Sunday, December 31, 2017

In The Matter Of The Centennial Of The Birth Of Film Actor, Noir Film Actor, Robert Mitchum (2017)

In The Matter Of The Centennial Of The Birth Of Film Actor, Noir Film Actor, Robert Mitchum (2017)

By Associate Film Critic Alden Riley

[Due to the “controversy” between current film critic Sandy Salmon and his old-time friend and film critic emeritus I have been designated to write up this article based on notes that Sandy gave me and a perusal of Sam’s film review of Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer’s Out of the Past, the film that sparked the controversySite moderator Pete Markin agreed with that decision if for no other reason than to put an end to the bickering, his term. Here it is-Alden Riley]    

Film Editor Emeritus Sam Lowell is like something out of a film noir which he has always been fascinated by ever since he was a kid down in cranberry bog Carver south of Boston and would catch the Saturday matinee double-headers at the Bijou Theater (now long gone and replaced by a cinematic mega-plex out on Route 28 in one of the long line of strip malls which dot that road now). That fascination had a name, The Maltese Falcon, starring rugged chain-smoking tough guy Humphrey Bogart as a no nonsense, well almost no nonsense, private detective, who almost got skirt-crazy, almost got catch off guard by some vagrant jasmine scent from a femme over the matter of an extremely valuable bejeweled bird which the theater owner, Sean Riley, would occasionally play in a retrospective series that he ran to keep expenses down some weeks rather than take in the latest films from the studios.     

The reason that I, Sandy Salmon, current film critic at the American Left History blog and also at the on-line American Film Gazette can call the old curmudgeon Sam Lowell “something out of a film noir” is because once he decided to retire from the day to day hassle of reviewing a wide range of current and past films he contrived to get me to take his place on the blog along with my other by-line. That based on our years together as rivals and friends at the Gazette.  He did this “putting himself out to pasture” as he called it to the blog’s moderator, Peter Paul Markin, when he mentioned the subject of retirement with the proviso that he could contribute occasional “think” pieces as films or other events came up and curdled his interest. I had no particular objection to that arrangement since it is fairly standard in the media industry and is an arrangement that I would likewise want to take up in my soon to come retirement from the day to day grind. (To that end I am grooming an associate film critic Alden Riley for that eventuality.)

This business with Sam and his guest commentaries all came tumbling down on my head recently after he had read somewhere, maybe the Boston Globe, yes, I think it was that newspaper  that the centennial of the birth great actor, great film noir actor,  Robert Mitchum, was at hand. Without giving me a heads up he, Sam, decided that he wanted to do a “think” piece on this key noir figure and someone whose performances in things like Out Of The Past, Cape Fear, and Night Of The Hunter were the stuff of cinematic legend. But you see I wanted, once I became aware of the centennial, to write something to honor Mitchum although I have the modesty not to call it a “think” piece. My idea, as was Sam’s in the end, had been to write about that incredible role Mitchum played as a low key private eye in Out Of The Past against the dangers of a gun-addled femme. We resolved the dispute if you want to call it resolved by having “dueling” appreciations of that classic film. Sam’s potluck article has already been published and now I get my say. Enough said.          
I will say one thing for Sam although I would have noted it myself in any case that both our headlines speaks of a film noir actor although Micthum did many more types of films from goof stuff like the Grass Is Greener where he played some kind of rich oil man adrift in England and infatuated by some nobleman’s wife and Heaven Help Mr. Allison where he got all flirty with a fellow marooned nun to truly scary can’t go to sleep at night without a revolver under the pillow stuff like Cape Fear to the world weary, world wary former standup guy  pasty/fall guy in the film adaptation of  George V. Higgin’s The Friends Of Eddie Coyle. (That film a true Boston Irish Mafia classic complete with men only barroom scenes and a view of dank City Hall Plaza was the best novel Higgins wrote, wrote with a passion that his later work fell a little short on.) That said to my mind, as to Sam’s as well, his classic statement of his acting persona came in the great performance he did in Out Of The Past where between being in the gun sights of an angry gangster played by Kirk Douglas and the gun sights of a gun crazy femme played by Jane Greer he had more than enough to handle.

Yeah, if you think about it, think about other later non-goof, do it for the don’t go back to the “from hunger” days paycheck vehicles Mitchum starred in (he did something like one hundred plus films in his time plus some television work) that film kind of said it all about a big brawny barrel-chested guy who had been around the block awhile, had smoked a few thousand cigarettes while trying to figure out all the angles and still in the end got waylaid right between the eyes by that damn femme. All she had to do was call his name and he wilted like some silly schoolboy. I like a guy who likes to play with fire, likes to live on the edge a little but our boy got caught up badly by whatever that scent, maybe jasmine, maybe spring lilac but poison that he could never get out of his nostrils once she went into over-drive.

Sam in his review went out of his way to make Mitchum’s character, Jeff, let’s just call him Jeff since for safety reasons he had other aliases seemed like, well, seem like the typical “from hunger” guy who got wrapped up in a blanket with a dizzy dame and that his whole freaking life led to that fatal shot from that fatal gun from that femme fatale. She had a name, Kathie, nice and fresh and wholesome name but nothing but fire and fiery although Sam insisted that it could have been any one of a thousand dames as long as she had long legs, ruby red lips and was willing to mess up the sheets a bit. Yeah, Jeff as just another from nowhere guy who got caught between a rock and a hard place.      

No, a thousand time no. Robert Mitchum, ah, Jeff in those scenes has those big eyes wide open from the minute he hit Mexico, no, the minute he got the particulars from Whit, from his new employer of the moment, he was no fall guy but a guy playing out his hand, maybe well, maybe badly but playing the thing out just as he always had done since he was a kid. (Sam, maybe reflecting his own “from hunger” up-bringing in working class cranberry bog Carver if you look at his reviews of those luscious black and white films from the 1940s and 1950s that he feasted on always overplayed that fateful “from hunger” aspect of a male character’s persona, a failing to see beyond his own youth in many cases being his fatal error here)

As Sam would say here is the play, the right way to see Mitchum’s cool as ice character. Whit, a shady businessman, hell, call him by his right name, a gangster, a hood, played by cleft-chinned Kirk Douglas, a young Kirk just as Mitchum was young then too although he always seemed older whatever the role, wanted to hire Jeff (and by indirection his partner Fisher who will undercut him reminding me of that friction between Sam Spade and Miles Archer although Sam wound up doing right by his old partner. Fisher just bought the farm trying to move in on Jeff’s business) to find his girlfriend who left him high and dry minus a cool forty thousand and plus a little bullet hole as a reminder that not all women are on the level. The minute Jeff heard the particulars he was in, not for the dough, although dough is a good reason to take on a job in any profession including his, private detection, but to see what kind of dish ran away from a good-looking, rich guy with plenty of sex appeal and a place to keep her stuck in the good life. Sam missed the whole idea that Jeff already had a head of steam for this elusive Kathie before he went out the door of Whit’s mansion (Kathie or whatever her name really was played by sultry sexy, long-legged, ruby red-lipped ready for a few satin sheet tumbles Jane Greer).   

For a professional detective like Jeff Kathie was not hard to find, maybe intentionally if she had Whit figured out which I think she did, and you could palpably feel the tension as Jeff waited to meet his quarry. If you followed the way he was thinking, if you in this case followed the scent then you would have known that Jeff was no more a victim of some bad childhood that I was. Everything follows from that first prescient presence in that run-down wreak of a cantina down in sunny desperate Mexico and those first drinks between them. The sheets followed as night follows day as did the plans they had to flee from whatever dastardly deeds Whit would do once he knew that a real man had taken his pet away from him-without flinching. The key was the dodge Jeff, remember it was Jeff who led the misdirection when Whit showed up in sunny Mexico wondering what the fuck was going on. Jeff had them in Frisco town before you say goodbye. Nice work.          

Hey Jeff knew, knew as any man knew who had been wide awake after the age of thirteen knew, that his grip on Kathie unlike the later tryst with good girl Anne once he had to go into exile when Kathie flipped her wig, would only last as long as he could keep her interested. I will grant Sam this that maybe Jeff should have been a little more leery of what crazy moves Kathie could make when she was cornered, maybe should have thought through a little better why she put a slug in Whit just for the hell of it. But in his defense Jeff was playing his hand out and it was just too much bad luck that his old partner Fisher got on his trail as Whit’s new hound dog. Got on his trail, and hers, which she stopped cold when she put the rooty-toot-toot to Fisher. Then blew town leaving Jeff to pick up her mess.

Did Jeff call copper, did he go crying on his knees to Whit. No he went into exile waiting for the next move, waiting to see what Kathie would come up with next. He may have built him a nice little gas station business in Podunk, have gotten a dewy fresh maiden in Anne but anybody could see once he was exposed by one of Whit’s operatives passing through that little town he played his hand out to the very end. Went to see what was what including learning of Kathie’s opportunistic return to Whit’s embrace. And subsequently her return to his embrace. Of course such a course was bound to not turn out very well for anybody. Whit wasted by Kathie for the hell of it and then Jeff wasted by her as well once he knew the game was up. Don’t make though too much of that play at the very end when Anne asks Jeff’s deaf gas station employee whether he was really ready to leave everything Jeff and she had together for Kathie and the kid said yes. Yes with the implication that Jeff did the whole play to spare Anne. No, that is too pat. Jeff wanted to go with Kathie, wanted to play with fire, knew that the game was up and just didn’t care any longer as long as he was with Kathie. Couldn’t Sam see in Jeff, in Robert Mitchum’s, eyes that he didn’t care what she did, or what she didn’t do, that was the way it was between them. No fall guy there.

I don’t know about Sam but I am ready to move on to speak out about other major Mitchum films. I agree with Sam those payday check films in a career where he played in over one hundred are not worth blowing any smoke about but there are still plenty worthy of attention. More later. 

Out In The 1950s Be-Bop Crime Noir Night- Humphrey Bogart’s “Beat The Devil”-A Film Review

Click on the headline to link to a Wikipedia entry for the anti-film noir Beat The Devil.

DVD Review

Beat The Devil, starring Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones, Peter Lorre, directed by John Huston, 1953

When Humphrey Bogart was in his prime, say from the time of Petrified Forest in the late 1930s until say 1947’s Dark Passage, he was hands down king of film noir hill. No question. There were prettier faces (Clark Gable), there were better actors (Spencer Tracey), there were actors with more angst per ounce (Montgomery Cliff) but for sheer gritty, grizzled, gnarly (nice, huh) film presence Bogie was the one. Of course even those who have not kept up with their history know that every king (or queen) has his (or her) day. And then-done. Well, not exactly done but since actors, like some generals, only fade away and hang on for just as long as studios think they have “start” quality to put in the bank. In the film under review, Beat The Devil, our man Bogie is in such a quandary. Clearly, on the screen, it is almost painful to see his physical decline from his prime (only slightly hidden by “make-up magic”) if not his ability to throw off a few off-hand devil take the hinter-post lines in this one.

Fortunately this film, directed skillfully to enhance the black and white features, by John Huston, is not desperately in need of “high” Bogie to carry it along. The story line, about a motley crew of “desperados” seeking fame and fortune in post-World War Africa is fairly straight forward and mundane. Unfortunately, for them, they are stuck in an out-of the-way port in Italy. The keys to the kingdom that this crew is trying to corner in the heated up Cold War world- uranium (or some other equally precious commodity, if thinks turn out badly). If in earlier times gold or diamonds stirred men’s (and women’s) greedy thoughts just then in that red scare night it was that particularly important produce. However not for one moment can any of the parties (and those like Ms. Jennifer Jones and her down-at-the-heels British husband who wonder what this crew is doing out in the sticks) take one eye, much less two, off the others. And that, more than the thin plot line, is what carries the day here. The collective day, with likes of Robert Benchley, Peter Lorre and Ms. Jones, playing off against Bogie’s world-wary, world-weary performance. Add into the mix a little off-hand undone infidelity for the good of the cause and that makes a very interesting mix. If you need classic “high” Bogie then go to Casablanca, To Have or Have Not or The Big Sleep. But if you want to see him play against type and in an ensemble performance watch this one.

Free All The Political Prisoners-From Those Outside The Walls To Those Inside-Its The Same Struggle-Build The Resistance

Free All The Political Prisoners-From Those Outside The Walls To Those Inside-Its The Same Struggle-Build The Resistance   

This holiday time of year (and Political Prisoner Month each June as well) is when by traditions of solidarity and comradeship those of us who today stand outside the prison walls sent our best wishes from freedom to our class-war sisters and brothers inside the walls and redouble our efforts in that task.  

Don't forget Mumia, Leonard Peltier, Reality Leigh Winner, The Ohio 7's Tom Manning and Jaan Laaman and all those Black Panther and other black militants still be held in this country's prisons for  risking their necks for a better world for their people, for all people.


Down And Out In Gotham Town- “Batman” (1989)-A Film Review

Down And Out In Gotham Town- “Batman” (1989)-A Film Review

DVD Review

By Phil Larkin

Batman, starring Jack Nicholson, Michael Keaton, Kim Basinger, 1989

WTF. Yeah WFT I am still standing although for the life of me I don’t why after the screed I ran through in the last film review I did if you could call it that Marvel Comics’ The Avengers. WTF too that I am still doing kids’ silly super-hero comic book airheads turned to the multi-plex screens all because everybody, boy or girl from the look of things, between the age of a about eight to twenty-one no longer can sit through the twenty minutes it takes to read a comic book. Said kids will only sit through a couple of hours of swill, as long as the dialogue doesn’t exceed short sentences and grunts, there is kick-ass action every thirty seconds for no apparent reason, and there is an ample supply of vat- tubbed butter-drenched popcorn and gigantic refillable soda cups.
Although you and I both know if you have been following this race to the bottom of filmdom being forced on me with this brainless twit stuff that this is the first stages of a purge by the recently installed new leadership which seems to be making every effort to get rid of the old writers who held this operation together in the days when the assuredly purged, don’t believe that voluntary retirement stuff, Allan Jackson (aka Peter Paul Markin on this site) was made to fall on his sword. We who voted for his retention, meaning against the installation of the new pope Greg Green and his flunky Ed Board, are expected to follow suit. And assuredly as well the quickest way to get rid of senior writers is to give them assignments picking up the popcorn tubs and soda cups after a bunch of lazy kids who won’t read.          

Here is the latest Greg Green has ordered me put on “probation” and hence this disciplinary assignment from hell  (yeah, yeah through the Ed Board but even those know nothing eight to twenty-one year olds know this has the earmarks of the “boss” making the decision and not some hireling nonsense). The reason? Well off that last review if not the first one there are a million possibilities. Start off with my WFT that might offend those eight to twenty year olds who emphatically don’t read much less review screed-like film review. Even there PG parents don’t care as long as they don’t hear their precious Jills and Johnnies don’t use that language around the house. How very liberal. But strangely, or maybe not so strangely since “teacher’s pet” Kenny Jacobs mimicking me started using salty language that is not the reason. Although given this new crew’s kind of left-handed way of doing things since Allan’s purge now that they have wind in their sails that could be the disguised reason. Probably not though since in some weird modern let’s be hip and let everything but the very worse language slide through they are catering to that younger crowd which see the whole thing as picturesque. How very liberal.       
You might think that daring them to print the damn review after skewering not only the film’s reasons for existence but basely calling the whole thing an empty shell would be the reason. After all a bad review, which by the way Alan Jackson cared less about which way the review went as long as it was well-written and less than three thousand words (so he didn’t have to pay a premium bonus number of words in cyberspace being meaningless). This crew from what I have heard in order to grab some extra revenue is taking “advertisements” from the movie companies in this space. And the surest way to lose such lucrative emoluments is to have one of your writers declare their whole operation a house of cards However Greg mentioned to I think Lance Lawrence that these modern day studios still work on the old premise that the only bad publicity is no publicity.     

You might, and again be wrong, that skewering the characters and their personal identities would draw the line and put me beyond the pale. Calling patriotic Captain America a brawny brainless twit who would be hard-pressed to figure out how to use a spoon if he ever had occasion to use one. Ditto the Hulk except dumber when he goes off the deep end and turns into a green balloon-ish cretin. Calling beautiful Thor a wooden head, as wooden as those Valhalla Viking ships that faded from history fast. Sorrowfully calling Black Widow nothing but a commie bitch, eye candy for the jet set, and not to be trusted under any circumstances. Mutants, social misfits and rogues all. Even the brainy Ironman who in the end didn’t want to play ball, got all crazy and stuff.       

No, the reason if you can believe this that I am on “probation’ is that as has been standard policy at this site since the old days when Sam Lowell, now really retirement but of late muzzled, ruled the roost as official Senior film critic, a title now abolished in the new ‘democratic’ era I did not give an adequate plot-line summary. What? What plot beyond kick-ass bad guys every thirty seconds in between gulps of soda or throated popcorn for the audience and don’t get any scratches on the uniforms or one’s person. Does it matter if the “enemy” is Hydra or Thor’s aunt? No, I think not and so there is the very real substance to my feeling that my days in this space are numbered. Once they say they have a pressing assignment for me out with the exiled Allan Jackson out in Utah I can kiss my ass good-bye.    

That brings to the so-called plot-line of this Batman film from 1989. I am doomed anyway so once again I will say –what plot. Batman, played by mild-mannered Michael Keaton in between bouts of going under the Wayne mansion downy billow beds with investigative reporter Kim Basinger has a run-in or seven with the Joker, played by living maniac Jack Nicholson, who got caught short in an acid vat after killing his mobster boss. In the end, ho-hum, the Joker takes the big fall, takes the trip six feet under. Any more plot-line summary than that Greg Green can sue me. Enough said.     

Courage To Resist- A Decade of Supporting Resisters

support the resistance

A Decade of Supporting Resisters

Since 2007, Courage to Resist has supported the troops who refused to fight, or who faced consequences for acting on conscience, in opposition to illegal wars, occupations, the policies of empire abroad and martial law at home.  Our People Power strategy weakens the pillars that perpetuate these causes of immense violence. By supporting military resistance, counter-recruitment, and draft resistance, we intend to cut off the supply of troops for war, while pledging resistance to the policies of hate, repression, and the militarization of policing domestically. We are autonomous from and independent of any political organization, party or group.

"Courage to Resist is an amazing organization that has really helped my wife and I in our time of need. Please consider donating so they can continue doing this great work."
Ryan was recently released from the US Army after having been AWOL for a decade, after refusing to deploy to Iraq.
"I've had the Honor to work with Courage to Resist for many years, and on many successful campaigns. As a former member of the Active-Duty GI Resistance during the Viet Nam era, I only wish that there had been an organization such as Courage to Resist when I deserted with three of my fellow infantry-platoon members. Until this nation ends its criminal invasions, occupations, and militarism in general, which destroy EVERYONE that they touch, we will always need such outstanding organizations as Courage to Resist. Please support them in any way that you can. Few things are more important than supporting military resistance, especially today."
Ward lives in Baton Rouge. During the US war in Vietnam, he was attached to 1st Bn.,16th Infantry–1st I.D.
"There is no question in my mind that Chelsea Manning is free today directly because of the tireless work of the amazing people at Courage to Resist! Their work is critical. Our freedom and democracy depend on the witness of war resisters and whistleblowers, and Courage to Resist has shown time and time again that war resisters and whistleblowers can depend on them."
Maria is the Exec. Dir. of the Center on Conscience & War.
"Let us celebrate the liberation of Chelsea Manning, who will have served seven years in prison for courageously revealing evidence of war crimes. And a shout out to Courage to Resist and so many others across the country who were instrumental in gaining Chelsea's freedom."
Marjorie is a Veterans for Peace Advisory Board Member and co-author of "Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent" (with Kathleen Gilberd). She is an emerita professor of law at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego.
"I was one of three US diplomats who resigned in March 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq. As I resigned my career on principle against an illegal war, I fully support the right of US military personnel who, in acts of conscience, refuse to go to a war of aggression, a war crime. While I could resign my career with no consequences other than not having a job, military personnel who take their stand of conscience face certain imprisonment. Taking a stand of conscience against an illegal war while in the US military requires courage and bravery. I proudly support those who take such a stand."
Ann received the State Department Award for Heroism in 1997 after helping to evacuate several thousand people during the civil war in Sierra Leone. She was a passenger on the Challenger 1, which along with the Mavi Marmara, was part of the Gaza flotilla. Ann currently travels the world as a peace advocate.
"Thank you to Courage to Resist for working long-term on supporting some of the bravest and most effective resistance to war we have seen. You've worked strategically and morally. As difficult as many Americans find it to speak out publicly against a war that is constantly promoted by their televisions and supported by their neighbors, that difficulty is as nothing beside the onslaught faced by military service men and women who obey the law, the law that requires them to disobey illegal orders. Courage to Resist is well-named. Resistance from within the military requires tremendous courage. Organizing in support of resisters requires courage and hard work, and it is some of the most valuable work being done today by anyone anywhere. Ending the current US policy of waging aggressive wars is the key moral issue facing the globe, and the key impediment to it is the pretense that the wars are being waged on behalf of the men and women sent to kill and die and be wounded. When some of those men and women speak up, it gives the world hope."
David is an author, activist, journalist and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for
"I have the utmost respect and gratitude for the work of Courage to Resist: providing unwavering and unconditional support for Chelsea Manning, in both words and deeds, long before that became 'fashionable' or widespread; conveying and amplifying the messages of resisters in their own words, not trying to speak for them; and calling attention to and providing support for other less-publicized resisters. Courage to Resist is a model for what support of resistance can and should be, and of the ways that collective and individual actions can reinforce each other in a common cause."
Edward was imprisoned from 1983-1984 for organizing resistance to Selective Service registration and support for other draft registration resisters.
"In a society like the US where virtually every foreign intervention, everywhere, is grotesquely illegal and criminal, the most effective resistance is from the soldiers themselves, those who choose to refuse to follow the illegal orders at great personal risk to themselves. To nourish and sustain this noble disobedience requires solidarity with and awareness of other soldiers thinking the same way, and supporters outside the military, who will cover your back in a variety of ways. Courage to Resist serves this function well, and is indispensable to continued, and expanded resistance within the military to the egregious military polices of the United States."
Brian is a Vietnam veteran, peace activist, and attorney-at-law. Brian served in the US Air Force from 1966 to 1970, including several months as a combat security officer in Vietnam.
"I've worked with Courage now for six years. One of the best decisions Chelsea Manning Support Network ever made was hooking up with them. They are amazing. I can't sing their praises enough. I became a regular donor."
Rainey is a writer and privacy advocate. She leads the advocacy team for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties organization, and works as a nonprofit consultant.
"I continue to be so impressed by the leadership of Courage to Resist in building a broad movement to free Chelsea Manning. I am also thankful to the many members of Veterans For Peace who stood solidly with Private Manning, barely blinking an eye when Bradley became Chelsea. We wish her the best possible life. We will continue to support war resisters and whistleblowers."
Gerry serves on the Veterans for Peace Board of Directors. He has been a leading advocate for military war resisters since the US war in Vietnam.
"After Alex was killed in Iraq, my ex-wife told me that he didn't want to go back. Alex never shared that with me even though I guess I sensed it. I wouldn't have known what to tell him. If I had known about Courage to Resist, Alex might be alive today."
Carlos' son Marine L/Cpl Alex Arredondo was killed in action on August 25, 2004 in An Najaf, Iraq.
"Meeting Courage to Resist late December 2014, early January 2015, feels like that may have—there are a lot of turning points in my life—but that was a turning point during my conscientious objection process. Because up until then I didn't know that I was going to make it. But I met Courage to Resist and things turned around and my networks broadened tremendously and I got thing incredible love and support that I was missing."
Jacob was recently discharged from the US Marine Corps as a Conscientious Objector.
zinnHOWARD ZINN (1922-2010)
"I would urge people to support Courage to Resist in whatever way they can. I can think of nothing more important in stopping the war in Iraq than for the soldiers themselves to refuse to fight. As a veteran myself I know how difficult it is to break out of the stranglehold the military has on one's mind, and how much courage that takes. Those who make such a decision need all the support we can give them, and Courage to Resist does just that."
Howard was an American historian, playwright, and social activist. He was a political science professor at Boston University who wrote more than twenty books, including his best-selling and influential "A People's History of the United States."

Please consider a end-of-year tax-deductible donation to support Courage to Resist's next decade.

484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559 ~

From Veterans For Peace- Build a World Dedicated to Peace!

P.S.  Are you aware that the new tax law recently signed by Donald Trump provides less incentive to donate to not-for-profits next year? It is expected that charitable giving may go down. Read this Los Angeles Times story for more details.

I encourage you to think about giving now before the end of the year. Based on the way the new law is constructed, it may make sense for you to support VFP with a large gift today so that you can itemize the gift in your 2017 taxes.

Veterans For Peace needs your support today and will continue to need your help next year as we wage peace in the face of rising hate and increased U.S. war-making. Thank you for everything you have done for peace. Next year will be tough, but it will also be an exciting time to demand and end to war and work for a peaceful world.
Thank you,
Michael McPhearson, Executive Director
Veterans For Peace apologizes if your donation and our email crossed paths.
We also encourage you to join our ranks.  


Holiday Greetings to All Friends of Dorchester People for Peace! Best Wishes from DPP to those observing the holidays – or simply enjoying the spirit of the season. . . And a PEACEFUL NEW YEAR!

Holiday Greetings to All Friends
of Dorchester People for Peace!
Best Wishes from DPP to those observing the holidays – or simply enjoying the spirit of the season. . .

We have posted these videos many times before during the Holidays.  Watch them for the first time if you haven’t seen them before; watch them again and you won’t be disappointed.

In December, 1914, after months of slaughter during the First World War (it was supposed to be “The War to End all Wars”!), British and German soldiers declared an informal and spontaneous truce.  The story of their fraternization and holiday celebration is told in detail here and here.


Christmas In The Trenches VIDEO:  
The event has been immortalized in a song by folksinger John McCutcheon, which you can hear and watch along with contemporary illustrations and a moving introduction by the performer.

The song ends with this stanza:
My name is Francis Tolliver, in Liverpool I dwell
Each Christmas come since World War I, I've learned its lessons well
That the ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame
And on each end of the rifle we're the same.

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John Lennon
(killed on December 8, 1980)
VIDEO:   “All we are saying is give peace a chance” (1969)

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VIDEO: John Lennon – HAPPY CHRISTMAS (The War is Over)

Yusuf Ibrahim (aka Cat Stevens)


VIDEO: “Peace Train”

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Jerusalem: UN resolution rejects Trump's declaration
The UN General Assembly has decisively backed a resolution effectively calling on the US to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  The text says that any decisions regarding the status of the city are "null and void" and must be cancelled. The non-binding resolution was approved by 128 states, with 35 abstaining and nine others voting against.  It came after US President Donald Trump threatened to cut financial aid to those who backed the resolution.    More

The vote by population was even more overwhelming if we look at the countries which voted with the US:
·         The nine who voted against the resolution were the US, Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Togo
Abstainers were either white settler colonies or small countries dependent on the US and/or looking for Israeli support in Washington.

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Bethlehem: Living Between Tear Gas and Christmas Ornaments (from last year)
Bethlehem is a besieged city surrounded by a 26-foot-high wall erected on much of its perimeter. This imposing edifice prevents many farmers from getting to their land and restricts residents from performing everyday actions, like going to school or work. By the time it is completed, 56 kilometers of this barrier—which many call the apartheid wall—will leave 12 communities physically separated from the rest of Bethlehem. Fully 85 percent of the Governorate of Bethlehem is classified as part of Area C—under complete Israeli control in all security and civil matters. In addition, there are 19 settlements—illegal according to international law and officially opposed by the U.S. government—surrounding the governorate which house over 100,000 Israeli settlers… This Christmas season, as Christians the world over sing of Baby Jesus’s little town of Bethlehem, they must also remember that this city remains under a crippling Israeli occupation. There will be no meaningful peace in Bethlehem as long as the Palestinians there have to live with the wall, settlements, and an unrelenting military chokehold.    More

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CONTACTING DPP and Joining Our Work:

To make it easier to get involved with DPP, we've decided to publish contact info for our coordinators in every issue of this update. We will also regularly publish upcoming meetings of work committees, create a brochure or flyer about DPP, and greet new people at monthly meetings with an explanation of how we work. Here's how to reach them.

Facilitation Team:
Sydney Miller
Alison Gottlieb:
Rosemary Keane

The Golden Age Of Screwball Comedy-Katharine Hepburn And Cary Grant’s Bringing Up Baby (1938)- A Film Review

The Golden Age Of Screwball Comedy-Katharine Hepburn And Cary Grant’s Bringing Up Baby (1938)- A Film Review

DVD Review

By Kenny Jacobs

Bringing Up Baby, starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, directed by Howard Hawks, 1938  

[WTF-Hell now Phil Larkin has got me in a foul swearing mood.  (Phil in his youth bore the sobriquet Foul-mouthed Phil which may still be an appropriate moniker) The old time writer for this space and close friend of the recently departed to parts unknown and unlamented from what I have heard around the water cooler former site manager Allan Jackson is once again belly-aching about an assignment given to him by new manager Greg Green. Green had given him another Marvel Studio production The Avengers to review I assume because he did a good job on the first effort Captain America; Civil War.  Belly-aching at my expense which is why I am, again, doing a bracketed introduction. (Unlike Phil I still have put my screed in the traditional brackets to forewarn disinterested reader who could give a f—k about the internal disputes in an on-line publication operation to move on down the page to the story.)    

Quickly Phil’s first dispute was having to do a modern review of that Marvel comic production Captain America: Civil War mentioned above rather than the one Greg Green rightly assigned to me Humphrey Bogart’s lesser film Deadline-USA. He actually did an okay job on the film including what will be a classic line about Captain America having the brain of sea-pod despite his brawny exterior. I, in turn, this according to Greg himself, gave a very good account of myself on the Bogie article. That is what has me steamed this time when Phil once again assumed that somebody not born in 1930 or so could ever do justice, could ever have any insights into those by-gone productions like the classic screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby where Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn playing somewhat against type sparkled up the screen with their antics and budding romance.          

Yeah that haughty, I am being nice to the bastard now, attitude has driven me to distraction young as I in this publication business. Phil has obviously not seen fit to read my previous introduction or decided to consciously ignore that information when I gave my “credentials” for be able, young as I am, to do a review on a Bogie film. I had been reared by black and white film crazed parents who from an early age carted me off to various film festival retrospectives both in college and later. I, in my turn, when I came off age would go myself, and later with various cheap date dates to my own slew of such features. I say again for Phil or anybody else I don’t need some certificate to prove that I can write intelligently about Bogie or about the golden age of screwball comedy. An age when the likes of Preston Sturgis, George Cukor, and the director here Howard Hawks made America laugh at itself for a few minutes in the heat of the 1930s Greta Depression and later the slogging through World War II that my grandparents and great-grandparents went through. WTF how hard is that to understand . Kenny Jacobs] 


I had to laugh when I read Phil Larkin’s review of The Avengers since he gave it short shrift in the story-line department. Wrote the whole thing as some kind of ghoulish nightmare in about three lines so what he really wanted to write about was the “injustice” done to him-again. Which is maybe why Greg wanted me to do the Bringing Up Baby. Wanted to get more than three lines about the actual film he was reviewing. Of course with Baby, with any film you can do a sabotage job dismissing a film in a few words. You can also get the kernel of truth the film is trying to get at as well.

Here you have goof paleontologist Huxley, maybe vibes of Aldous, played by Cary Grant playing a little against type, fussing over finishing the construction of his pet project dinosaur bones getting that one last piece. Strangely just the day before he is to get married to his wet blanket assistant who only apparently wants him for his brain and fame potential. No way is Cary going to marry that person so let’s segue into later when to hustle some hard cash to finish up the project he winds up on a golf course trying to hustle dough from a rich matron’s lawyer. Enter poor little holy goof rich girl Susan, played by Katharine Hepburn playing pretty far from type and which ended up with poor box office haunting her career for a couple of years until she got all wistful and delightful in The Philadelphia Story. From that first meeting the pair exchange, mainly her exchange, a comedy of errors including a lot of dipsy-doodle around a dog and that last piece dinosaur bone. But you know as well as I do that through all the misadventures that holy goof Susan starts to grow on the good ancient bone goof Doctor. Of course there has to be one last pratfall by Susan to cement their mutual love with the poor innocent dinosaur taking a beating once more as if that millions of years ago extinction wasn’t humiliating enough. Short summary but more three lines to wrap up another Hollywood boy meets girl story that frankly was not hard for me to figure out or watch with interest. Touché Phil.