From the Front…

19 Sep

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Good morning!


Higham’s been showing up a lot, seemingly at my every turn, of late.  A short description of recent encounters, from the past two weeks:


1)      My new co-worker came into my office gushing about an “absolutely lovely costume drama” she had recently seen.  As she continued to describe the movie (she had missed the opening credits), I realized she had seen Captain Blood.  She wanted to know who the “gorgeous star” was, and when I told her that it was Errol Flynn, she turned the cutest shade of pink.  She then spluttered “But wasn’t he a Nazi and a rapist?”  I tried to set her straight, and she is now happily enjoying both MWWW and the first volume of the boxed set.  We have a new convert.  Hooray!

2)      I dropped in at a new Goodwill store in the local area last Friday night to kill time while waiting to meet some friends for a night out on the town.  While browsing the 3 for $1.00 book racks, I discovered Higham’s The Duchess of Windsor, marked down even further to half-off.  Part of me was tempted to purchase it, simply so I could immediately go and destroy it.  That being said, I’m not a big fan of destroying books, so I hemmed and hawed.  While I was debating with myself, an elderly woman came up, noticed I was looking at the book, saw the author, asked me if I was seriously going to buy the book, and then proceeded to explain to me how Higham was “scurrilous.”  As we chatted further, I learned that she too was a Flynn fan! 

3)      The strangest encounter, however, has been in a film class I’m taking this semester.  One of the essays included in our textbook is written by Higham and Greenberg.  I realize that he has been quite active in academia, but it was just a bit startling to see his name listed there. 


I hope everyone has been doing well.  I recently (FINALLY!) purchased the second boxed set and also finally sat down and watched the brilliant additional materials DVD from the first set.  It was wonderful to see so many familiar names.  These groups are filled with some truly kind and amazing people. 


I must confess that I’m still confused as to why Dive Bomber made it into the collections.  I think it’s the weakest entry so far.  I hope a third set is released soon! 

— Becky


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  1. Anonymous

    September 20, 2007 at 12:44 am

    Yes, Higham does indeed show up in academic journals now and again. I'll post my own Higham tale shortly.
    Dive Bomber?
    I wonder if I've seen that one?
    Hmmmm…Ha! Just kidding! But seriously, folks, Dive Bomber is an excellent film. Of course, I'm biased.
    More to come….

  2. Anonymous

    September 20, 2007 at 1:02 am

    Thanks for a great Post, Becky! I usually encounter Higham on ebay where it is my habit to set the sellers straight about who Higham is and what he did to Flynn's memory while not disparaging the seller of his TRASH book on Flynn because they are only trying to sell a book, after all. Most times, there is a kind response to my note to these sellers and I discover that Errol's standing with most of them is very high – and that most don't believe a damn word of what Higham wrote, anyway… Other times, I encounter his books for sale and somehow they end up pushed behind the nearest book on Martha Stewart… wonder how THAT happens? Odd, innit?

  3. Anonymous

    September 20, 2007 at 3:02 am

    I think my aversion to Dive Bomber comes from a personal dislike for Fred Macmurray. I can't help it…there's something that I don't like about him. I think it's probably because I was first exposed to him in Double Indemnity.
    Although that being said, I'm a Barbara Stanwyck fan. Hmmm. Perhaps I'm just fickle? :-)

  4. Anonymous

    September 26, 2007 at 1:20 am

    You make a good point about MacMurray. He's far from my favorite actor. I met one of his television co-stars years ago – I won't say who because I'm not certain he'd want me to repeat this story and link his name to it – but he told me that MacMurray was lazy and that he preferred golf to acting. When he wasn't on the set they propped a mop in a trash can and used the mop handle as a reference point when they said their lines. He told me MacMurray's personality was just like that mop.
    Anyhow, the amount of negative “fan” reaction to Dive Bomber truly baffles me. I've seen really bad movies and Dive bomber isn't one of them.
    Keep rockin.

  5. Anonymous

    September 26, 2007 at 5:04 am

    Fred McMurray was one of my favorites as a kid and I still enjoy his quirky personality on screen. Go figure! Everybody has different tastes. Maybe it was he Disney movies he made and the fact that he made the impression on me from MY THREE SONS that he was easy going and comfortable with himself. Like an old mop! It IS funny how some people are so far afield from their screen personas or you find that you DON'T like them at all in person. It is a disappointing feeling to admire someone on screen and discover they are a ass in person. Tom Hanks, for example. I met him on location for SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE and he was self-absorbed and egotistic to the point that you wondered how the hell he ever got a job in Hollywood. Then you realise its because he can “deliver the goods” when the camera rolls. Of course, what you get on a film set is a snapshot of the person and perhaps this particular day they are about as pleasant as steamed shit and on other days they are like milk and honey. Everbody has their bad days. I am told that not a lot of the other cast members of Star Trek really liked William Shatner at the time. Go figure…

  6. Anonymous

    September 27, 2007 at 2:02 am

    I enjoyed McMurray in those Flubber films, too. As for Hanks, I've met him several times and had the opposite experience. But who knows, I might have met him on “a good day” and you might have met him on “a bad day.” Actors are a strange beed. And sometimes when you meet a film hero they turn out to be…well, uninteresting. Then again, some of them are really nuts. Mickey Rooney comes to mind. He's a nice guy and I liked him, but he's not from this planet.

  7. Anonymous

    September 27, 2007 at 2:07 am

    Of course, It's MACMurray, cuz I KANT TIPE OR SPLELLT very good today.

  8. Anonymous

    September 27, 2007 at 4:53 am

    Exactly right, Tom! I figured that on this particular day, Hanks was feeling his hemoroids bursting or something. He was awful. Not to me, but to someone else standing nearby. I got a tepid grin out of him as he walked past because I had witnessed his behavior. Later, I talked to him on the beach for a few minutes and he was pretty full of himself. But as I said earlier, this is a snapshot and not a full picture. The working environment is not the same as being off camera, so to speak. He probably felt more on display out on location than he might have in a studio or somewhere where he was hidden from public view as he was working. We mere mortals do not know what kind of stress this places on people like him who are very high profile.
    I never saw Keifer Sutherland be nasty to anybody all through the ten days of shooting The Vanishing that I worked on. He was a guy who liked to go fishing and play the guitar and seemed to me like the type of guy I had always hung out with. Down to earth and funny, hard working and normal in every way despite being a well known actor. He was always himself, on camera or off.
    I wish I had met Mickey Rooney!
    Always enjoyed him and he has been a truly accomplished actor over the many, many years he has been around. He once told a young director that he had not learned a single line of the script they were shooting that day which shocked the director. Said Rooney, “just give me five minutes to read the scene and I will get it.” And he did. He NEVER bothered to spend hours learning the dialogue because for one thing, he wanted it to be spontaneous, and two, he was going to forget it in about twenty minutes anyway. He said he always worked this way, and had been working pretty steadily…