So get this. Get. This.
It’s Friday, and that means pizza. It has always meant pizza. It should mean pizza; it must mean pizza. I have to be on the radio at 7, so that means I order the pizza around 6:10, pick it up, drive it home, eat, and then I’m all Mr. Talky. It is the five-part sequence of Friday: pizza, radio, site work, whiskey, ice cream. The perfect combination. I look forward to it all week.
Usually I order the pizza from the app on my phone, and it’s ready by the time I get to the store to pick it up. The app has a progress bar that tells me how it’s going. It tells me the name of the guy who’s making the pizza, for heaven’s sake. But I had to go to Lundsenbyerlys to put a movie in the Redbox. I can’t tell you if it was any good. I didn’t have the chance to see it. I looked at it, and a cursory examination said “I was fooled by the poster,” and didn’t want to invest another $1.50. I may, upon reading some reviews, invest another $1.50 at some later point. But not now. Now I had to get this thin information-storage circle back to the machine in the grocery store.
So I called up the pizza app in the parking lot, praying that it hadn’t updated and blanked my login. It had updated and blanked by login. Okay. I can’t order pizza from my phone because I don’t know the secret word. Great. This matters because when you use the phone to order, you get Points, and the Points result in free pizza.
Calling them on my phone was obviously out of the question.
I tried several combinations of passwords and emails; didn’t work. Opened up the password manager app, which requires me to enter my interminable Secret String - hurrah! Worked the first time. Copied password. Entered it in the Pizza App. Success.
Hit the button to order The Same Damned Thing, then went into the store to return the movie. I needed some eggs and lemonade and also maybe something else, but what? What?
It’s a rare day I buy bacon and Lundenbyerlys, because they rarely knock the price down. You’re going to take it in the shorts for pork parts here. But I wanted bacon for the weekend breakfast, one of the special treats that makes the weekend, well, special - eggs and hash browns, sausage or bacon, French Toast if I’m really tossing all chocks to the wind. So I bought bacon. In the car I checked the app, expecting it would be on the right side of the progress bar, meaning, pizza’s in the oven, soon to emerge.
It was still blinking in the PREP stage.
JASON was still working on my pizza. JASON had been working on my pizza for ELEVEN. DAMNED. MINUTES.
Okay well it was frozen, then. Not the pizza, the app. I drove six blocks to the store, and my heart sank when I looked through the window: six guys, count ‘em six, sitting in the take-out area, all bent over their glowing glass rectangles. There are never six guys in there.
Once inside I saw chaos. The staff was making pizzas as fast as possible. There were pizzas pilled up on the warmer. The manager was running everywhere, cheerful but harried. The phone rang.
“I - I can hardly hear you,” he said. He bent over as if it would make the person on the other end talk louder. He got the order and said thanks and hung up and said:
“No one says ‘bye’ anymore! I need that closure.”
He’s absolutely right. You should always say good bye. You never know. Even if you’re seeing someone off to school or work. Put a period at the end of it just in case because you never know.
I looked at my phone: NOW my pizza was in the oven. The app wasn’t frozen. They were just slammed. I texted my radio appointment and said I’d be late.
Waited. Eventually, I got pizza. But I want to be clear about this.
Between the time I ordered and the time I got the pizza, 31 minutes elapsed. Thirty. One. Once upon a time they said it would be yours in 30 minutes, and that was before apps. Now I have to wait an actual minute.
It’s like looking at your UBER app and the car is supposedly a block away but a minute passes and the ride’s still not there.
Everything’s just horrible. Nothing works.
This week: another batch of photos rescued from a basket in the basement of a Midwest antique store. I've scanned them, cleaned them up, tried to bring back the people from the small scratched images. Because they deserve it.
A black-and-white shot colorized by the studio.
Sometimes the frame is interesting, too:
Another repeat, but do you remember? No. So:
Here's a hint about what Ivy brings to those around her:
Joan Fontaine, costumes, Merrie Olde, romance - why, surely it's a tale of a tender-hearted woman torn between a brutish husband and a wonderful suitor, right? Well. From the start there's something off about it all; she goes to consult a fortune teller, who warns her of dire days ahead. Yes, it's the crone the Universal monster movies, Mrs Screechy Comic Relief. But not here. Imagine this on the big screen, if you will.
Thirty feet tall, that makes an impression.
Her spooky butler / accompanyist. Look at the way it's framed:
Something isn't right here. Let's see it all in context. Note the death-black chair - and the startling appearance of the fortune teller.
The scenes's compositions are strange and forboding, as fits the scene, and as the movie rolls on you realize that almost everything looks odd. Almost dreamlike. Creamy, unreal. Look at the grey-suited man on the right:
Oddly spectral. And again:
Lush, overripe in apparal, artificial.
The sets are likewise unreal - the huge vase in the foreground, the imaginary clouds. And the shot goes all the way into the back of the party:
Firewords to mirror the repressed inner life of these early 20th-cent Brits:
Anyway. Ivy is not a good girl. Ivy is very bad. She has a husband who adores her, a lover who is consumed to the point of MADNESS, I TELL YOU by his passion, and as if that's not enough on her plate, she meets a rich old guy and decides she needs to have him, so she can be comfortable and move up in society. Ah, but how to get rid of the hubby and the lover? Well, her lover happens to be a doctor. As she sits alone in his room, waiting for him, she spies it: the carefully illuminated plot device.
Of course! Poison the husband, blame it on the lover. That always works.
This leads to a scene that sums up the gorgeous artifice of the movie with an effect that's complete almost before you notice what's happening.
Then things get murderous, and then they get better for her - but around hte corner there's always someone in a strange location, plotting to reveal her. People who move in strange places:
This is interesting: they use a magazine from the era. L' Illustration.
I haven't found the actual magazine yet online. But some manipulation and peering and looking at other ads of the era gave me the name of the company advertised on the back. Can you make it out?
Highlight to see it: Englebert Tyres
It gets bad again, soon - and you see here, it's a stark world without color. There's not even a hint that color exists.
Doomed people are found slumped in chairs that absorb all light:
Justice catches up, as it will, and she's sent to a darker room . . .
And then led into the claustrophobic courtroom, where her doom will be told.
Every single shot works:
Watch it if you see it on TCM. The story's rote. The look is remarkable - baroque, and stark.
That'll do for today! Don't miss my newspaper column! Just click on the Star. You know: The big green Startribune Star.