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.