Like: Barbara Stanwyck (1944)

March 25, 2010

“It’s Not Just Who But When…”

This statement was made by an acquaintance of mine some years ago when the question was prompted, “Who would you like to meet more than anyone else?” And from that very moment I fully and completely realized how important timing is when it comes to the reality of a person. Often the ideal timing is that ideal cusp where the fame is new and surprising to the person themselves. Where they are overcome with both the humility of that responsibility and possibly even embarrassed by it. It is certainly when they are most thankful. And certainly ever since that initial conversation I’ve always reiterated when it comes to any such list, “It’s not just who but when…”

Now as a wrinkle, this ongoing series of portraits will only specifically deal with the women of the last 75 years of so who I consider to be the Most Beautiful and Alluring in the world. I’m well aware that the internet can quickly descend into  a game OMG SHE’S HOT, LET’S OGLE HER! (though ogle is probably not used that often) and we find ourselves skirting into objectifying and ultimately even exploitative territory. Please know that that is anything but the goal here. The goal is reflect on moments in time, go over some film and television history, talk about the nature of image, and engage the subject of sexuality in media forms. And yes, most of it will be in adoring circumstances so don’t expect much of sterile criticism, but that is definitely the world of thought it will be coming from.

This ongoing series will attempt to go chronologically.

Oh Barbara, you incorrigible such and such.

What can I say? Actually, scratch that, what can’t I say? Barbara Stanwyck could be anything you wanted to be. So far we’ve had a transcendent dancing beauty, a British thespian who made a mark on legendary character, a bawdy and witty comic, a hardworking dame who worked her ass off to make a classic, and star with a legendary look.

So now with Barbara we got an honest to goodness actress.

Okay that’s both harsh toward the other ladies I’ve profiled and not giving nearly enough credit to Barbara; her personality and performances were practically bursting at the seems. But what made that exuberant and forthright personality so memorable was that she featured a ton of dexterity. Her femme fatales  were the most joyfully bent and glaring. Her reluctant ladies in love were the most incorrigible and yet doomed to succumb. Her screwball antics were the most off-kilter and vibrant.  Some look back on those extreme traits and see, well, an actress hamming it up. But that’s not really an accurate appraisal. She’s simply taking the popular classical acting style to its logical conclusion by  fully committing to embodying that often absurd personality, while still respecting the character’s reality (basically, she plays the antics straight). Which, in that consideration, actually transcends classical acting. When you consider her dexterity and character self-allegiance, you could argue  she’s really a forerunner to Meryl Streep; she simply went more comedic because the industry’s focus dictated it (though Streep’s been going noticeably light in recent years to resounding success).

I like to make a different argument however… she was actually the forerunner of Brando. GUH??? Yup. Stanwyck was a modernist. Her devotion to the moment, the character, the tone of the scene are all implicit aspects of modern acting and she was light-years ahead of her counterparts. Think of the famous accolades of Brando when he first busted on the scene where his intensity and hysterics were lauded as stunningly-real. All the same compliments could be given to her. Even if it comes off a bit extreme today (while Brando’s work remains remarkably fresh) she still fits the modernist definition perfectly: she doesn’t present her character, she is her character.

Part of what aided Stanwyck’s dexterity was an actual physical gift:  mainly that she looked different all the time. It was really uncanny. I remember first seeing some of her movies when I was younger and I had no idea they were the same person. Sure we remember that weird flopped blonde thing with the hyper-curved bangs she had going on in DOUBLE INDEMNITY(1944), but she also had that weird, brown, puffy-cloud mullet in THE LADY EVE(1941). She even still rocked that awesome flapper wavy hair + headband thing early in her career like in Capra’s LADIES OF LEISURE (1930). Eventually she kind of settled into that thing where her eyebrows were way too over-manicured, but what are you doing to do. And do notice that all the movies I’m mentioning with these crazy looks are utter classics.

And they are largely classics because of her.

Here’s my girlfriend’s take on why should like Barbara Stanwyck:

“Whether you love Babs, film noir, look like her, mix her up with George Washington, lust after her anklet, or want to speed in her district then cry on her shoulder, this is the dame for you. Lets face it; you’re a little bit cheap, a little bit slutty, a little bit mad with power. You are not afraid to admit that you are in it for the money, the thrill of murder, the hardboiled private dicks, and the classy venetian blinds.”

So here’s to you Barbara, you incorrigible such and such!

(And Yes, these are all pictures of the same person).

I seriously couldn’t decide which one of these is my favorite… the boxing gloves or the gun?

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Like: Veronica Lake (1941)

March 11, 2010

“It’s Not Just Who But When…”

This statement was made by an acquaintance of mine some years ago when the question was prompted, “Who would you like to meet more than anyone else?” And from that very moment I fully and completely realized how important timing is when it comes to the reality of a person. Often the ideal timing is that ideal cusp where the fame is new and surprising to the person themselves. Where they are overcome with both the humility of that responsibility and possibly even embarrassed by it. It is certainly when they are most thankful. And certainly ever since that initial conversation I’ve always reiterated when it comes to any such list, “It’s not just who but when…”

Now as a wrinkle, this ongoing series of portraits will only specifically deal with the women of the last 75 years of so who I consider to be the Most Beautiful and Alluring in the world. I’m well aware that the internet can quickly descend into  a game OMG SHE’S HOT, LET’S OGLE HER! (though ogle is probably not used that often) and we find ourselves skirting into objectifying and ultimately even exploitative territory. Please know that that is anything but the goal here. The goal is reflect on moments in time, go over some film and television history, talk about the nature of image, and engage the subject of sexuality in media forms. And yes, most of it will be in adoring circumstances so don’t expect much of sterile criticism, but that is definitely the world of thought it will be coming from.

This ongoing series will attempt to go chronologically.

Hoo boy. Veronica Lake sure had a look.

… But let’s be honest. It’s mostly that hair. A wavy golden lock cresting over from a part so straight that scientists probably use it to correct their instruments. That hair hangs over the side of her face in that specific, alluring manner whose mystery begs for attention and awe. And that obscuring facet simply highlights the exposed side of her face with that devastatingly expressive arched eyebrow of hers; mere shifts in latitude and that baby signifies all the things a dame of the silver screen needs: amusement, bewilderment, an possible invitation… or trouble.

A lot of folks don’t realize she was also impossibly short (didn’t crack 5 feet). Then again a lot of classic movie stars were really short so any surprise should be lumped in with the collective bunch, but Veronica’s frame just seemed so svelte that the mental computation of here real-life proportions seems to melt ones brain. Getting past her petite physiology one realizes there are more important considerations. Like how a lot of folks like to debate whether or not she was actually any good.  This seems like a silly thing to question to me. Her early rolls often found her as a high voiced bubbly school girl and her femme fatale roles mostly used the aforementioned hair/eyebrow affectation as she put on a sultry deep voice that always came a little off kilter. So yes. There was something a bit off about those when compared to some of the best actresses in the business, but that seems more like a matter of being slightly misused (instead of wholly misused).

Luckily, there was a director out there who knew exactly what to do with Veronica Lake. This is not a unique phenomenon. An actor may have a certain unfocused or commercial nature that suddenly gets honed into something far more interesting and substantial. Think Adam Sandler in PUNCH DRUNK LOVE. Dicaprio teaming with Scorsese. Lake had the same fortune as them and was able to have her real potential shown on screen. So who was this mystery enabler?

First, a question: what director has perhaps had more influence on the Coen Brothers, over any other? So often the Coen’s brilliant voice is credited as being an amalgamation of many things, delicately blended into their own sensibility. This is true to a certain point, but the better answer is Preston Sturges.

I will not mince words. Preston Sturges is my favorite director of the classic film era. I’m amazed how many film lovers my age have not seen his movies, let alone heard of him. He was a real auteur in an age where Directors and Writers were part of the golden age compartmentalized machine, churning out films for the masses. Sturges and Welles were pretty much the only substantial guys writing their own stuff. Sturges was wildly influential towards developing a darker, more interesting voice as he became pioneer for Billy Wilder to follow just a few short years later. Wilder gets so much credit, but it’s all there in Sturges before him:  the sense of irony, the crushed blacks and wonderful grey tones of the cinematography;  Sturges was simply ahead of everyone. The aforementioned love of Sturges by the Coens is evident in the many ways they’ve been remaking themes and tones from SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS througout their filmography. Heck, BARTON FINK has an achingly similar plot (a naive filmmaker wants to connect with his roots and be a voice of lower class struggle). And guess what the name of the movie is that Sullivan is making? Yup. “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”… yeah… you do the math. But more universally, both Sturges and the Coens are primarly concerned with breaking down the hollywood “truths”: the black and white morality and clear-cut lessons; things like good behavior being rewarded, the guy gets the girl, the noble crusade, really all the standard tropes of movie-dom. But always examined with a particular sardonic, hilarious bent of course. Do not mistake either for being obtuse or preachy.

Back to Veronica Lake. So she finally gets a role of substantial value with Sturges in SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS (1941). She’s simply “The Girl” (actual credited name for the character), a wannabe actress who gets to show of a full range of humility, quiet desperation, and honesty, yet still let her show off the dexterity of her acting chops come the various “audition and acting” modes. It’s all top-notch stuff. The kind of thing where you get to convey your talent and yet strike resonance. And I love her in it.

Here’s there meeting scene in Sullivan’s Travel’s. (remember Sullivan is director going undercover as a poor man to get to know the real plight of the people). The scene is a slow burn. What makes her so good does really start coming in until about 2 minutes into the scene. Enjoy!

Not bad eh? Hel,l she’s better than Ladd in these scenes (Though Ladd is great in his naive pitch-man scenes to the studio too). So Again, to reiterate… I really love this movie. Check out the whole thing if you get a chance and other Sturges movies too. I have his book of screenplays and they were practically a masterclass in writing (while understanding the antiquated nature of course. Think of it as a classic foundation. You gotta learn how to play catch before you can actually pitch).

After the film’s (and her’s) success, Veronica Lake kept on trucking, establishing herself as a major star in the early 40’s. But like most of these stories, everything didn’t stay that way. She had a gradual (and somewhat public) descent into alcohol and mental troubles that have sort of come to define a huge part of her legacy. But so often their referenced independent of circumstance. Her slide all stemmed back to a on-set accident where she tripped on some film equipment while pregnant and began hemorrhaging. The problems created by incident from it eventually led to the loss of this second child just after he was born. It completely devastated her and ingrained in her a kind of loathing of filmmaking, yet it’s amazing how little this event is talked about in her decent. Doesn’t it seem like this kind of devastation cannot be calculated?

It seems like these tragic conclusions keep having to be brought up in this ongoing series. I don’t really like talking about them or even really thinking about them. There’s just so much more that’s important to talk about when it comes to these wonderful actress. I realize that this kind of mental polishing is very un-Sturgian/un-Coenian, but it’s also very human to me. There’s a better legacy beyond tragedy. For Veronica Lake, there’s so much more.

Like Sullivan’s Travels.

Like that singular fantastic performance.

Like her unrealized potential (she never worked with Sturges again, though often did with Ladd).

And yeah… that hair.


Like: Rosalind Russell (1940)

March 10, 2010

“It’s Not Just Who But When…”

This statement was made by an acquaintance of mine some years ago when the question was prompted, “Who would you like to meet more than anyone else?” And from that very moment I fully and completely realized how important timing is when it comes to the reality of a person. Often the ideal timing is that ideal cusp where the fame is new and surprising to the person themselves. Where they are overcome with both the humility of that responsibility and possibly even embarrassed by it. It is certainly when they are most thankful. And certainly ever since that initial conversation I’ve always reiterated when it comes to any such list, “It’s not just who but when…”

Now as a wrinkle, this ongoing series of portraits will only specifically deal with the women of the last 75 years of so who I consider to be the Most Beautiful and Alluring in the world. I’m well aware that the internet can quickly descend into  a game OMG SHE’S HOT, LET’S OGLE HER! (though ogle is probably not used that often) and we find ourselves skirting into objectifying and ultimately even exploitative territory. Please know that that is anything but the goal here. The goal is reflect on moments in time, go over some film and television history, talk about the nature of image, and engage the subject of sexuality in media forms. And yes, most of it will be in adoring circumstances so don’t expect much of sterile criticism, but that is definitely the world of thought it will be coming from.

This ongoing series will attempt to go chronologically.

My feelings about Rosalind Russell are really just something tied up in my feelings for HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940).

I have an overwhelming sense of devotion to this film because I believe it is a masterwork of dialogue, pacing, plotting, and performance. It’s a shame we sort of lost our way with the screwball comedy, but I guess it is understandable. The things that make HIS GIRL FRIDAY so distinct were things that became so copied throughout the rest of the decade that it to modern audiences it just seems so… I dunno… contrived? dated? old timey? what have you? I don’t feel that way of course, but it’s naive of me to think that certain film languages would hold up to everyone given the texture of today’s films. (Footnote #1) Still, I really do believe that HIS GIRL FRIDAY’s script holds up better than the lot. Despite being an adaptation of a play by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, the screenplay was written beautifully by Charles Lederer who’s got his fingerprints on a whole bunch of excellent stuff. Lederer’s contribution to this classic, however, is only half the story.

It seems Rosalind Russell was not the first choice to play quick witted dame Hildy Johnson (Hawks wanted K-Hep or one of the usuals) and tired of feeling like an “aslo-ran” she hired her own writer to punch up her weak part and simply included these brilliant lines during the ad-libbed takes of the movie. That’s moxie kid. And more importantly she did the film a great service as the tete-a-tete performances between Cary Grant (who was aware of the little scheme) and Rosalind have become legendary. Make no mistake, this is Cary Grant’s best performance and usually he is one most remembered of the film, but Rosalind is the one who makes it all happen for him. She sets him up for every great line, gives a perfect facial tick to every one of his slights.  Never mind simply getting out some of the tongue-twisting reparte on display, that sheer audicity of hers is what feeds the entire procution. The film has become famous for it’s “natural” sounding speech, but this is only in the sense of their overlapping dialogue (2). Truly the dialogue is anything, but natural because no one could be that witty, that self-assured, and that funny.

Rosalind would work steadily throughout the decade, but most of the attention and goodwill from the movies success were given to director Hawks and Mr. Grant. So much of what she gave the film went unnoticed simply because she was “the third scoring option” on the team. Of course, the film wouldn’t have worked without her. And had they cast one of those major stars, who knows… it might have just been another notch in their belt and most likely a substandard version of the incredible film we got. By the 50s Rosalind where her career slowly petered out. But truthfully, her career and real life persona seem like an abstract to me. There is only Gilda in HIS GIRL FRIDAY. Perhaps that kind of thinking is just what undermined what could have been a much more significant career, but I can’t help it.

In 1940, in that movie, there was no one better.

(1) A great example of this dynamic is with the film BODY HEAT (1981) where it’s slow brooding pace, warm colors against dark sets, and bad jazz score were all ripped off to high heaven for decades by cinemax and USA films. The effect renders a modern viewer complete incapable of separating BODY HEAT’s texture from the steaming piles of trash found on late night cable. When in reality BODY HEAT was a superbly made film with an updated sensibility that got copied endlessly for a reason. 40’s screwball comedies meanwhile became so perfunctory as to render their stylings “quaint” to the viewer, nullifying their once potent affectation.

(2) No, Altman wasn’t the first one to do it folks.


Like: ROX, “My Baby Left Me”

March 9, 2010

I just realized I don’t do many posts about music. That’s kind of a shame. And this isn’t a post or analysis but just a little tidbit recommendation.  I like to pretentiously think my tastes are pretty eclectic, but most of my favorite stuff tends to be alt rock. But every once and awhile I do like singers in the traditional pop arena.

And so I really like what I hear from a young lady name ROX out of the UK, particularly her single “My Baby Left Me’. Her clear reggae and soul influences go a long way in terms of my admiration, as I adore those sensibilities.

Check it out here to listen

http://images.dailyradar.com/media/uploads/music/story_large/2010/01/25/rox_side.jpg

And there’s some other songs you can listen to.

Enjoy.


Like: Mae West (1940)

March 2, 2010

“It’s Not Just Who But When…”

This statement was made by an acquaintance of mine some years ago when the question was prompted, “Who would you like to meet more than anyone else?” And from that very moment I fully and completely realized how important timing is when it comes to the reality of a person. Often the ideal timing is that ideal cusp where the fame is new and surprising to the person themselves. Where they are overcome with both the humility of that responsibility and possibly even embarrassed by it. It is certainly when they are most thankful. And certainly ever since that initial conversation I’ve always reiterated when it comes to any such list, “It’s not just who but when…”

Now as a wrinkle, this ongoing series of portraits will only specifically deal with the women of the last 75 years of so who I consider to be the Most Beautiful and Alluring in the world. I’m well aware that the internet can quickly descend into  a game OMG SHE’S HOT, LET’S OGLE HER! (though ogle is probably not used that often) and we find ourselves skirting into objectifying and ultimately even exploitative territory. Please know that that is anything but the goal here. The goal is reflect on moments in time, go over some film and television history, talk about the nature of image, and engage the subject of sexuality in media forms. And yes, most of it will be in adoring circumstances so don’t expect much of sterile criticism, but that is definitely the world of thought it will be coming from.

This ongoing series will attempt to go chronologically.

If by chance you have never seen a Mae West comedic performance, do yourself a favor, and rectify that situation immediately.

Granted, Mae West made her entire career on one great shtick: she’d talk in a sultry tough-dame voice and bang out one liners. Seriously, that and a little bit of singing was her entire career. Check out any of her movie. It’s almost all she does moment to moment, line after line… and it is glourious.

But do not mistake this directness for Mae West being a vacant prop, pumping out studio-fed lines just with her own bit of gusto. The truth is anything but. She was a true comedic auteur, with an active brilliance and polish behind that one singular and glourious shtick. She was complete product of the vaudeville stage, the place where she sharpened her wit and creative savvy.  Her early career involved some serious taboo and boundary pushing, she even got arrested for performing her play entitled “SEX.” She would then bring that edginess and creativity to her film roles and actually WROTE many of the movies she starred in (an incredible feat for the time… wait a minute… pardon my language but what the fuck am I talking about? That’s incredible feat today. Name me a female actress/star who writes her own movies? [Cricket Cricket] Just Tina Fey? … that’s all I can think of… one.). The edginess and double-entendre laden dialogue of her early films like I’M NO ANGEL (1933) were considered lewd enough by the uptight-nicks that it led to the censorship era of Hollywood with the Movie Production Code (well they were just SOME of the films and a lot of it actually had to do with communism fears, but Mae West’s stuff is often cited as a driving force). Fed up with code by the mid-40’s West returned to the stage where her antics were both more appreciated and under the radar.

But as for her short run of movies, whichever genius came up with the idea of pairing her with WC Fields deserves a medal, as MY LITTLE CHICKADEE (1940) is one of my favorite movies. Those not familiar W.C. Fields should also make themselves aware of his comedic stylings. Fields and West are actually doppelgangers of sorts. Both had finely tuned one-note personas (Field’s being the witty, scheming drunk with just as uncanny diction) with sharp tongues and ever sharper minds. Their pairing was so obvious and  perfect…  So naturally, they hated each other. Neither liked to play second fiddle and there’s the famous stories about each of them furiously pumping out re-writes right into production in order to make themselves the star. Which is wonderful for us, because that drive/spite helped push the films so that almost every single line and moment really, truly funny. It also had the added effect of letting their natural hatred of each other show up so palpably on screen. Thankfully, the characters are just trying to play each other the whole time so it’s completely called for. The film actually had a decent budget for the time, but they play it low much to their own success. It provides some hilarious slapstick and lets you throw up your hands at the obvious badness of the whole proceeding. When you roll with the punches,  you will enjoy a truly classic movie.

Thanks Mae.

A scene from My Little Chickadee

http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/index.jsp?cid=238503

The best youtube video I could find to embed was this horrible quality I’M NO ANGEL  … which is sad, but work with what you got:

THE WHOLE MOVIE IS ON HULU

http://www.movieweb.com/video/HUBtkGBHMjEZFI

And lastly some Mae West quotes (Via IMDB):

A hard man is good to find.

When caught between two evils I generally pick the one I’ve never tried before.

When I’m good, I’m very good. But when I’m bad, I’m better.

I believe in censorship. After all, I made a fortune out of it.

I only like two kinds of men: domestic and foreign.

I’m no model lady. A model’s just an imitation of the real thing.

I wrote the story myself. It’s all about a girl who lost her reputation but never missed it.

Good girls go to heaven. Bad girls go everywhere else.

I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.

Ten men waiting for me at the door? Send one of them home, I’m tired.

I do all my writing in bed; everybody knows I do my best work there.

Few men know how to kiss well. Fortunately, I’ve always had time to teach them.

Why don’t you come sometime and see me? I’m home every evening . . . Come up, and I’ll tell your fortune.

A dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up.


Like: Olivia De Havilland (1938)

March 1, 2010

“It’s Not Just Who But When…”

This statement was made by an acquaintance of mine some years ago when the question was prompted, “Who would you like to meet more than anyone else?” And from that very moment I fully and completely realized how important timing is when it comes to the reality of a person. Often the ideal timing is that ideal cusp where the fame is new and surprising to the person themselves. Where they are overcome with both the humility of that responsibility and possibly even embarrassed by it. It is certainly when they are most thankful. And certainly ever since that initial conversation I’ve always reiterated when it comes to any such list, “It’s not just who but when…”

Now as a wrinkle, this ongoing series of portraits will only specifically deal with the women of the last 75 years of so who I consider to be the Most Beautiful and Alluring in the world. I’m well aware that the internet can quickly descend into  a game OMG SHE’S HOT, LET’S OGLE HER! (though ogle is probably not used that often) and we find ourselves skirting into objectifying and ultimately even exploitative territory. Please know that that is anything but the goal here. The goal is reflect on moments in time, go over some film and television history, talk about the nature of image, and engage the subject of sexuality in media forms. And yes, most of it will be in adoring circumstances so don’t expect much of sterile criticism, but that is definitely the world of thought it will be coming from.

This ongoing series will attempt to go chronologically.

After Rita Hayworth, I have a feeling that going with Olivia De Havilland as my second choice in this series might illicit a bit of a “… who?”  Which is understandable. Her name has not really passed through the generational gauntlet and into posterity. And let’s be honest, there are a litany of actors and actresses whose prominent careers have slipped through the cracks of time. But I’m also willing to bet there’s a portion of population reading this that absolutely recognizes why I put her in this series.

That’s because she’s Maid Marian.

Oh yes there have been many classic Marians in the annals of Robin Hood tales. But Olivia is the definitive version of the character… if only because I always feel weird insisting that my definitive version of the character might be an animated fox from the Disney version of my youth (it is still my favorite Disney movie bar none).  But enough about foxes, Olivia De Havilland is Maid Marian if we happen to be going with people form.

THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938) also happens to hold up to the modern viewer remarkably well. Not only did the film usher in a lot of the popular mythology that has come to define the character, but it worked so well that many of the films devices have gone on to be used time and time again. Key to this success is the fact that Errol Flynn’s dashing and charismatic nature translates to any generation. And the look even works too: the film use the stage-like classic distance of late 30’s cinematography, but luckily this distance also highlights the amazing stunt work and massive scale of the production. In the age of CGI we often forget what looking at 1,000 people on screen REALLY feels like, and it is something genuine and bold. The story even moves at a surprisingly crisp pace. My dad use to plop me down in front of this movie as a kid and I loved it despite growing up in the age of Voltron. Consequently to these viewings, I would try to perfom out-of-my-ability-Errol-like-jumps off my swingset in the backyard and thankfully there was no lasting damage. The point is the movie was and is absolutely charming… and Olivia’s allure and grace was a central part to making the film work.

The Cheesy old timey Trailer actually highlights a lot of the aspects I just described, so let’s take a look:

This little behind the scenes (taking from an Errol Flynn documentary) shows off a bit more of his charm and a lot of her graceful nature:

Olivia De Havilland was really a great match for Errol because she was his straight man of sorts; the old adage about straight men being, “they make it okay for everyone to like the off-color guy.”  Olivia played that role beautiful. His devilish advances and cocksuredness play right along with warm but rebuffing quality; call it dignified interest. So often this man/woman dynamic goes in the screwball direction where the charm and smarm just bounces right off the lady counter-part, but Olivia simply absorbs it. If acting is reacting then no actress could play it more cool than her. Olivia would go on to have a rather expansive career, even nabbing a supporting role in GONE WITH THE WIND a year later (she was one of the cousins I believe). It would last too, as she even showed up in some of the silly disaster movies of the 70s like AIRPORT 77 and THE SWARM. I’m not sure why that makes me happy, but it does. She always seemed like she was having fun in them.

So I always think kindly of Olivia. Maybe it was simply the way she spoke, or her magnificent grace, or maybe just that she was beautiful, charming, and seemed like good fun. She was great.

She was Maid Marian.