Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Friday I stopped by my library branch to pick up several ordered
books and took a look through the films, too, and ended up leaving
with a copy of Reds (1981) on the top of my book stack. I was
vaguely familiar with this movie; I knew it was written and directed
by Warren Beatty and that it was a period film, but had never seen it.
Well, we watched it Saturday night and I'll have to admit that I was
pleasantly surprised! It's a historical piece on the little known lives of
American journalist John Reed (Warren Beatty), his association with
the Russian Revolution and also with the writer Louise Bryant (Diane
Keaton). The brilliant screenplay, written by Beatty, is a marvelous
multi layering of the drama, interspersed with actual witnesses who
knew Reed and Bryant. Jack Nicholson does a wonderful job in the
serious role of the famed writer Eugene O'Neill and Maureen
Stapleton won the Oscar that year for her performance of the feisty
activist, Emma Goldman. Fabulous sets, fabulous costumes and
fabulous acting; it was nominated for a total of 12 Oscars and won
three, including best cinematography. Diane Keaton has always been
a favorite, but I came away with a completely new respect for her
sparkling talent. Now, be forewarned, this epic very much in the style
of David Lean, runs 195 minutes, but is worth every second. This
film is intelligent, sophisticated and historically accurate.

Oh, and one more note. Have you ever noticed that Diane Keaton
actually sings in many of her films? She sings a lovely little version
of I Don’t Want to Play in Your Yard which is incorporated into the
musical score throughout the film.


  1. You know, I don't think I've seen this movie all the way through so I need to remedy that...Thanks for the reminder!

  2. That picture of the train station is gorgeous! I know three young men over here who would love to have large copy of that!

  3. of my favorite movies...saw it a long while ago....thank you for the reminder. It's worthy of watching again :)

  4. Willow, I looked up Reds and saw that Elaine May had a bit part which took me to memories of some of her greatest movies (The Heartbreak Kid, Primary Colors, The Birdcage, and one of my all-time favorites, A New Leaf). What a great talent. I think I'll have to rent A New Leaf soon.

  5. Thank you for writing about this movie! I have not seen it, thanks to you I will put it on the "to see" list immediately.

  6. David, I don't think Elaine May is actually in the film. She's listed as uncredited in the writing credits. I'm not familiar with "A New Leaf"...will have to check it out and add to my Netflix list.

  7. Another movie I havent seen .. Reed was a relation of a friend who went to the premiere and said he and Keaton were incredibly nice in person ... they were a couple at the time ..


  8. David, I just looked up "A New Leaf" at IMDb and saw that Elaine May wrote, directed and starred in this film! I love Walter Matthau, too. I'll have to see this one.

  9. Daryl, both Keaton and Beatty seem like genuinely nice people. Fun have been full of neat stories lately!! :)

  10. I remember loving the color palette of that movie. It's been a long while since I watched it. I should refresh my memory.

    Also, Diane K. did a wonderful old song in tribute to Steve Martin when he won the Mark Twain prize... "Just the Way You Look Tonight". She is a gem, isn't she?

  11. Oh, I meant to ask... Have you seen Being Julia? with Annette Bening? If not, I really think you'd like it! One of my favorites!

  12. A fine film. I just learned this year that Emma Goldman is buried near here!

  13. I need to go to the library more often. Thing is I want to keep all the books I check out!!!!!!! The movie looks really good, and I am a huge fan of Diane Keaton.

  14. Dave, yes! She's buried in Forest Park, IL. I enjoyed reading up on these historic figures after seeing the film.

  15. I love that movie. Haven't seen it in years, but I agree--it's well worth sitting through. Diane and Warren were both wonderful in it. I'd forgotten about her singing in it, but you're right, she often does sing in movies--I like her; I think there's such a child-like quality to her. Love that banner, incidentally--a beauty!

  16. Brush, I really like her, too. My family tells me that her character in "Manhattan Murder Mystery" reminds them of me. ;)

  17. make me want to see this movie...
    I don't think I ever saw it..

    ps : hope the laundry is recovering from the guacamole adventure..

    pps : and you spent a summer in Japan. you envious !

  18. My new motto needs to be "So Many Movies, So Little Time." You are keeping my Netflix queue filled up. I have already seen on your recommendation, The World of Henry Orient and The Widow of St. Pierre.

    Have you seen The Painted Veil with Edward Norton and Naomi Watts? If the answer is no, then you must see it. I think it will be right up your alley.

  19. You are one of the most "well read" persons I have ever been aquainted with. I sure don't have the depth insight and interest that you do. It's a gift! Blessings.

  20. I didn't know that about Diane Keaton!

  21. Stevie, yes, I've seen The Painted's a beautiful movie! Not one of my top faves, but I liked it a lot.

    Strider, you are too nice. Lately, though, I find myself doing more blogging and less reading. :P

  22. Willow,
    my blogging time comes out of what would be reading time otherwise. Sometimes I wonder. ;-)

  23. Fabulous this, fabulous that! You have a FABULOUS blog. Love this post.. I've never ever seen this movie. Again, I must write it on my list of movies to see. The list keeps growing. Great pictures here.
    The Bach

  24. How nice to be back at Willow Manor and so pleased that you enjoyed reading about my trip. At last I am more or less organised again so I can start blog visiting. Yes, I missed you too! And took many a photo with my blog friends in mind.

    Now I shall have to look for Reds in my local video store. It specialises in art movies and that sounds like a good choice for the weekend.

    Have you seen "A stranger at the Gates" about the Leningrad siege?
    Lots of love Eleanor

  25. Hi Eleanor, it's so good to have you back in the bloggyhood! No, I'm not familiar with that film, but I have seen "Enemy at the Gates" about Vassili Zaitsev the Russian sniper.

  26. Its cool that you know so much about old films. I feel like im living under a bush, not knowing....hahahhaah..

  27. Pappy was here. I'm glad you were not reviewing "Red Dawn". Have a wonderful post humpday week.

  28. Do you know Willow, my mother had two freinds who were sisters from the old Czhecoslovakia and one of them was actually in this movie. she was a very old lady by this point but told us all about it. Very interesting period too.

  29. Mmm, that is fascinating! I would have loved to had a nice long chat with her over dinner. Any specific tidbits you can pass along to us?

  30. Pappy, how did you guess I wasn't a big fan of "Red Dawn"?


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)