My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Friday, March 4

The Lady in the Van

I remember seeing Maggie Smith when she won the academy award for best actress in The Prime of Miss Jean Brody in 1969, almost fifty years ago. She was then a lovely young thing, mid-thirties, great actress. And recently she’s been seen as a little old lady, raisin-faced, owly-eyed, purse-mouthed, in all the Harry Potters, in the two Exotic Marigolds, and now in The Lady in the Van. I guess what disturbs me is that Maggie Smith is one year younger than I am. How can she looks so very old when the man in my mirror doesn’t look anywhere near as old as she does? One of life’s mysteries. Her role in The Lady in the Van was a tour de force, and one that should have won her a nomination for best actress, almost fifty years after her win for Miss Jean Brody. I’s based on a mostly true story about a woman who accidently kills a young motorcyclist when he runs into her at a country road intersection. But she, thinking she’s to blame, flees and then tries to hide from the police by living in her van. For years. Miss Mary Shepherd becomes simply a cantankerous old bag lady, living in a filthy van, in filthy clothes, with filthy habits. Not a very admirable character. She parks along residential London streets, moving along whenever people complain, finally ending up in front of the recently acquired residence of Alan Bennett (Alex Jennings), a middle-aged, semi-successful playwright. We see him doubled, Alan the man talking to Alan the playwright, trying to figure out what to do about the lady in the van. He and other residents along the street treat her far better than she deserves, and when she is required to have a parking permit for her van, he allows her to park temporarily in his driveway . . . where she remains for fifteen years. That seems to be way above the requirements for proper British behavior. Viewers, along with Alan, learn about the woman’s background, about her past as teacher, failed nun, skilled pianist. Was it a great film? No. Was it a great bit of acting on Maggie Smith’s part? Yes. Does she really look that old or was it only in the art of makeup? I hope it was only makeup, because I’d rather not think of myself as her senior by a year.

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