"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

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Birthdays Today

A mixed bag of birthdays today, but an opportunity for some good video clips.

First, it's the great writer-director, Billy Wilder, born in 1906.   Wilder is responsible for some of the greatest movies and some of my favorites, including Ninotchka (as writer), Stalag 17 with William Holden, Sabrina, Some Like It Hot, and The Apartment.  What I like about Wilder is that he writes for the screen, not for the page; on the page it's melodrama, but on the screen it comes alive.   It's the experience he had of having done dozens of movies in the 1920s-1940s, where he had to sell his writing and prove that it worked.   Here's a great scene from Stalag 17:

It's also the 64th birthday of Don Henley of the Eagles.   Here is arguably his best song, "The Boys of Summer"; I always loved this video:

It's also my wife's favorite rocker's birthday, Todd Rundgren, who is 63.   It's weird how many hit songs came from Rundgren's pen, and yet I never thought of him as a huge star.   Bizarrely, the one that gets played the most nowadays (during afternoon drive-time on classic rock radio), is this one, "I Just Wanna Bang on the Drum All Day":

Finally, it's Meryl Streep's birthday.   She's 62.   Man, does this all make me feel old.   Here's Streep in a really beautiful moment at the end of Kramer v. Kramer, for which she won a Supporting Actress Oscar:

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