Thursday, September 15, 2011

I finally saw North by Northwest

So I finally had a chance to see the Hitchcock classic North by Northwest a couple of nights ago, and I noticed some things. Not necessarily things that had anything to do with the plot or the directing or the acting.

Things I noticed:
  • People were skinnier in 1959. Or, Hitchcock only hired actors who were. I'm thinking a little of both.
  • Movies were longer in 1959. Over two hours for this one.
  • Martin Landau was very handsome when he was a young man. Martin Landau was once a young man. Martin Landau was skinny when he was a young man.
  • James Mason was young once but, apparently, he's always been classy. And skinny.
  • Now that we don't do it anymore, smoking in public looks really, really stupid.
  • Eva Marie Saint was young once, but at 35 could never pass for 26. Sorry.
  • They had bus stops in the middle of nowhere in 1959. How, exactly, was a rider expected to get to and from?
  • Cary Grant's character's initials are R.O.T., which I find amusing.
  • People were able to fall in love instantly in 1959, in spite of knowing nothing about each other. Or, people watching movies in 1959 were more ready to embrace the concept.
  • The kissing scene between Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint would pass for a G rating today, but it still made my dad uncomfortable having to watch it in a room with me.
I have to admit, I wanted to see the movie mostly for the house at the end that looked an awful lot like Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater (where I work), but is not, in fact, Fallingwater (see the article by Sandy McClendon on We've had rumors going around at work that Hitchcock wanted to use Fallingwater, but wasn't permitted to do so. I haven't found anything on the Internet to confirm or deny those rumors, but I have found where he wasn't allowed to film at the United Nations building so he used hidden cameras and filmed anyway.

Also, Fallingwater doesn't need steel beams to hold up its cantilevers. We use post-tensioning instead.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11 has nothing to do with September 11

Ten years ago on September 11, 2001, my step daughter turned 21 years old. She was young. She was 21. She had planned on spending her birthday drinking with friends. But that evening the bars were closed, for reasons beyond any 21-year-old's control.

And suddenly it's ten years later. So much has happened.

And so much has changed.

This morning my husband and I will be heading to the cemetery. New York and D.C. and Shanksville will be crowded with people looking for...something. A little bit of comforting, maybe.

We'll be heading toward a small lake near a gazebo in Delmont, to a single plot of earth, far away from the crowds. And we'll have each other.

Happy birthday, Lauren.