and William Faulkner) and his two wins were for the last two Rabbit books; Rabbit is Rich is the only book to ever win the Pulitzer, National Book Award (when it was still the American Book Award) and National Book Critics Circle Award; the last two Rabbit books are 2 of only 7 books to win both the Pulitzer and the National Book Critics Circle Awards; Rabbit is Rich is one of only 4 books to win both the Pulitzer and the National Book Award
  • Film:  Rabbit, Run – 1970 – nearly impossible to find
  • Read:  Fall, 1996 (more…)

There’s the video of us singing Happy Birthday.  There’s a couple of pictures after the jump.

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The amazing reunion scene in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) between Myrna Loy and Frederic March

The 19th Academy Awards, for the film year 1946.  The nominations were announced on February 9, 1947 and the awards were held on March 13, 1947.

Best Picture:  The Best Years of Our Lives

  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Henry V
  • The Yearling
  • The Razor’s Edge

Most Surprising Omission:  Brief Encounter

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Children of Paradise

Best Eligible English-Language Film Not Nominated:  The Big Sleep

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #41

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Milan Kundera's literary triumph: The Unbearable Lightness of Being

  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí)
  • Author:  Milan Kundera  (b. 1929)
  • Rank:  #76
  • Publisher:  Gallimard  (France)
  • Publisher  (U.S.):  Harper & Row
  • Published:  1984
  • Pages:  314  (Perennial Library)
  • First Lines:  “The idea of eternal return is a mysterious one, and Nietzsche has often perplexed other philosophers with it: to think that everything recurs as we once experienced it, and that the recurrence itself recurs ad infinitum!  What does this mad myth signify?”
  • Last Line:  “The strains of the piano and violin rose up weakly from below.”
  • ML Edition:  none
  • Film:  1988  (**** –  #5 film of the year  –  dir. Philip Kaufman)
  • Read:  Summer, 1996 (more…)

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