Hudly (Spoiler Alert and Trigger Warning)

I think I’ll start discussing classic films on occasion. I don’t know entirely why I never have on this blog before. I’ve loved classic films and been watching them since childhood.

And this brings me to “Hud” from 1963 with Patricia Neal, Paul Newman, Brandon deWilde, and Melvyn Douglas.

Paul Newman is one of my absolute favorite actors. He’s brilliant. Truly a genius. And he’s also deep.

As a straight woman I’ve had many crushes on many men during my life. But, more often than not, I’ve been captured by their handsome exterior and the sparkle of their soul inside only to discover later that underneath all of that there is the a big unknown; they don’t truly know who they are beyond the obvious and the surface. They exist behind it all of course, but not even they know exactly who is there.

I haven’t ever been attracted to any other gender other than men but I do know from friendships with other gendered people that a lot of humans are like that in general. And if people open up enough you can sometimes discuss that big unknown with them in a positive way. In friendships discussing the unknown within can be very interesting and fun actually. People are fascinating.

But…the romantic relationships that I’ve enjoyed the most have been the ones where I was with someone who knew themselves deeply. Those have been very rare, of course.

He woos you and gives you the impression that there’s a million plans and hopes in his mind and heart based on his profound inner understanding and when after knowing him long enough you discover that he isn’t false but indeed passionately engaged with life from a place deep inside himself, it’s genuinely awe-inspiring. His charisma isn’t a façade.

Paul Newman was that sort of person, I think. And it was reflected in his theatrical performances. He had a boyish charm and when you saw him with Joanne there was a youthful gleam in his eye that never died over the years but in that buoyancy there wasn’t an emptiness or lack of self. I’m not saying that he was a marvelous person or that he wasn’t. I’ve read varying accounts of his life. Still, I get the sense that either way he knew himself. And with that understanding I think he brought amazing nuance and contradictions out in his characters.

Hud. Hud, as played by Paul Newman, is a study in complexity and contradictions.

To cut to the chase: He basically tries to rape someone, although I don’t think Hud would entirely see it as attempted rape (and he apologizes for it to some degree later). And also, Hud is sometimes irresponsible, immoral and disrespectful.

And yet… And yet.

When Hud’s father dies and says incredibly bitter and hateful words towards Hud (as he has in the past) Hud doesn’t seem surprised so much as heartbroken and resigned. Hud has a heart that can break.

Hud knows at that point that his father sees him as a terrible person and his light and heart exist in defiance of rejection the entire film. And while Hud’s face betrays a self-awareness that he’s not as good of a man as his little brother he also gives the impression that there’s a genuine goodness and strength within him that almost no one sees or respects. A stalwart, manly courage. A lonely, angry, hurt man who feels trapped and afraid. A man who is aware of his own mortality. A man who is deep.

Hud is a troubled man for certain but not a fool. He may not believe in his own life but he knows he exists and perhaps knows there’s a God out there too. …It’s not a mistake that the entire film was named after him.

Sung (Repost)

Spicy lily-of-the-valley and carnation are flanked by bright citrus notes (Alfred Sung 1986).  Into the drydown a musky amber and vanillic warmth become ever more opulent. Other florals are green, dense and yet watery… It’s a very 80’s scent and a pretty one. 

My Grandma Adeline had a box of this and Giorgio Beverly Hills on her dresser in my early childhood (although she smelled like Fendi). I remember always being curious and smelling it occasionally…

Top notes: lemon, bergamot, ylang ylang, hiacynth, galbanum, mandarin orange, and orange.  Middle notes: carnation, iris, rose, orchid, lily-of-the-valley, rose, and osmanthus.  Base notes: vanilla, amber, vetiver, oakmoss, musk, orange blossom and sandalwood.  

Wallis In Charge

“…in charge of our days and our nights…”. I have the theme song to the 1980’s sitcom Charles In Charge stuck in my head. “…in charge of our wrongs and our rights.”

Nevermind American television shows from my childhood. Do you know who Wallis Simpson is?! *smile* You should. Truly.

Wallis Simpson is one of the most glamorous and yet also highly controversial figures in Western History. She was already a once divorced and presently cheating wife when she met King Edward VIII and beguiled him with her magic. And my gosh, was that woman magic. There was something about her that so captured the very popular and relatively youthful British King’s attention that he forsook others just to truly possess her. Well, and he forsook the crown too.

Can you imagine though? Giving up the crown to one of the most powerful and vast empires ever to exist for the sake of love? And he actually did it. For her. Who? Wallis Simpson. Ms. Magic.

…Things didn’t go so well after that for them, but that only adds to the epic nature of the story and the grandeur of his affections. He’s quoted as saying, “At last I am able to say a few words of my own…you must believe me when I tell you that I would not have been able to carry the heavy stress of responsibility and to do my duties as King, as I would wish to do, without the help and support of the woman I love.” My goodness.

Intriguingly as a side-note, I have read that Wallis was…very particular about many things. In charge? …Mm. Yes. And Edward might have liked it that way.

AND in the past few days I’ve also read many articles about how similar or not similar Wallis is to Meghan Markle due to the current “abdication crises”. Maybe you have too?

Anyway, I’m here to say that I’ve been making that comparison since I first heard about Meghan. Literally. On this blog. I’ve always compared those two to each other…

Why? Because…because…they are a lot alike. A lot.

Shall I make a numbered list of what they have in common? Ha! Maybe I should. *shrug*

Ok. And yes, I think Meghan is probably “in charge” too.

1. They’re both American. Not just “American” either, mind you. No. They both seem like the female embodiment of a type (not all Americans are the same of course) of true Americana. At least they seem like that to me. Perhaps it’s their sartorial viewpoints. Very American. Their senses of style remind me of each other’s quite a bit.

2. They were both raised by single mothers who had reduced means after the end of their marriages. Meghan’s father is still alive and Wallis’ father died, but it does seem as if their mothers were the main parental figures either way. And they both lived in modest living situations with their moms while being surrounded by wealth socially.

3. They’re both incredibly resilient and unusually intelligent. Being raised without a father in childhood and then divorced as an adult was a terrible challenge back in the early half of the 20th Century but Wallis kept rising socially to meteoric levels regardless. Wallis also divorced a second time to marry Edward, of course. And given the many obstacles she’s faced so far and her current stature despite it all Meghan seems to have that same ability to “bounce back” and land on the moon.

4. Both women have a tendency to climb ladders using their feminine charms. From one man to another up the social heap they similarly ascended. (An objective observation not a judgment.)

5. And accordingly…they both seem to wield an uncanny amount of power over men romantically, but more specifically men in the British Royal Family. One man each to be clear. And those men, while different in their respective amount of authority in reference to the crown, do have a certain similarity as individuals. At least, it appears to me that Edward and Harry are somewhat alike too…

6. They’re both a paradoxical combination of taboo and acceptable by the standards of their times. Wallis “the American divorcée” (no longer as big of a deal as it was in her day) and Meghan also an American who is of varying races (shouldn’t be a big deal today but still sadly is). Yet, both are also lovely, photogenic, captivating, and stylish. All perceived positives. Also, both were and are reasonably socio-economically acceptable for a royal marriage and yet not entirely so either.

7. …I could go on and on (including how they have affected their Royal in-laws relationships with their Royal men)…but I’ll conclude with these photos, which I think suggest that there’s something the same about their personality types. Their souls. It’s the way their very beings are reflected in their eyes, I think. Different people but lots in common.

(Images via Google Images)

Symbole (Repost)

Bright, beautiful tea-like green notes and gorgeous florals are flanked by smoky aldehydes and spice at the beginning of Symbole (Dana 1946).  It’s a robust chypre with definite styrax, rose, musk, and vetiver. The unique thing about Symbole however, is that it’s not particularly weighed down despite its depth. It’s an almost fun scent in a vintage lavender meets glitter sort of way… 

Tyran (Repost)

Tyran (Dana possibly 1930’s – unknown) is spicy as fruity notes careen elegantly about eventually creating a powdery chypre. The few florals are lovely but dark and dense. This is a very intelligent and subversive scent (of course) perhaps best worn, as many of the scents in my vintage Dana sampler, at night… 

Bon Voyage (Repost)

Bon Voyage (Dana 1960) is one of those rare vintages that catch you by surprise. It’s extremely spicy… If an actual hot pepper found its way into the bottle of a labdanum and oakmoss drenched green chypre it might resemble Bon Voyage. Although, it’s important to note that this scent, while very vibrant, is also well composed. The notes are rich, warm and pretty… 

Marilyn on a Bus (Spoiler Alert)

Also…I very recently watched the 1956 film directed by Joshua Logan based loosely on the William Inge play, “Bus Stop”. Marilyn Monroe was the big star of the film of course, and she does carry almost the entire movie by herself. While the other actors are necessary (Hope Lange, Arthur O’Connell, Eileen Heckart, Betty Field and Don Murray) it would be a wreck if Monroe hadn’t been the star. That’s my opinion anyway…

But truly, in a way, it’s so heartbreaking to watch. Marilyn is this Hillbilly heroine named Cherie who decides to rescue her own life (and possibly her little sister’s too) by leaving home and making her way to Hollywood. In order to make it there though she has to spend time working as a chanteuse in a saloon. Things are rough but she’s determined and then she meets Bo. Sweet, exceptionally handsome, and good-hearted Bo.

He’s an unaware type of individual and so is she, they’re also both backward and maybe a little dim, but both have good intentions and very strong wills. In a matter of time- Anyway, with the $43 ring (in 1956 Dollars) he gives her and the supremely manly coat from his back that he shares with her she may find real happiness. ( I won’t entirely ruin the ending. Sorry.) And…it’s heartbreaking in that way because I think the true Marilyn was looking for her real Bo her whole life. Her true love. *sigh* Her passionate, super manly, bright spirited, deep, smart and kind man with Celtic charm. Joe DiMaggio, Miller, the Kennedys and something bright and open that was reminiscent of the better part of herself. *sigh* …Maybe he even would have been a real cowboy of the old sort. Who knows… And I wonder if she’d met him, if he existed, if she would have even given up her career for him? For love and respect? Happiness? I wonder. Because Bo really is Marilyn’s persona’s perfect match (or darn near close)… Bo hints at the type of man the real Marilyn Monroe might have also needed and wanted.

In the mood for an upbeat romance? Ha! I think TCM still has “Bus Stop” On Demand or you can rent it. Either way, it’s at least worth watching once.

Watch clips here and here .

The Meghan Troubles

“She’s a garbage commoner” “American Trash” said Americans and British alike in response to an article about the Meghan and Harry’s “Hamexit” (ham seems appropriate given Meghan’s theatrical aspirations and history) from the Royal Family. And of course there were also (tragically) racist comments and comments about how awful the Royal Family is…and, of course, references to the late Princess Diana that were either for or against the couple.

*Ahem* But I’m going to quickly discuss class now, because it’s relevant to this story. If you disagree or find what I’m saying offensive I’m slightly sorry. *smile* I’ll return to not discussing it after this post.

Is Meghan in fact “a commoner”? Yes and no and yes? By American standards, Kate’s background is both middle and upper-middle class with tinges of the upper class and Meghan’s is actually quite similar to that. Sure Meghan has ties to somewhat historically significant ancestors in American history through the Markle name but considering her father and his family and their “aesthetic” of a sort of self-victimizing desperation, cloddish tastelessness and embarrassing lack of any pretense to genuine “elegance” (note quotation marks) it’s perhaps meaningful on a personal level but not particularly all that indicative of the class she was in before her Royal marriage. And she doesn’t seem to really acknowledge that family anymore anyway… But to be more clear while there is a relation in her father’s lineage to an aristocrat it’s not the family name Markle and it’s genuinely distant history in their case. There’s a relation. It’s not a grandparent’s surname. It’s not even a great grandparent’s surname. It’s “ stuff”.

Meghan’s real “elegance” seems to have started with her mother actually. Her mother is upper-middle class and well educated. And Meghan has her own hard-earned trappings of the upper-middle class as well. I suppose some credit should be given to her father and his lottery winnings (literally) and semi-posh Hollywood lighting job for her education. He did realize that that was a way for his daughter to “better herself” and he helped fund that part of her life. But, it’s her mother who seems to have truly informed her views the most.

So is she a commoner? Yes. Very much so. But she’s “well bred” too. Despite how badly she’s behaving she’s not really all that…”trashy”. (Sorry if that narrative comforts you.)

…The thing is…even if her mother is lovely and has raised Meghan well that doesn’t mean she was truly ready for the huge leap into the British Royal Family. Joke or not, the Royal Family does have an intense and significant role and history. Right? Meghan may or may not truly love Harry for himself instead of his prestige and glamour but a sort of culture shock was unavoidable either way. She’s an American, racially diverse, ex upper-middle class and former cable television show actress of somewhat notable success (and wealth) but definite beauty. That’s a long distance from understanding or being a part of Harry’s world. It’s an even farther distance from respecting or appreciating it.

Will their union last? Maybe. Maybe… They do seem to have an “us against the world” thing between them and that can be very powerful in keeping a marriage intact. But it’s unclear what Meghan’s motives are overall (or Harry’s). Will she use her husband just long enough to accomplish her ends and then drop him for attractive younger men and even more freedom in the future? Will he eventually cheat and “move on” out of frustration and regret? Or will they last? The new Wallis and Edward? Perhaps the Bahamas are calling…

Who knows. But regardless, it’s depressing and dramatic. And I do think Meghan and Harry have been very disrespectful to Queen Elizabeth and the British people and at the same time I wonder what level of awfulness Meghan has had to endure…

Canoe (Repost)

Blue like a lake on a sunny summer day, lavender, clary sage and lemon create a cool crispness in Canoe (Dana 1936). Then warm florals mix with musk and patchouli bringing a buttery, doughy, almond sugar-like charm.  And the drydown is refined and elegant.  

Top notes are lavender, clary sage and lemon.  Middle notes are carnation, patchouli, bourbon geranium, cedar and cloves.  Base notes are tonka bean, vanilla, oakmoss, heliotrope and musk.

Nose: Jean Carles