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Les-Enfants-Du-Paradis

By Tony d’Ambra

Garance, the older woman who has experience, wisdom, the patina of a mature mellow wine, and the allure of the courtesan.  Garance a red flower rhymes with France. A delicate symbol of freedom and of a simple yet ravishing elegance. Garance personifies liberty. Liberty as depicted by Delacroix, where again the colour red dominates: red for nationalistic passion and a vitality for revolutionary liberty. The metaphor is strong and simple.

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by Sam Juliano

June has arrived, and many are plotting their course for the summer.  Temperatures have reached the mid 80′s on the east coast, and more of the same seems a certainty.  Right now for some its about weekend visits to the shore, baseball games and barbecues,  and for teachers it is a matter of three more weeks before summer vacation commences.  This does not apply to yours truly, and some other colleagues, who must soldier on in the summer program, which begins June 26th and runs through August 8th.  Lucille and I are planning to drive up to Prince Edward Island Island for a five day trip in mid-August, but I know I am getting ahead of myself here.

The romantic countdown is moving along beautifully, with some fabulous essays and active comment sections to prove its success.  The venture will be running all the way until October 6th, with Monday to Friday postings.I want to take this opportunity to thank our very good friend John Grant over at NOIRISH for his regular updates on the progress of the countdown.  Some of John’s own superb essays for the countdown are literally right around the corner. (more…)

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by Duane Porter

The life of Adele. Every morning Adele comes out the door, adjusts her pants, and hurries down the street to catch the bus that takes her to school. In class they are reading from La Vie de Marianne, “Ideas take hold of me. I am a woman. I tell my story.” The passage being discussed considers the possibility of ‘love at first sight’. Adele is enchanted, she loves this book and is immersed in the life of Marianne. Wide eyed, her mouth perpetually half-open, she has an insatiable desire to experience life, particularly the life of Adele.

Between classes, the girls like to talk about boys. They are all sure that one of the senior boys, Thomas, has eyes for Adele. She pooh-poohs the idea but she is obviously intrigued. Then, one morning, Thomas sits by her on the bus. They talk about the weather. They talk about the book Adele is reading, La Vie de Marianne. And they talk about what kind of music they like. She likes all kinds, she says, except hard rock with long hair and screaming. He is a musician, he teases her saying hard rock, heavy metal, is what he plays, but then he reassures her that he doesn’t and says he’d like to play for her sometime. That way they can meet again. (more…)

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Wings (1)

by Pedro Silva

“For the love song is never truly happy. It must first embrace the potential for pain. Those songs that speak of love without having within their lines an ache or a sigh are not love songs at all but rather Hate Songs disguised as love songs, and are not to be trusted.” in the words of Nick Cave on his lecture The Secret Life of the Love Song.

The romantic genre generally goes around a central love story and tends to come to an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending trying to ignore the dangerous path that waits the few souls that have courage enough to love truly and unconditionally, and most times fail to create trustfully love stories.

Nick knows all about Love Stories, and his performance of “From Her to Eternity” on the punk-cabaret club where Marion wonders alone couldn’t be more appropriate. The title resumes the film and the lyrics of the song even refer to a man that reads the diary of his lover as Damiel hears the thoughts of Marion. Again “The Carny” lyrics and darkness are perfect to emulate her feelings about this particular moment in her life. The contrast is evident between Jürgen Knieper’s celestial score on the library scenes against the gothic darkness of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. (more…)

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Now Voyager (1942)

By Tony d’Ambra

 

“THE untold want, by life and land ne’er granted,
Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.”

-Walt Whitman, The Untold Want, Leaves of Grass (1900)

 

Novelist Olive Higgins Prouty chose the title for her popular novel ‘Now, Voyager’ from two lines of poetry by Walt Whitman. These words in the book and in the film are offered to a repressed spinster, Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis), the youngest daughter of a wealthy Boston matriarch (Gladys Cooper), by her psychiatrist Dr Jaquith (Claude Rains) as the key to freedom, to her making her own way in the world.  Away from the oppressive hold her tyrannical mother has over her.

Now, Voyager while absolutely a ‘woman’s picture’, significantly and importantly transcends melodrama. Yes, ugly duckling Charlotte finds love and purpose in two romantic hours of movie magic from Hollywood’s golden years. There is more than romance though. There is romantic love and passion, but also compassion. A compassion that sublimates romantic love to a familial love that from nurture finds fulfilment and a kind of freedom. (more…)

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Jillian Juliano after receiving Confirmation outside of Our Lady of Grace Roman Catholic Church Thursday evening.

Jillian again outside OLG

by Sam Juliano

Memorial Day 2014.  Always the entrance point for the hot stuff and treks down to the beaches.  Today promises to be ideal for barbecues and outdoor family get-togethers.  I say “today promises” because I am posting on Sunday afternoon a day in advance to stay behind the scheduled Number 96 romantic countdown essay that will automatically appear sometime in the middle of the night as set by the author.  Speaking of the romantic countdown, we completed the first week of its multiple month run, and are settling in to the routine we well remember from the prior genre countdown, most recently the one that considered westerns.  We are very pleased at the number of comments and page views and are anticipating a steady spike.  Thanks to all who have taken the time to participate in one way or another.

I want to again thank our very dear and constant friend and guardian angel Dee Dee for navigating the sidebar and adorning it with lovely reminders of Memorial Day, and for keeping ahead of some of the terrific noir venues nationwide.

Our friend Pat Perry is back from her trip to Germany, and is posting photos on her Facebook page.  Both Tony d’Ambra and Terrill Welch are still in Europe with their spouses, engaged in priceless visits to many scenic locations in France, Germany and Italy.  I’ve heard from both and am thrilled at the expected wrap up report when they return.  Some of us can only dream of such a journey. (more…)

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Powerful Moroccan film “Horses of God”, about Islamic extremism showing at Film Forum

by Sam Juliano

May weather has taken hold, as some in our midst have been pondering vacation options.  Our good friend Laurie Buchanan has settled in her new Pacific northwest paradise in Idaho, while three of our other esteemed kindred spirits are presently in Europe immersing themselves in all the cultural and sensory locations that many of us see only in our dreams.  Pat Perry has been in Germany the past ten days or so, and even reported she saw the new Godzilla over the weekend.  Tony d’Ambra’s spectacular European trip has recently included a stop in Paris, where he and his wife have experienced the Lourve, the Notre Dame Cathedral, Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triumph as well as other renowned sites, while artist extraordinaire Terrill Welch and her husband David have been all over Italy, offering up magnificent photos of her forays into Florence, Venice and other beautiful places in one of the continent’s most favored cultural meccas.

The romantic countdown begins today with the posting of the Number 101 choice, and will continue every Monday through Friday until the Number 1 essay is unveiled on Monday, October 6.  As always it is hoped that the comment sections will add to the celebration, but even if comments are limited, the presentation will still provide a stellar reference archives for the future.  Thanks to all the writers who have worked so hard to get this project off the ground. (more…)

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Allan with the kids on observation deck of the Empire State Building on August 30, 2008.

by Sam Juliano

I returned home from my annual three-day school trip to Washington D.C. late Friday night to some very shocking news from Allan.  The information initially left me unable to speak, but after rationally reviewing the situation, I am 100% all will be well in the end, and Allan will look back at this time years later and chalk it up to experience.  Allan made the following announcement on Facebook:

OK, no easy way to say this, but on Thursday I went for an endoscopy and a small tumour was found at the join between the oesophagus and the stomach. It’s fairly certain to be malignant but it is all localised and the specialists tell me they have caught it early. So long as the CT scan I’ll be having within 2 weeks says it hasn’t spread beyond that area, I should be OK for an operation and removal, but obviously distressing times. I was going to wait until after the CT scan to share, but I didn’t want anyone to find out and wonder why I hadn’t said. I’m keeping positive as much as possible and it’s just a question of waiting until we know the exact extent of the damage.

Needless to say, even with the overwhelming prospects of a complete recovery and permanent elimination, this is a frightful episode for Allan, who at 40 is a very young man, and shouldn’t have to deal with such grief even of the temporary variety.  All of us here at Wonders in the Dark are profoundly concerned for Allan, while simultaneously confident that he will be smiling again very soon.  My wife Lucille, and children Melanie, Sammy, Danny, Jillian, and Jeremy, all of whom spent two week last August with Allan and his mum in London and Kendal extend our deepest concern over this bump Allan is crossing on his way through life.

Understandably Allan will be away from the blogging scene at WitD and elsewhere for the foreseeable future. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

Mid 70′s degree weather and one sound drenching have ushered in May with at least a parting salute to April in the long-anticipated weather transition in the northeast and midwest.  Speaking of transitions, the WitD hierarchy would like to extend our very best wishes to Laurie and Len Buchanan, who have recently relocated from Crystal Lake, Illinois (outside of Chicago) to their new beautiful home in Boise, Idaho.  After twenty years paying their dues in one of the toughest winter zones in the US, I’d say it’s high time our good friends have moved on to more hospitable environs, at least in terms of more benign atmospherics.  May is normally a fabulous month for those who love gardening and the outdoors, and the preparations are on for proms, graduations, and closing exams in college classes.  In the Juliano household, it has always been amusing to note that four of our five kids have May birthdays (Sammy on the 15th, Danny on the 17th, Jeremy on the 27th and Melanie on the 30th).  Always tough when you want to stage parties, and yes I have played those numbers repeatedly with little success.  Only our dear Jillian who turns 14 in December is the odd one in this scenario.  I’d like to take this opportunity to extend my very best wishes to my friend Craig Kennedy of Living in Cinema who will be attending the Cannes Film Festival for the second year in a row.  I hope he has a great time, sees some extraordinary films, and enjoys the acclaimed food and weather in the beautiful French resort.

Our very dear friend Pat Perry is heading over to Germany this week, while other dear friends, the artist Terrill Welch and her husband David are touring Europe in the vacation of a lifetime.  The very best to them all.  I am greatly looking ahead to pictures. (more…)

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