Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Wit to Brighten even the Grayest Day


Another gray day. Spring is taking its own sweet time getting here and I am ready to explode. No point in going outside. Even I am not masochistic enough to try and enjoy the outdoors in this weather.

I cheered myself up with one of my favorite Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movies The Barkleys of Broadway, followed by Astaire and Audrey Hepburn at her most luminous in Funny Face. I love Funny Face, even though Astaire is way too old for Hepburn, primarily because of Hepburn's amazing wardrobe. As the face of a magazine, her couture clothes are timeless, elegant and look as though they were meant to be worn exclusively by her, which I'm sure they were. Kate Moss and Claudia Schiffer can only dream of looking half as amazing as Hepburn looks in this movie.

When I was a little girl it seemed to be on TV every Saturday afternoon. I was absolutely adamant that when I married I would wear the wedding dress Hepburn wore in Funny Face.

The Barkleys of Broadway was Fred and Ginger's last movie together. They were great, but what makes this movie a favorite of mine is it costarred Oscar Levant. A brilliant composer, pianist, actor and wit whose life was far more tragic than it should have been. He died when I was still a kid and hadn't appeared in public for years before that. But I was exposed to him through several musicals he appeared in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Even as a child watching a movie two generations old, I thought he was hysterically funny with his very dry, very deadpan, very cutting wit. He is truly timeless.

It wasn't until many years later that I learned much about his life, and how sadly he declined. But his wit lives on.

"Happiness isn't something you experience; it's something you remember."

"I am no more humble than my talents require."

"I envy people who drink. At least they have something to blame everything on."

"I find that girl completely resistible."

My personal favorite and still apropos today:

"I once said cynically of a politician, 'He'll doublecross that bridge when he comes to it.' "

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