cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (the covers of this book are too far apar)
Graphic novels:

Guibert, Emmanuel: Alan's War: The Memories of G.I. Alan Cope
(in Guibert's introduction, he describes how the stories of WWII that Cope told him were mostly nothing spectacular. He's right, they're not. Guibert's renditions of the stories are simple: black-and-white, illustrative art paired with Cope's unembellished memories. But I think I understand why Guibert wanted to draw them: there is something in war and the lives of people who fight in wars, something about the dull minutia of that daily existence that's very important that we know. This is how citizens become soldiers, this is being a soldier in wartime, and this is what soldiers do with their lives when the war is over. We should all of us know this: it's so matter-of-fact. War isn't drama).


Cotter, Joshua W.: Skyscrapers of the Midwest
(shit, I just don't care. I got through I think five pages and gave up on account of shit, I do not care about your male adolescent traumas told via pupil-less space cat superhero pastiche anomie. For god's sake, I have to read ten books on cataloging this semester, and that's not even counting the class reading. And I have to annotate those cataloging books. I have poor judgement and I started with something by George Lakoff, which is super fucking hard and six hundred pages long and not actually cataloging, but linguistics. It's brilliant and fascinating and dense and did I mention very hard as well as six hundred pages long? I have a week to read it and write a five page paper on it before I move on to the next one. I have no time for dumb shit like this depressed cat thing).


Jung and Jee-Yun: Kwaidan
(or this. The art's bonus, but the story is dull and cliched).


Manga:

Mihara Mitsukazu: Doll vols. 1-2
(I fuckin' love Mihara's manga; she's a breath of fresh air. I don't run into a lot of manga--or a lot of comics, period, actually--that actually live up to science fiction's honorable tradition of exploring the consequences of an idea, not simply using it to entertain.* I have seen Mihara accused of being flat and one-note; I would call her refreshingly restrained, with an art style that complements her storytelling. Here, as with some of the stories in IC in a Sunflower, she's working with the classic idea of the robot, and how human beings react to robots; the theme isn't new, but the emotional insights still don't feel stale to me--the question of what makes us human is more, not less relevant than when science fiction authors first picked it up. The short stories of Doll are variations on a theme, but so were a lot of Asimov's stories about robots, and if you dislike Asimov, we're probably not going to agree on much about science fiction anyway).

*I love being entertained. I just also like being challenged, and in science-fiction-themed comics, challenge is novel in its scarcity.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (eaten by affection)
Graphic novels/comics:

Kanan, Nabiel: Lost Girl
(so memorable, I've already forgotten what it was about).

Gurewitch, Nicholas: The Perry Bible Fellowship: The Trial of Colonel Sweeto and Other Stories
(that's quite an imagination Gurewitch has).

Kochalka, James: Monkey vs. Robot.

Giardino, Vittorio: No Pasaran! vol. 2
(the more I read of this, the more I dig it. He's got a really spare style, so it takes some time to get used to the characters, but it kind of crawls up under your skin, the bright, crisp, colorful art, the beauty of landscape and the well-rendered details of houses, cars, trains, airplanes, military uniforms...I know zilch about the Spanish Civil War, so I'm going to need to read up on it).

Benson, John, editor, Dana Dutch (presumed) author, Matt Baker, artist, et al: Romance Without Tears: '50s Love Comics--With a Twist!
(Fantagraphics. The stories are not really "with a twist," like those romance comics with the text rewritten to snark the original stories. This is a collection of actual romance comics published by Archer St. John in the 50s, presumably written by Dana Dutch and mainly illustrated by Matt Baker; however, as there are no surviving records proving Dutch wrote the scripts, we can't be entirely sure all of these are Dutch's work, and the collection is copyrighted by Benson. In the introduction, Benson explains that the older romance comics of the fifties featured surprisingly liberated and self-possessed heroines, far more so than their counterparts in the 1960s, which are notorious for the "tear-stained faces" of their covers. These 50's comics are still conservative about sex and marriage--sex outside of marriage is presented as disastrous, shameful, and rare, and this is not historically true of what actual people did in the 1950's. That said, Benson's observations about the nature of the heroines and their actions in these comics is borne out by the texts--the collection is just chock full of young women who learn by experience, make decisions for themselves (and sometimes make mistakes), cry infrequently and briefly, and who have the kinds of relationships with their boyfriends, parents, siblings, and friends that support mature growth. Well worth checking out).

Simmonds, Posy: Gemma Bovary
(On the subject of good stories involving romance and well-written women--this is fucking brilliant in every regard, and oh so clever. I highly recommend it).

war manga

Sep. 26th, 2008 01:14 pm
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (we came out of the desert together)
I'm going to be really clear: seeing people attempt to justify the American use of the atomic bomb fills me with such revulsion for them that I want to throw up. Jokes about wanting to punch people in the face aside, I am a pacifist, and I am a Universalist, so there's no need to accuse me of being either. Lately, I've been lulled by an excess of humanistic sanity into forgetting how much emotional and intellectual energy Americans in particular expend in convincing themselves and the world that it's okay to nuke human beings, because what the hell, civilians die in war anyway.

Okay! Now that that's out of the way, and I've hopefully forestalled any kind of response in my LiveJournal bearing a nauseating pseudo-historical justification for using nuclear weapons on cities, check this out--an article about the work of Shigeru Mizuki, a Japanese soldier who fought in WWII, and afterwards became a prolific manga artist who shared his wartime experiences in their full complexity, including the atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers, the devaluing of human life, and the brutality endured by Japanese soldiers from their own commanders. The article's fascinating, but don't forget to scroll down past the notes to check out samples of his work. I would love to see some of his body of work commercially translated into English, although it seems unlikely to happen, unless a boutique publisher like Drawn and Quarterly or Fantagraphics was interested. It's a damn shame. I realize nuanced war literature is not exactly a crowd-pleaser, but I think it's important that it be available.

(Yes, I know VIZ translated Adolf, for which they deserve mad props, but that was Tezuka, and it was the 80s, and it's out of print now.)

This bit put a lump in the back of my throat: "Mizuki, who unlike most prominent revisionists actually experienced the horrors of war firsthand, sees no contradiction between a love for Japan and its traditions, and a willingness to look honestly at the nation’s war history. His war stories contain many shocking images, but he still reflects, “… on the way back to Japan from Rabaul, the moment that I saw Mount Fuji from the sea, I thought, ‘I’m back’, and I felt, ‘I’m Japanese’.” It's a point of view a lot of people have trouble understanding--that you can disagree with your country's actions, even be sickened and disheartened by them, and still love your country. It's a powerful thing, to reconcile your love and idealism--this is my home, the country where my heart is--with bloody horror, particularly in the case of soldiers, for whom bloody horror, endured or perpetrated, is not a morally abstract issue, but an immediate physical reality which will become a lifelong memory. It's complicated and hard.

By the way, even though it fucks me up that America dropped the atomic bomb twice on Japan--and things we've done since, things we are doing right now--this is my home, the country where my heart is; here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
I have to post once a week on a discussion board for my not-really-cataloging class; the first week, I posted about the weird, fragmentary way graphic novels get classified and shelved in public libraries. I also posted about having retagged hundreds of back entries in this journal once I started focusing so much on reading graphic novels. The professor now knows me as "Margaret, who likes graphic novels." I should have mentioned that I tag food related posts with "101 things to stuff with goat cheese," and all poetry related posts with "april is national poetry month."


Graphic novels:

Kelso, Megan: The Squirrel Mother Stories.

Campbell, Eddie: The Fate of the Artist.

Sala, Richard: The Grave Robber's Daughter.

Giardino, Vittorio: No Pasaran! vol. 1
(ComicsLit. I was thinking that this was the shortest damn spy story I'd ever read until I got the end and realized it was only volume 1. The spine tag covered that bit up, and I had no idea when I started it wasn't a complete work).

Kuper, Peter: Speechless
(not actually a graphic novel, but an artbook and collection of sketches. Kuper impresses me even more now than he did before; he's quite a stunning artist, with a fiery political spirit. I had no idea how prolific his work was, but after looking at the magazine cover selections, I realized I must have seen his work dozens of times before I picked up Sticks and Stones).


Manga:

Kanari Yozaburo, story, Sato Fumiya, art: Kindaichi Case Files: Kindaichi the Killer Part 1, Kindaichi Case Files; Kindaichi the Killer Part 2
(I think I have the answer to the Saki #2 question. A slightly more inclusive character guide at the beginning of these books would have eliminated the question, though.

Damn, I love Akechi. I'm inclined to think he never seriously thought Kindaichi was guilty, but was just running with it because Akechi loves fucking with Kindaichi).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Graphic novels:


Ward, Lynd: God's Man: A Novel in Woodcuts, Madman's Drum: A Novel in Woodcuts
(the first I found overly simplistic. There is a special level of hell for men who date prostitutes and then whine and mope because the prostitutes continue to earn their living by having sex with other men for money, instead of being Redeemed By The Love of a Good Man and giving it all up to live in even deeper poverty as they cook and clean and keep house for the virtuous starving artist who redeemed them with his pure artistic love. In this level of hell, men who do this are smacked in the face with reality shovels for all eternity, or until they stop being such fucking nitwits.

The second I found overly confusing, but all in all, I'm impressed with the art and the ambition of the books, just not the trite morality play of the innocent male artist seduced and betrayed by the big city and its fatcats and whores, etc, etc, until he throws himself off a cliff and is nursed back to health by The Love of a Pure Woman Who Definitely Does Not Sleep With Other Men For Money, Although If She Did, You Can Bet She'd Only Do It Out Of Love To Support The Virtuous Starving Artist While He Pursued His Art, And She'd Feel Really Bad About It.

Fuck, but the Madonna/Whore complex gets on my nerves).


Gipi: Notes for a War Story
(creepy as hell. Has a really excellent afterword that gives a bit of nice political and artistic context).

Lemire, Jeff: Tales of Essex County vol. 2: Ghost Stories
(equally creepy, and just as dark, in its own way. It's the art; this art would be completely at home in a horror story, and it tinges a story that is essentially peaceful and melancholy with a kind of gnawing fear, like waking up in the middle of the night suddenly realizing that life is hollow and empty and there's nothing after you die).

Geary, Rick: A Treasury of Victorian Murder: The Fatal Bullet
(aww, man. I barely knew anything about James Garfield before reading this, but now I feel truly sad for him and his family).

Aragones, Sergio, and Mark Evanier: Groo and Rufferto
(the endless idiocy of Groo never ceases to make me LOL).

Sfar, Joann: Klezmer vol. 1: Tales of the Wild East
(this does pair well with The Rabbi's Cat! And now I can't stop imagining Yaacov as the cat. I did like The Rabbi's Cat better, because it's a warmer, happier place to be, but this is good in a different way).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Novels/prose books:

Klein, Naomi: The Shock Doctrine
(when my dad recommended this to me, he said, "I'm sure you don't have much time for reading these days." Honesty compelled me to reply, "I have nothing BUT time for reading these days."

This book chillingly and persuasively draws the lines between the dots of torture, mental and economic shock, and the radical end of the ideology of the totally unregulated free market. I wouldn't have drawn the line myself, but when I see it, I believe it. Generally, I have no interest in bringing politics into this blog, but I will say this: I have no use for social liberalism if it's coupled with economic conservatism, or: it means nothing to blandly smile on people's right to be gay and alive and not jailed, be anything other than white, and alive and not jailed, or to be a woman, and alive and not jailedl, if you don't also believe in the rights of human beings to be able to have food, shelter, and employment. Economics are politics. Wealth and poverty are political. I've noticed that there is a remarkable consistency on this: it's not considered impolite to talk about money unless you have it when other people don't.

The Dispossessed is still radical when The Left Hand of Darkness has come within hailing distance of the norm. That means a great deal).


Graphic novels:

Geary, Rick: A Treasury of Victorian Murder: The Case of Madeleine Smith
(This reminded me rather of Strong Poison. I suppose it's not out of the realm of possibility that Sayers could have been referencing it, although considering how many people must have been murdered with poison over the course of history, and how many of those cases might have been reported and covered in newspapers, there's no particular reason to think that she would have been referencing this one.

This is a less mysterious sort of mystery than most of the books in the Treasury, since it's clearly rather unlikely that Smith didn't murder her lover, but very interesting anyway, as Smith went on to become part of the social sphere of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood).


Van Meter, Jen, author, Christie Norrie and Ross Campbell, artists: Hopeless Savages vol. 3.


Manga:

Oda Eiichiro: One Piece vols. 1-2
(I can see the appeal, but I really don't love it).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
At this post, I've read 108 books/graphic novels/etc since my semester ended in May and I started keeping track. Graphic novels go fast! But right now, it's so hot, I can barely bring myself to read, and the library is closed for a couple of days because their air conditioning is busted and the second-floor stacks are a health hazard. Ugh.


Graphic novels:

Various: Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators
(I'm glad I didn't read this right after it came out. I knew none of these creators at the time, and virtually nothing about the French comics market. Since then, I've had the chance to read or at least look at the work of eight or nine of the seventeen creators, which adds something to the reading experience. It's a nifty concept, and I enjoyed it.

I mostly prefer the Japanese creators' pieces, I think because so many of the French ones end up feeling unimaginative: the French creator feels alienated by Japan, writes a short, probably autobiographical, about how alien Japan feels; most likely also describes and depicts Japanese women entirely in sexual terms. They each have their own styles, and they're cool and talented creators, but the repetitiveness of some of the contributions to this anthology bored me. So did the incessant sexualization of all the Japanese women.

I have to single out Aurelia Aurita as my favorite French author here--she's funnier and earthier than most of her peers in this anthology, much more lively and joyful and humble about her experiences; I found her story delightful. I've got to keep an eye peeled for any other work by her in English! Come to think of it, she's the only non-Japanese female creator in the book, which probably has something to do with how different her story feels...

The Aurita story is neck in neck with the Anno Moyoco piece for my favorite. Anno's is short, spare of words, and more of a mood piece than a narrative; it is utterly gorgeous in both art and feeling, and very different than anything else I've seen by her.

I also very much enjoyed the Matsumoto Taiyo and Igarashi Daisuke stories; Etienne Davodeau gets props for originality and for making me laugh. Twin brother indeed.

This is highly recommended; it is really worth tracking it down for a look, and I think it deserves a place in a good graphic novel collection).


Manga:

Nakazawa Keiji: Barefoot Gen vols. 3-4
(human beings are amazing...).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Novels/prose books:

Heyer, Georgette: Footsteps in the Dark
(English. Mystery. Witty! Georgette Heyer. This one reads a bit like a Nancy Drew or a Hardy Boys novel for adults, and I think I mean that in a good way).


Graphic novels:

Spiegelman, Art: Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began
(Spiegelman really knows his way around a visual metaphor).

Various: Graphic Classics: Mark Twain
(it's good and it's fun, and Rick Geary always rocks my socks, but the main thing I get from this book is a renewed desire to read Twain as prose. Also, I felt that some of these adaptations were a little short on illustration. As I can read Twain's prose whenever I want to, I felt a bit cheated on that score).

Geary, Rick: A Treasury of Victorian Murder: The Mystery of Mary Rogers
(Geary does not fail to rock my socks with this.

I am unsatisfied over not having an answer to the mystery, but unsolved mysteries are par for the course here--it's not a fault of Geary's presentation of the material. It just so happens that I hadn't heard of this mystery before reading the book, so I had no existing sense of the mythology that sprang up around Mary Rogers' murder. I did already know some of mythologies of Lizzie Borden and of Jack the Ripper when I read Geary's books on them, so I was already anticipating those non-resolutions.

I really don't know why I can enjoy graphic novel true crime stories when the prose kind generally leave me loathing every part of the process. I think maybe because the kinds of true crime stories that make it into contemporary comics tend to be historical, and often the stuff of legend? To me, writing stories based on enduring cultural lore does not feel so sickeningly dehumanizing as what crowds the true crime shelves in bookstores...some of the motivation is the same (we thrill to the gruesome details of the crime, the intense emotion, the extremes of personality), but it's a little more...I don't know...processed. Passed off to history, with the families no longer around to be injured. Like fiction, there's no longer anything really at stake, and no one to be hurt. It's why historical fiction doesn't bug me when RPF does.

And a great deal of the appeal specifically of these Geary works is that the murders ARE unsolved and can almost certainly never BE solved, making them a sort of intellectual exercise, like mental chewing gum).


Manga:

Mashima Hiro: Fairy Tail vol. 2.

Kanari Yozaburo, author, Sato Fumiya, artist: The Kindaichi Case Files: Treasure Isle
(called it. Sort of).

Nakazawa Keiji: Barefoot Gen vols. 1-2
(the introduction is by Art Spiegelman. You know, it's hard to say which of these WWII-related works is more depressing, Maus or this.

I strongly recommend this manga to anyone feeling dissatisfied with works like Grave of the Fireflies or Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms for not discussing Japanese culpability in WWII. The author's father was anti-war, and the manga is a fictionalized version of the author's own life--by pure chance, he survived the atomic blast at Hiroshima, lost most of his family at that time, and struggled to survive afterwards--and his father's (and presumably the family's as a whole) anti-war stance is laid out loud and clear, as are the dire social consequences of not supporting the war (among other unpleasant things, not being able to borrow food from neighbors when your pregnant wife and five children are slowly starving to death). The manga also firmly acknowledges Japanese racism and mistreatment of Korean and Chinese laborers; this is discussed in the context of the family's friendship with a Korean neighbor, who repays their open support and friendship with food he can barely spare.

Reading this is like a reading a weird hybrid of The Drifting Classroom and something by Tezuka: unrelenting horror and death in a blasted landscape, as written by a humanist who over and over and over again calls for peace and human friendship, infused with childlike optimism, energy, and the moral depth and clarity that only a wise adult can really possess. It's humanism from someone who has literally seen with his own eyes absolutely the worst that people can do to each other, and who still believes that we can be better than that, and who can show you both.

Highly recommended, but expect it to hurt).


Taniguchi Tomo: Aquarium
(I am slowly working my way through all the works reviewed in the shoujo issue of The Comics Journal!).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Novels/prose books:

Christie, Agatha: The A.B.C. Murders: A Hercule Poirot Mystery
(I liked Roger Ackroyd better, but this was pretty good).


Graphic novels/comics/cartoon collections:

Barron's editors: Barron's Book of Cartoons.

Addams, Charles: The Groaning Board.


Spiegelman, Art: Maus I: My Father Bleeds History
(yes, it's everything it's cracked up to be. I am having an Eisner moment, where I have the rare experience of reading a classic work that has been so highly praised so universally that I've begun to doubt it can live up to my expectations...but it does.

Maus is such a personal, specific work about people with distinct personalities that it's in no danger of feeling generic, no matter how much other material exists on the same subject. It's both the story of Spiegelman's father, Vladek, a Holocaust survivor, and the story of Spiegelman hearing the story from Vladek. There's a bit early on, after Vladek has described an early love affair that predated his marriage to Spiegelman's mother, Anja, when Vladek asks Spiegelman not to put that part in his work. Spiegelman replies, no, that it's good material, and it will help to make the rest of the story more real.

He's absolutely right. It's the context of his parents' lives that make the story worth telling, and not just a stock rendering of historically recorded atrocities. Knowing about Vladek's textile business, his love affairs, the post-partum depression suffered by Anja after the birth of the elder brother that Spiegelman himself never met--this is the stuff makes them people.

Thinking about this helped me to finally make sense of something I'd read about while researching a paper on oral history for class this semester--the life narrative as a form of oral history. I'd dismissed it as being of little importance to my focus, which was the historical value of oral history as a source, but I realize now I made a mistake. Oral history as testimony on the recent past gives you focus on the historical events, which is useful and helps to bypass some of the issues with evaluation and reliability. But life narrative is about contextualizing history within individual people's lives. When you take any history, including historical atrocities, out of the context of people's lives, it loses power. Maus--which is, among other things, Vladek's life narrative as told to his son--has power because it places the overwhelming historical events of the Holocaust--events so massive and horrific they create a narrative that eats up everything else--within the context of Vladek's entire life. It is not the story of how Vladek survived the Holocaust, it is the story of Vladek. History is lived by people. That's important.)


Manga:

Kanari, Yozaburo, author, Fumiya Sato, artist: Kindaichi Case Files: The Legend of Lake Hiren
(Kindaichi Case Files are like popcorn--pre-popped popcorn from supermarket with the greasy bad cheese on it; not that good, but you keep eating it anyway).

Tamaki Chihiro: Walkin' Butterfly vol. 2.

Miki, Tori: Anywhere But Here
(I only wish I were smart enough to get these. I got maybe one out of ten, I think?)
cerusee: a white man's face with his hand holding up a lit match (lawrence of arabia)
Look, can we talk about Peter O'Toole already? I feel like we've been avoiding this conversation far too long as it is. Let's get straight to it: he's an acting god. He certainly seems to spend a fair amount of time playing god, or at least playing egomaniacs, psychotic killers, paranoid schizophrenics, sex gods, acting legends, and war heroes with disturbed personas. (Except for that one movie with Audrey Hepburn, which is entertaining beyond what it has any right to be. The world didn't need another larceny flick, but it's still a better place for O'Toole and Hepburn screwing around being gorgeous and funny, and How to Steal a Million is a clever and well-executed larceny flick.)

The only downside to his having lived this long is that at age seventy-four, he is no longer the most smokingly hot man I have ever laid eyes on. Still, he was kind enough to do his best work when he was beautiful, most especially in Lawrence of Arabia--which incidentally is the best movie ever made, and for about a week after seeing it for the first time, I replaced my standard greeting of "Hey, it's that guy," with, "Hey, have you seen Lawrence of Arabia?" (Disappointingly, no one's gone for the obvious punchline, or even the really clever less obvious punchline.) I'm not in doubt about my heterosexuality, but if I were, Peter O'Toole would clear things up nicely.

(And if you haven't seen Lawrence of Arabia, you should. It's only the best movie ever made, featuring the best performance of one of the world's greatest actors, living or dead, as one of the most complex and interesting men of the 20th century, but I don't want to oversell it or anything.)


So, O'Toole movies--I'm working my way through the canon as fast as the interlibrary loan can provide it for me. Night of the Generals, I'm only part way through, and it is a freaky, freaky movie, totally a treat for Omar Sharif and O'Toole in the same room, and god, why are they so hot as fucking Nazi officers? O'Toole looks good in a uniform, but he's a lot sexier in his Nazi general coat than he was in the British officer's outfit from Lawrence of Arabia, and it is very distracting. He is like a black hole of charisma; all attention is pulled to him when he's in the room, and it's damned difficult to look at anything else. Good thing he's the star.

Amazingly, he's less scary (so far) as Tanz in Night of the Generals than he was as Jack in The Ruling Class. The Ruling Class is a sick, vicious, twisted, hellaciously funny and weird movie, with just a wisp of a sentimental grounding to turn the ending into a heartache. O'Toole is an English Earl who is also a paranoid schizophrenic; he spends most of the movie believing he's God (he has scary blond Jesus hair and wears a white suit, and talks about love) and the rest believing he's Jack the Ripper. It's hard to say which is freakier. Murderous insanity is terrifying, but the verve and unpredictability of his Christ persona is somehow as unsettling as it is funny. O'Toole equally strong in both aspects, and makes them coherently part of the same madness, no mean trick. He's the reason to watch the movie. Again, it's the good thing he's the star. The other performances in this movie are good, but what drives both the story and the satire is the way that different characters react to Jack's loud, colorful insanity--some with frustration, some with amusement, some with ignorance, all with opportunism--which requires O'Toole to pretty much be the center of every scene in which he talks, and a few in which he doesn't, but does chirp like a bird.

By the way, I would rather by far watch Peter O'Toole chirp like a bird while dressed like Jesus in a lounge suit than watch Nicole Kidman in anything.

Regarding How to Steal a Million. It's not important. It is fun. A lot of movies have been made like this, and there's nothing particularly that requires O'Toole to be there; the character type he plays in it has been played creditably by many a lesser actor. That said, it's O'Toole, and he's a delight to watch, and if the role could have been played by a lesser actor, that certainly didn't stop him from turning in a superior performance--not overacting, mind you; he's charmingly understated. And while for some reason, he's brunet here, he is nevertheless still beautiful, and rather cute with Audrey Hepburn.

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