A major, but frequently overlooked ingredient that contributed to the glamorous image of Hollywood’s greatest stars were their voices.
Under the studio system, actors were given rigorous voice training. They were taught to enunciate clearly, and how to emphasize certain words in order to give better line readings. They were drilled on how to breathe in order to speak their dialogue with confidence and ease.
Director Howard Hawks did not hesitate to make Lauren Bacall stand on a Malibu cliff and scream at the waves until her voice was raw and hoarse. He felt, correctly, that a deep, smoky voice on a female was, well, sexy.
“Eyes are the greatest tool in film. Mr. Capra taught me that. Sure it’s nice to say very good dialogue, if you can get it. But great movie acting — watch the eyes!”
Jewish humor is filled with self-deprecating observations. We poke fun at our peculiar foibles, and frequently address our greatest anxieties — intermarriage, Jew-hatred, weight-gain — with a take-no-prisoners attitude.
If you want to know how Jews are really feeling about something or someone, pay attention to the jokes Jews tell each other.
A few days ago, Karen and I attended a lovely wedding in Pacific Palisades.
During the smorgasbord, a friend approached, made the obligatory l’chaim and asked:
“On which Jewish holiday did Barack Obama die?”
“Obama’s not dead.”
“The day Obama dies is going to become a Jewish holiday.”
Here’s the second punch line: the guy who told me the joke is one of the few Orthodox Jewish Democrats — most Torah Jews are Conservative Republicans — with whom I’m acquainted. But he is, in his own words, “Doing teshuvah, for helping elect a straight-up Jew-hater.”
Here’s an array of fun pictures to help us get through the weekend.