An interesting few evenings viewing. As the Greek TV stations usually put out what could be a movie worth watching very late at night we seldom see them. Once or twice one has been recorded for viewing at a decent hour otherwise we haven’t watched Greek telly for weeks except for the government channel Vouli that broadcasts a ballet every Saturday, an opera on Sundays, and occasionally an interesting documentary. So we have been selecting programmes from our archives and this time came up with ‘Broadway Melody of 1935’ and ‘Broadway Melody of 1938’ also the television production of ‘Pennies From Heaven’ in which Chris dances as a prostitute and as a cowgirl, both very pretty I have to say. It was fascinating watching it again after all this time. Douglas was a little discontented, not grasping the concept but Chris and I enjoyed it enormously and we all agreed the performances were fabulous. We then watched the American movie which we remembered as a disappointment and it still was second time round, mainly because in order to fit a movie time-scale it became a précis of the original and fascinating sections had to be left out. It did have a couple of simply enormous extravagant production numbers but even they didn’t do all that much for it. We had previously spent many evenings watching the American programme ‘24’ starring Keifer Sutherland and were really hooked on it. This was the first series and evidently nine were made!
With my first attempt, at a Gothic horror, ‘The Museum Mysteries’ to be published later this year. Douglas is of the opinion that I end it too abruptly but I can’t agree with him as to drag out a climax is to defeat its purpose which brings me to the endings of both ‘24’ and ‘Pennies From heaven.’ In the first there is an ending and an alternative ending. In the ending the wife of the hero, having gone through hell and high water is shot and killed and in the alternative ending she’s rescued and they all live happily ever after. Now Douglas and Chris both go for the first ending but I, being a real soft-hearted Nellie, go for the alternative. We do however, all agree about the ending of ‘Pennies From Heaven.’ I nearly misspelt pennies there and that would have been a Freudian slip would it not?) No, actually because it was sex, the desire for and the lack of it from his wife that got our hero Arthur into all his trouble, I suppose a misspelling wouldn’t be totally inaccurate. But to the ending – Having been accused of a murder he did not in fact commit, Arthur is sentenced to be hanged and in the TV version we witness the actual hanging. In the film version it is glossed over by Arthur standing on the scaffold next to the rope and singing but we presume that is where he met his end. And that is where the show should have ended. Maybe a shot after of the girl-friend Eileen standing on a bridge looking down at the river but nothing more. Unfortunately Arthur puts in a surprise appearance with the rather fatuous line ‘After all we’ve been through we deserve a happy ending’ or words to that effect. Sorry, fable though it may be, for me Arthur is most definitely dead and does not put in an appearance to wind up the show. Of course in the film having Arthur standing by the rope singing was artistic licence – I think and we don’t actually witness the execution. The method of execution in Illinois in the ‘30s was the electric chair by the way. Also I felt the location chosen for the blind girl and her subsequent murder was totally inappropriate consisting as it did mainly of what appeared to be rundown or abandoned factories. What was she doing walking there? She said she lived in a house over the way but that house never came into view. In the TV version the girl walks trough a field just off the road and with a beautiful scenic background. Evidently the ground belonged to her family and that is perfectly reasonable.
And the small cheats: the policeman talking to Arthur’s wife says his shoe matches a footprint found at the scene of the crime. Again perfectly feasible in a possibly muddy field that doesn’t have much in the way of human traffic but on concrete paving where any number of people might have walked? He also states that they have Arthur’s fingerprints on a cigarette packet discarded at the scene. Hey, hold on one cotton-picking minute there, buster. When did Arthur have his fingerprints taken that they could be compared? Tch! Tch!