Tuesday, June 24, 2008

St. Jean Baptiste

June 24 is celebrated in many branches of Christianity, especially amongst Catholics, as the feast day of St. John the Baptist. We could start out with the original, St. John the Baptist himself, as played by Charlton Heston in George Stevens' 73-hour (give or take a few minutes) epic telling of the life of Jesus, The Greatest Story Ever Told. But of course, we all know what the Bible says happened to Jesus. Jesus has to get crucified at the end, just like the Titanic has to hit the iceberg and sink.

Perhaps instead of thinking about that St. John, we could think about a better-looking one like Jill St. John. I was going to recommend one of her earliest movies, the 1959 family comedy The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker. Clifton Webb stars as a bigamist in turn of the century Pennsylvania who by his two wives has fathered 19 children. (Yikes.) However, it's not available on DVD. Instead, I'll have to mention an equally glamorous (if you don't mind the 70s style) movie, Diamonds Are Forever, where she plays the punnily named Tiffany Case opposite Sean Connery's 007. This was the last of the Bond movies Connery made for "Cubby" Broccoli and Harry Saltzman; Never Say Never Again was made for an entirely different company.

Apparently, Richard Harris' middle name was St. John. I've already recommended him in both Juggernaut and The Heroes of Telemark.

St. John isn't that odd of a middle name, at least in England. Indeed, Charlotte Brontë uses the name St. John for the first name of Jane Eyre's cousin in the novel of the same title. You can't go wrong with Orson Welles' 1944 movie version of the novel.

But if you want more St. Johns than that, you can always try Adela Rogers St. Johns, who wrote the book, and later the movie screenplay, for A Free Soul.

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