Tuesday, January 13, 2009

An alma mater apology and finally, the end of THE 39 STEPS (56)

Now now, I'm not keen on tooting my own horn a terrible amount, nor am I even positive that enough people read this blog that it could have even a single effect on anyone besides the slight amount of brain damage it imparts to each and all who slog through it each day. I don't believe that the words I post on a semi-daily basis on this sometimes read blog really have the power or meaning to change people's opinions or force action of anybody.

And truthfully, for the moment that's okay with me. I'm happy with a deluded fan base that has, for reasons unknown, jumped aboard this leaky ship to learn a little about my life and the handful of strange old movies I love.

That said, this one time I think my blog may have actually forced some change. As you many of you know, I wrote what I thought was a fairly scathing rant about the way Whitman College (my alma mater) informed me that I had not been chosen as a participant in their 2009 Whitman-In-China program. It was mean, and aggressive and I feel completely okay with everything said.

But, today I received this email from the very nice Susan Brick:

"I am writing as a follow up to the Whitman in China letter we sent you last week from Professor Chas McKhann. When we emailed you on Jan 7, we sent the actual letter to your address in Seattle at the same time, which you have probably received by now. I am sorry if the email message seemed to arrive in an abrupt or impersonal manner--in retrospect I realize that I should have included a personal note from me with the email. We sent copies of the letters to candidates via email this year because we wanted everyone to receive word as soon as possible."

I believe the word is apology. And as a honorable fellow, I'll take this apology and forgive any longstanding grudges I was getting ready to hold. But I will say, Criterion Quest somehow got sent to Whitman College, and poor, friendly little Susan Brick had to be the one to read it. Still, I will never give another nickel to Whitman College. Mindless automatons forced to man the phones be smart and recollect that.

Susan Brick, you are a sweet heart and I awkwardly curtsy to your friendly statement.

The 39 Steps (56) is finally done and I could not be happier. Yes, the film was classic Hitchcock, but Lord if I wasn't near comatose by the end. You know what's going to happen from minute six and the actual realizations felt by the characters are so broad and hammy that when they occur you just sort of shake your head. Sorry Hitchcock, you're early films are sort of like Shakespeare's romances to me - I understand they're important, but I'd prefer not to sit through another one of them.

You know what though, I've heard a lot of semi-disparaging comments made about old films recently and, guess what, that's bullshit. Old films are amazing, not because of their stories or their characters (though that can be true) instead they're amazing because they are windows in to a time that no longer exists. What do you know about 1930s Britain? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. The 39 Steps (56) will school you a little bit on what people wore, what the important plays were, who was fighting who, blah blah blah. You get a chance to peek back on time periods that no one remembers anymore, but they are captured on these films forever.

And I personally think that's awesome.

Thursday: Charade (57)

1 comment:

Anne said...

deluded fan base? is this the way you talk to your devoted readers... come on criteron nerd man.