Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wednesday, with Ginger Ale and Beetlejuice Cameo

Yesterday morning I decided to watch Ladies of the Big House (1931).

Again, I didn't recognize any of the major players, but discovering new ones to research and look for in the future is part of the fun.

The story line was pretty straightforward, and enjoyable to watch. A newlywed couple is framed for murder by the woman's no-good, gangster ex-boyfriend. She is sentenced to life in prison, but her husband is sentenced to death.  The action starts out pretty early, and most of the film is spent trying to figure out what the fate of this innocent couple is going to be. Since the husband is in solitary confinement, most of their time in prison is shown by depicting Kathleen's experience in women's prison, and her interactions with the other inmates.

The first actress I recognized was in a bit part, but the actress is hardly a bit actress. Jane Darwell began acting in pictures before they had sound, and her career led her to appear alongside the singing and dancing Shirley Temple, in the technicolor spectacle Gone With with the Wind, winning an Oscar for her role in The Grapes of Wrath all the way until Walt Disney's record-setting hit Mary Poppins. 

She's not a glamorous young starlet, but her movie career didn't begin until she was 33 years old, and it was still quite prestigious, so let's give her her dues.

I didn't recognize the actress in the lead, Sylvia Sidney, by name or by face, and she pretty much looked like most of the other young ingenues from the pre-code era.

However, I did a little research on her, I was pleasantly surprised to find that she plays a wonderful character in one of my favorite movies. Apparently, Sidney's husky voice became her trademark, and her husky voice is attributed to her lifelong smoking habit. With this little bit of trivia, it seems appropriate that she came to play Juno, the caseworker in Beetlejuice.

So there was the update on my first February Break Challenge.

Unfortunately, the Grilled Cheese Challenge is already defunct. I got hit with a nasty virus, which had me nursing ginger ale for a couple of days, and destroyed my appetite.

But my craft challenge is still alive; today I went over to a friend's house so she could help me figure out the sewing machine we purchased for the library. I brought 3 old shirts along, and made them into reusable shopping bags. I've made these before, but I always hand-stitched them. Now that I know how to work a machine, I could make more in much less time.

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