I hope everyone had a festive and gluttonous Thanksgiving. We had a double header: first in Red Stick with the surviving outlaw, then in the evening with our friends Will and Jennifer. Will is the King Cake Baron of New Orleans. I just wanted to prove that I don’t hate *all* royals, certainly not those that may involve royal icing. I’m not sure if that joke made any sense but when did that ever stop me?
This week’s theme song was written in 1966 by Tom King and Chad Kelly in 1965 for their band, The Outsiders. It was a big hit, reaching #5 on the Billboard charts.
We have three versions of Time Won’t Let Me for your listening pleasure: The Outsiders original, a 1981 version by Iggy Pop, and a 1994 version recorded by The Smithereens for use in the movie Timecop.
Time for another timely tune; hopefully time *will* let me post it:
Time’s a wasting for us to jump to the break.
One more song before we dive into our second act. It matches the featured art by eccentric New Orleans/Ocean Springs, MS artist Walter Inglis Anderson:
Now that we’ve hovered for pollen and hummed a merry tune, let’s take a trip to the former Soviet Union.
A Brief History of Russian Electoral interference: 2016 was clearly Russia’s most successful attempt to meddle in our elections. It was not, however, the first time. Uncle Joe Stalin tried some overt meddling in 1948 on behalf of former Veep Henry Wallace. When that backfired. the Soviets went underground with no success whatsoever until the advent of Donald Trump and Paul Manafort. Repeat after me: Putin was a KGB colonel.
Our next segment takes us on a grisly journey from Ukraine to Poland to Cleveland, Ohio to Israel with a final destination in Germany.
The Devil Next Door: The John Demjanjuk case was a cause celebre in the 1980’s. He was accused of being the sadistic death camp guard, Ivan the Terrible. My ears perked up when I heard it happened at Treblinka. My mother’s close friend Mrs. Rosenberg, of whom I’ve written before, somehow survived that death camp. She’s the root of my interest in the war crimes and criminals of World War II.
Demjanjuk’s journey was long and complicated. After a televised trial, he was convicted in Israel, the conviction was reversed, and he went home to Cleveland. It turned out that he was NOT Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka BUT he was a guard at another death camp, Sobibor. He was convicted of those crimes in Germany where he died. A war criminal is a war criminal is a war criminal.
There’s an excellent documentary on Netfilx about the case, The Devil Next Door. It features video from the trial and the entire Demjanjuk mess. A highlight is his Israeli attorney, Yoram Sheftel, who provides much needed comedy relief. Sheftel is a self-aware douchebag, which makes his antics fascinating. He’s also a Menachem Begin sound-alike, which makes things ever weirder.
Here’s the trailer:
The Devil Next Door is streaming at Netflix. I give it 3 1/2 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B+
There’s also an excellent article about the documentary and Demjanjuk case by Kate Storey at Esquire. It’s a whale of a tale.
Time for a bit of deviltry before we close the books on our second act:
I’d never heard George Harrison’s devil may care version until this week, so I thought I’d share:
We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.
Separated At Birth: Tennis great Roger Federer is widely regarded as handsome man. Film director Quentin Tarantino is not but he does resemble Federer on a bad day.
I cannot resist a punny conclusion to this SAB entry:
The Movie List: I’ve done a Billy Wilder list, now it’s time for one of his favorite leading men, Jack Lemmon. The first three are Wilder films; what can I tell ya? I know quality when I see it.
My Top Ten Favorite Jack Lemmon Movies
- Some Like It Hot
- The Apartment
- The Fortune Cookie
- The Odd Couple
- Glengarry Glen Ross
- It Should Happen To You
- Days of Wine and Roses
- The Out of Towners
- Grumpy Old Men
Lemmon did many fine dramas but 7 of my 10 favorites are comedies. He was one of the finest comic actors in film history and I choose to celebrate that. Comedy is tricky, man. It’s harder to make people laugh than scream.
Saturday GIF Horse: You have to click on this GIF but it’s worth it. It’s Coach O, after all.
As they say in Manchac, Cut Off, and Bunkie; FUCK SABAN. FUCK BAMA.
Weekly Vintage Music Video: Few artists benefited as much from MTV’s heyday as Cyndi Lauper. Her video success sometimes obscured what a great singer she is. This 1983 video is on message for this week even if it’s no longer timely.
We close things out with a new feature. There are a surprising number of good movies that have gone into the public domain and are available on YouTube. This feature attempts to capitalize on that fact only without making money.
Saturday Odds & Sods Goes To The Movies: I first saw The Big Combo on the late show. I gave it a chance because I’d recently encountered Richard Conte as Barzini in The Godfather. You know, the smart boss who bought off Tessio and paid for it in the end.
This is a terrific film noir with fine performances by Conte and Cornel Wilde. I might as well grade it: 3 1/2 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B+
That’s it for this week. The last word goes to Richard Conte and Cornel Wilde: