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Over the weekend, Mrs. Robbo and Self availed ourselves of the discovery of a small, new theatre nearby to go and see the original stage version of Philip Barry’s 1928 play, Holiday.

Regular port swillers will know that the 1938 film of the same name starring Kate Hepburn and Cary Grant (among a host of other first-class actors) is Robbo’s very favorite picture these two did together (yes, even including The Philadelphia Story – which was also based on a play by Barry), and is easily among the films that would make the cut were Robbo ever to play Desert Island DVD’s.

For those of you who know the film, you may be interested to learn of a change in the characters of Nick and Susan Potter.  In the movie, played by the incomparable Edward Everett Horton and Jean Dixon, you will recall that they are an academic couple, great friends of Johnny Case, poorish but content, and prone to outbursts of eccentricity.  Here, they are Idle Rich friends of the Setons (although Nick tells a somewhat confused tale of his own self-made success) and don’t seem to do much more than wander about the stage drinking heavily and planning their next getaway.  I’m assuming this is the way they were written originally by Barry, and I’d be curious as to how and why they were transmogrified for the screen.  (Donald Ogden Stewart and Sidney Buchman are credited for the screenplay.)  Frankly, I think they’re much stronger in their Mark II incarnation.

(Yes, you read that right.  Robbo actually admitted a preference to a modified screen treatment of another work.  Wake the kids and phone the neighbors.)

So I was listening to a fellah give a little talk yesterday in which he repeatedly opined that being “judgmental” is a Bad Thing.  What he actually meant, as was clear to anyone who was paying attention, was that being judgmental is a Bad Thing if and when the particular judgment in question is contrary to this fellah’s own.

I know it’s an old trick, but this sort of thing drives ol’ Robbo to distraction.  It’s both intellectually lazy and dishonest.  Not to judge is simply not to think.  Of course, there’s plenty of room to debate the substantive merits of any given judgment, but to disarm your opposition by denying that they even have the right to argue in the first place is contemptible.

And speaking of such things, allow me to be judgmental about a hymn that gets trotted out at RFEC every All Saints Sunday.  It is my humble opinion that Lesbia Scott’s “I Sing A Song Of The Saints Of God” is the silliest hymn in the entire canon.  Not for nothing is it known as “Icky-Poo” amongst my nearest and dearest.


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November 2010
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