I just started re-reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I just realized that I picked it up on Houdini's birthday. Harry plays an important role in the book, though he has been dead for 10+ years at the outset of the novel. The book centers on the art of escape, so Houdini is an abvious reference. If you haven't read it, then I recommend you do so.
I remember the Tony Curtis flick having a big effect on me when I was just a pup, growing in the middle of nowhere, Indiana, and reading adventure stories of all stripes. The scene where Houdini is trapped under the ice plagued my dreams for years. I haven't seen the movie since I was about ten, but I remember that claustrophobic panting and Damoclean sense of doom like it's candy in my mouth. I wouldn't be surprised if it returned to haunt me again tonight.
I forgot Janet Liegh was in that! God! I remember having a poster for The Manchurian Candidate on my bedroom wall when I was 15. The exchange between her and Sinatra in the back of a train car while Frank is having a breakdown caused by an inability to light a cigarette is jaw-droppingly good. I even made audio tapes of that scene so I could listen to it.
Eugenie Rose Chaney: Maryland is a beautiful state.
Bennett Marco: This is Delaware.
Eugenie Rose Chaney: I know, I was one of the orginal Chinese workmen who laid the track on this straight.
Eugenie Rose Chaney: But, em... nonetheless, Maryland is a beautiful state.
Eugenie Rose Chaney: So is Ohio for that matter.
Bennett Marco: I guess so, Columbus is a tremendous football town.
I used to make lots of audio tapes of movies with which I was familiar. Sometimes, I feel compelled to meditate through repitition on certain pieces. I remember watching Psycho something like 20 times in a week. People will think that's ridiculous, but I didn't even notice half of the reflections until the 12th time, much less toilets until well after that. Every person in the whole flick is 2 people, excepting the cop, but he doesn't have eyes. I wish I had an audio recording of the scene in Norman's study where he talks about how he "could just... curse her." All the time, he is surrounded by those birds.
Norman Bates: You know what I think? I think that we're all in our private traps, clamped in them, and none of us can ever get out. We scratch and we claw, but only at the air, only at each other, and for all of it, we never budge an inch.
Marion Crane: Sometimes, we deliberately step into those traps.
Norman Bates: I was born into mine. I don't mind it anymore.
Marion Crane: Oh, but you should. You should mind it.
Norman Bates: Oh, I do
Norman Bates: but I say I don't.
Marion Crane: You know - if anyone ever talked to me the way I heard - the way she spoke to you...
Norman Bates: Sometimes - when she talks to me like that - I feel I'd like to go up there - and curse her - and-and-and leave her forever! Or at least defy her! But I know I can't. She's ill.
They're playing Nina Simone. It's a greatest hits album that I used to rock, back in the states. It made me feel really good to hear Mississippi Goddamn. It reminded me so much of the people I know with whom I share an admiration for those great old tunes. I wish I had a copy of Plain Gold Ring by Nick Cave right now.