among my favorite things

Among my favorite things are books and movies. I hold these two titles in especially high esteem.

The book “Minutes of the Last Meeting” by Gene Fowler is a first hand account of the weekly gathering of Hollywood artists such as W.C. Fields, John Barrymore and others at the home of painter John Decker in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. The now obscure bohemian poet Sadikichi Hartmann is really the focal point of the book. This sometimes rude but always urbane and witty group provide an entertaining look into that world and time. Fowler was one of the better writers of his era and this book about his friends and cohorts presents an honest portrait which is not blind to their faults. The book was published in 1954.

“The Duellists” is an early (1977) Ridley Scott film based on a Joseph Conrad short story. Set in the Napoleonic period the photographic beauty of the film rivals “Barry Lyndon” in my opinion. It is a great period film and there are great performances from what would seem an unlikely cast such as Keith Carradine, Harvey Keitel, Robert Stephens and even a cameo by one of my favorite actors Albert Finney. The story is an amazingly poignant morality lesson and it is so well told that I never grow tired of it.