"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Girl Tuesday - Joan Fontaine

My son, whose interest in Bruce Springsteen borders on the obsessive, asked me this week who Joan Fontaine was.  The reference was to this lyrice from the early Springsteen song, "Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street":
Hey bus driver keep the change, bless your children, give them names,
Don’t trust men who walk with canes,
drink this and you’ll grow wings on your feet
Broadway Mary, Joan Fontaine, advertiser on a downtown train
Christmas crier bustin’ cane, He’s in love again.
Where dock worker’s dreams mix with panther’s schemes to someday own the rodeo
Tainted women in Vistavision perform for out-of-state kids at the late show.
Not sure what any of that means.   Early Bruce tended to want to be Bob Dylan, and he wrote a lot of words trying to prove that he had the verbal facility to do it.   Later, he went almost the other direction, trying to write Raymond Carver stories as songs, with a kind of borrowed working class diction that smacks a little too much of what the French call nostalgie de la boue, or "nostalgia for the mud."   As my son says (while still loving Bruce), "who are you kidding, you've been a rock star since you were 20 years old, you never 'worked on the highway'!"  

Anyway, Joan Fontaine was one of the loveliest movie stars of the early 1940s.   Here she is, in her best role in Rebecca:

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