Friday, February 4, 2011

Sioux City, John Denver...and The Heiress of Washington Square

Okay, so here I am in Sioux City, Iowa, where today it actually reached a high of 35 degrees (!) but this morning it was only 4 degrees above zero. Lots of snow on the ground, of course, nothing like Chicago or the upper East Coast, thanks be, otherwise I wouldn't have arrived from San Francisco yesterday via Minneapolis. My best friend moved here a year ago after we both were laid off our jobs in San Francisco, and this is where she was able to find work -- at an ice cream company! (Wells Blue Bunny in La Mars, Iowa, who knew.) So I'm visiting while her husband is taking a break from the midwest for a superbowl weekend in Reno--and she and I drove to Omaha today. 

This is where the John Denver part comes in. YES, we both like listening to John Denver, although we agreed that 30 years ago we would NEVER have admitted we liked the dweeby little grinning folk/country singer--SO sentimental! SO goofy! But lately I have realized that my singing voice has constricted in its already small range to one octave - middle C - and that's what dear old John sings in too! So I can sing along with him perfectly! And I have to say that "Rocky Mountain High" does bring back some fond memories. Cynthia had a CD of his greatest hits in her car, which we proceeded to play all the way back from Omaha to Sioux City (about 95 miles--and the CD lasted the ENTIRE time, which I have to say was probably about eight songs and forty miles too many).

So, back in Sioux City, at her house, eating pizza and watching TV--and "The Heiress" comes on TCM, which is running all the Oscar winners since time began. This is the Olivia de Haviland and Montgomery Clift movie version of Henry James's WASHINGTON SQUARE -- see, I'm still on my current James kick -- and even though it isn't faithful at all to the novel, which I just read three days ago, it's a pretty good movie. Most of James's novels don't really make good movies (I'll get into that one of these days soon) but this one in particular struck me as really unsuitable -- it's so very nuanced and subtle, and everything depends on a tightly delineated non-action -- that it's understandable why the screenwriters made the character of Catherine Sloper much more outwardly emotional, and twisted the end of the film to give her a very active yet ultimately passive-aggressive revenge, which is completely not the case in James's novel.

In any event, having fun in Sioux City!

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