Thursday, September 3, 2009

Limelight & Things

House-sitter Jo and I watched the Charlie Chaplin film Limelight on DVD last evening. I recall as a teenager weeping buckets of tears at the movie’s end, Chaplin as the old vaudeville trouper dying in the wings while Claire Bloom as the ballerina danced on stage. I now know the dancer was a double. But Claire Bloom’s beauty made that young man swoon. It was good to see it again. The comic scene with Buster Keaton is great. Chaplin was a master of the movie camera.

Reading my blog about brawn my sister-in-law Margaret sent through Mum’s recipe for passion fruit flummery. Take six passion fruit, beat half a bottle of cream stiff and add sugar to taste, beat whites of two eggs very stiff and add dessertspoon of sugar, and fold in to the cream the beaten egg whites and passion fruit and a good tsp of gelatine mixed in a little cold water.

I am reading David Lawday’s Napoleon’s Master, a Life of Prince Talleyrand. Talleyrand has always fascinated me. I have Duff Cooper’s life bought when I was studying the French Revolution. The wily old fox survived the revolution and then became a major architect of the 1815 post Napoleonic settlement.

I read recently a review of Lawday’s latest biography of Danton. Apparently he is very laudatory of Danton. Despite being one of the initiators of the Reign of Terror and the constant use of the guillotine he seems to attract a favourable reaction. Hillary Mantel’s great novel A Place of Greater Safety also makes him a warm figure

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