Every film shot on location, whether in whole or in part, is a home movie in which bits and pieces of history are embedded, and I find myself growing increasingly fascinated by these snippets of lost time. I can’t watch North by Northwest, for instance, without thinking about how Grand Central Station has (and hasn’t) changed, or how the Plaza Hotel will never be again as it was.
This is, I suspect, as much a function of my increasing age as anything else. Just the other day, for instance, Backstage Books sent me a copy of the newly revised and updated edition of James Gavin’s Intimate Nights: The Golden Age of New York Cabaret. The earlier edition was one of my favorite books, but I found this version even more interesting, in part because it’s the first time I’ve read a work of history in which someone I used to know well figures prominently. That sort of thing doesn’t start happening to you until you’ve achieved a certain degree of seniority, and I’m there.….
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