‘Mensch’ Gregory

I mentioned Gregory Peck in my last Armitage challenge post and it got me thinking that it’s been ages since I saw any Gregory Peck movies (Roman Holiday excepted, I still dip into that one on occasion). So, before I wrote that challenge post, but when I was already thinking about the answers, I re-watched To Kill a Mockingbird. It is the famous story of a Southern lawyer in the 1930s defending a black man falsely accused of raping a white girl. The story is told from the point of view of Atticus’ daughter, Scout…

Gregory Peck received an Oscar for this role, he is as a true ‘Mensch’ (Yiddish for a man of decency, honesty, warmth and integrity) in this!

I love the character of Atticus and I love Gregory Peck as Atticus even though for me this so highly acclaimed film can’t quite live up to the book. The book is richer than a two-hour movie adaptation of it ever could be… Still, it is a good adaptation and Gregory is quite excellent in this! People have always said that Gregory Peck, the man, was very much like Atticus Finch, and that idea fills me with even more joy.

Next, I went on to watch one of my other favourites of his called The Big Country, which is a very different kind of Western. Peck plays a captain who comes out west to marry the daughter (Carroll Baker) of a rancher but won’t be bullied into macho ways and refuses to be drawn into a feud between his fiancée’s father and a neighbouring rancher… The daughter finds it hard to accept the ‘cowardly’ behaviour of her intended, while the schoolteacher friend (Jean Simmons) does seem to ‘get’ it and tries to help the daughter see it. Charlton Heston also stars in this movie as the right hand man of the fiancée’s dad and much more suited to her than Gregory’s character; Burl Ives plays the family’s rival rancher… I love this story of a good man staying true to himself and I love the chemistry between Gregory Peck and Jean Simmons in this (click on images to enlarge)…

Yes, Gregory is a real ‘Mensch’ in this one too!

I have also been updating my Peck collection with some movies I had never seen before. In the old days when I was a big fan it was difficult to get my hands on those movies and in later years I never really tried… until now.

So last night I found myself watching a movie of his called Captain Newman MD. I’d read good things about it but had never seen it before and I don’t think people even remember this movie anymore. Admittedly, it is a little uneven to be one of the true classics but even so, I was quite impressed with it!

Peck plays an army psychiatrist at the end of WWII, tending to men who are driven over the edge from the horrors of war. He also constantly needs to defend his patients against the prejudice of mental illness, many tend to equal that to weakness of character. He is a real Mensch for his patients and the people around him and also struggles himself, dealing with all he experiences (he even gets drunk in one quite amusing scene).

The movie is not only tragic, it is funny as well. Captain Newman has an un-orthodox way of gathering staff for his unpopular ward. Tony Curtis plays such a ‘hi-jacked’ orderly who turns out to fill his new role with gusto and is responsible for the bigger laughs of the movie. Angie Dickinson plays a nurse that Newman recruits in his unorthodox way as well. His patients include Eddie Albert (who was also the photographer in Roman Holiday), Robert Duvall in an early role (he also played Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird!) and singer Bobby Darin, who won a supporting actor Oscar nomination for this role.

In one scene Darin is drugged and tells the doctor the harrowing story of his trauma. Darin does that very well, but what totally mesmerized me was Gregory Peck just reacting to it all… He doesn’t say anything, just reacts. I think it’s one of the best acting performances I have ever seen him give!

Captain Newman MD Gregory Peck (7)

He holds the soldier after the tale is told, then puts him down to bed again. The look on his face is just heartbreaking…

Captain Newman MD Gregory Peck (11)Captain Newman MD Gregory Peck (15)

… and then he stares wordlessly out through the shutters…

Captain Newman MD Gregory Peck (16)

Just… wow! He also questions the wisdom of patching up the men, only to send them off to war again, to destruction and possible new trauma or death… Not all the patients he treats have a happy end and I think the humour in the movie is meant to counterbalance the tragedy. The movie ends on a tragic and a happy note as well. I have to say, I really laughed when at the Christmas party at the end a group of Italian ‘POW’s perform ‘Hava Nagila’, which they think is an old American (i.e. Indian) song.

And the absolute joy on Gregory Peck’s face as he claps along to it, makes up for some of the tragedy…

I’m so glad I finally got to see this! I know I’ll be going back to it again.

Next up: re-watching Gentleman’s Agreement, a movie Peck made in 1947 about a journalist posing as a Jewish man so he can learn about anti-Semitism! I remember it being quite good, an early Mensch-Gregory example, but it has been years and years since I’ve seen it. I wonder how it will hold up for me when I see it again…

For me right now it seems that Gregory Peck is filling a certain “Mensch-void” that I see around me when I look at certain public figures in the world today. Looking at him in his Mensch-roles makes me feel a little better in these divisive times. I just hope there are still enough like him out there in the world today…

Advertisements

The RA Challenge, part 4

And it’s the final part too (following on from parts 1, 2 and 3) of Guylty’s RA Challenge! Questions 25 to 31…

2017-ra-fandom-challenge

#25 Favourite Object/Prop in Context with a Character

The only object/prop that has prompted its own blog post on here was Daniel Miller’s bike on Berlin Station! Loved seeing Richard speed around on that bike. I felt it wasn’t featured enough on the show…

#26 Favourite Costume worn by RA

While researching this, I came to the conclusion that I like Richard to look grungy and scruffy in his roles! I first thought I’d answer Thorin Oakenshield here…

Thorin Oakenshield

…because I find that, although he looks fierce and magnificent, there is a huggable quality there as well! But in researching pictures of Richard in different roles (oh the chore!), I find that the costume that does something to my insides is Richard as John Proctor! I love him in that black coat with the collar standing up…

…or when he is seen without coat but with the linen shirt…

…or with no shirt at all (I even like the boots!)…

armitage proctor @washbasin

I also really liked him in civilian clothes as John Porter in Strike Back, especially in the first two episodes where he wore a scarf as well…

… and when his jacket came off, he then showed himself quite nicely in just jeans and a dirty, grungy t-shirt. The flimsy t-shirt shows off his physique and arms very well…

#27 Favourite Quote by a Character or RA

I don’t think I have a favourite Richard-quote, I’m not really one to remember quotes off the top of my head. Having said that, a few do spring to mind: “Look back at me”, or “You’ll not guess where I have been”, or “You don’t need Henry to explain”, or “You coming home with me?”, all of them from North and South. Yeah, I may have watched it too often…

Another quote that springs to mind is something he was quoted as saying in an interview once: “I was a beanpole with a nose I hadn’t grown into.”

#28 Favourite Climax (i.e. series finale, battle, conclusion of a subplot, etc.)

Well, I guess I just referenced it in the previous question. There are many climaxes that I liked that hit home with me, like the ending of The Crucible or Thorin dying in The Hobbit, John Porter rescuing the journalist in Strike Back or Harry proposing to Geraldine on The Vicar of Dibley. However, the climax I have watched most, hands down, is that train station finale of North and South. I really can’t count how often I have seen that, more than anything else in my life, I think! And it never gets old!

#29 A Moment That Made You Question Whether You Could Continue Fangirling For RA.

I was on a high when I discovered Richard in North and South and soon after I became very aware him, he also did Dibley and The Impressionists. I was Richard-obsessed at the time! But then he also did Guy of Gisborne on Robin Hood and Lucas North in Spooks and those characters really couldn’t entice me! I saw bits to start with but didn’t enjoy the shows and bailed. I postponed watching them for the longest time (even longer than I postponed watching the last 4 episodes of Berlin Station). I did later see things in Guy and Lucas that I found appealing, bits of Richard shining through, perhaps, but in those years (2008-2010 or so) I thought my Richard-obsessed days might be over. He was my fave (I’d still watch every interview and read every article and Christmas message) but not more or less so than my other fave Colin Firth. Then he did Strike Back and my attention was back into full-blown force. So much so, that he overtook Firth in my attention yet again and he has remained firmly in first place ever since!

#30 Will Anything Ever Replace RA in your Admiration?

When I was 15 I thought no one could surpass Gregory Peck…

When I was 30, I thought no one could surpass Colin Firth…

Now in my mid-forties, I think no one can surpass Richard Armitage!

richard_2a-20161016

But who knows what the future may bring? Never say never, but I can’t imagine surpassing feeling this level of involvement that I feel with Richard.

#31 What Would You Like to Say to RA Right Now?

I saw your latest tweet…

Armitage Farber tweets

Does this mean the London stage Oedipus and Antigone is happening at the beginning of 2018? I’ll so be there!

The End!

This challenge certainly deserved its name, finding answers to the questions was not always easy but it was always fun. Thanks Guylty! 🙂

More fangirling in London!

Well, not only fangirling, we mostly did touristy stuff… As I already blogged about in my previous post, my 15 year old son and I were in London this past weekend and what a lovely time we had!

We went inside Tower Bridge and walked on the glass floor there, looking down!

My son was fearless about that and while I did do it briefly, I found it scary. But I did it – yay me! We also saw the engine room…

20170421_125638_resized

… and when we finished our tour, we were greeted by a cannon salute across the river!

20170421_130341_resized

OK, so the salute wasn’t for us but for the Queen’s 91st birthday. Still, we felt honoured. 🙂

We passed through Westminster…

20170421_144846_resized

… and went on to Portobello Road in Notting Hill…

20170421_153453_resized

… which was also a bit of fangirling for me as it reminded me of the lovely movie Notting Hill. The Notthing Hill thing was a spontaneous idea; if I had thought of it sooner, I would have researched it better and would have fangirled my way to Hugh Grant’s front door from that movie.

That evening my son and I went to see The Lion King musical, which we both very much enjoyed (we had a good view from the front row of the Grand Circle)…

While we were walking to the theatre, we passed by Covent Garden and walked by a street artist/comedian getting ready to do his thing. The street artist looked straight at my son and in his microphone announced “Ah, there we have Justin Bieber”! I had to laugh and the whole crowd turned to look at my son as we scurried along and my son turned beet-red! He has been compared to a younger Justin Bieber before and he hates it… I know I’m probably an awful mother but I have ribbed him about this incident regularly and in hindsight he now also has started seeing some of the humour in it.  He still insists he looks nothing like Bieber, though. 🙂

We shopped a bit in Oxford Street and also met up with fellow Richard Armitage fan Hariclea from the Opera is Magic blog on Saturday afternoon! We met at “Fortnum and Mason” and had ice cream ‘coupes’ at the ice cream parlour on the first floor! Beautiful, delicious, filled our stomachs right up! So much so, that my son felt a little sick there for a moment! Luckily he recovered quickly. It’s always a delight to see Hari and it was so much fun that I forgot to take pictures of our beautiful ice cream creations! The only picture I took was of two teacups priced at £145,- while waiting for Hari…

20170422_165756_resized

Hari and I may have mentioned Richard Armitage a few times in passing but didn’t get too carried away in the presence of my son. That evening, as Hari went off to the theatre, my son and I went to see the Scarlett Johannson scifi movie Ghost in the Shell in a Leicester Square theatre with a truly huge screen. The movie was not the greatest scifi movie I’d ever seen, but it was quite fun and had nice visual effects.

We spent our Sunday on Hampstead Heath. We walked there for a bit, my son even climbed a tree…

20170423_114451_resized

… we got up to Kenwood House (also a Notting Hill film location, by the way!)…

… and treated ourselves to some delicious scones (this had been something my son had particularly wished for).

20170423_120200_resized

Later that afternoon we made our way back to the airport and flew home again. But I didn’t leave London without some specific fangirl items!

I’ve bought a DVD of a Gregory Peck movie I came across that I have always wanted to see but have never been able to…

20170426_000819_resized

I’m not that much into Westerns but, come on, it’s Gregory Peck, my first real teenage fangirl crush!

At Kenwood House I bought the book Belle that accompanies the excellent movie of the same name, about a black young lady who lived as a lady and not as a servant in Kenwood House in the 18th century. She was also featured in a painting that was painted at the time but alas that painting is not at Kenwood anymore and is now somewhere in Scotland. I had seen the film, I now saw the book and grabbed it for myself…

20170426_001047_resized

And, I did some more Jane Eyre fangirling when, in a bookstore, I happend upon a book with this title…

20170421_101536_resized

I immediately recognized it as the first sentence from the last chapter of Jane Eyre and just had to have it, especially considering we will be visiting writer Charlotte Brontë’s house this coming summer.

Last but not least, there was Audrey Hepburn fangirling as well! I came across this POP doll of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s  and just couldn’t let it go…

So, yes, London is a great place to fangirl; it makes me feel greedy when I see all these goodies together even though they all didn’t cost that much. London is also a great place to spend time with my son! He picked out pretty much all our activities (Portobello Road and meeing Hari were my picks, the rest were his) and I loved that one-on-one time with him. I think that, except for my snoring at night, he enjoyed his time with me as well. We’ll definitely be back!

I love glasses!

I wear glasses, have worn them ever since I was 11. I always refused to get lenses, that always looked like too much trouble and work, and glasses are easy. You wipe them clean and put them on your nose and you’re done. Yeah, there are down sides, like when you go to a swimming pool, or when you bike in the rain, but mostly I like them… no… I actually love a nice pair of glasses on a woman or a man! For me personally I feel bare and less attractive without glasses than with them. I have always refused to accept that anyone could be deemed less attractive just because they wear glasses. I hate these makeover movies where a girl with glasses gets made over without glasses and suddenly she is beautiful. One of the reasons why I liked one of my fave Hallmark movies Cloudy with a Chance of Love is that the heroine starts out with glasses, gets made over without glasses to look ‘more beautiful’ but in the end returns back to glasses again and that the guy actually prefers her that way!

I have multifocals now and two years ago my husband started wearing glasses as well… we’re in our forties, it happens. He doesn’t need his all the time but wears them often enough and I just love it.

So, with my soft spot for glasses, I was thrilled when earlier this week somewhat blurry pictures appeared of Richard Armitage wearing them too! He too is in his forties and for him too this happens. I’ve loved seeing him wear glasses on The Vicar of Dibley, even though it was only briefly…

… I didn’t really like Into the Storm that much but I admit to watching the beginning of the movie over and over again when he briefly wears glasses as well…

Of course we have seen Richard in sunglasses often enough…

… but to know that he needs them (for reading at least) in real life really thrills me in a way! I find it sexy. Alas the pictures of him wearing them at the Berlin Station read-through aren’t that clear (I cropped the pictures here)…

… so I am hoping that in the future we will get more and better Richard Armitage wearing glasses pictures! Maybe he can re-enact this cool one of Gregory Peck… yeah, these are not ‘real’ glasses but sunglasses, but still I just love this picture!

peck2

Tall dark handsome men…

Warning: tall dark handsome men pictures overkill ahead! I may be overcompensating for the depressing times we live in… a girl has got to do something to cheer herself up!

So, I have a very definitive type of man I always fall for. It’s an Oedipus thing – the first man I loved was my dad. He wasn’t particularly tall but he was dark and handsome and smart and caring…

Then I discovered Roman Holiday in my early teens and Gregory Peck…

I adored Peck (and still do), in hindsight he was big time daddy-issue material. Dark and handsome and smart and caring… and tall. I even wrote him a fan letter once! I received a reply about 2 years later with an autographed picture. Apparently a mail bag had been misplaced and found again and I got my reply after all. I have been searching for that autographed picture ever since I discovered not too long ago that it isn’t in the drawer that I thought it would be in…

I also had a soft spot for Richard Chamberlain in those years…

… but I was never as obsessed with him as I was with Gregory Peck.

After Gregory Peck and Richard Chamberlain I fell in love with a real life tall, dark, handsome, smart and caring man (and luckily he fell in love with me) and I’ve very happily hung onto him for the past 25 years

At the end of 1995 I discovered Colin Firth! He walked out of a lake in Pride and Prejudice and straight into my heart…

… and as regular readers here know I still love the man and blog about him!

I’ve had a little flirtation with Pierce Brosnan (even saw him up close and personal two and a half years ago!)…

… and have made a few fan videos with him in them.

I’ve also had a little flirtation with Keanu Reeves (including a fan video I made of an interview he did on Graham Norton and I loved him in that)…

Since 2006 the actor of my heart has been Richard Armitage, of course – the actor I blog about most on here!

And now, since a few weeks, there’s Lucas… No, not this one…

… I was never a huge Lucas North fan (or Spooks fan, for that matter), even if he was portrayed brilliantly by Richard Armitage. No, the Lucas I have discovered is named Lucas Bryant!

I have been watching Hallmark movies and I continue to watch them and Lucas Bryant was in two of them that I actually quite liked. I had seen them before a few months back and I had noticed him then as well. He was instantly on my “oh oh, there you go again!”-radar, but, as I often do when I discover someone new, I try to resist them. If I don’t resist, then I binge-watch and who has the time and energy to binge-watch?

Anyway, I don’t quite remember how, but I happened upon a Syfy channel series called Haven (based on an original story by Stephen King) that aired for 5 seasons but is finished now. And who should be in that but Lucas Bryant, the guy I’ve been trying to ignore?  The series is not quite my kind of thing – supernatural powers that often lead to deaths take over people in a small town. These ‘troubles’ as they are called have to be brought under control by two agents, Audrey Parker (who is somehow weirdly connected to the ‘troubles’) and Nathan Wuornos. His trouble isn’t that dangerous to others, only dangerous to himself: he has lost the sense of touch, he can’t feel anything, and is eventually shocked to find that when Audrey touches him he can feel her! Audrey, in turn, is immune to the ‘troubles’.

I watched a few episodes of Haven and while the stories of these ‘troubles’ didn’t always grab me, the story of Audrey and Nathan did. And so I have been binge-watching and skipping through 5 seasons of Haven episodes (each season has 13 episodes, 5th season has 26).  In the first series it’s still a bit of a baby-Nathan, the actor Lucas Bryant looks so young!

What attracted me in this first series is how Nathan deals with not being able to feel anything. I love how Lucas acts those Nathan moments when he suddenly realizes he can feel a touch from someone for the first time in years. He first feels something when Audrey gives him a brief kiss on the cheek.

He keeps it to himself at first (he confesses it to her later in the series) and especially in one episode he seeks out these touches (skip the first 1 minute and 15 seconds of this following video if you like, it’s not really essential). I like baby-Nathan in those scenes!

But as the series progresses (and also becomes more weird, especially regarding Audrey) he matures and yes, as the lines deepen a bit in his face, he becomes sexier to look at! Here, some pics of Nathan at the end of the series…

I don’t know what it is about him. He’s a bit too GQ handsome (just like Pierce Brosnan was in younger years) but there’s this boyish, almost shy, charm about him and a bit of goofiness and, of course, hidden heartache and then there are the forehead crinkles and the eyes and the hesitant smiles that light up his face… I think what finally tipped me over the edge into new obsession mode was this little love scene in season 4 that makes me grin widely each time; it happens soon after they have finally been able to become intimate in a previous episode. Nathan wants to kiss her, Audrey keeps on talking ‘troubles’ and he makes use of her ‘troubles’ obsession to persuade her to think of other things…

So, after Haven I re-watched those two Hallmark movies and I liked him even better in those than before. There is Tulips in Spring about an interior designer who must halt her work on a big project in order to return home and assist her injured father at her family’s tulip farm in rural Washington state. When she gets there she meets a handsome and kind flower broker (yep, that’s my Lucas)…

And there is Summer Love about a widowed mom who gets a summer internship at a tech company and draws the attention of two very different executives while learning about accounting, app designs and finding love. Lucas plays the accountant and is of course the true love.

Men who look that smooth aren’t normally my thing, they seem vacuous to me, but as he matures Lucas becomes even more mesmerizing to look at. There is just something about him and it’s not just the looks…  I think it’s in the eyes and in the smile, they seem to suggest something more to me. Here are some more pics, the woman in the one picture is his real life wife, an Australian actress and personal trainer called Kirsty Hinchcliffe who also had a small supporting role as a police officer in later episodes of Haven.

Lucas Bryant is Canadian-American, born in 1978, he and his wife have a daughter born in 2008 (all according to Wikipedia). He is still quite unknown, I think, and there is yet more to research and more roles to find… I’m not sure if he’s more than a temporary infatuation (I may be projecting a wish onto him that he can stop the troubled person who is sitting in the White House now) but I guess time will tell. In the meantime, I am having fun and can happily distract myself when the need arises. 🙂