steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

Reading Harriet the Spy to Charlotte this evening, I got rather excited when I came to the part where Old Golly and her fiance take Harriet to the movies. Looking at the paper Harriet sees that there's a choice between 'a spooky thing about children with funny eyes' and 'a spectacular about the Greek gods', which turns out to feature Paul Newman as Apollo and Shirley MacLaine as Athena. We also learn that one of the attractions of the latter film is that it is in colour, which presumably means the spooky one is B&W.

The spooky film is pretty clearly a reference to Village of the Damned (1960 - Harriet the Spy being published in 1964). Okay - but then what about the Greek spectacular? IMDB isn't much help. There's Jason and the Argonauts (1963), which has a sprinkling of Olympians, but not Apollo or Athena, and certainly not Newman or MacLaine. In fact, why Newman and MacLaine at all? They were both big names then, but neither had played in that kind of historical spectacular - at least, not since Newman's first film, The Silver Chalice (1954). Might MacLaine's role in The Children's Hour have made her important to Fitzhugh? Possibly. But why not have Harriet watch an actual film? Or, if it's an invented film, why mention real-name actors? I can't help feeling there's a mystery here, if only a very small one.

But it's late. Time to cease upon the midnight with eye-strain...
Tags: books
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