Sunday, March 6, 2011

Giving Up Lust for Lent (No, Not Me)

Some of us go to the Movies and Mimosas feature at the Bowtie for classic movies and others for religious conversation.

Him: I'm thinking of doing the Lent thing.
Her: Oh, hey, Adam's doing it.
Him: I know, but it's a really long time. I looked it up and it's like five and a half weeks.
Her: Well, you can drink on Sundays and St. Patrick's Day.
Him: Really? I didn't know about that rule.
Her: Yea, it's the only way you have a chance of making it through. I still couldn't make it.

I wanted so badly to turn around and see who was having this conversation, but refrained in the name of good taste. Somewhere, I feel sure, Catholic grandmothers are rolling over in their graves.

And speaking of grvaes, I'd gone to see "Arsenic and Old Lace," Frank Capra's 1944 film based on the play of the same name. Most interesting to me were all the Capra touches I noticed and only, I think, because I have seen "It's a Wonderful Life" every year for two decades.

The evocation of quaint small town life was similar, only this film took place in Brooklyn (so, small borough life?), or as the opening credit said, "A Halloween tale of Brooklyn, where everything can happen and usually does."

Cops walked the beat, there were call boxes on posts, operators put calls through and there were phone booths in the lobby of City Hall. When trick or treaters came to the kitchen door, they were given carved jack-o-lanterns and whole pies. What Halloween world was this?

Because of the varied locations, the movie didn't seem as stagey as a play, although it was easy to tell that it had begun life as one. The dialogue was especially clever ("Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops!") in that '40s sort of way.

Best of all, there was retro romance, always a favorite of mine. When Cary Grant's Mortimer is chasing Elaine around to kiss her, as a modern woman, she says, "But, Mortimer, you're going to love me for my mind, too!"

Lunging, Cary Grant says convincingly, "One thing at a time!"

Of course, they'd been married at City Hall that morning, so it was okay for him to lust after her through the cemetery on Halloween.

Or maybe that's just how it was done in Brooklyn. Love my outside and we'll get to my mind later. I'd say that works as well as Lent with time off for vices.


  1. So im sitting here in a bar in Hong Kong reading your blog.......

    Thinking of the day in NYC when after working an overnight, Greg and myself walked into Connelly's on 49th st in Manhattan at about 9:45 am and the young Irish barmaid.Fresh from church with her ashes on her head, she starts to ramble about all the things she gave up for Lent. Bad Boys, Jameson.... Blah blah blah.........
    She looks at me and asks what I gave up for Lent.I look at her laugh and reply... Catholicism. No more smile, no happy tone. Just spun on her heel... And made the other girl serve us for the rest of the morning!

    Hope you are well......
    And in love....... But i will settle for lust.

  2. Not in either but aspiring to both!

    Maybe it's time for you to come visit again and distract me from all that...