Sunday, March 31, 2013

162 Quiz Answer

The answer to this week’s quiz is the opera “Don Giovanni,” by Mozart, the colorful story of Don Juan, the legendary libertine – who gets his come-uppance at the end.

(Also for Three-Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "L" is for "Lance")
This week’s Berownial quiz question has to do with – grand opera!  (I wonder how this is going to go over.  :-) )

I wrote a little scenelet loosely based on a well-known opera.  Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is: give us the opera’s name.

Seems a famous international film star, Lance R., well seasoned in the arts of seduction, is visiting a small town in the American Midwest.  He spots a beautiful girl there, Ellie, who is getting ready to be married. 

He introduces himself and chats with her.  She is bowled over by this chance meeting with such a celebrity.  He invites her to come over to his place...

Lance: “There you’ll give me your hand.  Look, my place is not far, right over there.  Come, dear friend, let us go.”

Ellie: “Wow, this is so cool.  To be talking with a real star.  Truth is, I’d love to, but I don’t dare.  Ritchie, he’s my boyfriend – we’re engaged, after all – he’d practically kill me.”

“Don’t let's argue about Ritchie; whoever he is he’s nowhere near good enough for you.  You deserve much better.”

“I’m so nervous.   But it’s true, what you said; I often wondered if Ritchie was the right guy for me.”

“Ritchie!  You shouldn't care a lick for him.  What can he do for you?  I can change your life!”

“What’s going to happen if we do go over there?”

“Why, we’re going to be together, to share life’s pleasures.  We’ll talk, we’ll get to know each other.  We’ll experience the exquisite scintillating miracle that is the beginning of true, innocent love.”

“You talk real good.  Not like Ritchie, that’s for sure!”

“Come, let us begin what will be for both of us a wondrous new chapter of our lives.  Shall we go?”

“All right.  Okay, let’s go.”

Mozart put it this way:Là ci darem la mano,
Là mi dirai di sì:
Vedi, non è lontano,
Partiam, ben mio, da qui.

Vorrei e non vorrei,
Mi trema un poco il cor,
Felice, è ver, sarei,
Ma può burlarmi ancor!



Now have a squint at it in English: “There I'll give you my hand,
There you'll say yes:
See, it is not far,
my love, let's leave from here.”

“Should I or shouldn't I?
My heart trembles at the thought.
It's true, I might be happy;
I could anyway have fun!”

 “Let us go?”

“Let’s go!”

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings)


Sunday, March 24, 2013

161 Quiz Answer

The answer to our quiz this week is the movie titled “Chinatown.”  This classic motion picture about the Los Angeles Water Wars marked the high point in the careers of both lead actor Jack Nicholson and director Roman Polanski.

(Also for Three-Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "K" is for "Kearney")

I was brought up in Los Angeles.  As a kid I got interested in a part of local history that wasn’t covered in school: the Los Angeles Water Wars.
Even when the town was just founded, in 1781, folks could see that this was a great spot for a community.  It was practically on the Pacific Ocean, they told themselves, and look – Hollywood was just next door.

The town had an impressive, awe-inspiring name (in Spanish): “The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels.”  After some time it became more terse, just Los Angeles, “The Angels.”  (“The Lakers” would have sounded a bit lame at that time.)

It was a quiet village.  The villagers didn’t have much energy; their idea of a big time was to have two enchiladas for lunch. But the place seemed to have potential, the possibility of a great future.

There was one problem.  Water.

There was, of course, plenty of water; they were practically sitting on the Pacific Ocean, after all.  But that was that salty stuff; who enjoys drinking that?  The fresh variety was in short supply.  (It still is.)

One day around 1900 a citizen of the town named Fred Kearney was vacationing two or three hundred miles from L A and he saw something astonishing.  In a place named Owens Valley he saw tons of fresh water – millions of gallons of the stuff – all just sort of lying there.  It was the runoff of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Kearney thought, the Romans did it, why can’t we?  In other words he and some other Angelenos planned to build an aqueduct that would have Owens Valley H2O cascading down to the queen of the angels. 

It would be gravity-fed; no pumps needed.  We conduit! he cried. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, what went wrong was that the Owens Valley area had quite a number of farmers.  (They were manufacturing a marvelous new invention, the orange.)

They weren't willing to cooperate.  To keep their water, they were ready to fight, and they did.  Thus did the L A Water Wars come into existence.  Perhaps the most famous of the wars you never heard of.

As you may have guessed, the acqueductors won.

Reason I tell you all this is that it has to do with the Berownial quiz of the week.  The above story, without the puns, should remind you of a famous motion picture.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is: name the movie.

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

160 Quiz Answer

The answer to this week’s quiz question is “Chicago,” the longest-running American musical in Broadway history; in its film version it was an Academy Award-winner.

The character who inspired my little scenelet was a good-natured but simple husband, known as “Mr. Cellophane,” whom nobody pays attention to.  In fact, he spends most of the play trying to make his wife, Roxie, take interest in him or even acknowledge his existence. 

(Also for Three-Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "J" is for "Jeffrey")
Here’s this week’s Berownial quiz question.  I wrote the following scenelet, which may possibly suggest to you a famous American musical, a smash hit on the stage and on the screen.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is: name the musical.

(Here's an iconic scene: the office of a psychoanalyst.)
Dr. Holzmann:  “Just sit back and relax.  No, we don’t use the couch; that’s an old cliche about psychoanalysis.”

Jeffrey:  “I guess it’s another old cliché that some patients don’t quite know why they’re in a psychoanalyst’s office, because I’m afraid that’s my case.”

“Well, obviously something has been bothering you.”

“You think you can cure me?”

“Ah, well, as you may know that’s terminology we don’t use.  No, I won’t ‘cure’ you.  Together we can discuss possible problems and perhaps I can create some insight for you so you can work toward resolution of the problems.”

“Actually, I guess I’m here mostly because of my – er - situation.   You see, it’s out there, always.  It makes me edgy, bothers me all the time.”

“Okay.  Let’s start with that.”

“I don’t know quite how to describe it.”

“The letter you wrote seemed to indicate that you’re upset that you’re not more successful in life, that you should be more important, more respected.”

“Yeah, I guess that’s one way of putting it.  But it’s more fundamental.  Way back when I was a kid I was never lithe and lively; I was always off to one side, never taking part in the games, or the parties, that other kids enjoyed.”

“And the other kids made fun of you?  Taunting?  That kind of thing happens a lot.”

“No, it’s even more basic than that.  The problem was, not that they made fun of me; they just didn’t care.  They seemed not to know I was there.”

“But surely now that you’re a grown man you can forget about such things; it was all so long ago.”

“But it’s the same today!  That’s the real problem.  I’m forty-three years old and it’s not that folks give me a hard time.  They just don’t care.  That’s why I keep thinking about cellophane.”

“I don’t – I don’t make the connection.”

“Well, when I was a kid cellophane was kind of new to me.  I had a big sheet of it at home and I thought they should have named me after it – because everybody seemed to look right through me, just as you can look through cellophane, as though I wasn’t there.”

“That’s interesting.”

“And that’s my life today!  People walk right by me and never seem to know I’m there.”

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings)



Sunday, March 10, 2013

159 Quiz Answer

The answer this week is “North by Northwest.” a Cary Grant film directed by Alfred Hitchcock.  The screenplay was written by Ernest Lehman, who wanted to write "the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures."

(Also for Three-Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "I" is for "Ike")
Here’s this week’s Berownial quiz question. 

I wrote the following little scenelet, basing it - loosely - on a very popular motion picture. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is: name the movie.

“Morning!  You’re the crop duster?”

“Right.  The agency sent me.  My name is Ike Barnes and I’m from Muleshoe, Texas; I’ve been spraying since I was 19.  Out there on the runway is my plane, an Air Tractor 802A.  I usually spray corn, cotton, pumpkins and potatoes.”

“Great.  That would make quite a lunch.  Except maybe for the cotton.”

“You say you got work for me?”

“Right.  We need a very experienced crop duster for a special assignment.  We’ll pay double what you usually get for a job.  You’ll do what you always do in your work and we’ll be shooting film of you.”

“I’ll be in the movies?”

“That’s right, and with a famous director.”

“Man, I’m getting excited.”

“We’re going to have a guy standing alone on a road out in a vast wilderness; no one else is around.  Your job will be to fly at him, very careful and low, low as you can get, and the preservation instinct will cause him to drop down flat on the ground so you can’t hit him.”

“Wait a minute.  That sounds dangerous.”

“For him, not for you.  He’ll be an actor so we can easily get another one if we need to.”

“This is sure a strange kind of crop dusting.”

“The guy will than run into a corn field where he can hide in the corn stalks.  You then swoop back and this time spray some pesticide on him.”

“What!?  That’s it, I quit!  I could use the money, but I don’t want to wind up in jail!”

“It won’t be real pesticide, Ike.  It’ll be fake.  In fact, it’ll be water.”


“And that’s all there is to it.  We’ll probably shoot the scene a couple of times to be sure there are no mistakes.  Then it will be hugs all around and you can pick up your check and get back to your pumpkins and potatoes.”

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

158 Quiz Answer

This week’s answer is the movie Gigi, which won a record-breaking 9 Academy Awards, including the Oscar for Best Picture.  In tribute to Gigi's domination of the Oscars, the MGM switchboard answered calls the following day with "M-Gigi-M."

(Also for Three-Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "H" is for Will Hays)
Here's this week's Berownial quiz. I wrote the following little scenelet, basing it on a very popular motion picture. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is: name the movie.

“Morning, George.  I hope you got a chance to read my film treatment.  If we go ahead and make this movie, it could be a real blockbuster.”

“You’re out of your mind.”

“What!?  You said you loved the story when you read it.”

“Sure.  Great story – to read.  But as a motion picture…  You know about Will Hays, Hollywood’s chief censor?”

“Of course.  But…

“No buts.  The brutal fact is, he’d never approve such a film.  Don’t forget, this is the 1950s and we have to accept that if the Hays Office doesn’t approve a script the film doesn’t get made.”

“But we’ll make adjustments for that in the way the script is written.”

“Take a moment to think about it, Owen.  This is a story about a little girl who is being trained to become a prostitute!  That’s why I say you’re out of your mind to think it could ever be made.”

“But it’s about Paris, around 1900.  They looked on things differently then.”

“The Hays Office doesn’t look on things differently.”

“Anyway, she’s not training to be a prostitute; she’s training to be a courtesan.”

“And that’s a different kettle of poissons, I suppose?”

“That’s right.  For centuries in Europe many girls, of low social standing and without family or fortune, were trained in etiquette, charm and the social graces so they could have a chance in life.”

“As some rich guy’s mistress.”

“But this will all be de-emphasized in our script.  American film audiences won’t have to grope for a darker meaning.  We’ll sort of clean it up.  We'll transfer it all to just a movie about a beautiful young girl in Paris around 1900 who’s being educated and it will be full of beauty and charm and stunning scenery and great music!”

“Yeah, but you don’t know Will Hays like I do.  ‘She’s being educated to do what?’ he’ll ask.”

“All we have to do is convince the Hays Office that this ‘courtesan’ deal will be totally underplayed in the script.”

“Well…  I have to admit it could be a fine movie.  Probably make a pile of money if you could ever get it produced.  If you handle the screenplay right, maybe there’s a chance.  Go ahead; get to work on the script.”

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings)

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