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


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

13 November 2013. A Picture IS Worth a Thousand Words… The More Things Change…

00 Veterans Day 1988 in Pennsylvania. 13.11.13


The above image is from 1988 Pennsylvania… a quarter-century ago. Yet, things haven’t changed much in po-nashemu land. People are still patriotic… they’re still family-oriented… they’re still faithful. Things are still much the same (despite all the superficial ferment)… in a good way. In particular, the po-nashemu people aren’t busybodies or self-advertisers. They don’t try to convert you… but they’ll be the first one at your backdoor if they find out you’re in a jam. They sure don’t make noise… but they sure do make good sense!

You can follow loud nonentities like Rod Dreher or Terrence Mattingly… or you can follow the good people in the picture. I’ll confide that I’m not alone in preferring the latter…


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

27 June 2012. St T’s Needs Your Help NOW


I did a little checking, and the following is on the up-and-square. St T’s is in the deep financial kimchi. They need money, and they need it quickly. Firstly, the money isn’t going to support any harebrained konvertsy schemes… there are serious infrastructure problems that must be put right. Let’s put it this way, if things go on as they are, there won’t be any summer camp at St T’s this year. St T’s is the oldest Russian Orthodox monastery in the country. Yes, I know that Renovationist creepozoids have tried to obscure that, but right now, the priority is to put material things right, not fight the creepo-supremos. We can do that after the crisis is past. Click here for info on how to give… and I say, GIVE, this is our Russian Orthodox heritage… and it doesn’t matter what JP, Reardon, Dreher, or Freddie M-G say or do. This is the beating heart of our po-nashemu heritage… the Anglo converts have no clue of what that means (and with all their crackbrained arguments over Canon X and Father Y, they never will). By the way, Ginny Nieuwsma showed her incompetence, yet again… she CHOSE not to highlight this need with the necessary seriousness on oca.org. What a low, stinking, individual she is (but she slobbers all over Kosovar Albanians, go figure)… I know that she’s nothing but JP’s PR flack, but this is too much of a muchness.

I say, “We have a debt to baba and dede”… there it is, full stop, and ‘nuff said…

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Albany NY

Saturday, 14 April 2012

14 April 2012. Easter’s on its Way! NO! NOT the Easter Bunny… They’re Bakin’ Easter Paskas in PA!



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