The Theater department at IU in Bloomington invited me to attend a performance of The Gentleman from Indiana, which opens July 11… but alas! I live in Seattle. I don’t think I’m up for that long a drive! I wish I could go, though. They’re staging James Still’s 2007 adaptation, and Still’s a real Hoosier.
History may often be written by the winners, but make no mistake—it’s always lived by the losers, too, and for a good deal of Tarkington’s younger years his immediate family lived more like losers than winners. But that’s the benefit of being a writer, isn’t it? You get to win in the end by rewriting your life in a fashion that suits you better. Especially when others buy your books by the tens of thousands. And for Tarkington, that meant telling the truth as he lived it, if with sly humor and happy endings. Hence, “As I Seem to Me” rather than “As I Actually Am.”
A few weeks ago, I reported that Vintage Books had released a new line of reprints of “the source material that inspired a number of iconic Hollywood films.” The first grouping of four novels in the series included Tarkington’s Alice Adams. Following almost oddly on the heels of that development is the late-May inclusion of the 1935 Kate Hepburn-starring adaptation of Alice Adams in the Warner Archive made-to-order DVD collection.
Penrod himself certainly sensed that his world was changing. And he didn’t like it much at all. Whether or not Tarkington’s readers grasped the geo-political forces shaping the world in 1914, they certainly saw themselves in Penrod’s shoes at a particular time of life. And if Rich himself can never recall summer idylls or idles as innocent as Penrod’s, well, more’s the pity.
The Hollywood Reporter, among other outlets, reported last week that Vintage Books’ “Movie Classics” imprint is releasing a new line of reprints of “the source material that inspired a number of iconic Hollywood films.” The first grouping of four novels in the series also includes Show Boat, Cimarron, and Back Street.
The lecture is March 19 at 1:30 PM. The Library’s main “Big Read” event was Friday night, during which the “newly restored Indiana Theatre” was decorated to “recreate the opulence of the Amberson’s home.” For a $5.00 admission fee, guests were “invited to the Amberson mansion for the celebration of the year. … Come and meet this remarkable family, see an original play and dance the night away.” Wish I could have been there!
It’s hard to believe, but at the start of the 20th Century, it was commonly held that publishing your stories in a periodical put them into the public domain… and you lost your rights to them entirely. On the other hand, it’s not hard to believe at all. At the opening of the 21st Century, similar controversies swirled around digital rights, and the dawn of the “magazine age” 100 years prior was really not so different.
When my Google news feed came in with a headline about a student production of The Trysting Place (1925), my interest was decidedly piqued. (Yes, that word is spelled “piqued,” dear readers, despite the best instincts of many online editors these days who let their writers get away with the inappropriate homonym “peaked.”)
Last week in Milwaukee, the Hollywood adaption of Tarkington’s play Magnolia was screened at the Charles Allis Art Museum. Mississippi, released in 1935, starred Bing Crosby, W.C. Fields, Joan Bennett, and Gail Patrick. I haven’t read the play (Tarkington’s plays are hard to find; I have tracked down several, but not this one) so I can’t comment on the source material; and I’ve never seen the film adaptation, either, so I can only pass on the Museum’s erroneously provenanced summary.
Rush for tickets, as this is sure to draw huge crowds. So says Barry Lenny, Arts Editor for Glam Adelaide in Australia. I’d call that a rave. Wouldn’t you? The Magnificent Ambersons has been adapted for the stage by Adelaide’s Independent Theatre founder Rob Croser. Says he: “I first became aware of The Magnificent Ambersons as a school, or university student, watching old Mid-day Movies during the holidays. I was fascinated by the story, the characters, and the eerily-lit mansion which the Amberson family inhabited.”
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