As she's mentioned approximately 1,348 times in various social media, the Siren is off to Paris today for a visit with the in-laws. The Siren hates air travel--how heretical of her--but comforts herself with the notion that she could have in-laws in, say, Phenix City, Ala., a town where her father used to try cases and come back muttering that the movie flattered the place. (The Siren hastens to add for any readers in Phenix City that this was 25 years ago and Daddy may have missed the renaissance.)
The Siren always tries to do some shopping in Paris, however small, so here is a small anecdote regarding the perils of that pastime, from Billy Wilder in Hollywood by Maurice Zolotow.
Much of Love in the Afternoon was filmed on location in Paris. While Billy was over there, Audrey [Wilder] suddenly got the most irresistible craving for...a bidet! She had to have a bidet. She could not live without her very own bidet in the master bedroom. She cabled Billy to purchase a bidet and ship it to their Westwood apartment. Unable to locate a French plumbing supply firm which exported bidets, Wilder replied: IMPOSSIBLE TO OBTAIN BIDET STOP SUGGEST YOU DO HANDSTANDS IN SHOWER.
Over at Awards Daily, there is a poll about the Most Influential Film Critics. What struck the Siren about this poll is that there are only about a half-dozen, give or take, critics on the list whose good opinion is enough to get her watching. She won't tell you who they are, with two exceptions. Obviously the Siren's TCM tovarich Lou Lumenick carries much weight with her.
And then there is Glenn Kenny, the only critic named for an individual blog. The Siren suggests you go over and take the poll for the sake of voting for Glenn. The honor of the blogosphere compels you.
The poll, of course, is looking at which critics carry weight with the largest number of people (and in Oscar balloting, which to the Siren is like Kremlinology, only less transparent). But applying it to your own reading is an interesting exercise, and it made the Siren realize most of the critics left off the poll who wield substantial influence over her are either Web-based or have a large Web presence. Her own list would include (but is by no means limited to) Kim Morgan, Dennis Cozzalio, David Cairns, Dan Callahan, Peter Nelhaus, Tony Dayoub, Vadim Rizov, Dan Sallitt, Keith Uhlich, Jim Emerson, David Ehrenstein, Flickhead, Tom Shone and Girish Shambu. There are also wider-ranging bloggers whose film forays the Siren loves, such as James Wolcott (yes, I know he's primarily Vanity Fair, but he's a primo blogger so we like to claim him), Lance Mannion and Sheila O'Malley. And there's a few who've gone silent of late, but still make the Siren snap to attention when they do say something, like Filmbrain and Michael Phillips. These critics often share the Siren's tastes, but a lot of them also tend to like all sorts of things the Siren most definitely does not. They're all a pleasure to read, though, and often that's all it takes. Don't you think?
By that standard, the Siren could also name a lot of her commenters for that poll.
The Siren must now return to staring at her suitcases and waiting for them to speak up and tell her what she forgot. Before she leaves, one more critic who belonged on that poll had anyone consulted the Siren: Stephen Whitty. Please check out Stephen's marvelous exchange with Joan Lowell Smith, who once shared Hollywood digs with goddess-in-the-making Kim Novak.
That's all from Brooklyn for now. The Siren will be posting from Paris at her usual erratic rate. See you soon.