Theme of the Month: Ghost World
Star of the Month: Montgomery Clift & Elizabeth Taylor
Summer 2016’s been an interesting period because it’s been building to a climax. As part of a family
that prefers to do heavy duty trip taking the moment the bell rings for the last time of the school year, taking the rest of the summer off as a quasi-siesta, this makes for the first year in a long while in which long-winded anticipation has been part of our holiday narrative, not an instantaneous, momentous explosion of activity. Today my family leaves for the East Coast, starting what will be a near three week tour of everything coming in-between Massachusetts and Maine, part airplane ride and part road trip.
Excited is my middle name as of late — I like my job but
am ready for discovery — but Freaked might take over as soon as heading home is a reality. After just a few weeks of deflation (I imagine I’ll be unwilling to do much a few days after the nonstop sightseeing comes to an end), I’ll have to drive back to Seattle and start my job as a Resident Advisor at the UW. I’m simultaneously unabashedly thrilled and unspeakably nervous; I know I’ll be going into the situation supported and prepared, but it’s impossible to know what the course of the year will be like until I’ve really started it.
But it’s a good kind of anxiety, and, like the trip I’m about to embark on, is a stepping stone in my life that I know I’m ready to experience. Right now, things are bracing and unpredictable, and I love it just as much as I’m terrified of it.
Which is why I feel the need to do the complete opposite with my website this August and harken back to the days when none of our current talents were alive, when stars of the past seem to be wrapped in legend instead of overwhelming relevance.
I’m talking about the Hollywood Golden Age, a Ghost World and a time in the entertainment industry I adore but have only briefly touched upon in the two years that I’ve run Peterson Reviews. I came close in June by having Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire be the Stars of the Month, and came even closer last year when I (unwisely) put a spotlight on the incomparable
quartet of Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart, and Lauren Bacall. But I’ve never really dedicated myself, and feeling caught up in attempting to discover hidden gems at the moment, I want to spend a month watching the movies that I’ve somehow missed out on seeing, to get a chance to experience beloved cinematic works in ways that I previously have avoided.
Originally, I planned to focus my attention onto an actor that oftentimes gets forgotten in the sands of time as a way to keep the spirit of discovery alive on the site. That actor was Montgomery Clift, a child of the Method that would have been even more game-changing had his career (and life) not been destroyed by a 1956 car accident that left his face disfigured. But after accidentally watching several Elizabeth Taylor movies in preparation for the month (her early career is really something to cherish), I decided that it would be more fitting to dedicate
a month to watching both of their best works, as, in real life, they were best friends that supported one another until Clift’s tragic death in 1966.
I’ve already seen 1959’s Suddenly, Last Summer and can’t seem to get my hands on a copy of 1957’s Raintree County (the film that captured the repercussions of Clift’s accident with Before and After luster), so the only film the two made together that will be appearing on the feed this month will be George Stevens’s deservedly untouchable A Place in the Sun. But I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I’m eager to behold their finest performances, even if I have seen quite a few more Taylor movies in my lifetime and therefore won’t be as classic-driven in pawing through her filmography. I hope to keep the site updated as best as I can as I take notice of the glories of the other side of the U.S. Happy watching and happy reading!