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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Last evening Ol’ Robbo caught most of Chimes at Midnight over on TCM, which I’ve never seen before.  Orson Welles basically lifts all the Prince Hal/Sir John Falstaff bits out of Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2.  It’s actually a pretty good film, even though the sound quality was such that half the lines were less than intelligible.  Welles makes quite the credible Falstaff, although since he’s playing a drunken old letch, it really wasn’t much of a stretch for him.  John Gielgud, who I’d watch in anything, was satisfying as Henry IV.  And there were plenty of familiar faces among the secondary characters.  Perhaps my very favorite geek moment was realizing that Andrew Faulds, who played Westmorland, was the Roman officer who brought back the runaway Pseudolus to the house of Senex early on in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.  “Citizens! We caught your runaway slave, and now he dares challenge our right to execute him!”  (When I watch movies, I like to point these sorts of things out.  Mrs. R cannot stand this practice. We don’t watch many movies together anymore.)

I may have to toss this one in the Nexflix queue and take another look.

And speaking of said queue, up this evening is The Return of the Pink Panther, which I haven’t seen in years.  Another of those movies that couldn’t possibly be made today. (“CATO!”)  Be back later……

UPDATE: What fun! I don’t think I’d seen it since I was a teenager, but somehow I remembered all the sight-gags and prat-falls perfectly.  And Herbert Lom really should have been arrested for being that slyly funny.

You know one thing I dislike about The Pink Panther? The theme musick.  And I’ll tell you why: That theme is a favorite of piano teachers to use on beginner students, especially the youngest.  I suppose the reasoning is that it is an easily-recognizable and popular tune, and that this will encourage the little darlin’s to practice.  In any event, I’ve been forced to endure it many, many times at recitals.  And every time, the kiddies make the same damned mistake – they go blazing through the first line of the melody and then crash and burn on the first chord progression in the left hand.

Every. Damn. Time.

After awhile, it’s enough to make you start twitching like Chief Inspector Dreyfus.

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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo got detoured by the po-po as he made his way home this evening and had to navigate through several neighborhoods to get back to a main artery.

I may be completely delusional in this, but it seems to me that many more people are keeping their outdoor Christmas (excuse me, Holiday) light displays out later this year.  I’d like to think it has something to do with a heightened spirit of the season, but the skeptic in me suggests that it probably has more to do with the deep freeze that blanketed the area for the past couple weeks keeping folks indoors.

Heigh ho.

Speaking of such things, Ol’ Robbo took down the Port Swiller Christmas tree last weekend after Epiphany.  I’m happy to report that there were no successful ornament suicides this year, although I caught several of them lurking deep within the bows round back, just waiting for the opportunity to hurl themselves to the floor.

As is my wont, once I had stripped it, I hauled the tree round back and tossed it on the brush heap within the verges of the wood outside my back gate.  Interesting observation: It seems to take a fir about two years to fully decompose.  I tossed this one next to the brown and needleless hulk from last year.  The one from the year prior to that has completely vanished.

So long as it doesn’t go up too early, Ol’ Robbo doesn’t really care that much when the Christmas tree comes down.  On the other hand, I am delighted that this year Mrs. Robbo has agreed to let me keep my wreaths (front door and dining room table) and my new crèche out until Candlemas, (February 2nd).

(Also, although she doesn’t know it, I chalked the front door of Port Swiller Manor with Epiphany chalk this year.  20 + C + M + B + 18.  One of Ol’ Robbo’s goals this year is to quietly insert more and more of these little sacramentals into the daily routine of Port Swiller Manor.  I figure it will soften the blow when I eventually pull down on Mrs. R and start advocating for a Crucifix in the front hall.)

Oh, and continuing with this general line of thought, a glass of wine with staunch friend of the decanter Old Dominion Tory, who recently sent Ol’ Robbo a couple of CD’s of Medieval Christmas Musick.  Since I’m going hard-core this year, they’re still perfectly seasonal and appropriate for the next few weeks!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Possessed by some sudden onset of nostalgia, several months ago Ol’ Robbo tossed “Battlestar Galactica” into his Netflix queue.  Yes, I mean the real one. **

As a 13-year old kid when it came out, Ol’ Robbo loved this show.  I had models of a Colonial Viper and a Cylon Raider.  I had the soundtrack album.  I had a book version of the first episode that was basically a storyboard, combining stills from the show with printed dialogue.  I longed to possess one of those Colonial Warrior jackets.  Yeah, I was a nerd back then.

Now, I was curious to see what I thought of it, er, 40 years later.

Before I get into my thoughts, though, let me just get out of the way something I’m sure some friend of the decanter will bring up immediately: Boxy and his robot daggit.  This biznay wasn’t really defensible back then, and it isn’t defensible now.  I’ll give you that one, okay?

That said, I’m happy to say that I watched the first, extended episode last evening and was really quite pleased with how it held up.  The dialogue was tight and to the point, the special effects were pretty much as I remembered them. (Dykstra-vision originally pioneered for the Star Wars movies – I recall reading somewhere that BSG had an enormous special effects budget for a tee-vee series, which is probably why they had to recycle so many of the exterior shots over and over again.  I didn’t much mind when I was a kid, and it really doesn’t bother me now.)  And I loved the wave of nostalgia.  As originally conceived, the Cylons were a stand-in for the Soviet Juggernaut so ominous during the height of the Carter Malaise.  They didn’t get you through cunning or superior skills, they got you through relentless drive, overwhelming numbers, and exploitation of your own softness and self-doubt.  Clear-minded, freedom-loving individuals could fight them off, even in the most dire circumstances.

Then, of course, there was the question perhaps upmost on 13 y.o. Robbo’s mind:  The lovely and talented Maren Jensen?  Or the lovely and talented Jane Seymour?  Whelp, I believed then and I still believe today that if I had to flee the Cylon tyranny with one lovely lady, I’d go with Lt. Athena over Serina.  (Laurette Spang’s Cassiopeia and Anne Lockhart’s Lt. Sheba would battle it out for a distant third.)

So I’m looking forward to re-watching the rest of the original series.  (We will say nothing of the 1980 redux.)  I don’t remember much about it, except that there were a number of “guest” stars that included (I think) Fred Astaire as Starbuck’s shifty grifter father and Lloyd Bridges as the “legendary” Commander Cain.  I’m sure it will all come back to me, though.

And speaking of which, I am reminded again of the very amusing little bit from the later “A-Team” opening credits featuring Dirk Benedict (the real Starbuck, dammit) and an old nemesis:

Never gets old.

** Ol’ Robbo tried to watch the new version when it came out in the early 2000’s and hated it.  Dark.  Edgy.  And a camera that couldn’t sit still for two seconds on end.  Plus, if I understand correctly, it turned out in the end that all of the Colonial survivors were just Cylon fifth columnists themselves.  So, feh.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Whelp, this will most likely be Ol’ Robbo’s last post of 2017.  Those regular friends of the decanter will need no explanation, I think, when I simply say “Goodbye To All That”.  A few things to get us over the hump:

♦  Ol’ Robbo watched the Cary Grant/Myrna Loy comedy “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” last evening.  I’d seen it once before years ago and thought it “meh”.  I thought it far funnier this time around, perhaps because I’ve been through several home remodeling/updating projects since then.

♦  Speaking of the joys of home ownership, we discovered this afternoon that Port Swiller Manor has been receiving free garbage pickup for the last six years.  Evidently, the company with which we originally signed up got taken over by a competitor and our account got lost in the transfer.  We simply didn’t notice because the trash continued to get picked up all that time anyway, and it was only after inquiry as to why our cans were ignored yesterday that we discovered the glitch.  To their credit, the (not so) new company admitted the error was theirs and will not charge us retroactively (not that we would have paid it, of course).https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anschluss

♦  Speaking of the past, this evening Ol’ Robbo finished up the novel The Horse Soldiers by Harold Sinclair.  As I’ve mentioned here previously, it is a fictionalized account of Grierson’s Raid during the Civil War, and is also the book on which the John Ford/John Wayne movie of the same name is based.  I will say that the movie, of which I am quite fond, is (surprise, surprise) only very loosely based on the book (and, I suppose, on the actual historickal facts).

Overall, I think the book is worth a read if you’re a Civil War buff, especially in its details of brigade, regiment, and smaller unit tactical considerations.

♦  Dayum, it’s cold outside!  Personally, I blame ManBearPig.  I’m super serial, y’all.

♦  I can tell you all that I give not a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys about the latest Star Wars installment, because the whole franchise descended into silliness a long time ago.  On the other hand, I am in dread of the evidently impending release of The Incredibles 2.  How do you top the first one for story-telling?  And even more importantly, how do you sustain the traditionalist values of the first in this day and age of cultural Marxist blitzkrieg?  My fear is that the sequel will not even attempt to resist, but instead will succumb passively to the P.C. Anschluss.

God send that I am pleasantly surprised….

Well, enough for now.  As I say, I’ll be back on the other side of the hump.  Don’t stay up too late on New Year’s Eve (I certainly won’t, if I can at all help it) and I’ll see you in 2018!

 

 

 

“Nativity at Night” – Geertgen tot Sint Jans, c. 1490

Greetings my fellow port swillers!  Allow me to quote:

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

– Luke 2:8-14

You know how Ol’ Robbo knew he was a religious man even in his misspent yoot?  The fact that he tears up every time he reads or hears this passage.  (I have a very, very definite, albeit completely inarticulable, vision in my head of the appearance of the heavenly host.)

Anyway, I hope that each and every one of you who drop in here from time to time have a very joyous Christmas!

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Your Nation’s Capital

Ol’ Robbo happened to have his phone in his pocket when he went for his lunchtime walkies today, so he took this snap just for the fun of it. (Not pictured, of course, are the shriveled corpses of all those hundreds of children who have already starved just in Our Fair City alone under Trump’s tax overhaul.  The Park Service is under strict instructions to whisk them away as soon as they drop.  True!)

You’ll note how all the shadows are on the left (or north) side of the building, marking the sun’s farthest southward point of transit for the year.  I’ve walked past here literally hundreds of times on my lunch breaks, and I’m nerd enough to take note of such things as the progression of the sunlight back and forth across the dome.  (I do the same thing at Port Swiller Manor, too.  You’d be amazed -or not – at the glassy stares I’ve gotten from contractors, yard men, guests, and spouses when I’ve started gassing on about it.)

The other end of my walk brings me just short of the Washington Monument, which I also study each day.  Indeed, although I’m really not the creative type, from time to time I’ve mulled the idea of taking a picture of it from the same spot at the same time each day and then putting them together as a kind of “Year In The Life Of” display.

Eh, it’s an idea.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Whelp, Ol’ Robbo finally broke down and bought the Christmas tree yesterday evening and we decorated this afternoon.  I consider having been able to hold out until just a week before Christmas actually, you know, begins this year is pretty good going.  (As I have probably mentioned before, in my misspent yoot, we always decorated the tree on Christmas Eve.  The Old Gentleman would buy it a week or two prior and put it out in the garage in a bucket of water.)

This year’s is about a foot shorter than our usual, owing to the fact that the shorter ones were all that was left in the lot at Robbo’s church by the time I got there.  This was due partly to so many people buying them Thanksgiving weekend, partly (so I’m told) because this was a bad year.  (We had a pretty bad drought a year ago November in these parts.  Perhaps that had something to do with it.)  There was some grumbling in the family about this, but as a matter of fact, now that the decs are on, I think it has a certain petite grace about it and am quite pleased.

Away In A Manger

Another thing that pleases Ol’ Robbo is that, after years of discouragement, I finally stumbled across a new crèche that I really like.  It’s from Nazareth, made out of olive wood by the local Christian population there, who run a whole cottage industry around this sort of thing.   They occasionally show up at Robbo’s church to sell their wares: icons, figurines, and various other religious doodads.  In addition to liking the simplicity of the design, I like to think I’m helping out a Good Cause.

Hopefully you can see that the cradle is empty.  Of course, it stays that way until Robbo gets home from Midnight Mass next Sunday night.  Also, the bows on the door wreaths remain Advent purple, as do the candles in the wreath on the dining room table.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo finds himself with a nice, tall stack of new-to-me books with which to wile away his moments of leisure.  Let’s have a look at ’em:

First, I mentioned borrowing Monty Python Speaks from my brother in a post below.  However, he also pressed upon me another book about which he has been raving for some time:  Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson.  It tells of the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 through the lens of the story of one Isaac Cline, the resident meteorologist with the Gubmint Weather Bureau, apparently by means of lots of original documentation and testimony.

Ol’ Robbo has had pretty good success with what might be called forensic natural history books.  (See, e.g., Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm and Simon Winchester’s Krakatoa.)  So I’m looking forward to this one.

Next, a large bumper of wine with Our Maximum Leader for his recent recommendation of Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men In A Boat!  The book, which relates a two-week jaunt upon the Thames by three boon companions plus the dog Montmorency, is an absolute hoot (apart from a few Gawd Help Us passages in which the author waxes lyrical about Truth, Beauty, and Nature), combining Edwardian middle-brow smart-assery with Shaggy Dog stories in a most delightful and jaunty style.

Jerome was a generation or two older than Plum Wodehouse, but I believe I see a definite gunnegshun between the two in terms of background, light presentation, and tongue-in-cheek sensibilities.  (Also, Jerome was pals with W.S. Gilbert, who Plum knew and admired as a young man, so there’s that, too.)

(By the bye, I picked up the Penguin Classics edition of this book which also contains its sequel, Three Men on the Bummel, in which the same trio of friends takes a bicycling tour in Germany.)

Also, another bumper of wine with long time friend of the decanter Old Dominion Tory, who recently sent Ol’ Robbo a package containing three historickal novels about Colonial America by Allan W. Eckert: The Conquerors, The Wilderness Wars, and Wilderness Empire.  Ol’ Robbo has no objections whatsoever to history set in novel form, so long as it is accurate and well done, of course, and greatly looks forward to trying these books out.  ODT also sent The Old Dominion At War:  Society, Politics, and Warfare in Late Colonial Virginia, by James Titus.  This is a straight academic study, but is of particular interest to Ol’ Robbo because of my own family connections to the Virginny Frontier in the 1750’s and ’60’s.

I should also here mention ODT’s previous gift of David Preston’s Braddock’s Defeat: The Battle of the Monongahela and the Road to Revolution.  Immensely informative, particularly about the shear logistical problems faced by both the British and the French in trying to put forces into southwestern Pennsylvania in the 1750’s (and to get them out again).  I will admit, however, that there is something about Preston’s prose style that is very slightly off-putting to me.  (I confirmed this when I also bought and read his The Texture of Contact: European and Indian Settler Communities on the Frontiers of Iroquoia, 1667-1783.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but as a chronicler of the great struggle between France and Britain for control of North America and the rise of the New American Republic, I don’t think he’s quite as clear as his modern contemporary Fred Anderson, nor is he anywhere near as dramatic as the great Francis Parkman.  But never mind.

Oh, and I don’t want to get in copyright trouble here, but I do encourage you all to go look up the painting Washington at the Battle of Monongahela by Emmanuel Leutze, which is used to illustrate the cover of Preston’s book.  It’s part of a series Leutze did on Washington which also includes the famous Crossing of the Delaware.  A thoroughly, thoroughly beautiful piece of art.  (I must go see the original some time, which I believe is in a local museum dedicated to the Battle.)

And finally, speaking of books and art and historickal matters, let me circle back round to something I mentioned here a few days ago, namely that I was planning to watch the 1954 Kirk Douglas movie, “Ulysses“.

Whelp, all I can say is that if any friend of the decanter was considering following my lead, I can strongly advise not to bother.  The film is pretty hum-drum, contains very cheesy special effects, and is mostly in Italian with badly-dubbed English superimposed.  (And I never liked Kirk Douglas, anyway.)  In fact, the movie even screwed up Ulysses’ famous encounter with the Sirens, in that it didn’t even show them! You only get Douglas being lashed to the mast (I’ll be he enjoyed it, too, IYKWIMAITYD), and then some ethereal voices cooing about Home and Penelope.  Yeesh!

You want Ulysses and the Sirens? This is how you Ulysses and the Sirens!

“Ulysses and the Sirens” by Herbert James Draper (1864-1920)

Sigh….

Anyhoo, what I really wanted to say relating back to historickal fiction was this:  Most people these days, if they’ve heard of Robert Graves at all, associate him only with either Goodbye To All That, his WWI autobiography, or his I, Claudius historickal novels.  The fact of the matter is that Graves wrote around ten such novels, some set in Classickal Times, some set in other eras.

Among the Classicks novels is one called Homer’s Daughter.

You see, there is a theory (generally accepted, I believe), that The Iliad and The Odyssey were not composed by the same author (and that there may not, in fact, have been a historickal “Homer” at all).  There is another theory (perhaps less accepted) that The Odyssey was actually composed by a woman (based largely on the fact that so much more attention is paid in it to domestic themes).  Graves took this idea and composed a novel in which a young princess named Nausicaa tells the story of how her father’s kingdom on a little island off Sicily came under peril from bumptious and ambitious noblemen who sought to loot her father’s house, marry her, and depose him, and how a mysterious royal castaway appeared and helped her, her mother, and her little brother defeat these nobles in the absence of her father, the King, and her elder brother.  At the end (and I don’t think I’m giving any spoilers here), Nausicaa allows one of the suitors, a member of the Poets’ Guild, to live in exchange for his promise to take her story, transpose it into verse, and insert it into the Homeric Cycle.

It’s nicely done, pays keen attention to the sensibilities of the period, and is a fun afternoon’s read.

So that’s that.

And for those of you who may be thinking, “But Robbo, you do know it’s Advent, don’t you?”  I say yes, yes, I am planning to put in time on that reading front, too.  I believe my author of choice this season is going to be Frank J. Sheed, who I find has a singular talent for clear, crisp theological discussion nicely calculated to penetrate the brains and souls of even such shallow, debauched, and ungrateful louts as Ol’ Robbo.

UPDATE: Middle Gel is reading “Hamlet” in school.  This evening, she approached me seeking advice on a question she has to answer about the play: What do the characters of Polonius, Laertes, and Ophelia “symbolize” to Hamlet?

“Whaddaya mean by ‘symbolize‘?” I asked.

I don’t know,” the Gel said, “That’s just the question.  My teacher said something about ‘Oedipal complexes’.”

Cor lumme, stone the crows. Freudian freakin’ analysis.  The Gel came to me because I was an English major back in the day, but unfortunately for her, I managed to get a degree that concentrated on things like the Bard’s linguistic beauty, his dramatic deftness, and his keen insights into all (emphasis, all) aspects of human nature, not just those associated with funny feelings in his characters’ pants or the dark sides of their brains.

God forgive me, but my advice to the Gel?  Make up some psycho-babble answer.  They can’t get her for that, after all….

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Last evening, Ol’ Robbo popped in the DVD of “Barabbas” (1961).  This wasn’t part of my Hollywood History of the World campaign.  Rayther, I had caught about ten minutes of it on one of the movie channels last Easter and was intrigued enough to make a note to circle back to it.

The premise is an interesting one:  What happened to Barabbas after Pilate let him go instead of Jesus?

Alas, the actual execution is pretty flat.  *SPOILER ALERT** Barabbas has some kind of crisis of conscience at being spared.  In the meantime, he gets arrested again, transported to a sulphur mine in Sicily, survives that, and winds up in Rome performing in the Colosseum.  (Joey, do you like movies about…gladiators?”) Eventually, haunted by mental images of Jesus, he winds up becoming Christian himself.

In practice, most of the movie is nothing much more than Anthony Quinn standing around looking baffled and resentful.

There are a couple of nice little gracenotes featuring the underground nature of Early Christianity – a wink here, a secret symbol there – and the stoning to death of Barabbas’ Jesus-loving gal-pal is pretty grim.  And I will say that whoever wrote the score was well-acquainted with Gregorian Chant and put it to very effective and appropriate use.

As I say, Quinn is Barabbas.  Anthony Kennedy, one of the oiliest-looking actors of the time (I know him as the gun-slinger who double-crosses Jimmuh Stewart in the western “Bend of the River”), plays Pilate.  Ernest Borgnine has a bit part (and he was actually not bad looking in those days), and Jack Palance plays a psychotic bully-boy among the gladiators.  (There’s a surprise casting job!)

I’ll give it, say, four sips out of ten.

Next up, a 1954 version of “Ulysses”, starring Kirk Douglas as the Homeric hero.  I intend to laugh heartily……

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo’s latest cinematic treat this week was “The General” (1926), the classic Buster Keaton silent film in which he plays a Southern train engineer during the Civil War.   When Yankee spies slip into Georgia and steal a train with which they plan to cause mayhem behind the lines in support of a Union advance, Keaton’s patriotic character (actually named Johnnie Gray), although previously rejected by the Confederate Army (and his girl) because of the importance of his civilian work, nonetheless single-handedly takes off in pursuit with another locomotive and thwarts the Yankee plot.  Of course, I’m probably violating all sorts of Socialist Juicebox Wanker taboos just watching a film that has a sympathetic Southerner as its hero, much less commenting on it.

Without looking it up because I’m being lazy and because I couldn’t link it anyway due to WordPress’s continued cussedness, I’ve an idea that this film is loosely based on an actual Great Locomotive Chase that occurred during the War, although I can’t now recall which side did the original stealing, who chased whom, or what the eventual outcome was.  For some reason, I believe the locomotive involved in that one was called the “Texas”. UPDATE:  The lovely and talented Diane looked it up.  So did I.  She is correct that the stolen locomotive was, in fact, called The “General”, and that the Yankees were the thiefs.  The “Texas” was one of the locomotives the Confederates used in the chase.  Indeed, she was on the southbound tracks and the Rebs ran her backwards in pursuit.  Somewhere or other, Ol’ Robbo still has an old National Geographic book on the War that includes a painting of this backward pursuit.  That’s what was lurking in the recesses of my braims when I wrote this paragraph.

Anyhoo, I haven’t seen this film since I was about thirteen, when the Mothe took me to see it at the old Olmos Theatre in San Antonio as part of a “classics” series that also featured such greats as the Marx Brothers, the “Pink Panther” movies, Hitchcock, and others.  Of course here, Keaton is the film, and the pleasure comes in watching the combination of his deadpan face and the facility with which he did all his own stunts. (His very last film, “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum” (1966), is a huge favorite of Ol’ Robbo’s, in no small part because his character of Erronius – “a befuddled old man” – is really a loving tribute to Keaton’s skills.)

Alas, the version of “The General” owned by Netflix is seriously marred by the soundtrack that accompanies it, which is nothing more than a series of standard orchestral pieces by such composers as Elgar, Tchaikovsky, Strauss, and Glazunov strung together one after another and having absolutely no relationship whatsoever to what is happening on the screen.  I may as well have been listening to the damned radio.  After a while, I hit the mute button out of pure, distracted frustration, but of course that creates its own problems:  Not only is a completely silent film  jarring in and of itself, one is also left listening to all those ambient background noises that one started watching the film to escape in the first place:  skirmishing cats; the dog barking at her own shadow; Youngest Gel on the phone in her room two floors above, yacking with her friends at the top of her very considerable voice.  Grrr…..

The film’s mismatched soundtrack also reminded me of an experience I had with an airing of “Nosferatu” on PBS a few years ago.  Friends of the decanter of a certain age may remember an electronics toy of some years back.  It consisted of a battery-powered board on which were embedded various circuits, transistors, diodes, and other do-hickeys.  With the provided wires, you linked them up by various schematic diagrams in the book accompanying the toy, thereby creating a variety of audio and visual devices.  Well, this “Nosferatu” was accompanied by a score which sounded like nothing so much as a kid messing about with this toy – a random series of pings, grunts, clicks, and wah-wahs that again had absolutely nothing to do with the picture. Infuriating.

(By the bye, Eldest watched “Nosferatu” for the first time recently as part of an English class she’s taking on literary monsters.  She simply couldn’t believe it when I told her that there were numerous instances, among its original audiences, of viewers fainting and having hysterics because they were so frightened.)

Anyway, there you are.  Next time, I might just hit the mute button again, steal Middle Gel’s electronic keyboard, and accompany the damned thing myself.

And speaking of silent, next up on Robbo’s movie list is the 1925 version of “Ben Hur”, which I’ve never seen before.  The blurb on the Netflix envelope says that it is accompanied by a score from Hollywood composer Carl Davis, so hopefully this time there will be a little more sympathy between audio and visual.  I’ll let you know.

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