Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Go Teach Your Grandmother to Suck Eggs!

From left to right, here's former Boston Celtic and the first man to shatter an NBA backboard, Chuck Conners, Gregory (call me Atticus) Peck, and a blonde.

Let me tell you about an old movie that recently rocked my world, The Big Country.

What a great ride.

The film score is nothing short of epic. The cinematography is mind blowing. The riveting story blurs the lines between good and bad, weak and strong, courageous and cowardly. Charlton Heston, Burl Ives, Chuck Connors, and Jeanne Simmons make up an outstanding supporting cast.
The film includes a fight scene between Heston and Gregory Peck which may be the best ever filmed. The director’s use of wide angle shots is like nothing I’ve ever seen.

Gregory Peck stars as a sea captain who finds himself in the middle of a land feud in the old west. Peck is the quintessential American hero: courageous, strong, determined, hard working, soft spoken, and proficient with his fists, ready to take on any challenge. He’s not about talking; he’s about doing.

Burl Ives won the Academy award for best supporting actor as a tough but ethical old bastard embroiled in a bitter land dispute with a tough but not so ethical old bastard. It’s strange; I can’t help attaching Burl Ives to the voice of the sweet little snowman in the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. It was hard to get my brain around the cute little snow man cussing and beating the hell out of people.

There’s a Burl Ives line in the picture that knocked me right off of the couch, a line that will go down as one of my all time movie favorites.

Gregory Peck offers to clean a pair of pistols before a duel. Ives snaps, "Go teach your grandmother to suck eggs! I've been handling guns like this, flintlock and cap lock, since before you were born."

Teach your grandmother to suck eggs!

Teach your grandmother to suck eggs???

Ignorant and curious, I made it a point to do a little on line research. It turns out the phrase has been around a long time. “You would teach my Grandame to suck Eggs”, was first recorded in 1707.

I guess the point of the old saying is don’t tell somebody how to do something when he’s already proficient. I take it grandmothers were really good at sucking eggs back in the day.

I highly recommend The Big Country to any connoisseur of classic films. You can’t beat bigger than life music, photography, story, and actors; moreover, you get to hear Burl Ives say, “TEACH YOUR GRANDMOTHER TO SUCK EGGS.”

Here's Gregory Peck and Jean Simmons, not the guy from KISS, the stunning movie starlet who was married to Howard Hughes for a while.


JJ said...

A fantastic flick! I actually remember her because I loved the original Spartacus, which was made a few years later. When I saw her in that movie, I was able to identify her as the lady from The Big Country. Does she spell her name JEAN, or do I have the wrong chick?

#167 Dad said...

Your right about the spelling, JJ. I fixed it. If I remember correctly, Jean Simmons was really some kinda sultry in Spartacus.

I wanted to be Spartacus - and I was only eight...

Guely of Sweden said...

Well Snyder i feel like saying: In the words of the great patriarc Rufus Hannassey... because The Big Country (Horizontes de Grandeza, Horizonts of Greatness, in spanish) happens to be my favorite western of all time. The Duke and Ford made some better ones, of course, but this is MY favorite one.
The score (I have two different CD versions), the duality of the girls (blond Baker and brunette Simmons), the guys (tough Chuck Heston, calm Peck), the old men, the beautiful cinemascope landscape, the coward Chuck Connors (one just can't help to love hating him) and last but not least Alfonso "Stinking badges" Bedoya.
I just love this quote:

Steve Leech(Heston): Yeah, I'm offering you a fight. Or ain't that a nice word back east?

James McKay (Peck): You're gambling, Leech. You're gambling that if we fight, you can beat me. And you're gambling that if you beat me, Ms. Terrill will admire you for it.

Steve Leech(Heston): Out here, we leave a lady's name out of an argument.

By the way, I AM Spartacus!! :)

Bluesfrau said...

Burl Ives was a very spiritual man. A Freemason, he ventured into philosophical niches.
I his "Ugly Bug Ball"!

Bluesfrau said...

I meant "I like". :-)

Momma Fargo said...

Great movie! Oh, and the blonde is another life.. teehee.

I like how the old west movies used to call women...

"little lady"

Now days they just call 'em "whores". The good old days. Even the word "broad" for a woman has gone out of style...sigh.

#167 Dad said...

I'm goint to rewatch the film this weekend. The cinematography blew my mind. The fight scene was spectacular.
Which is your favorite Duke and Ford film?

#167 Dad said...

I dug UGLY BUG BALL too. From SUMMER MAGIC, right?

#167 Dad said...

Momma Fargo,
You've got good taste in movies - little lady...

RDD said...

I will have to check the movie out. However, if you want wide open spaces, bad guys, good guys and a beautiful lead, not to mention a great score you must watch Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West. Score by Ennio Morricone. This is my opinion is not only the best western ever it is the best movie ever made. Henry Fonda plays against type and is a bad guy. Charles Bronson is a good guy and Jason Robards is in the middle. Claudia Cardinale is the beauty. Most evil scene and line: Frank (Henry Fonda) appears on screen for the first time - "Well, now that youv'e called me by name"

#167 Dad said...

This is you, isn't it?
I will check out Once Upon a Time in the West this week. It's a movie I've been meaning to watch for a hecku long time.
Shoot me an email -

Guely of Sweden said...
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Guely of Sweden said...

Well it is a trilogy for me.The Man Who Shoot Liberty Valance (Jimmy Stewart is so good there too. But above all check the superb supporting cast!), The Searchers (I know a more complex and better movie then the previous). If I was a method actor in a need of a tear it would be enough four words (with the Duke's voice: "Let's go home, Debbie!". And The Stagecoach of course (love Yakima Canutt stunts and that black and white Death Valley). When I was a kid i use to love The Quiet Man and i liked that scene when he pulls O'hara all the way. Actually i was always dreaming to do that someday!! But times changed and so have to some childhood fantasies (but i still wish i could live on a treehouse with a girl in the jungle).

#167 Dad said...
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#167 Dad said...

It looks like you are the man to see when it comes to talking westerns. I'm planning to rewatch The Quiet Man and The Man Who Shot Liberty Vanace very soon.
And Maureen OHara is the second most beautiful woman I've ever seen. My wife is first.

Guely of Sweden said...

I wouldn't presume, Snyder. But if I have to suggest a Dukeless one I would have to mention Johnny Guitar, as a very special one.

#167 Dad said...

Johnny Guitar? Never heard of it. I'm curious. Who's in it?

Guely of Sweden said...

Well, get ready for a treat. Even if it's not a realistic western as those of Ford. This one is more poetic, allegoric and weird.The dialogue is superb. It works almost like an opera. The colors are very important and saturated here, the final showdown is between two woman and no more white hats black hats rules here.An open favorite of Scorsese, Almodovar an Truffaut.Is Nicholas Ray giving the orders behind the camera to Joan "I drink Pepsi" Crawford, Sterling Hayden and Mercedes McCambridge(she kind of steall this movie and would play the voice of Linda Blair in The Exorcist, when possesed, years later). Three great supporters John "The man of the thousand movies" Carradine, Ward Bond and Ernest "Marnie" Borgnine. I strongly recomend it to you.

#167 Dad said...

I'll see if I can find a copy of Johnny Guitar.

RDD said...

Sergio Leone admitted that he incorporated parts of many great westerns into Once Upon a Time in the West as a type of an homage to all great westerns. Specifically, tow of them happen to be Stagecoach and Johnny Guitar. Any fan of the Western must see Once Upon a Time in the West.

#167 Dad said...

RDD (Richard?),
You've seen Johnny Guitar too? Where the hell have I been?
OK Johnny Guitar and Once Upon in the West are high on my list...
shoot me an email

Bluesfrau said...

Yea - "I got nobody to hug - I'm such an ugly bug" lalala

haahaha love it!!