En Casilla Tumatae & Pauline KaelSaturday, August 15, 2015
My mother was born in Manila so I have some smattering of Tagalog.
En casilla tumatae (variant in casillas tumatae) is how some Filipinos say in Tagalog, “donde el rey va solo”(where the king goes alone). In short tagalog borrows a Spanish word for little house, casilla , and tumatae means to poop. In our guest bathroom, one of the few bathrooms in our house where the toilet works I have five books.
1. Recollections of Great Gardeners – Graham Stuart Thomas
2. The World’s Worst Aircraft – From Pioneering Failures to Multimillion Dollar Disasters by Jim Winchester.
3. Dogfight – Air Combat Adversaries – Head to Head – Robert Jackson & Jim Winchester.
4. A Guide for the Curious Film Lover – The New York Times – The Best DVDs You’ve Never Seen, Just Missed or Almost Forgotten. Edited by Peter M. Nichols with Introduction by A.O. Scott 5. Pauline Kael 5001 Nights at the Movies – A Guide from A to Z
When I sit I like to leaf through the above. Last night I randomly opened by dog-eared Pauline Kael. It opened on page 506. This is what I found:
Ruggles of Red Gap US (1935): Comedy 92 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette and laserdisc Charles Laughton starred in this justly honored version of the venerable comedy by Harry Leon Wilson. (There were two earlier versions--one in 1918, and one in 1923 with Edward Everett Horton--and a later version in 1950, called FANCY PANTS, with Bob Hope.) The Laughton film, directed in a calm, restrained style by Leo McCarey, is just about irresistible, even with its big scene--Laughton, an English valet in the Old West, reciting the Gettysburg Address in a saloon, as the camera pans across the awed faces of the cowhands. It's a bit much, but it works like magic. The cast could hardly be better: Roland Young is the Englishman who loses the valet in a poker game, Mary Boland and Charlie Ruggles are the rich American couple who win him, and ZaSu Pitts is the widow the valet courts. With Maude Eburne, Lucien Littlefield, Willie Fung, Libby Taylor, and Leila Hyams. Paramount.
Today Saturday I fetched Ruggles of Red Gap and my Rosemary, daughter Lauren and my granddaughter Lauren, 13, laughed through all of it.
I explained all the above to Lauren including the reference to Tagalog. I also added that as a little boy my mother often talked about Zasu Pitts. When she did I always laughed.
My friend Mark Budgen (a very serious man) a few years ago gave me the statistics on how many books one can read in a lifetime. He mentioned that with the fewer years we had left we had to be very choosy about the books we read as time was running out. I understand today, more than ever, how true that is. This also applies to films not seen. Making a list is much too complicated. I think that using randomness is the best way.
Charles Laughton delivered in spades.