Friday, June 3, 2016

Frank Langella and Me



Written for my Frank Langella Celebration! ❤ 

First of all, many thanks to those of your who participated in this Frank Langella Celebration. I appreciate you very much, and it's been fun going back in time and re-examining his films in order to share them with others.

I wish I could have written for Sphinx, but what with unexpected overtime and my sister's grad party this Saturday, life's a little insane.

Next . . . my story. Because of course you're wondering how a girl who really hates the 1970s ended up loving a 70s actor, right?!

My best friend, Charity, introduced me to Frank Langella back in 2002. I'd only known her a very short period of time so we were still sort of feeling one another out. And I had come from a very spiritually protective background, probably more protective than hers in some ways and less in other ways. My confidence levels in long-lasting friendships was pretty much zilch since I'd never had a friendship last. I didn't think they could. So I wasn't quite sure how to attempt a friendship in a way that might have long-lasting results.

Near the beginning of our friendship, Charity and I met halfway between her house and mine, so I could carpool back with her and her dad to spend a weekend at their house. They live miles down a dirt road in the country. It's awesome.

We met in a Borders bookstore (before they went bankrupt) and I caught on immediately to a strange aloofness from her. Talk about confusing. She actually seemed to be hiding something from me. I didn't know then what it was and only years later did she confess that she actually was hiding a DVD of Frank Langella's Dracula! Well, not exactly from me, but rather from my mother, who had carpooled up with me since I wasn't ready to drive the stretch on my own yet. Like I said . . . sheltered. Charity knew my mom wouldn't approve of Dracula, still doesn't approve in fact, and she didn't want to give a bad impression.

Ahhh, the moments we remember.

Dracula was not, in fact, the first Langella film she showed me. She started me off gently with The Mark of Zorro that she'd loved since she was a little kid, under the age of 10 if I remember her story right. And so she knew it was safe and harmless and a good introduction to Langella's filmography. I fell in love with him immediately. And it was all downhill from there.

After Sphinx and The Twelve Chairs we eventually arrived at Dracula, although as I recall that was some years later. And now we've watched Dracula so many times together that I'm sure we both can practically quote it. And our commentary rarely varies and yet we still giggle and harangue over the same things every single time with great enthusiasm.

Like the slobbering nastiness of Jonathan Harker's kisses. And the absolutely mind-numbing sensuality of Lucy and Dracula's waltz. And now, thanks to blu-ray, you can SEE the harness cables Frank's wearing as he climbs down the building! Uber exciting, I know.

Part of the charm of Frank Langella is that Charity and I share our love of him together. He was there at the start of our friendship and he's been there ever since. Frost/Nixon was amazing and I would never have bothered watching it if I didn't already know and love Langella because of Charity.

Are his movies brilliant? Most of them, probably not. But they're fun and they acted as building blocks for a friendship that has now lasted 15 years. And that is pretty awesome.

Thanks, Frank, for helping build all those crazy, fun memories with my best friend. That Frank Langella all-nighter we pulled was something else, collapsing into bed FINALLY at around 6am. Ahhhh, the insanity of youth.

I encourage you to go read Charity's post Hopeless Romantic: Langella and Dracula for this blogathon. She manages to give voice to half-formed thoughts I've had about what makes Langella work in certain roles. It's well worth the read.

5 comments:

  1. I am legitimately sitting here, laughing at that memory.

    I was actually supposed to meet you… 10 minutes later? So there I was, fresh out of picking up “Dracula,” and I was thinking, “Okay… Carissa’s mom doesn’t like vampires… I can get this paid for and out of sight in the car before I run into her!” And I turn around and THERE YOU ALL ARE. I froze. My brain said, “CRAP. I hope they don’t ask what I’m buying.” I don’t remember what I said, but I do remember making a beeline for the checkout counter, with a, “Yeah, I’ll see you all in a few minutes, okay?” attitude. I’m sorry I freaked you out!

    Langella sells himself (and then some) so getting you hooked on him was not a problem. The problem was, at the time, you were so into Laurence Olivier that I knew quite well you’d have a hissy fit toward the end of “Dracula.” I remember actually scooting away from you the first time we watched it, there at the climax, just in case you decided to smack me with a pillow. You actually hated Langella’s Dracula for a little while after that. Over time, you warmed up to him, and now I can count on you to tell Van Helsing to get lost. Poor Laurence. Langella’s sexiness outranked him!

    I remember the all-nighter! At least you got about 4 hours of sleep, to my 2!

    Lovely post, BFF. Love you forever (and Langella too).

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    Replies
    1. Did I hate him? I honestly don't remember that, although I'm not surprised to hear it. Don't you mess with my Olivier! I do remember waffling between supporting Dracula or supporting Van Helsing for a couple of years there. Such a hard choice to make!

      I thought this post would be a good way to wrap up. It was a fun look back in our shared history. And now all my other blog friends can heave that collective sigh of relief that it's over. For now! ;)

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    2. You did! But not for long! ;)

      I'm sorry I didn't get to contribute more -- but I've been so distracted lately I'm surprised I get ANYTHING outside my little sphere finished.

      Here's to future Langella memories!

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    3. Believe me, I get life being busy. And I don't mind. I just loved your post so much. It was perfect!

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  2. This is great! It reminds me of how DKoren and I met and bonded over Combat! and Vic Morrow, then Dana Andrews, then westerns, then... everything. I love beautiful friendships where you can share passions!

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