It’s in the walk.
Picture the following Hollywood stars in your mind’s eye:
Mae West, hands caressing her Rubenesque hips, head tilted, not just sauntering but oozing forward to devour all who cross her path.
Jimmy Cagney, elbows cocked, moving with concentrated energy, he propels himself like a coiled spring.
Joan Crawford, leading with her linebacker shoulders, strides across the screen determined, dangerous, unstoppable.
Labor Day affords us the opportunity to reflect on work, our jobs, present and past. Good jobs, bad jobs, we’ve all had our share of both.
Work should set you free. Honest labor puts money in your pocket which allows you to spend that money as you see fit. Ideally, work infuses the individual with a sense of self-worth and dignity.
In Judaism, work is viewed as a vital adjunct to the observance and study of Torah:
Im ayn kemach, ayn Torah.
If there is no bread [work], there is no study of Torah.
—Ethics of the Fathers, (Avos 3:21)
Thus, the Torah invests labor with a deep spiritual value.
But let’s be honest, in any work environment there is gossip. And office gossip can be terribly destructive.
Hollywood has always been a hothouse for nasty personal attacks. But in the past, these vendettas were usually reserved for post-career memoirs and late night interviews—Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett, David Frost, etc—that today, appear sweetly disagreeable.
But in postmodern America, where traditional values of respect and restraint are not even a dim memory, Hollywood gossip has become an industry unto itself. Unsavory gossip is now mainstream, brought to you in the form of entertainment and reality shows—which are neither entertaining nor real.
America has even elected a president who regularly slings gossip disguised as social-political wisdom. Obama’s remarks about the “stupid” Boston police, about being Trayvon Martin’s father, even his off-the-cuff remark about a Syrian red line—these are instances of politics as gossip; an indication of the deep moral and intellectual corruption of Obama & Co., and of the liberal political class who are unmoored from the basics of a civil society.
Here are a few of Seraphic Secret’s favorite, and not-so-secret snipes—touchingly tame by today’s appalling standards—brought to you some of Hollywood’s best-loved stars about other best-loved stars.
We continue our series of the Twenty Greatest Movies of each decade. Here are our our picks for the last five great movies of the 1940’s.
16. Notorious, 1946. No American actor has tampered with his own charming image more successfully than Cary Grant. In Only Angels Have Wings (1939) he is the tough boss of a suicidal jungle mail service. In Suspicion (1941) one is forced to ask: Is Grant playing his usually charming self but capable of cold-blooded murder? In None But the Lonely Heart (1944) a film I loathe, Grant convincingly plays a Cockney tough with mother issues. And in Notorious, Hitchcock, who understood Grant’s image better than any other director, cast Grant as a sexually repressed government agent who recruits bad girl Ingrid Bergman, daughter of a convicted Nazi spy. Grant’s dark side is brilliantly exploited as his character initially treats Bergman with contempt but gradually falls in love with the damaged, vulnerable beauty. Notorious succeeds, not because of the plot—tedious spy stuff—but because the love story is central and brilliantly convincing.