Voices from Russia

Monday, 9 February 2015

Po-Nashemu Film Noir Queen Dies at 92

00 Lizabeth Scott. film noir. 09.02.15

Lizabeth Scott, Don DeFore, and Kristine Miller in Too Late For Tears.


On 31 January, actress Lizabeth Scott, whose sultry looks and smoky voice led many a man astray in 1940s and ’50s film noir, died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She was 92. Her longtime friend Mary Goodstein said that the cause was congestive heart failure.

Scott aspired to be a stage actress, but got stereotyped as a femme fatale in the hard-boiled, film noir world of crime, tough talk, and dark secrets. On Friday, Alan Rode, a film historian who produces annual film noir festivals, said, “She had the smouldering look, the blond hair, the voice. She was someone you’d see in a nightclub through a haze of cigarette smoke, with a voice made husky by a couple of highballs and an unfiltered Pall Mall”. Scott starred in numerous films in the genre, mostly as the bad girl… or as the good girl gone bad… with evocative titles such as Dead Reckoning, I Walk Alone, Pitfall, and Too Late for Tears. She inspired lines such as, “What a fall guy I am, thinking just because you’re good to look at you’d be good all the way through”. Burt Lancaster said that to her in the 1948 drama I Walk Alone, which also starred Kirk Douglas. However, her characters could snap back too. She asked Robert Mitchum in The Racket (1951), “Who said I was an honest citizen, and where would it get me if I was?”

She described herself to Dick Powell in the 1948 film Pitfall as “a girl whose first engagement ring was bought by a man stupid enough to embezzle and stupid enough to get caught”. She also played opposite Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck, and Van Heflin. In a 1996 interview with documentary filmmaker Carole Langer, Scott said she didn’t lament the fact that she wasn’t cast in studio blockbusters. She liked the grittiness of film noir, saying, “The films that I’d seen growing up were always, ‘boy meets girl, boy ends up marrying girl, they go off into the sunset’. After the war, films got more in touch with the psychological, emotional things that people feel and people do. It was a new realm, and it was very exciting, because suddenly you were coming closer and closer to reality”.

She was born Emma Matzo on 29 September 1922 in Scranton PA, where her father had a grocery store. In her late teens, she left to study acting in New York, landing a role in a touring company of the hit stage comedy Hellzapoppin’. In 1942, she got a small part in the original Broadway production of Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth. Scott also understudied the lead role, and then got to play it in Boston, turning down interest from Hollywood to further her stage career. At that point, her stage name was Elizabeth Scott… she later removed the “E” to be more distinctive. When she finally came west, prominent producer Hal Wallis signed her.

After several years of making one film noir after another… sometimes, at a pace of two or three in a year… Scott was ready for a change. She got it in the 1953 comedy Scared Stiff starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. She said in the Langer interview, “I’d done so many heavy things that it was such a pleasure when this was offered me. I thought, ‘God, I’d like to shed my past and have some fun with these guys'”. There were other varied roles… Scott played a publicity woman in the 1957 Elvis Presley vehicle Loving You. However, as noir faded, so did her career. She had a few TV roles in the 1960s. Her last credited movie appearance was in Pulp, a 1972 sendup of film noir.

Scott lived quietly in Hollywood, sometimes accepting invitations to attend film festivals and other events. She said in the Langer interview, “I loved making films. There was something about that lens that I adored, and it adored me back. So, we were a great combination”. Scott’s survivors include her brother Gus Matzo of Plymouth MI and sister Justine Birdsall of Middletown NY.

6 February 2015

David Colker

Los Angeles Times



Thursday, 5 December 2013

Why Russia Wants to Crash the Gay Parade

00 Gay Rights Protests. temper tantrum. 25.09.13


Editor’s Foreword:

Read this CAREFULLY… Mr Bridge is NOT endorsing the Born Again hate crusade against gays. Neither is he taking a permissive “anything goes” attitude. In short, what he actually outlines is at variance with both extremist camps, which means that he’s probably on to something, kids. Reed n’ heed…



At a time when half of Hollywood, not to mention the US Army, is coming out of the closet… actress Jodie Foster, for example, just used her acceptance speech at the Golden Globe awards to announce her sexual orientation… and nine American states legalised same-sex marriages, the cultural police slam Russia for its “anti-gay” lifestyle. However, how much truth is there to the attacks? Can we really label Russia “anti-gay?” Are truncheon-wielding police kicking down the doors of same-sex partners, forcing them out of bed, and into padded cells? Is the thought police monitoring telephone and e-mail correspondence to pick out incriminating nuances? Is Russia’s proposed “anti-gay” legislation going to make the interior of Russia’s grey depressing prisons rainbow-coloured and stylish overnight? The answer to these questions is no, no, and absolutely not.

However, Russia is trying to cushion its youth from “Western influence” that it condemns as far too libertine in outlook. There seems to be some truth to the allegations. At present, children and adolescents are being forced to consider issues… in large part, thanks to the omnipresent internet and entertainment industry… most of us never had to think about until later in life (these days, even 8-year-olds are masters at surfing the internet, and are regular viewers of every form of entertainment; the older generation had to wait to find the latest discarded issue of Playboy for its kicks). Who could deny there’s an overexposure of just about everything today; an electronic magazine rack of every possible lifestyle? Its naïve to think this doesn’t present our information-saturated children with a whole lot of unnecessary confusion at a time when they need it least. Puberty is complex enough for adolescents without them also needing to prematurely declare allegiance to the bisexual, homosexual, transsexual, metrosexual, or even, heaven forbid, heterosexual, camps.

In light of this avalanche of sexually-charged messages, many of which are presented in a puerile and juvenile manner, one could argue that Russia’s “draconian” legislation actually works to support a young person’s freedom (One study put out by the Parents Television Council showed that, in 171 hours of programming of MTV’s Spring Break coverage, there were 1,548 sexual scenes containing 3,056 depictions of sex and various forms of nudity and 2,881 verbal sexual references. I’m not sure if there’s a connection, but they pulled the plug on MTV in Russia for 2013). After all, children and adolescents under the age of 18 are not legally adults; therefore, they should be “free” from exposure to “disturbing” messages that most of them are neither emotionally prepared nor expected to understand. Indeed, Russian legislators behind the bill say that we need to protect minors from “homosexual propaganda” because they’re unable to evaluate the information critically. However, after the magic age of 18, people should be able to adopt whatever lifestyle they feel suits them, as is their right, and they should be able to do so without fear of retribution.

The Orthodox Church strongly supports Russia’s ”anti-gay propaganda” legislation, which would impose a nationwide ban on entertainment and information defined as “propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality, and transgenderism”. The proposed legislation would also ban any public events that promote gay lifestyles that could influence children in any way. Already, St Petersburg and a number of other Russian cities have similar laws on their books. At risk of sounding like a middle-aged prude, I’d take Russia’s proposed legislation a step further and ban all overtly sexual images and messages… heterosexual, homosexual, and everything in between… from all media channels (however, after 23.00, when the children are tucked in for the night, everything’s fair game). Let’s make artists and directors get their intended messages across in more subtle creative ways.

As far as legalising “gay parades” go, what would happen to our urban areas if we permitted every person of every sexual orientation their own special day to march down Main Street waving their own flag? Our cities would grind to a halt in a metallic sea of gridlock and general chaos. Moreover, is it necessary to inflame public passions on a severely divisive issue by putting our personal choices on the hit parade? Personally, I really don’t see what such a strategy serves, especially, since so many people are not open-minded on the subject in the first place.

As opposed to the West’s increasingly conspicuous propagation of sexually explicit material, Russia’s legislation seems to show awareness that we aren’t protecting children against the technological means for distributing the messages. As usual, democracy lags far behind the lightning strides of technology. In an age when the youngest children can carry the entire world of information around in their hip pockets, we need to make sure that they don’t get exposure to subjects above their pay-grade. How to do that without privacy advocates screaming censorship or repression is another question. In any case, at least, it’s refreshing to see that Russia is trying to catch up with the blustery winds of technological change to keep children’s minds focused on more pressing issues, like finishing their education and pursuing a career. Choosing a sexual lifestyle shouldn’t be a young child’s main priority.

01 Robert Bridge22 January 2013

Robert Bridge



Editor’s Afterword:

The bozo comments in the commboxes to this article prove that most of the posters didn’t really read what Mr Bridge had to say. All of the yahoos thought that he was endorsing their hate campaign. Nothing is farther from the truth! He simply stated that we need to protect our kids from situations that they’re not mature enough to handle. Full stop. As far as consenting adults go, do as you please, as long as you’re not hurting anyone or causing a public row about it. That’s what he said, boiled down to its essentials. Remember this… be careful in public utterances. The haters will pounce on it and twist it to suit their ends. One can see this in some of the schmidiots on so-called “Ancient Faith Radio”… they’re jumped-up convert frauds who’ve never abandoned their heterodox nonsense. I know REAL converts who’ve grown through that, but it takes YEARS.

One has to be around long enough to have become “one of us”. It’s like the scene in Tod Browning‘s Freaks… “Google goggle, google goggle, one of us, one of us”. That’s NOT meant in a bad way. One has to realise that you’ve come home… and you’ve found that our bed suits you just fine as it is. However, it takes donkey’s years to “grow into” the faith, and if you’re “jumped up”, you’re distorted until you go back to where you should’ve been. That’s why people such as Josiah Trenham, Freddie M-G, Rod Dreher, Terrence Mattingly, Paffso, Patrick Reardon, and the HOOMies are so “off” and twisted… they didn’t spend enough time in silence and growth… and their present utterances prove it in spades. I don’t understand people who convert and then become fixated on changing our religion. As a wise old priest said, “Our religion was just fine before they got here, and it’ll be just fine long after they leave!”

YOU are NOT God’s appointed legate… you’re just a sinful-ginful in need of the onion, just like me. Remember, the only people that Christ chased out of the temple were the “biznessmen” (that’s Russian, and it’s pejorative as all get-out). Hmm… the shake n’ bakes just love the affluent, don’t they? What would Our Lord Christ think of that? Just sayin’…



Wednesday, 12 June 2013

12 June 2013. Sergei Yolkin’s World. The News of the Week in Cartoons: 20 – 24 May 2013

00 Sergei Yolkin. The News of the Week in Cartoons

The News of the Week in Cartoons: 20 – 24 May 2013

Sergei Yolkin



Sergei Yolkin noted both the unexpected and the welcome guests of the week: Steven Seagal visited Ramzan Kadyrov , wasps and mosquitoes tormented Moscovites, and Georgian wine returned to Russian store-shelves.

24 May 2013

Sergei Yolkin




Monday, 31 December 2012

Hollywood Russian Orthodox Parish’s Altar Artefacts Stolen

Transfiguration Cathedral. Los Angeles CA


Members of a Russian Orthodox parish in Hollywood pray that the suspect that stole dozens of religious artefacts from their church altar, including the communion chalice, will return the sacred items before they celebrate traditional Christmas services on 7 January. Detectives with the LAPD’s Hollywood station are asking for the public’s help in providing any information that will lead to the arrest of the suspect who burglarised the church at 5432 Fernwood Avenue on 22 December. A police statement said, “An unknown individual entered Holy Transfiguration Russian Orthodox Church, gained access to the altar room, and stole numerous religious artefacts”. Police said that the perps stole 37 items, including ornate crosses and chalices for communion.

A member of the church, who gave her name only as Lebedeff, said, “The community’s very upset. We’re praying for the man who did it. We’re praying for this man, that he’ll feel guilt and bring them back”. This Russian Orthodox parish follows the Julian calendar, which means that it celebrates Christmas on 7 January. Holy Transfiguration has been in LA for more than 70 years, Ms Lebedeff said, noting, “We really never had any kind of theft. It was a complete shock to us, to know that someone had come onto an altar, where no one should be walking. It’s intimidating. It’s like someone coming into your home”. Lebedeff said the congregation came to church 23 December and noticed that the altar appeared desecrated, stating, “This person has no conscience. We’re just hoping he realises that, for his soul’s sake, he’s hurt so many people”. Detectives with the LAPD’s Hollywood station are requesting that anyone with information related to this incident contact them at (213) 972 2931. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at (1-800) 222 8477.

Susan Abram

Los Angeles Daily News

30 December 2012


Editor’s Note:

Ms Abrams obviously had no clue that she was talking to a member of the rector’s clan, who’s Alexander Lebedeff. As no age for the interlocutor was given, we don’t know if it was Lebedeff’s wife or a younger family member. Nonetheless, Lebedeff saw to it that the reporter got a “reliable” story… that is, he saw to it that the reporter only heard what he wanted her to hear. It’s just another normal day in the life of a First Family apparatchik…


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