And more from our Liz: Whitney Houston, on the edge again … Happiness? Elusive, but try these steps
“I’M A hero. I got shot twice in the Tribune.”
“I read where you were shot five times in the tabloids.”
“That’s a lie. He never got anywhere near my tabloids!”
So went the banter between Nick and Nora Charles in “The Thin Man,” the first — and probably best — of six films based on a Dashiell Hammett novel.
The 1934 movie starred William Powell as reluctant former private eye, Nick, and his beautiful, witty, wealthy wife, Nora, played by my heroine Myrna Loy. (She was “the perfect wife” a role I aspired to in my youth.) This charming couple party and drink. They parry and thrust little insults that bounce. In later films, the drinking would lessen —the screen Code had reared its head.
Well, “The Thin Man” was one of those perfect films. But in Hollywood nothing is ever perfect. So now comes word that the black and white classic is going to be re-done with Johnny Depp as the insouciant and often soused Nick Charles. Rob Marshall of “Chicago” and “Memoirs of a Geisha” fame will direct. So one can assume it is going to be done as a period piece. (He also directed Depp in the latest – and last, one hopes! — of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies. Sorry, “Pirates” fans; those movies all seem about six hours long!)
But who is going portray the delicious, lighter-than-air Nora Charles? Who on earth has Myrna Loy’s exquisite air of amused concern, her style, her quiet but devastating sex-appeal? Not to mention that wonderful nose?
Please don’t say Angelina Jolie. Love the woman. She’s a beauty and a great humanitarian and all that, but Nora Charles needs an effervescence that eludes the sultry Jolie. Anyway, she and Depp didn’t exactly click, chemistry-wise in “The Tourist.”
Good luck to Mr. Marshall, Mr. Depp and whomever has the truly challenging job of stepping into Miss Myrna Loy’s bias-cut evening gowns.
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WE ARE really losing a lot of great show biz people this year, and we are only five months in. Jane Russell … Elizabeth Taylor…Jackie Cooper…Phoebe Snow … Michael Sarrazin …Arthur Laurents…Sada Thompson… Madelyn Pugh (the co-writer of most of the “I Love Lucy” scripts) and most recently Dan Wynter. Miss Wynter never became a huge star, but did make movie history with her role in the original “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” And she was one the most ravishing beauties, ever.
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GOOD LUCK to Whitney Houston in her latest battle with drugs. The great singer has checked herself into rehab yet again. Even when she appeared on “Oprah” last year, preparing for her comeback, the rumor mill ground out tales that she was still skating on thin ice. And her subsequent concert tour was marked by controversy, cancelled shows and a strained voice.
Interestingly, just last Friday I lunched with one of the most knowledgeable show biz scribes around, and I was told in no uncertain terms that Whitney was “totally addicted again” and disastrously close to the edge.
At least she is trying to pull herself back up.
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MATERIALLY, we have all come a long way baby! But people are not happier now than they were, say, fifty years ago. In fact, just the opposite. None other than The Dalai Lama himself, along with heavyweight philosophers from the worlds of education, economics and politics met recently to advance a new campaign called “Action for Happiness.”
This group seems to be promoting better mental health by urging volunteerism, charity efforts and “getting in touch with old friends.” The thesis is that we don’t give enough to other people. We have lost the art of connecting.
We need exercise, direction, resilience and ambition. (I know, I know – I recently conducted a symposium on “resilience” for a New York charity. The participants decided two days before the event that they didn’t want to talk about ‘resilience” but preferred to just gab, gossip and kick politics around.
I made a valiant effort to keep them on track but I don’t know if it worked too well. In the end the charity was happy; it made some money.
Anyway, here are some of “The Steps to Happiness” that the London School of Economics suggest we apply ourselves to, as follows.
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…GIVING (Doing things for other people, working as a volunteer part of the time)
…RELATING (Connecting with people and looking up pals with whom you’ve lost contact) …
…EXERCISING (Go for a run) … ….APPRECIATING (Notice the world around you and take time to appreciate things)
…TRYING OUT (Keep learning … stay abreast of new things)
…DIRECTION (Setting goals, making resolutions, sticking to it all)
…RESILIENCE (Finding ways to bounce back) …
…EMOTION (Focus on happier moments and take a positive approach to life)
…ACCEPTANCE (Don’t keep dwelling on your flaws; be comfy with who you are)
…MEANING (You can be part of many things that are bigger than you are!)
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The movement above has more than 5000 members across 68 countries and has won international support. Its leader, Baron Layard of the London School of Economics says: “If we want a happier society, individuals have got to create more happiness in the world around them. This is a movement for radical cultural change which can provide the basis for a better culture in the 21st century.”