Friday, January 12, 2024

Blood Of The Vines - Happy Birthday Irving Rapper

Pairing‌‌‌ ‌‌‌wine‌‌‌ ‌‌‌with‌‌‌ ‌‌‌movies!‌‌‌  ‌‌‌See‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌hear‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌fascinating‌‌‌ ‌‌‌commentary‌‌‌ ‌‌‌for‌‌‌ ‌‌‌these‌‌‌ movies‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌many‌‌‌ ‌‌‌more‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌at‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌From‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Hell.‌‌‌ ‌ This week we have wine pairing for three films directed by Irving Rapper.

Irving Rapper was born on January 16th, 1898. He passed away less than a month before he was to turn 102 years old. That in itself is reason enough to lift a glass to the memory of the man. Hopefully you will find the celluloid legacy he left behind as fascinating as we do.

The Brave One, from 1956, is the story of a boy and his bull. The young Mexican lost ownership of Gitano and the animal ends up in a bullfighting ring with darts in his back and a guy dressed in funny clothes about to stab him to death. The kid watches in tears as his pet bravely confronts the matador. Inspired by the bull's courage, the crowd calls for Gitano to be given a pardon, which I didn't even know was a thing in bullfighting. They should tell more bulls about that loophole. 

The promoter wants to give the people what they want, and awards the bull the rest of the day off. The crowd watches in horror as the child runs into the ring, toward Gitano. They think he's done for, but we know better. It's a Hollywood ending.

Speaking of Hollywood, The Brave One was the final recipient of the Oscar for Best Story before the category was given the axe. That award went to a nobody who had his name placed on the script by Dalton Trumbo, who was still blacklisted at the time. The Academy reissued the award in Trumbo's name in 1975. Quite a story for a movie that unfortunately did almost nothing at the box office.

Brave & Maiden Estate in Santa Ynez puts me in mind of the 1960 Johnny Preston hit, "Running Bear." He was the young Indian brave in search of the maiden, Little White Dove. Their meeting was seriously impacted by a raging river, but we will choose the Brave & Maiden red blend called Rule of Thirds for The Brave One. It is actually two thirds Grenache and one third Syrah, with a splash of Mourvèdre. The 2020 vintage goes for $75, so put on your brave pants and pony up. 

The 1958 film, Marjorie Morningstar, was taken from the Herman Wouk book of the same name. Both show the titular young Jewish woman faced with a dilemma. Should she settle for the doctor her family wants to see her marry, or follow her heart and go with the man in show biz? It is a classic red pill/blue pill scenario. 

In the book, she makes the practical decision, while the film has her chasing her dream. Dreams are much more cinematic than marrying a doctor. Of course, doctors might argue that point. Dr. Kildare, Dr. Detroit and Dr. Zhivago, f'rinstance. 

Doctor's Orders Natural Wine Company delivers that sort of wine pleasure from vineyards in Ojai and the Central Coast. Their Santa Ynez Valley Grenache is only $21, while the really adventurous will want a prescription for their Ventura County Sangiovese. Yes, that's what I said.

Rhapsody In Blue came along in 1945, bringing the subtitle, The Story of George Gershwin, with it. Rapper wanted Tyrone Power in the title role, but he got Robert Alda instead. Other than that, he said he was happy with how the movie turned out.

Music historians may want to take note that making appearances as themselves are Gershwin cohorts Oscar Levant, Paul Whiteman and Al (Mammy!) Jolson. All those riches, and Rapper still had the gall to complain about Alda! Oh, he also thought there was too much music in the film. Ha. 

There is a Right Bank red called Soutien Georges Gershwin, so why not? Merlot and Cab Franc are two of my favorite red grapes, and here they are in a bottle together. What could be better? It comes from winemaker Nicole Tapon, fit for a rhapsody of any color.

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