We're gonna give Bad Gregory Peck and Tanned Jennifer Jones some days to meditate about their behavior.
In the meantime I present you another super duper If I had keep 4 entry: this time Dorian Tenore-Bartilucci --from the always interesting, profound and fun Tales of the Easily Distracted-- decided to share with us her four most precious items from her movie memorabilia.
1. My Rutgers Films In Print edition of Ernest Lehman’s North by Northwest screenplay.
Back in the late 1990s, our dear longtime friend Jason Simos (who as of this writing works at in public relations at Focus Features) introduced my husband Vinnie and me to the Museum of the Moving Image. If you live in New York City and you love movies, television, and all kinds of digital media, you owe it to yourself to drive or take the subway to visit this fun, fascinating museum in Astoria, Queens. When we still lived in NYC, we’d get together with Jason for classic movies, among other exhibits. The museum also has a gift shop, and one of the treasures I found was the hardcover edition of Lehman’s North by Northwest script, including photos to accompany the complete script, film reviews from The New Republic’s Stanley Kauffmann and Cahiers du Cinema’s Luc Moullet, commentaries by Robin Wood and Marian Kea, an interview with Lehman himself, and more—and the book was on sale!
Here’s a link to The Museum of the Moving Image and its many delights:
And a link to my North by Northwest blog post, if you’re interested:
2. My Vertigo press-kit-in-a-tube.
In 1997, another dear longtime friend of ours, Michael Gingold, best known to horror movie fans as Managing Editor of Fangoria Magazine, was kind enough to give Vinnie and me a press kit for the re-release of the remastered edition of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. As if that wasn’t cool enough, the press materials were all packed neatly into a tube! The art on the tube was modeled on Saul Bass’ Vertigo poster. Inside, there are glossy black-and-white photos from the film, including stars James Stewart and Kim Novak as well as restorers and authors James C. Katz and Robert A. Harris (Harris was kind enough to respond to questions I had about the restored version of Rear Window, but that’s a story for another time); press kits including letters from Stewart and Kim Novak; and even glossy Point of Purchase (P.O.P.) materials to display in video stores!
Want to hear more of my Vertigo-related ramblings?
3. My trade paperback edition of the 1977 novelization of High Anxiety.
Being a fan of Alfred Hitchcock and Mel Brooks, the latter’s 1977 Alfred Hitchcock spoof High Anxiety has been one of my favorite movies since I first saw it in its theatrical release in 1977. When I love a movie, I try to learn everything I can about it, including buying novelizations of that film if there is one, including High Anxiety. Author Robert H. Pilpel’s adaptation was as funny as the movie while still fleshing out the characters well. Pilpel has a real gift for humorous writing with a sting in the tail, blending comedy, suspense, and romance nicely. He even wrote tongue-in-cheek psychiatric evaluations of the characters, like this excerpt for Hitchcock Blonde-style love interest Victoria Brisbane’s file, played by Madeline Kahn:
“Victoria Brisbane was a non-Jewish-American Princess, or a Jewish-American princess who happened to be a WASP. In other words, she suffered—if “suffered” is the word—from the syndrome of endless paternal pampering and consequent father fixation. In other words, she and her father were innocently and unconsciously stuck on each other….”
For more about High Anxiety, here’s a link to my blog post:
4. I’ve saved the best—and longest—story for last! Allow me to explain the back story behind these autographed Adrien Brody DVDs. When we of Team Bartilucci—namely my husband Vinnie, our then-13-year-old daughter Siobhan, and me—went to the New York Comic Con (NYCC) in October 2010, Vinnie surprised me with the news that Oscar-winner Adrien Brody (for the 2002 fact-bsed drama The Pianist, you surely recall) was going to be at the NYCC for an hour signing autographs and posters for the DVD/Blu-Ray release of his summer hit Predators.
Those of you who’ve come to know me well may recall that I hold Brody in very high esteem. I don’t know if the folks in charge of the NYCC’s crowd control underestimated Brody’s drawing power or what, but Siobhan and I ended up in a crowd of nearly 300 people in a line going all over the place! The guy who ran the Doctor Who merchandise booth next to the Brody line was furious because the line blocked the entrance from potential Doctor Who customers.
We wound up standing on line for over two hours. Those who know me well may recall that Siobhan, then 13, has been diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome, and Aspies tend to get stressed out in unfamiliar situations. Vinnie even took Siobhan around the NYCC with him for a while, since we figured it would be less tedious for her than standing in line for ages. Siobhan was a little trouper, bless her, but eventually she felt anxious with all the NYCC hubbub, and wanted to come back to me. I must say Shugie was good as gold, being very patient and calm considering her ADHD/Aspie issues (frequent hugs helped). It would have helped if the NYCC crowd control folks hadn’t mismanaged the Brody line to a fare-thee-well. They kept making our line move out farther so the Doctor Who booth could let customers in and out more easily—resulting in the path being blocked from the other direction, forcing folks to shove through the line against traffic!
The last straw came 90 minutes into our wait, when the con’s head crowd controller announced that the line would be capped at 100—with Siobhan and me being 101 and 102! Happily, here’s where people’s better instincts kicked in. Before this announcement, Siobhan and I had been chatting with other Brody fans as we stood on line. I’d offhandedly mentioned we’d come all the way from Pennsylvania for this, and that Shugie had ADHD and Asperger’s. I admitted that at this point I felt badly about keeping the poor kid standing in this crowded, chaotic line all this time, and how proud I was of her for being such a good girl in spite of the stress of the situation. Some of the folks we were with had Aspie kids and loved ones, too, so they could relate. The next time the line manager came along, the fans we’d been talking with confronted him and said they’d be willing to give up their opportunity for autographs and face time with Adrien Brody if they’d let Siobhan and me stay. I wanted to hug every last one of them, but Siobhan and I only had time to wave in gratitude at our NYCC comrades as the crowd control crew swept us onto the now-fast-moving line; apparently Brody was on a tight schedule himself.
As the line moved, I found myself making eye contact with Brody as he sat at his autograph table. He was smiling warmly and looking dashing in a semi-hip-hop way (yes, Adrien Brody’s into hip-hop), wearing a sort of short-brimmed Panama hat and the kind of nicely-groomed beard and mustache that I must admit I find particularly attractive on him. I was not only proud of Siobhan’s good behavior, but also kinda proud of myself for not visibly geeking out on Brody like some 21st-century bobby-soxer. J Maybe someone explained the situation to Brody, or maybe he’s simply a nice guy, or both. In any case, despite the crowd control folks’ visible impatience to wrap things up, when Siobhan and I reached Brody’s table with DVD covers of The Darjeeling Limited and The Brothers Bloom to sign, he was kind, friendly, and chatty considering the time crunch.
When we gave him the Cliffs Notes version of our story, he seemed to be just as sympathetic and impressed with Siobhan’s patience as the fans and I had been. (He made sure he spelled our names right and everything! ) Afterward, Siobhan and I sincerely thanked him and were about to scram, what with the crowd control folks still acting antsy. Brody’s silver-sage eyes widened in surprise: “Hey, wait! Wouldn’t you like a signed poster, too?” Frankly, I was (pleasantly) surprised myself. “Sure,” I said, “if you think you’ve got time. Looks like they’re in a rush here.” He waved his hand in a Leave It To Me gesture. “Don’t worry.” And that was how Siobhan and I got a total of three autographs, at least as many smiles, and a little face time with Adrien Brody. Such a mensch, bless him!
Wow! Great items and what an amazing story with Mr. Brody, Dorian! Thank you very much for being part of this series :)
PS. If you want to share your 4 most loved items from your classic movie collection, just send me an e-mail to kfercovic[at]gmail[dot]com