Archive for the ‘Moira Dougherty’ tag
Yesterday I wrote about the 1948 movie The Red Shoes. This is a wonderful movie. The female lead actor is Moira Shearer. Writing yesterday’s post made me think of one of my first girlfriends, Moira Dougherty.
Since I’ve been posting a lot of examples of my photography here recently, I decided to post the one and only high resolution photograph I ever took of Dougherty. She wasn’t at my house to model. But I had the backdrop set up and needed to test the lighting. Back then I shot with an Omega 45F 4×5″ view camera, and I used large format Polaroid black and white film to test lighting and exposure. The photograph you see here is an 800 DPI scan of that sole Polaroid print I created in 1989. I cleaned it up a bit in Photoshop, but it didn’t need much work as it’s been sitting in a manilla folder for decades, in the dark. Dougherty used the first name Moira when we were dating, but now she uses her real first name Muire.
I regret I didn’t complete a real photo shoot with Dougherty, as she has her eyes closed in the picture above. I didn’t know that until today when I was able to enlarge the scan I made today. I still think the shot is worth publishing, because it captures her beauty. If Dougherty is ever in town, I’d be up for doing that photo shoot she suggested way back when. This time I would use my Canon 5D Mark II DSLR, which captures fine detail almost as well as my view camera did.
Dougherty is a graduate of the film school at San Francisco State University. Back in 1989 there were no affordable modern camcorders that could shoot in color, and I recall Dougherty wanted a camcorder anyway. Shooting on movie film was and remains very expensive. Dougherty was working at Peets Coffee at the time, so being able to record repeatedly on tape was very appealing.
Dougherty seriously considered getting a Fisher Price PXL-2000. This black and white camcorder recorded at low resolution in black and white on standard, still available audio cassettes at about 15 frames per second. Amazingly, this camera is highly coveted even today, with examples selling on EBay for more than they sold for new in the 1980s. The camera has an extensive WikiPedia entry which illustrates Dougherty’s good taste in cameras as a young university graduate.
I have nearly every photograph I’ve ever taken, and I plan to go back into my film archive and scan and publish the best of my early work. Today I scanned and published the first film based photograph from my past. Thanks Moira for the kick start I needed on this project.
What a beautiful movie. The colors are astonishing. This is a Technicolor movie — the most beautiful Technicolor movie I’ve ever seen.
“What — but you don’t have a TV Kevin!”
I didn’t have a TV — now I do. After going several years without a television, I broke down and bought a modest Vizio flat panel set. It was the cheapest set at Costco in the size I wanted, which is large enough for house movie nights at home with my four roommates. I installed it over the fireplace in the living room between my beloved Polk SDA SRS speakers I bought new in 1986.
My new television is a liquid crystal display model. The plasma sets that were even cheaper looked miserable by comparison — gray and washed out. I was shocked. The Vizio looked just as good as the LCD set at twice the price immediately adjacent to it. Why would someone buy that set I wondered?
The really impressive purchase though wasn’t the flat panel, it was the Vizio Blu Ray player, at just USD $119.00. This player includes Vizio ‘apps’ software applications. The Vizio apps allow you access to Netflix, Vudu and Pandora Internet services via your television using the Blu-Ray remote control. I already had a Netflix account, and it was easy to activate so that it’s accessible from the Blu-Ray player.
The quality of the streaming is just shy of Blu-Ray quality, and much better than standard DVD quality. I am impressed. I have only had the system stop playback for buffering once in about 10 hours of use so far. The online reviews are mixed. Some have trouble keeping the player connected to Wi-Fi and have to go through setup every time they turn the unit on. I had to go through setup twice, but only twice. I read that current firmware fixes the problem, so maybe my unit has the current firmware. I have 90 days to exchange the unit at Costco, so I’m not worried.
Dinner and movie night on my still fledgling urban homestead is Sunday night. We watched the first two episodes of the cable television drama Mad Men. I am already hooked on the show and I had never seen it before. I haven’t had a cable television subscription since mid 2008. The savings from canceling cable paid several times over for my new Vizio TV and disc player. The cable companies really should fear Netflix, which could well put them out of business over the next decade.
Now, back to The Red Shoes.
I rented this movie because reportedly it’s one of Martin Scorsese’s favorite movies, and I like Scorsese.
Here’s the abstract from Wikipedia:
The Red Shoes (1948) is a British feature film about a ballet dancer, written, directed and produced by the team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, known collectively as The Archers. The movie employs the story within a story device, being about a young ballerina who joins an established ballet company and becomes the lead dancer in a new ballet called The Red Shoes, itself based on the fairy tale “The Red Shoes” by Hans Christian Andersen. The film stars Moira Shearer, Anton Walbrook and Marius Goring and features Robert Helpmann, Léonide Massine and Ludmilla Tchérina, renowned dancers from the ballet world, as well as Esmond Knight and Albert Basserman. It has original music by Brian Easdale and cinematography by Jack Cardiff, and is well regarded for its creative use of Technicolor. Filmmakers such as Brian De Palma and Martin Scorsese have named it one of their all time favorite films.
I am not a movie critic, so I hesitate to try to review this movie. My long ago girlfriend Muire Dougherty has a degree in film from San Francisco State University, and she didn’t think much of the last film I tried to critique, The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I rewatched that movie 20 years later, and she was right that the movie wasn’t very good. I just checked on WikiPedia and it says the author of the book on which that movie is based was so unhappy with the result that he never allowed any further adaptations of his writing.
I’m pretty sure Dougherty would approve of The Red Shoes, but I can’t tell you why with authority. I thought about Muire because when we dated she used the first name Moira rather than her real first name Muire, and the star of The Red Shoes is Moira Shearer. I don’t know and have never known anyone else with the name Moira.
I give The Red Shoes my highest rating even though I can’t properly explain why.