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Jessie.JPG      Gerard.JPG

Now that I've gone to the trouble of capturing these images, I begin to suspect that you had to be there. Certainly the resemblance between the two film moments is reinforced by vocal expressiveness. At left, Jessie Royce Landis, playing Cary Grant's mother, surrenders to the nonsense of even thinking that anybody would want to kill her son. She's the last in the elevator to laugh, but when she does, it's with an almost Viennese light-headedness that even Gloria Swanson couldn't have pulled off. On the right, Gérard Depardieu pretends to surrender to the nonsense of thinking that he could have been talking pejoratively about a certain sexual preference. In both cases the risible proposition happens to be exactly right, but that's incidental. Once you've seen North by Northwest, M Depardieu's little flutter in Le Placard (The Closet) becomes twice as funny. Of course, the plot of Le Placard will take M Depardieu's character deep into another kind of Viennese light-headedness. Now, back to your fine weekends!


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I've never known her name, Jessie Royce Landis, although her face is a familiar delight and delightfully gay. (Shame we can't use that word in that sense any longer.) Her laugh must sound exactly like my "bubbles" laugh at the popping of a champagne cork: "AH! hahahaha..."

Je aime ce "je ne sais quoi" dans cette poste.

(Je voudrais a ecriver plus de beau francais, mais ce n'est pas possible. Jamais.)

Hah, very funny. I don't remember the NbNW scene at all, sadly; I'll have to see it again. (I probably haven't seen it in fifteen years.)

JRL played his Mother, true, and also his Mother-in-Law to be in "To Catch a Thief" all the while having been born in the same year as Grant, 1904.

I don't remember Jessie Royce Landis in North by Northwest (I much watch more carefully next time), but I thought she was one of the highlights of To Catch a Thief (particulary her Avez vous du bourbon? line). That always makes me chuckle. She ranks, in my book, with Thelma Ritter as one of the great character actors of film.

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