Friday, March 28, 2008

Reveries Of A Literary Flâneur

Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894) - Paris, A Rainy Day, 1877

'What a fine and enjoyable thing is flânerie, and how full of charms and enticements is the work of the badaud [a person given to idle observation of everything, with wonder or astonishment]! Those who have once tasted it can never afterwards be sated; they return to it incessantly, as - it is said - one returns to one's first loves. 'A sluggard's life!' cry the serious. Sluggard! Now really; I should not wish to overstep the bounds of civility with anyone; but it is clear that you have never flâné, gentlemen, and are incapable of doing so; it is not given to everyone to flâner naively yet knowingly . . . This life is, on the contrary, for those able to understand and practice it, the most active of lives, the most fertile and productive; an intelligent and conscientious idler, who scrupulously performs his duties - that is, observes and remembers everything - can play a leading role in the republic of art. Such a man is an impassioned, peripatetic daguerreotype upon whom the least trace registers; in him are reproduced, with every reflection that they cast, the progress of things, the movement of the city, the multifarious physiognomy of the public mind, the beliefs, antipathies and adorations of the mass.'

From Things to be Seen on the Streets of Paris (1858) by Victor Fournel

Obituary: Richard Widmark Finally Kissed By Death

Richard Widmark (1914-2008) as Tommy Udo in Kiss of Death, 1947

'Mr. Widmark’s debut as a giggling killer made him an overnight star, giving rise to an enduring Hollywood career playing a gallery of chilling hoodlums and flawed heroes.' Aljean Harmetz, The New York Times, Thursday, March 27, 2008

'Hoods are good parts because they're always flashy and attract attention. If you've got any ability, you can use that as a stepping stone.'

Richard Widmark