One of my all time favorite films is 1954's La Strada, from Federico Fellini -- a complete genius!!
Starring Anthony Quinn as Zampano and Guilietta Masina as Gelsomina.
Warning: Contain's spoilers for those who haven't yet seen this masterpiece!!
The film starts out with Gelsomina (Guilietta Masina), who gets sold to Zampano (Anthony Quinn) by her mother for some money and food. Zampano is a traveling showman, doing tricks with chains to show his super strength. Gelsomina is now his partner; however Zampano doesn't treat her very well -- treats no one well for that matter.
From the beginning of the film, you get a sense of sadness and longing for affection from Gelsomina; she's even happy to be sent away with Zampano, excited that she will learn how to entertain people the way he does and to be important to someone.
Though, she soon learns that she'll endure physical and emotional abuse along the way.
Zampano soon teaches Gelsomina how to drum roll and introduce him to the crowd; not learning fast enough he hits her with a stick and makes her try again and again - not ever seeming to get it right.
Though I may be wrong, I also think she endured sexual abuse too. Little things throughout the film give hints towards it -- the scene after teaching Gelsomina how to drum, he walks her to his caravan opening the sheet that covers the back. She says, "No" and adds "Tomorrow", Zampano ignoring her, pushed her into the back, he soon lay'd down next to her - the camera fades to black at that moment.
One of the first few nights while on the road together, Zampano and Gelsomina go out for dinner. She tries to get to know more about Zampano, asking questions like, "Where are you from?" but only getting reply's like, "My house".
Zampano soon picks up another woman while at the restaurant and leaves Gelsomina alone outside for the whole night. She found him passed out a few blocks away.
While visiting other performers, Zampano get's thrown in jail for attacking another performer, "The Fool" (Richard Basehart), leaving Gelsomina alone. She has the choice of leaving with the Fool and other performers or wait for Zampano to get out of jail and continue to tour with him.
She soon has a meltdown and decides she worthless and should be dead. "The Fool" tried to make her feel better, and decides that Zampano loves her.
Gelsomina believes that she has a purpose and it is that she should stay with Zampano. She wait's for him outside of jail when he's released.
Zampano acting nasty towards her as soon as he gets out.
Later on in the film, Zampano sees The Fool working on his car -- a tire on his car had flattened. Zampano stops his caravan and walks towards the Fool. He loses his temper and starts punching him; The Fool hit his head on his car and dies from the impact.
Gelsomina is devastated and is no longer the same throughout the rest of the movie.
As they drive around from place to place to perform, the only thing Gelsomina says is, "The Fool is hurt." Repeating it to herself for days and days. She forces Zampano to sleep outside of the caravan; not wanting him by her. It's cold, so he makes a fire and sleeps on the dirt.
After a day or so, Gelsomina climbs out of the caravan and lays by the fire. She seems better now, but switches back to, "the Fool is hurt" mode. She falls asleep by the fire.
Zampano covers her up and leaves some money. He then drives away and leaves her there alone.
The ending of the film is perfect. Throughout the entire film Zampano has no emotion or remorse for anything he has done. He beats up his woman partner and killed a guy yet he never showed any signs of sadness.
Gelsomina dies in the End, getting a fever from being left alone. Zampano no longer had strength to perform his strong man act, realizing that it was Gelsomina who gave him strength.
The movie Ends with Zampano sitting by the beach alone at night, crying - showing emotion. It took a death of an innocent girl to have him finally realize that he is a human being -- Showing remorse for Gelsomina and sadness from realizing his own fate.
I highly recommend for everyone to watch this film! It will forever remain one of my favorite movies of all time!
Throughout my life, I've read many, many books. None of them have stuck with me as much as And I Don't Want To Live This Life by Deborah Spungen. Each and every page is filled with frighting and emotional stories of Deborah's daughter Nancy Spungen - girlfriend of bassist for the Sex Pistol's, Sid Vicious.
Deborah digs deep into the life of Nancy, making you live in the mind of both her and her daughter which can be very disturbing and uncomfortable for the reader. It's hard to get through page after page, but once you do - the story sticks with you.
And I Don't Want To Live This Life is and forever will be one of my favorite books of all time.
I received this book as a present from my parent's a few year's ago on Christmas. Since I was a child, I was enchanted with Nancy - not with the drug use or the infamous fame she received, I was enchanted with her as a person not her image. I could tell the difference, even at a young age.
My happy Christmas was over when I opened this book. I held back tears as I read the Introduction, Deborah's simple yet powerful words describing Nancy's destined death was overbearing. I read only that first page before I closed the book to continue our family celebration - which was now ruined because I couldn't get Nancy out of my head.
My family and I soon went to bed at about midnight, I couldn't sleep so I decided to read some more. I read the first few chapters and fell deeper into the mind of Nancy. The way Deborah writes makes you grieve for Nancy and her family. Her mother doesn't make Nancy the victim nor the villain, she makes her a human being - which people seem to forget.
The book starts out with Nancy's death with the reporters and all. Even a phone call from Anne Beverly - Sid's mother to Deborah, telling her that her son is also dead.
After the telephone call, Deborah is sick with it all and grab's wire and ties it into a noose. Ready to kill herself she thinks of Nancy and her 20 years of pain.
She then decides that her pain won't go away until she give's Nancy's death a purpose, until Nancy die's with some peace and dignity.
Deborah move's on with life and she over the years has helped many, many families in need of help with their children - she has saved other "Nancy's" out there from the path their Nancy had took.
One thing that surround's this book is death. As a child Nancy knew that she would die very young and tragic - even her family knew. As Deborah recalled, her family had nothing to do but sit and watch her die. Nancy once recalled that she would go out with headlines - which she did. She was found murdered in the Chelsea Hotel in 1978, her boyfriend Sid confessed to her murder but died of a heroin overdose before going to trial. Nancy was only 20 year's old and Sid was 21 at the time of their death's.
One thing that surprised me was that Sid wrote Deborah after Nancy's murder, the letters are published in this book. They are very personal and give's a little insight on what might have happened in Room 100 the night Nancy was murdered. Deborah never wrote back but she recalled that she felt every emotion that Sid wrote to her. He sent her a poem about Nancy, which was used as the book title:
You were my little baby girl,
And I shared all your fears.
Such joy to hold you in my arms
and kiss away your tears.
But now you’re gone, there’s only pain
and nothing I can do.
And I don’t want to live this life,
If I can’t live for you.
To my beautiful baby girl.
Our love will never die…
Nancy and Sid.
Fans of Sid and Nancy should read this book! Most fan's dislike Nancy but once you read this book you'll see why she acted the way she acted.
Since I've read this book, I've grown an attachment to Nancy and her family. Like all the other people I write about I feel like it's my job to protect them from any unkindness thrown their way.
This book is a story of sadness and tragedy and will keep any reader trapped in the book - even if your not a fan of Nancy. Deborah's story will stick with you throughout your life.
I think I should explain my love for Olive Thomas and Jack Pickford, since it is a bit of an obsession.
I remember the day I first laid eyes on Olive. It was waayyyy back when people still used Myspace and such. I was looking at a page about some other silent star (whom I can't remember) when I glanced at their "friends" list, it was then when I saw Olive.
I immediately clicked on her page, wanting to know more about her. The brief information next to her picture stated, "Olive Thomas 1894-1920 Accidental Poisoning". I was suddenly overwhelmed with great sadness; I felt so bad for this young woman who died so young and tragic.
It was then that I decided to research this beauty.
I decided that I would write a biography on Olive.
The first photo of Ollie that I've ever seen.
What I loved and still love about Olive, is that she seems so present. She died almost a century ago but she has a modern quality to her, something so innocent and sweet. Watching her on screen is - to me - like watching an actress from now days. It's like she's still her.
Her photos and film footage have a haunting glow to them, making her seem almost like an orb - an angel on screen.
There are many secrets hidden behind her death; secrets that we may never know the answers to. Secrets that were buried with her. She died suddenly leaving many things behind in her life. Which is my reasoning behind her haunting at the New Amsterdam Theatre. She has unfinished business and staying at a place which she loved, makes perfect sense in my mind.
It was Olive who brought me to Jack Pickford. Obviously, I knew who he was but not too much about him. All I knew was that he was Mary Pickford's brother. Nothing else.
Jack was Olive's second husband, at first I wasn't so fond of Jack. From what I've read (on the internet, of course) I found that he was a bad man to be with Olive. Olive who was like heaven to me, paired with a man that was a drinker and druggy.
Reading about Olive's death with the Mercury Bichloride and Jack's Syphilis, I believed at first, but then nothing added up. Nothing made sense in my mind. Things Jack was accused of didn't fit or work into Olive's story. Diseases Jack supposedly had didn't seem correct. So I decided to do my own research.
What I found was that most things written about Jack Pickford today, is incorrect. Like, for example, Olive's published biography, pretty accurate on Olive's part but not on Jack's. That book made him seem like a horrible man. I'll admit, he wasn't the greatest man on earth, he had his faults, but he wasn't as bad as Olive's biographer made him. Not that the biographer tried to be mean or anything, just didn't research very well on Jack's life.
On a book that was supposed to be only about Olive, started becoming more about Jack and getting his story straight. I found myself being way more interested in Jack than Olive.
That's when my Olive bio turned into "They Played in Silence", the Death of Olive Thomas and the life Jack Pickford led after her demise. I decided to write about what I knew most about. I was to only write facts, nothing else. If I only had one statement of a true fact about a specific event on Jack and Olive, then that would be my only statement.
No more lies. No more exaggerating. No more played up versions of Olive's death and no more lies written about Jack. They both deserve better.
They both had their problems, even though I credit Olive as being an "angel", she was not. She wasn't the devil either. They both were human beings, who had some inner demons that tormented both of them.
I've known who Peg Entwistle was since I was a little girl but like most people, I knew only about her death. Since I'm very fond of Peg, I've made it my goal to learn more about her life and to uncover some documents from when she was alive. But for now, I'll tell the story of her sad death at the age of 24.
Early Sunday morning on September 18th, 1932 a woman was hiking on the Hollywood land hills when she suddenly came across a woman's personal belongings. She found one shoe and a jacket, a little way's farther she found a purse. The purse contained a suicide note that read:
"I'm afraid, I'm a coward. I'm sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain."
It was signed P.E
The woman looked up the hill toward the Hollywoodland sign and saw a dead body of a woman directly under the 50 foot tall H. She gave the woman's belonging's to the police.
Police were unable to identify her. They published her suicide note in hopes that someone will claim to know who she is. During the search, she was dubbed as "The Hollywood Sign Girl", a nickname that's still used today.
Police soon identified her as Peg Entwistle, a stage actress who also played a bit part in the movie "Thirteen Women" but most of her scenes were cut from the film.
Oddly enough, a day after her death she received a letter in the mail that offered her a starring role in a play. She would star as a girl driven to suicide.