Category Archives: nostalgia

A Hard Day’s Night

Note: Everything having anything to do with The Beatles has been and will continue to be combed through hair-by-hair and painstakingly studied under a microscope, so it’s fair to say that in some ways this post is more about me than it is about the film. I don’t claim to be an expert.

Last night, we all went to the seven o’clock showing of the recently restored A Hard Day’s Night at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge. I’d seen it a few times before–once in probably 7th grade, when along with my friend Nora I was a latter-day Beatlemaniac, and then a few more times over the years–always on video. Never having seen the film in the theater before, I was just happy to finally see it on the big screen–restoration or no.

This viewing reaffirmed some of my longstanding opinions.

#1: My regard for Ringo. Nora’s favorite was George. That was a solid choice. John (whose talents and intellect I probably respect the most) and Paul (who is really nothing special at all on film) were too obvious. But I was honestly drawn to Ringo. Particularly in those early days, he was sort of cute and funny and unintimidating. A Hard Day’s Night shows him as the life of the party (love that scene–anyone who dances like that automatically gets my respect), and also as a sensitive, simple sort of person–a bit goofy, not at all infallible, able to comfortably connect with a wandering youth (whose wild freedom he no doubt envies). From an outsider’s viewpoint, the fame seems to have affected him–who he was as a person–the least of the four. He really was Richard Lester’s pick as the most story-worthy and perhaps even the best actor of the bunch (see Help!, in which Ringo is also at the center of things). His natural charm and humor translate well on screen.

#2: My love for the song “If I Fell.” Of all the remastered music in the film, this is the song that stands out for me–again. This sort of links up with my respect for George Martin (who, bless him, is still alive, in case anyone was wondering). It’s a lovely song, and his production work really makes it more than the sum of its parts.

Not sure that clip even quite does it justice. Last night in the theater, for the duration of that song, I was transported. </gush>

But beyond all that I sort of knew before, there was more. I always knew what the film was–what it was about on a surface level and maybe a little deeper if a viewer wanted to go there. But seeing it in the theater and with the benefit of the restoration (and maybe the benefit of my own experiences since the last time I saw it) yielded for me an increased appreciation of the sort of theme of the film. At the end, when they’re playing for the theater full of frenzied, mostly female teenagers, the shots from behind, where we see the crazed audience through the spaces between Ringo and his drum kit, are poetic. The slow tracking shot effectively contrasts the relative steadiness of their performance on stage with the hysteria looking back at them. So much of Beatlemania was wanting more of them, looking at them, asking things of them. Here we get their perspective–the absurdity of the interviews and the charm and good humor with which they approached them (at least, in those days), the many levels of their entrapment. The film is nearly all fun, all humorous, but underlying it there’s that constant need to get away. The film starts with them running, and ends with them flying and leaving a trail of promotional photographs–their image–in their wake. That the last song they play is “She Loves You” seems a very deliberate, meaningful choice. “She loves you”–all these crazy girls are mad for you and force you to be closed up in cars and hotels and to wear disguises and have scarcely a minute to yourself, whatever that would look like (you hardly know anymore)–“and you know you should be glad.” Right?

Why haven’t I seen Ruby Keeler in more films?

It surprises me that I haven’t seen more of Ruby Keeler. Then again, she wasn’t in that many films.

Ruby Keeler

Ruby Keeler

She stars in one of our latest TCM discoveries, Gold Diggers of 1933.

Ruby Keeler, aglow

Ruby Keeler, aglow

Her bio’s pretty interesting:  Born to an Irish family in Halifax, Nova Scotia… Married Al Jolson in 1928… Got into films herself in 1933… She retired after they divorced and stayed retired for 30 years until her comeback as star of “No No Nanette” on Broadway under Busby Berkeley’s direction in 1971.  I’ll have to keep my eyes open for the next airing of 42nd Street–her first picture.

My new baby

I’d like to introduce you to my new baby. This baby is new to me, but it’s actually older than I am. And it’s probably a little older than I thought it was when I bought it.

Here’s a 1967 ad for my new baby.

And here’s a picture from the adoption agency:

It works great so far… came with a correction ribbon, the manual, and the case. I suspect that I will be spending less time doddering around on facebook and more time writing useful things for myself and other people. Maybe that will even inspire me to write more here. These are all good possible outcomes, I’m thinkin’.

And finally… My Collections: Vintage Christmas Ornaments–Miscellaneous

I’ll finish up with some favorite odds and ends.

Red and yellow with flowers
Small red and yellow ornament with flowers

This one looks (to me) like a round grenade.
grenade bottom

Red with blue dots
Red with blue dots

Gold with pink dots
gold with pink



Silver, Red, and Green
Silver Red and Green

Unsilvered lantern with pink and mica
unsilvered lantern

This one is stamped West Germany.
West Germany

Blue-green lantern

Pink and white with mica
pink and white with mica


Silver striped lantern
silver striped lantern

I really love these last two.

Plaid with red and blue
red and blue plaid

Plaid with red and white
red and white plaid

My Collections: Vintage Christmas Ornaments–Hand-painted leaf and feather shapes

I am especially drawn to these ornaments, many of which I believe are from the 1930s, though some are probably newer.

1. Probably 30s

2. One side

2. Another side

3. Probably 30s. This is a recent addition to my collection.

4. Probably 30s.

5. 30s or 40s


7. Probably 30s


9. Most likely from the 1930s, this is one of my absolute favorite ornaments.

10. This one looks a bit newer.


12. Probably from the 1930s.

13. I love the translucent red glass of this one.



My Collections: Vintage Christmas Ornaments–Fruits, Seeds, Flowers, etc.

Most of these ornaments are much older–probably from the 1930s, possibly 1920s.

Pine cones

I just got another lovely silver pine cone ornament, but I haven’t photographed it yet. I like the lightly frosted pine cones a lot.


Grapes, berries, fruits

This next one might be a little newer. Note that the top is not as narrow as some of the others.

I’m not sure about this one. Cluster of berries?

Flowers, baskets of flowers, etc.
The rose

The top on this next one has definitely been replaced.

This one is tiny and would have likely been used on a feather tree.