There were several movies from last week but this is the one I chose to share, The Valley of Decision. It may have not been the best movie I watched but it's the only one with Gregory Peck in it. It's the third movie he made so it's a relatively young Peck but you can't tell, his acting skills in this movie are just as sharp as any other. This is one of those sappy "love" stories. Peck's character, Paul Scott, is the son of a wealthy steel mill owner. Paul works at the mill and his younger siblings spend the money. Mary, played by Greer Garson, is the "Irish maid" that's hired to take care of two of the siblings. The movie is described as the Irish maid falls in love with wealthy boss's son but it's more the other way around. Paul falls for Mary and what's not to like? There's no official trailer for the movie but I found this clip that someone put on Youtube, it shows Mary Rafferty bringing the sass.
The book I read, Lautrec. I'm currently working on a project that I needed some inspiration in order to get more momentum. Illustrating a children's book, it helps to know what the kids are reading these days, so I hit the pavement and headed to the library. Feeling somewhat satisfied with my brilliant idea to see how other artists dealt with design issues I made my way up and down the aisles to grab some books. I fully intended on looking, not actually checking anything out because, I'll admit it, I felt a bit creepy in the kiddie section. With a pile of books in hand I decided to look for a book that I would check out and read at home. As I was walking through the aisles, with much disappointment(seriously, this library has a whole section of Harlequin romance novels. LAME!), one of the librarians kindly mentioned that they would be closing in 10 minutes. Seriously? The sun was just beginning to set? The librarians must be werewolves. So, in a hurry, I grabbed a bunch of books that looked halfway interesting, nothing from the Harlequin section, soon to be renamed the old lady fan-fiction section. I grabbed this book, Lautrec by Denys Sutton and felt pretty good about that selection. Then I went to check out and the librarian wasn't going to let me take it. She said I reached my limit of children's books, you can only check out five at a time. WHAT!? I was fully prepared to hand her one back but why did she call me out on this one and then call it a children's book? It reminded me of the time I volunteered as a docent and was teaching a classroom full of fifth graders about Vincent Van Gogh. There were two "naked lady" drawings in the books I passed around and OH MY GOD WHAT A HORRIBLE PERSON I WAS FOR SHOWING THAT TO FIFTH GRADERS!!!! Yea, that happened and the teacher wasn't even going to back me up on it, she told me if the parents got angry I had to deal with it. I don't volunteer with that group anymore. Point is, there are way more naked ladies in this book and it wasn't even in the children's book section, so what gives? Anywho, the book is put together very well. The description of the plates are really well done. Most books on art/artists have all the claptrap from art historians, but this is actually informative. They give the technical information, some background information on the people/places depicted in them and where they're on display,or at least were when the book was published. The introduction is a little art historian-y, as in it contains a slight amount of BS. When writers write as if they know why an artist painted a certain way, or why they changed their style, unless they can back that up they really can't say. Saying someone chose to paint something red because of some sort of influence, unless the artist themselves said it, it's speculation, BS. There's another section called "Toulouse-Lautrec as Seen by his Contemporaries", how odd that almost every single one commented on the way Lautrec looked. "He looked more like an ape than a man", "with a broad forehead, fine and extremely intelligent eyes, he had lips of a startling scarlet, turned as it were outwards, and strangely wide, which gave a hideous expression to his face", "his black eyes shone furiously, eyes that amused themselves enormously", "he had thick lips, and hands such as he draws with bony, wide-apart fingers and bent-back thumbs". Then the section, "Toulouse-Lautrec as seen by the Critics", not as much is said about his personal life or appearance here, but about his work. None of them used the same words to describe his work, but it seems as though they all agreed he was a genius. They may not have enjoyed looking at his work, one even called it monstrous, but that same critic praised his genius for colour combinations and called him a master in all of the mediums.
In a way I'm glad the librarians are werewolves because I would not have read this book if I wasn't forced to check it out and be on my way. I would have simply glanced at the pictures and left it for them to sniff out its home and replace it on the shelf.