Friday, July 08, 2005

Friday CatBlogging: Namesakes

I thought I'd made this clear before but readers regularly ask if my beloved cat is named after Montgomery Clift. The answer is "But of course!" Like all parents I call my child by his full name "MONTGOMERY!" if I'm trying to be stern (hard to do when your child is cute, fuzzy, and has a brain the size of a walnut) and by the shortened version "Monty" when he is behaving.

On some future Friday I will tell you Monty's origin story but let it suffice to say for now that he was immediately named after my favorite actor due to their similar brooding/troubled but charismatic persona. When I was a wee kid I used to fantasize about having three daughters and naming them Madonna, Cyndi, and Olivia. And later, when I planned on getting my first cat as an adult I thought I'd get a sleek and gorgeous female cat and name her "Pfeiffer." So any felines or children I am blessed to have are bound to end up with a pop cultural or movie connections to their monikers.

If you've never seen Montgomery Clift act, please rent some of his work THIS week and enjoy. There's lots to choose from. I suggest Red River (48), A Place in the Sun,(51) and The Misfits (61) for a crash course through his career trajectory; Hot Young Star Breakthrough, Established & Respected Actor, and Troubled/Legendary Early Demise respectively.


Anonymous said...

I'd add "From Here To Eternity" to the list (everyone in the cast got nominated for the Gold Boy, but it's Monty who shines - the actor; not the cat). And although not Hitchcock gold, "I Confess" is driven by a very charismatic lead perf too.

Oh, and sorry you didn't get the job. It's gonna happen. Happen sometime. Maybe next time?


NicksFlickPicks said...

What Rob said. (Monty digging that hole in the ground!)

What Rob said.

And Suddenly, Last Summer, while not a Monty tour-de-force, should be watched for any excuse whatsoever.


I love Suddenly Last Summer too because it is just so... um, what th'word I'm looking for...hysteric? demented? "off" anyway: Love it. But that one is all Liz & Kate. My Clift is so wasted.

Anonymous said...

Pfeiffer is a REALLY good name for a cat. And it fits with the whole Catwoman thing (I haven't seen any Monty Clift movies, sorry)



Glenn, there are many Monty-less people out there just like you. CONVERT! Rent some movies.

NicksFlickPicks said...

"My Clift is so wasted."

Yesss, in both ssensses of the word.

But if you're 12 and you're like "Who's the hot guy in this Katharine Hepburn movie?" you still notice him. Trust me.

Anonymous said...

I think "The Heiress" (a movie FAR overdue for a DVD release) contains Clift's most underrated performance. Working in tight colaboration with director William Wyler, Clift creates one of the most enigmatic characters in cinema history. In a masterful, controlled performance, Clift never gives away Morris Townsend's true motives in regards to the title character, leaving the viewer to wonder if Townsend is indeed an opportunist, or if he truly loves Catherine Sloper. Check out the key scene in which an unwitnessed Townsend quietly surveys the Sloper household; he's either sizing up his potential fortune if he marries Catherine, or he's simply admiring the opulence surrounding him- Clift and Wyler leave it to the audience to decide what's making Townsend tick.

The mystery Clift imbues Townsend with is vital to the film's success, as "spelling out" the character's guilt or innocence would have dampened the drama considerably; it's difficult to imagine any other actor portraying the role with the skill and class Clift manages to convey in his admirable performance.

Although Olivia De Havilland (who won an Oscar as Catherine) and Raplh Richardson (memorable as Catherine's cold, cold father) deserved all the critical praise they reaped upon the film's release, I think Clift's work (the actor reportedly disliked his performance in the film) is as essential to the movie's now-classic status as the fine contributions of his cohorts; for me, it's a draw whether "From Here to Eternity" or "The Heiress" contains Clift's finest screen work.


P.S.- "The Heiress" is also one of the great movie dramas- if you haven't seen it, catch it on VHS right now!