One Day You’ll See Something You Shouldn’t: Rear Window (1954)

One day you’ll see something you shouldn’t

 

I have always wanted my birthday to be in October.

I love fall, the colors, the weather, Halloween. Even as a child I just adored the holiday and the classic monster movies.

Even though October will always be my favorite month, I do love one thing about May. I share the same birthday as my favorite actor-Jimmy Stewart.

It’s time for the annual Alfred Hitchcock film.

And as seen from the above poster, I am going to share one of my favorite of Jimmy Stewart Alfred Hitchcock movies. Rear Window is such a great film because it is so relatable. Who hasn’t glanced in a neighbor’s window when passing? Who hasn’t people watched when bored? I know, I have. In fact, one of the reasons I keep my blinds closed and curtains drawn is that I hate the idea of people watching me.

It’s a great setup and one that has since been copied over and over again, so let’s start with the original classic.

We start looking at a window who’s blinds are slowly coming up as we see all the cast names. Then out the window a little cat, people on their balconies, birds, milkman, a man shaving, neighbors across the way sleeping outside in the open air, a beautiful dancer girl stretching and making breakfast.

This movie was shot on set and included thirty-one apartments, of which twelve were fully furnished. The actors spent all their time in the apartments as many had running water, etc.

While shooting, Alfred Hitchcock worked only through Jeff’s “apartment”, everything is filmed from those set of windows to make it seem as if Jeff was watching. The actors and actresses in other apartments wore flesh-colored earpieces so that he could radio his directions to them.

We then go to Jimmy Stewart, L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies, who’s leg is in a cast, a broken and a mangled camera on the counter and all his pictures-bomb, car crash, and a negative of a woman, the actual picture gracing the cover of a magazine. I love how Alfred Hitchcock just shows us-we see he was an important photographer and the car crash is what caused the accident.

It has been six weeks since he had his leg in the cast, he has just one more week left. His editor called him because he wanted him to go on an assignment, but he can’t as he still has a cast. Jeff is angry, bored, grumpy, and hates everything.

He’s watching his neighbor across the way, a husband and wife who are arguing as he talks to his boss. He’s thinking of getting married because he’s so bored, but has second thoughts as the neighbors do not have a good relationship, the two always yelling. Afterwards, the man goes out to the garden.

Death Comes to Pemberley

In comes Stella, Thelma Ritter. She’s Jeff’s nurse and plays this role as she does every role-sassy. Stella insists that she can sense trouble and she says that she senses it in the apartment, that Jeff will see something he shouldn’t and end up in a courthouse surrounded by lawyers…

Hmm…

Jeff complains that trouble is on the horizon with Lisa Freemont (Grace Kelly), she wants them to get married but he doesn’t. She’s too perfect-beautiful, smart, talented, rich, park avenue girl, etc. She’s an uptown girl and he’s a downtown man. He doesn’t see how it will work, as he would be better with someone ordinary and regular.

Or plot!

Stella thinks he’s being dumb and should just be happy to be with Lisa. I love Stella-she’s just says what she wants and doesn’t think about it. Jeff over thinks except when he takes his pictures.

Jeff looks out at his neighbors and sees a new couple that have just been married. Alfred Hitchcock doesn’t tell you these things but shows them in the way they act, the husband taking the girl out and carrying her over the threshold so you know they are married. And then they close the blinds down

It’s night and we see Jeff sleeping ad kissing the beautiful Grace Kelly, it isn’t a dream though as that’s his girlfriend Lisa Freemont. She’s in a gorgeous dress and we see the full effect as she turns the lights on. She helped choose her own clothes and did it perfectly.

Lisa: A steal at $1,100.

Jeff: Eleven hundred? They ought to list that dress on the stock exchange.

She is gorgeously attired, as usual, but even more so as she wants to celebrate his final week in a cast. She got dinner from 21 to go-food and wine. It’s funny because that was novel then (Lisa doing it because she paid quite a bit and is an “important client”), but now every restaurant has a service like that.

Lisa shares her day-clothes, lunch, drinks, breakfast, money, money, money money. I can see why Jeff doesn’t think they will work, I’m totally with him. They seem to have very little in common. You can see why she cares for him though, he’s very different and treats her different from probably the other men in her life. I wonder how they met…oh yes-the magazine earlier with the picture of the woman was a fashion one.

Jeff looks out the window and sees a woman all dressed up and acting as if she is on a date-but she’s alone. Aw…it makes me wonder-do you think she is a widow and misses being in a relationship so she reenacts it, or do you think she’s just alone? A widow makes more sense to me, or even if it is her boyfriend that died.

They look at Miss Torso (the ballerina) she’s beautiful and has a lot of men over-Jeff thinks she’s happy, but Lisa isn’t convinced.

Jeff: She’s like a queen bee with her pick of the drones.

Lisa: I’d say she’s doing a woman’s hardest job: juggling wolves.

Jeff looks at the apartment where the husband and wife fight a lot. She’s always sick in bed, but strangely today the husband made her food and seems to be taking more care. He’s on the phone we see him in the window in one room and she in the other, she gets out of bed and is yelling-upset. They go into the other room and she is freaking out crying, laughing, hmmmm.

Hmm…

Another apartment a man is trying to compose something, Lisa loves the music. Lisa tries to build the romantic mood, but Jeff is just shooting her down. I get he’s trying to get her to leave him, break it off, but its really rude. Jeff then tries to break it off, but Lisa says no.

Lisa is a bit of a jerk in the relationship too, she goes on and on because she’s angry and won’t let Jeff. try and share his thoughts. He tries to get her to see how different they are, and I like this. She’s in obvious denial about his life and thinks if he can talk over here she will listen. This feels so real-she loves him and wants to be with him and doesn’t want to give it up.

Awwww. Eventually, Lisa’s had enough. She’s hurt, puts on her gloves and pashima, and leaves-good-bye. Now that he hears the finality in her voice he doesn’t want her to leave. Lisa hears it, and reneges. She’ll be back tomorrow night.

Jeff: When am I going to see you again?

Lisa: [angry] Not for a long time…[softeningat least not until tomorrow night.

We see Jeff thinking. That’s what he wanted, good-bye? Right?

That night he hears a scream and a crash. He wakes up later to rain and sees the couple who sleep outside hurrying in. But then the couple earlier-the man and wife who were fighting, he leaves with suitcases. He’s gone for a while and returns with the suitcase. Then the man goes out again with the suitcase, in the rain…Weird.

Hmm…

Why would he do that tonight of all nights, and in the rain? And why twice?

Hmmm…

Jeff tries to stay up, he looks a the apartment, all the blinds are down and no sign of the wife. Miss Torso is back, screaming at someone on the other side of the door-upset.  Her date looked like he was trying to push his way in.

Ugh…

The man comes back with the suitcase. It’s very odd, very odd. And later in the morning he is at it again, but it looks like a woman is with him?

Hmm…

The next day Jeff tells Stella about seeing him going out with his salescase at 3 in the morning. Stella laughs it off-and comes up with explanations, but i don’t think so. That’s highly suspicious.

Hmm…

They watch the salesman, but Jeff makes them scoot back so the Salesman can’t see them, and I love the transition from light to darkness.They notice that the salesman is looking at the dog who was digging around where the salesman buried something. He then notices the salesman cleaning out his sample case and putting all the samples back in. Then what did he have in their before? Jeff scoots back so his head in shadow and watches him with the binoculars, changing them out for his telephoto lens.

The salesman is wrapping up a butcher knife and small saw in newspaper and sleeping on the couch. Why isn’t he going in his bedroom?

Hmm…?

That night the dog is again digging in that spot, but is taken inside by his owner. You know I like that they show these scenes only in the morning and night, as during the day they are gone working. I never noticed that before.

Jeff shares his suspicion of the neighbor with Lisa, but Lisa isn’t interested she wants to continue to kiss. The Salesman hasn’t gone in the room where is wife is all day and he didn’t go to work that day.

Jeff: I’ve seen bickering and family quarrels and mysterious trips at night, and knives and saws and ropes, and now since last evening, not a sign of the wife. How do you explain that?

Lisa: Maybe she died.

Jeff: Where’s the doctor? Where’s the undertaker?

Jeff thinks that he must have killed her and cut the body up. He’s been gone for a long time but comes back and finally goes in the room with rope. I’m totally with Jeff, it’s weird that she’s an invalid in need of constant care, but he hasn’t gone in there until now. Lisa thinks he is being crazy and tries to reason him out of it.

But then Lisa looks and she starts thinking too. They see that he has a suitcase tied up and the mattress all rolled up. Lisa starts thinking about what he says and then asks him to start at the beginning.

Lisa: Tell me exactly what you saw and what you think it means.

This is really cute as they finally have something in common. Lisa goes to do the legwork and finds out that they are Mr. & Mrs. Lars Thorwald. It’s so cute they are going to investigate this “crime”.

Time to get on the case!

Jeff calls his friend Detective Doyle (Wendell Corey), but he’s not interested. He is finally convinced to come over and talk later when he has some free time.

Ugh! We need you now!

Now Stella is all into it and she’s also trying to help solve it. She’s convinced that Thorwald did it in the bathtub. Men come into Thorwald’s apartment and cart the trunk away, Stella runs off to investigate the name of the freight truck, I love how they are so into it.

From Midsomer Murders

Detective Doyle isn’t convinced about there having been a murder. He says all the same things Lisa did, it’s too obvious to do it the way Jeff is saying. He says that he won’t do an “official report” but will poke around a bit and heads out. Not helpful at all, but Jeff is distracted when he sees the dog digging in the spot Thorwald buried something again. Hmm…what is in there?

Hmmm…

Jeff does see his friend talking to the landlord. It turns out Thorwald signed a 6 months lease (completed 5.5 months), he and the wife “left” at 6 am, they aren’t close to any neighbors, he doesn’t drunk, is the perfect renter, etc. Jeff asks who said they left at 6 am, the landlord said that Thorwald told him that he put his wife on a train.

Hmm…

Jeff tries to get him to investigate and search the apartment, but he tries to explain to Jeff he can’t do that. Oh, Jeff-he has to have a search warrant. Detective Doyle decides to leave, but shares a post card with Jeff that was in Mr. Lars box-it is from his wife saying that she is with her sister.

Jeff is disappointed but doesn’t give up. It just doesn’t jell with him.

I don’t trust Thorwald.

Jeff uses his telephoto lens to watch  different people. Miss Lonelyhearts, the woman with no date is getting ready, but drinking a bit. Quite a bit. She leaves that night.

The composer is having  party with pretty ladies. Miss Torso is practicing. Miss Lonelyhearts goes across the street to the diner and then Thorwald comes into view. He just looks mean and like a murderer The glasses gives his eyes a squinty look, plus the way he walks-creepy. A great actor, he does so much in just his movements.

Alfred Hitchcock supposedly hired Raymond Burr to play Lars Thorwald because he could be easily made to look like his old producer David O. Selznick, who Hitchcock hated for interfering.

Jeff picks up his phone and calls the Detective’s home. He asks his wife to send him over if she hears from him, LOL before cellphones. Thorwald has his wife’s purse-weird as wouldn’t she take that with her. He’s on the phone long distance as he goes through the bag, all full of jewelry. Why wouldn’t she take her jewelry-necklaces, and rings. Most women who wear jewelry would. Hmm… He hides the purse with everything under his coat and jacket on the bed.

Hmmm…

Lisa comes over and Jeff points Lars out sharing everything. She finds it to be very telling that he asked someone for an opinion on his wife’s jewelry-someone not his wife. Lisa shares that she has been thinking about this all day. A woman has a favorite handbag, one she uses before the others-if she were to go on a trip, she wouldn’t leave it behind. She also points out that a woman doesn’t throw her jewelry in her purse where it would get twisted up. Lisa thinks the woman wasn’t Mrs. Thorwald, but just a woman-the soon to be Mrs. Thorwald.

Oh, wow…

Now they have something in common  they have grown closer together. Lisa plans to stay all night, and Lisa shows that she can live out of one suitcase, she put all her stiff in n ovenight case the size of a medium handbag. The dialogue is cute as well. She says in all detective literature you need a girl friday to help save the day. She’s not wrong.

Detective Doyle comes over sees the suitcase and hears Lisa and uses his detective skills to put it together. He comes in and looks at the room, and it is clear that he is hooked as well, not convinced but intrigued. Detective Doyle shares that Thorwald is not a murderer. He can’t explain everything , but the railroad station-ticket was bought, wife delivered, etc. Lisa tries to argue with him, but Detective Doyle is against women’s logic. He found the trunk and it was full of the wife’s clothes. That was weird-Jeff questions it, but Doyle shrugs off that she probably left him.

Such a man!

I love the look of disgust Lisa gives the detective, your misyoginy is not welcome here, she walks over and stands by Jeff-Doyle geting the hint to leave. Boom.

Miss Lonelyhearts brought a man home with her, hmm. He grabs her, and she is not interested. She slaps him ad throws him out. She falls down crying. Aww,

Jeff starts wondering if what he is doing is wrong. Lisa lets the blinds down as she wants to be his sole focus.

Lisa changes her clothes, but is interrupted by a scream. The woman with the dog is freaking out because her dog is dead-strangled, neck broken.

Miss Lonelyhearts tucks the little dog carefully in the basket. His owner cries and yells at them all for being horrible neighbors.

Woman on Fire Escape: [the woman’s dog has just been killed from a broken neck; screaming in distraught at the other neighbors] WHICH ONE OF YOU DID IT? WHICH ONE OF YOU KILLED MY DOG? You don’t know the meaning of the word ‘neighbors’! Neighbors like each other, speak to each other, care if somebody lives or dies! BUT NONE OF YOU DO!

Jeff sees it and knows he is right-Thorwald murdered his wife and this dog. In the whole courtyard one person wasn’t surprised and didn’t come to the window like the others did-Thorwald.

They see Thorwald cleaning the bathroom-Stella is still convinced that he killed her in the bathroom and the blood splattered. Jeff looks at the yard and notices something is not right.

He looks through old pictures and notices that the flowers are shorter-he buried something in the garden. Lisa thinks it is the body-but Stella tells her that a full body wouldn’t fit. He buried something and the dog kept something important is in there.

Lisa: What’s he doing? Cleaning house?

Jeff: He’s washing and scrubbing down the bathroom walls.

Stella: Must’ve splattered a lot. [both Jeff and Lisa look at Stella with disgustCome on, that’s what were all thinkin’. He killed her in there, now he has to clean up those stains before he leaves.

Lisa: Stella… your choice of words!

Stella: Nobody ever invented a polite word for a killin’ yet.

Jeff: Those two yellow zinnias at the end, they’re shorter now. Now since when do flowers grow shorter over the course of two weeks? Something’s buried there.

Lisa: Mrs. Thorwald!

Stella: You haven’t spent much time around cemeteries, have you? Mr. Thorwald could hardly bury his wife’s body in plot of ground about one foot square. Unless he put her in standing on end, in which case he wouldn’t need the knives and saw.

They notice that Thorwald is getting ready to flee and need to keep him there until they get more evidence. They write a note asking “What have you done with Mrs. Thornwald’s body?”

Jeff writes the message and Lisa delivers it. I love the use of the windows, angles, etc. Alfred Hitchcock knew what he was doing. The telephoto lens, binoculars, etc.

Thornwall looks for who left the note but Lisa is faster hiding downstairs.

Stella sees Miss Lonelyhearts taking sedatives and she looks to be taking quite a bit of them. She starts talking about it with Jeff, but they are distracted with Lisa’s return as they watch him pack up the handbag. Jeff starts thinking about the jewelry-he had three rings when he was looking at them. What if it is a wedding ring?

Lisa: The last thing Mrs. Thorwald would leave behind would be her wedding ring. Stella, do you ever leave yours at home?

Stella: The only way somebody would get that would be to chop off my – finger. Let’s go down to the garden and find out what’s buried there.

Lisa: Why not? I always wanted to meet Mrs. Thorwald.

Stella and Lisa want to go digging in the garden, but Jeff is afraid for them. He decides he needs to get Thorwald out and calls him, aw before star69

He calls Thorwald and threatens him, telling him to meet him-blackmail. Thorwald insists he knows not what he is talking about, but the threat of the police sends him going. Jeff watches while the ladies head down. I love that the ladies are the ones investigating, it’s fun take, different from what you usually would see. You know like Oracle and Batman and Robin.

Stella starts digging and Jeff calls Doyle again. He isn’t home but speaks to the baby-sitter. Jeff sees Miss Lonelyhearts writing and thinks Stella was wrong about killing herself, but she could be writing a suicide note. Stella finds nothing in the garden and Lisa takes off to search the house, she climbs the fire escape and sneaks in a window in her full gown and high heels. She digs through the bag, but no jewelry.

Stella goes back to Jeff’s apartment and distracts him from watching for Thorwald as she sees Miss Lonelyhearts and tells Jeff to call the police to get her help, but then the music stops Miss Lonelyhearts from killing herself, but oh no-they forgot about Thornwald, he’s arrived home and Lisa is still in the house she tries to to hide while Jeff calls the police telling them she is being assaulting and for her to get over here ASAP.

That’s not good.

Across the way, Lisa is telling Jeff something, hiding her hand behind her back. Thorwald starts attacking her while Stella and Jeff are at a loss of what to do. Thornwald turn off the lights to do the deed, when the police luckily arrives.

They speak to Lisa while Stella and Jeff are watching.

Lisa points to her fingers, and she has a wedding ring on. Thorwald looks up-he noticed her pointing and realizes that someone must be watching.

OMG so creepy!!!

Creepy…

Jeff tries to scrap some money together to get Lisa out of jail.

Stella: How much do we need to bail Lisa from jail?

Jeff: Well, this is first offense burglary, that’s about $250. I have $127.

Stella: Lisa’s handbag. Uh… 50 cents. I got $20 or so in my purse.

Jeff: And what about the rest?

Stella: When those cops at the station see Lisa, they’ll even contribute.

Doyle calls Jeff back and Jeff tells him that Lisa is in jail. Doyle isn’t listening at first, they had been out, but after hearing about Lisa Doyle’s listening.

Jeff looks up and notices that Thorwald isn’t in his apartment, The phone rings and he thinks it is Doyle but no one answers….his face says it all-Thorwald.

That’s not good.

And Jeff has a broken leg!!!!

And an unlocked door!

Jef turns and waits, aaahhhh I love this and hate this-the waiting, just waiting, waiting. You know he’s coming but when?

Jeff looks around for a weapon but has nothing. He can’t even stand to hide or get something. All he has is his camera and flash cubes.

The room is dark and we see nothing, but hear the foosteps until he charges in, the light on his glasses it is soo creepy.

Here he comes, ahhhh.

Creepy voice.

Creepy…

Jeff does all he can and takes his pictures, stunning Thorwald. Now those old flashcubes are not like today’s flash. Today’s flash hurts but those were way more intense. Thorwald tries to strangle him while the police and everyone is across the street. They hear Jeff scream and Thorwald tries to throw Jeff out the window. He’s hanging on by a thread but thankfully the other neighbors hear and call out, the police running, He falls out the window but the fall is partially broken by the police.

Thorwalds confesses, his wife was dumped in the east river. Stella asks about the garden and it turns out something was buried in the garden but he took it out and put it in a hatbox. What do you think it is? A head? teeth? The saw? The knife?

Hmmm…

So we get to see what happens to the rest of the neighbors. Miss Lonelyhearts got with the composer. The couple who sleeps outside has a new dog. Miss Torso has her love return, a military guy. The newlyweds are arguing as the husband quit his job. And then we see Jeff, who has two broken legs as the result of his adventures.

Lisa is in a shirt and loafers and reading a book, Behind the Himalayas, although after Jeff sleeps-back to Bazaar. Trying to show Jeff she can live in his world.

At the end of the film there is a special thank you to Georgine Darcy? Of course you know where my mind goes, it sounds very similar to Georgiana Darcy.

I looked it up and that’s Miss Torso. I wonder if her parents were Jane Austen fans. Let’s do some research…

I don’t see anything that confirms or denies it. Oh well.

For more Rear Window, go to I Can Keep Up With You: Rear Window (1954)

For more Alfred Hitchcock, go to Last Night I Dreamt I Went to Manderley Again: Rebecca (1940)

For more Jimmy Stewart, go to With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish Heroes

For more Grace Kelly, go to The Perfect Murder: Dial “M” for Murder (1954)

For more Raymond Burr, go to You Don’t Know Which Way to Turn, There’s No Place to Hide, Nowhere to run…: The Blue Gardenia (1953)

I Can Keep Up With You: Rear Window (1954)

Most Romantic Moment #11

Rear Window (1954)

So I know you are probably thinking:

crazy

An Alfred Hitchcock movie as romantic? Well, keep reading and you will see.

L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies (Jimmy Stewart) is a magazine photographer and has traveled everywhere and photographed everything taking risks to get all kinds of thrilling shots. One such amazing photo caused him to break his leg so now he sits at home recuperating. Not one to enjoy idle time, he looks out the rear window of his apartment and glances the lives of others.

He starts watching one neighbor closely, and the strange way he is acting, believing that he murdered his wife.

Hmm…

He gets his girlfriend and nurse to help him investigate. But will this stay a simple amusement or turn deadly?

Most Romantic Moment: I Won’t Let You Get Away

**Spoiler Alert**

So throughout the whole film Jeff and his girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly) are in a conflict. She wants to get married, but Jeff doesn’t think they are right for each other. She’s a Park Avenue princess who can afford to spend thousands of dollars on dresses she’ll wear once. He a humble photographer who treks the globe living out of a suitcase.

Lisa has tried to convince him it could be otherwise, but no dice.

Jeff: She’s too perfect, she’s too talented, she’s too beautiful, she’s too sophisticated, she’s too everything but what I want.

Stella: Is, um, what you want something you can discuss?

If you look at all her clothes they are expensive, feminine, something you can’t really do something in but just look pretty. That is until the end. After Jeff just accusing her of being fluff and having no substance-she proves her verve and that she is of sterner stuff by going in and investigating the man they suspect of murder in order to find evidence.

Wow

And at the end we see her in something very different.

We have seen that Lisa is someone who can keep up with Jeff and as classiq says, “the casual outfit Lisa wears at the end of the movie was Hitchcock’s way to suggest she was the sporty type, Jeff’s type, after all.”

If a women like that is willing to go from her amazing frothy creations to something like loafers, jeans, and a shirt-you know she loves you.

To start Romance is in the Air: Part V, go to Who Says I Have to Stop: Fireproof (2008)

For the previous post, go to I Won’t Let You Get Away: Holiday Inn (1942)

For more Alfred Hitchcock, go to I Would Suffer Anything to Save You: Under Capricorn (1949)

For more Grace Kelly, go to The Perfect Murder: Dial “M” for Murder (1954)

For more Jimmy Stewart, go to With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish Heroes

 

Work Will Always Be There But You Might Not Be: The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)

Romantic Moment #4

The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) 

I love this film so much. It has Charlton Heston, Jimmy Stewart, and is directed by Cecil B. DeMille. It is fantastic! I could watch it over and over.

Brad Braden (Charlton Heston) is the circus manager of the Ringling Bros. He is all business never having time for anyone or anything not related to the circus.

This upsets his girlfriend, Holly (Betty Hutton) a trapeze artist, who wants more romance.

While he’s always busy, she spends the time she wishes they could be together, working hard to become the star of the show. Unfortunately for her, Brad has just added The Amazing Sebastian, a famous trapeze artist.

They compete with each other for center ring, but that isn’t the only thing that Sebastian is trying for-he also is trying to get with Holly.

Will adding The Amazing Sebastian bring more money and engagements for the circus? Or will it just cause strife between Brad and Holly? Will he focus on his girlfriend, or will he lose her by concentrating all his efforts on the circus?

Most Romantic Moment: Work Will Always Be There But You Might Not Be

***Spoiler Alert***

So this moment comes at the end of the film. There is a lot of action and things that happened in the film. Where this is centered, a Russian Elephant trainer has tried to rob the Circus train to get money to impress a girl, while his partner is trying to rob the Circus train to get back at Brad for shutting down his rigged games.

Wow

The trainer has had a change of heart and tried to stop his partner, but everything still ends in disaster. Animals and people are injured or killed. Sets and props are destroyed. Everything is in shambles.

Brad himself barely makes it, having a rare blood type and needing a transfusion. But all that makes him realize that he loves Holly and needs to show her more. That his work and the circus will always, always, be there-but life is fleeting and his could have been over.

He finally has decided that he is going to make time for Holly, romance her, and put her first. Even though, Holly is now busy trying to get the circus together.

Aw!

So romantic that he realizes how important she is. 🙂

To start Romance is in the Air: Part V, go to Who Says I Have to Stop: Fireproof (2008)

For the previous post, go to I Want to Recreate Your Perfect Christmas: Holiday in Handcuffs (2007)

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For more on The Greatest Show on Earth, go to The Greatest Show on Earth

For more Charlton Heston, Oh, Moses, Moses: Happy 60th Anniversary to The Ten Commandments

With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish Heroes

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Yes it is time for our annual countdown of great Irish heroes from film and books. Let me tell you, this year was hard. I had two, then that grew to seven in August. After a lot of thinking, it finally rounded out to seventeen.

I’m great

But then I realized one of those on my list wasn’t actually Irish!

I was sunk.

It was down to the wire…but with a little luck I finally found someone.

irishblessing

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17) Lady Bess Sedgwick from At Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie

At Bertram’s Hotel is a Miss Marple mystery, in which Miss Marple goes on vacation for a fortnight to the place she though was the most delightful place of her youth, Bertram’s Hotel. Miss Marple enjoys the hotel, it looking as if it hadn’t changed a bit since she was young, but at the same time feels uneasy. It almost seems as if there is evil lurking about the place. Besides old friends she sees Lady Bess Sedgwick, best described as an adventurer, and also becomes interested in the interactions of a young girl, Elvira Blake. Soon a train is robbed, a Canon goes missing, jewelry is stolen, young girls are running off to Ireland, a race car driver is causing discord with mother and daughter, the doorman is murdered: and Bertram’s is right in the middle of it.

Why Lady Bess Sedgwick is Awesome: *Contains Spoilers*

Bess Sedgwick is an amazing person who has done everything daring you can think of. She was a member of the French Resistance, she fought German troops, she flew solo across the Atlantic, driven racing cars, saved two children from a burning building, and is the second best dressed woman in England. But she isn’t all great- she has a string of marriages, gave her daughter up to her ex- husband (and guardians after his death never having contact with her), is a crime syndicate boss and thief. However, what earned her a spot on this list was that even though she spent her whole life being selfish and just doing what she wants and likes, is that when her daughter was in trouble she was there for her and tried to take the blame for her to let her daughter live. It might not have been the morally right thing to do, but it showed how much she loved her daughter in that she was willing to sacrifice everything for her daughter.

For more Agatha Christie, go to There Wouldn’t Be Any Difficulty in Finding a King: The Secret of Chimneys

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16) Shannon Christie from Far and Away

Joseph Donnelly (Tom Cruise) is a poor Irishman, who after his father’s death could no longer pay the high rent. After his family farm is burned down, he goes off to take his revenge on the landlord Daniel Christie. That attempt fails, and by some strange coincidence he finds himself being a valet to Christie’s daughter, Shannon (Nicole Kidman), on her voyage to America. What was thought as being a temporary arrangement becomes more permanent, as all of Shannon’s things are stolen and she finds herself becoming dependent on Joseph for survival. With the two masquerading as brother and sister they start working in the factories to earn enough money to buy land in the West. As the two continue to work in America they find out that their road West will not be an easy one.

Why Shannon Christie is Awesome:

At first she appears to be nothing but a spoiled brat, but as we continue to watch the film Shannon has some real hutzpah. She will not live off Joseph, but sets off to help provide for their travel West, working in horrible conditions of a chicken factory. When she and her family finally go West, she is instrumental in showing them the skills she learned and teaching them what they must do to survive now that they are no longer gentry, but just like everyone else.

For more on Far and Away, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes

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15) Professor Laurence MacKay from Please Don’t Eat the Daises

Professor Laurence MacKay (David Niven) is leaving the academic world to become a drama critic. His wife, Kate (Doris Day), is at first thrilled for him, but as he becomes more sought after and being invited to parties nearly every night; she starts to wonder if the fame will go to his head and that he will change for the worse. When the lease comes up on their apartment, and they find themselves going to homeless, they decide to live their dream of being in the country. However, Laurence finds it hard adjusting to country life and the constant repairs of the house. Kate sends him back to New York to finish his book, while she completes the house. Throw in the mix a Broadway writer angry at his bad review plotting revenge on the MacKays and a starlet setting out to seduce Laurence; and you have one highjink-filled film.

Why Professor Laurence MacKay is Awesome:

Laurence does spend a majority of the film a jerk as fame and flattery have turned him from the person he was into this stranger; but when such things are pointed out to him, he realizes his mistakes and the old Laurence resurfaces. Above all he loves his wife and his children, turning down the siren and staying true to them.

For more on David Niven, go to On the 7th Day ‘Til Christmas: The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

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14) Regan Reilly from The Regan Reilly Mysteries by Carol Higgins Clark

Regan is the daughter of mystery writer Nora Reilly, and funeral director Logan Reilly. Instead of joining either parent’s professions, she decides to become a private investigator.

Why Regan Reilly is Awesome:

She is a great private detective who is always looking in every direction for the answer to any problem that may come her way. She is a likable character,intelligent, along with being caring and compassionate. I am looking forward to reading more of her novels.

For more on Regan Reilly check out my sister blog Mysterious Eats with Decked

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13) Bridget Hennessy from 8 Simple Rules

Paul Hennessy is a sports writer, protective father, and loving family man. His wife is Cate, a nurse, and they have three kids: Bridget the eldest is beautiful and only cares about fashion, looks, and boys; Kerry, middle child, suffers from insecurities about her looks and is the smart, studious one; and Rory is the youngest, an adorable sports nut. With each episode we balance comedy and drama as they deal with real life issues.

Why Bridget Hennessy is Awesome:

While at first Bridget only cares about her looks and popularity, we see that as the show progresses and she grows up that her character develops and she begins to extend in her interests and hobbies. She cares about her family and tries to be there for them; especially after the death of her father. The fact that her ex-boyfriend is dating her sister bothers her at first, but ultimately she cares more about her sister and wants her to be happy. She may not be the most intelligent person in schoolwork, but her kindness and compassion grows with her.

I love the episodes when she dates her tutor Jeremy, Jonathan Taylor Thomas. I wish they had had more of him.

For more on 8 Simple Rules, go to It’s Fantastico!

12) Finn O’Finnegan from Too Many Leprechauns Or How That Pot o’ Gold Got to the End of the Rainbow by Stephen Krensky

Finn O’Finnegan returns home and finds that leprechauns have invaded his town of Dingle, making shoes and keeping anyone from the town from sleeping, working, or cooking, etc. O’Finnegan comes up with a plan to out trick them, and be able to enjoy his mother’s soda bread.

Why Finn O’Finnegan is Awesome:

This is a cute children’s book with a great main character in O’Finnegan. He looks like a rogue or a rascal, so a lot of people don’t trust him; but it doesn’t matter what he looks like, he has brains in his head and uses them to not only outsmart the Leprechauns, but save his whole village. A hilarious story and perfect for Saint Patrick’s Day.

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11) Sharon McKendrick from The Parent Trap

Susan is traveling to camp from California. She meets Sharon from Boston. This wouldn’t be unusual except for the fact that they look exactly alike. That’s right, Sharon and Susan are twins, separated after their parents divorced, as each took one sister home with them. The two become friends and decide to switch places in order to get to know the other parent and reunite their parents. Unfortunately, a lot has changed while Susan was away. Her father met someone and is engaged! Now the girls are trying to reformulate their plan to break up her dad and his fiancé, and get their mom and dad back together.

Why Sharon is Awesome:

So both girls are Irish on their mom’s side, but as Susan wasn’t really raised by her mother, I decided to include only Sharon.

Sharon is very talented in music, conversation, art, elocution, etc. She is also very intelligent, putting together the fact that they are siblings long before Susan.

We also see that out of the two, Sharon is quieter and kinder; trying to be friends, or at least civil, with Susan in the beginning, only going to war after the first shots were fired. Sharon is also very brave as she lets her untrained sister cut her hair and pierce her ears, (there are some things I would never let my sister do even though I love her). A fun and sweet character you can’t help but love (and so much better than the remake.)

For more on The Parent Trap, go to At the End of the Rainbow: 17 More Irish Heroes

For more Hayley Mills, go to That Darn Cat

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10) Paul Hennessy from 8 Simple Rules

Paul Hennessy (John Ritter) is a sports writer, protective father, and loving family man. His wife is Cate, a nurse, and they have three kids: Bridget the eldest is beautiful and only cares about fashion, looks, and boys; Kerry, suffers from insecurities about her looks and is the smart, studious one; and Rory is adorable and a sports nut. With each episode we balance comedy and drama as they deal with real life issues.

Why Paul Hennessy is Awesome:

Paul Hennessy is a great dad. At times he can be a little overprotective of his girls, but he only wants the best for them. He knows how guys are and he wants to help their teen years be good ones, (he also is having a hard time letting go). As always John Ritter is hilarious, I just like to think of Paul Hennessy being Jack Tripper with a family.

For more on John Ritter, go to She’s Been Totally Different…Like Stepford: Ted, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)

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9) Sarah Nolan from Must Love Dogs

Sarah (Diane Lane) is a 40-year old, divorced, kindergarten teacher. Her brother and sisters are all happily married, and her father is dating (on the internet); so they all think it is time she put herself out there and started again. After an embarrassing snafu in which she ends up accepting an email invite from her father, she tries to navigate the dating world, both electronically and physically. As she begins dating, she finds herself drawn between two very different men: the strong, silent, divorced, father of one of her students (Dermot Mulroney); and the talkative, less orthodox, unexpected, recently divorced boat craftsman (John Cusack). Whom will she choose? Or will this voyage into dating confirm that she is better off with a dog?

Why Sarah is Awesome:

I like that Sarah is a very real character, expressive of people today who are lost in the new way of dating; along with being comfortable in herself and what she likes/wants. She enjoys a quiet life of being with friends, family, animals to love, old movies to watch, etc. You connect to her because she could easily be you, a friend, a family member; she just feels so real.

Also Sarah is brave to begin dating after her jerk of a husband. She also is sweet and funny (only negative, it takes her a while to spot the real winner of the two men.)

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8) Lady Henrietta Flusky from Under Capricorn

This film takes place in early 19th Century Australia. Australia has formerly been a place where England sent their criminals: serving out their sentence and living there, or returning home to England. Now however, more and more “good” citizens have found themselves emigrating to Australia and civilizing the towns. The new Governor, Sir Richard, arrives bringing along his foppish, indolent, “rich boy” nephew, Charles Adare. Charles meets, Samson “Sam” Flusky, an ex-convict, former murderer, and prospering land owner. He intrigues him in a business deal and brings Charles to his house, in which he meets Sam’s wife, Lady Henrietta, who turns out to be an old family friend. Charles soon spends all his time at the house and finds something strange about Henrietta’s actions, as she is no longer the same woman he knew. As with all Alfred Hitchcock films, there is suspense, mystery, and an old secret’s truth is revealed.

Why Lady Henrietta Flusky is Awesome:

Now if my little synopsis has encouraged you to watch the film, then stop reading. If you aren’t interested in watching the film, proceed.

Lady Henrietta spends most of the film going insane from her guilt at killing her brother, the guilt of Sam taking the blame for it, not understanding Sam’s drive (he feels unworthy of her), unable to figure out how to talk to him, and being harassed by a maid who is hoping to replace her as Mrs. Flusky.

However, we discover later how much Henrietta cares for her husband. She loves only him and would do anything to help him. When an accidental shooting looks like he will spend the rest of his days in prison, she is willing to speak up and admit who really killed her brother, (something she would have done in the beginning to save him but was stopped by Sam), and go to prison if it means securing Sam’s freedom. She loves him and would do all she can to help him in any way.

For more on Under Capricorn, go to I Would Suffer Anything to Save You: Under Capricorn (1949)

For more Ingrid Bergman go to Because I Am Mad, I Hate You. Because I Am Mad, I Have Betrayed You: Gaslight (1944)

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7) George McFly from Back to the Future

In Back to the Future Marty McFly, Michael J. Fox, accidentally goes back in time in a time machine built by his friend Dr. Emmet “Doc” Brown. When he gets there he accidentally changes the future by causing his parents not to meet. So not only does he have to discover a way to get back to the future, he also has to get them back together before he ceases to exist.

Why George McFly is Awesome:

George is an incredibly sweet, intelligent, and talented guy. He’s the type that you always want for a friend. A geek, he has never dreamed of stepping out and taking a risk; even though he is in love with Lorraine. However, with a little encouragement from Marty, (and Darth Vader from Planet Vulcan), he will do anything to stand up and protect the person he cares most about.

For more on George McFly and Back to the Future, go to I Will Face My Fears for You: Back to the Future (1985)

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6) Macaulay “Mike” Connor from The Philadelphia Story

Tracy Lorde (Katherine Hepburn), high society girl, is planning on getting married again and wants everything to go perfect, but unfortunately that is not in the cards. First, her ex-husband C. K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) returns to her life trying to reunite. Spy Magazine wants to do a feature on her and have sent in a reporter, Macaulay “Mike” Connor (Jimmy Stewart), and a photographer to do the story. She has to contend with them snooping around and try to hide that her father has run off with a dancer. She enlists her uncle to pretend to be her father, which as you can tell brings on gaffes and guffaws. As Tracy spends time with Dexter Haven, Connor, and her fiancé George Kittredge; she starts to wonder who it is she is really in love with and wishes to marry.

Why Mike Connor is Awesome:

Mike is a top reporter: sarcastic, snoopy, cynical, sharp edged, cold, and full of wit. However, while he seems like your typical newshound, there is much more to him than meets the eye. Connor has a romantic soul; a compassionate and tenderness about him that is revealed in the short stories he has written and when he romances Tracy. At first he is a little prejudiced at the upper class, seeing them as snobs looking down at him; but when such judgement is proved false he realizes his mistake and finds himself enjoying the company of the upper crust. A great character and played wonderfully by the fantastic Jimmy Stewart.

For more on Jimmy Stewart, go to The Wearing of the Green: 17 More Irish Heroes

5) Detective Phoebe O’Hara from Kindergarten Cop

Detective John Kimble (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has been on the case of putting away drug dealer Cullen Crisp for a long time. Every time they get a witness, Crisp somehow finds out and takes them out. The only one left is his ex-wife, but she took off with their child, and changed their names. They have managed to locate the area she was in, but have no idea their names or what they look like. All they know is that the child is six years old. He is partnered with Detective Phoebe O’Hara (Pamela Reed), ex-kindergarten teacher turned detective. They are going to pretend to be husband and wife while she teaches at the school in order to hunt out which kid is Cullen Crisp Jr. Unfortunately, O’Hara gets food poisoning and Kimble has to be the teacher. He thinks it will be a cinch, but those of us who have worked with kids know nothing is ever that easy.

Why Detective Phoebe O’Hara is Awesome:

I just love this character. Here is a petite woman who is is incredibly strong and able to hold her own against the toughest criminals. She is intelligent and quick witted, assessing situations and navigating them on the fly. For instance, when she realizes that Kimble is attracted to one of the teachers, she rewrites their cover story in seconds, becoming his “sister” and flawlessly speaking in an Austrian accent. I also love that she is always eating, and not just healthy food, but good food, calories don’t matter. Besides that she is hilarious, every time she is on the screen I am cracking up. A fantastic and fun character.

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4) Doris Walker from Miracle on 34th Street

Doris is in charge of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade but is experiencing a major problem when the person she hired to be Santa is drunk! Luckily she finds a man who is the exact image of Santa and can have him fill in, a man who goes by Kris Kringle. He is then hired on at the store and becomes even more invested in her life as he moves in with her  neighbor (and guy she is interested in); along with befriending her daughter and helping teach her how to be a child. But when Kris insists that he is the “real” Santa Claus, it lands him in a mental facility, the only way out?A huge court case to determine whether or not Santa is “real”.

Why Doris Walker is Awesome:

So some of you might be wondering, how do I know that Doris Walker is Irish, after all, Walker is an English name? Well, first of all Walker is her married name so it has no bearing on her ethnicity, and secondly: every character that O’Hara plays is Irish because she is Irish.

Doris Walker is a great character because here is a woman who was so totally destroyed by her husband’s misdeeds (we are never told what they are but they must have been bad), but works hard to not only provide for herself and her daughter; but be sure to spend as much quality time with her. She is kind and caring, not wanting Kris at first in her life, but once she gets to know him finds herself falling for his charm and wanting to help him in any way. She stands up to others trying to trick him and get rid of him, vowing to be no part of their evil plan. She spends a lot of time going against imagination, blind trust, and faith for realism; but in the end realizes she is wrong and tries to raise her daughter to believe in those intangible things and to believe in Kris. “I was wrong when I told you that, Susie. You must believe in Mr. Kringle and keep right on doing it. You must have faith in him.” She even “writes a letter to Santa”, encouraging and supporting him.

For more on Miracle on 34th Street, go to 25 Films of Christmas

For more Maureen O’Hara, go to That Place…There’s Queer Things Goes on There: Jamaica Inn (1939)

3) Andrew O’Brien from Copper

Copper is about the NYPD in the mid 19th century. New York is a crazy place with the Civil War  going on bringing tension between Southerners and Northerners; the racial clashes between “Americans”, “White” Europeans, Irish, and African-Americans. Corky is one of the “coppers” trying to keep the notorious Five Points in line with its murders, thievery, prostitution, opium trade, etc.

Why Andrew O’Brien is Awesome:

Andre O’Brien is a good man. He is good to his woman, making her his one and only, along with not staying out too late but being home at night (as if he didn’t she would probably belt him). He’s a good friend, always  there for Corky when he is needed, no matter the job. Honorable and loyal to the end. He is also a good cop; protecting, patrolling, and caring for the people in his community. That’s why I put him up so high, he’s all around a great man and as everyone knows a good man is hard to find.

For more Copper, go to Simply Fantastic

2) Father Lonergan from The Quiet Man

The Quiet Man tells the story of Irish-American born Boxer Sean “Trooper Thorn” Thornton (John Wayne), returning to Ireland to regain his family land. What no one but Father Lonergan knows is that Thornton killed a man in the ring, and decided to give up boxing and fighting for good. While in Ireland Thornton tries to adapt to the culture and at the same time falls for the feisty, traditional Mary Kate Danagher (Maureen O’Hara). Thornton wants to date her, but has to go through all the traditional methods of courtship, something extremely foreign to him.

Why Father Lonergan is Awesome:

Father Lonergan is a kindly priest who cares about the people in the community and tries to help them in any way he can. He is the first to accept Sean Thornton into the community, as others are not quite so welcoming of an “American” (they don’t recognizing him as Irish). Father Lonergan is helpful in not only explaining the culture and the way life is to Thornton, but there to counsel him and Mary-Kate through their matrimony.

Even though Father Lonergan is Catholic, and is most of the people, when the Protestant church is about to be shut down by its overseers for lack of members, Father Langoren gets his congregation to pretend they are part of the church so that Rev. Playfair can remain in the area. Even though he might not agree on everything, Father Lonergan is there for any one who needs help in the community, no matter what.

But while Father Lonergan is a kind priest, there is a lot more to him than one would imagine. He is an avid boxing fan (which is how he knows Thornton’s secret) and the leader of the local IRA. For him he doesn’t want to have bloodshed or bombings (which is what most of us think of when we hear IRA), but he wants to unite the Irish people so that they achieving independence and freedom.

For more on The Quiet Man, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes

1) Jessica B. Fletcher AKA J.B. Fletcher from Murder She Wrote

Jessica Fletcher is a retired, widowed schoolteacher from Cabot Cove, Maine. When she writes a book for fun she never dreamed it would take off as it did or that she would become one of the best-selling mystery writers in the United States. Besides writing her stories, Jessica always manages to come upon a mystery and murder. Using her Miss Marple-ian way of observing; she manages to solve every case she comes upon (and still have time to write).

Why Jessica B. Fletcher is Awesome:

No matter how wealthy, famous, or powerful she becomes: Jessica always stays the same. She never uses any of this to abuse others, manipulate those she comes across, or have it mold her into a different person. She still visits her extensive relatives, always having time to aid them in anything they need. She is never too busy to make new friends (from all walks of life), help a struggling writer, give advice when needed, tutor those who need help, fundraise for charities, etc. Even when she solves case after case, she never lords over the police or tries to take over investigations; she is respectful and offers her observations. She is kind, caring, understanding, compassionate, adorable, sweet, intelligent, and never says I told you so.

For more on Murder She Wrote, go to Please Excuse My Dear Fan Lady

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So that ends my list for this year. You all know what I’ll be doing with the rest of my day. Eating some soda bread made by my sister blog, MysteriousEats.wordpress.com. And my yearly tradition, watching the Disney Channel Original Movie: The Luck of the Irish.

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For the 2013 Saint Patrick’s Day post, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes 

For the 2014 Saint Patrick’s Day post, go to At the End of the Rainbow: 17 More Irish Heroes

For the 2015 Saint Patrick’s Day post, go to Lookin’ Over a Four-Leaf Clover: 17 More Irish Heroes

For the 2016 Saint Patrick’s Day post, go to The Wearing of the Green: 17 More Irish Heroes

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Not a Hipster, But an O.F.

I hate hipsters.

Guy you suck!

Guys you suck!

Every hipster I have ever met have been these horrible elitist who think they are better than everyone.

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Ugh. They drive me crazy. They take all the stuff I have loved for years and jack up the prices. Oh, and don’t get me started on their fake glasses wearing. Wearing glasses can be a hard life and the people who do face all kinds of challenges and it bugs me to no end to see these people wear them for “fashion.” It’s like people walking around with hearing-aids for “fashion”. It’s so rude.

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I just can’t stand them, and to make things even worse everyone thinks I’m one.

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You see I have always loved older things. I love classic literature (and actually have read them, not just pretended).

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I love records, especially the art of the album cover!

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I only like music from the past as that is what I grew up listening and I just cannot connect to modern music.

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I love classic cinema as that is what my mom used to show us when we were growing up. I remember being the only kid who liked “black and white” films.

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Or the only one who knew Alfred Hitchcock, William Powell, Errol Flynn, Laurence Oliver, Gregory Peck, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, etc were.

I can only pick 5?

I also only shopped at thrift stores as it was cheap and my family stressed the idea of using something until it was broken and unfixable. For instance I carried a CD player around with me into high school. Yes about 6 years ago when everyone had an iPod or something, I was still carrying my CD player to school and CDs to change them out.

So people think I’m a hipster, but I was doing far before the “hipster” movement came out.

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Like Ginger said, I was raised old fashioned. And that’s how I like it.

It is the truth.

It is the truth.

That’s how I was raised. Vintage, old, historic, traditional; these were a way of life for us, and especially me.

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That’s right. I don’t follow the current trends, even if they are “new-old” ones. I do what I like and enjoy the things I love. Sometimes the books, clothing, film, or even dating styles I like aren’t popular:

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But I don’t care if it goes against the crowd or isn’t what “everyone else is doing”. I enjoy the things I enjoy and I’m going to keep living my life the way it is.

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For more on being old-fashioned, go to It’s Not Old…It’s Vintage

For more on hipsters, go to We’re in the Future: Good-bye 2015

For more in Italo Calvino, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more Ginger Rogers, go to Food, Food, Food!