Dec 31

Conan the Barbarian, starring Arnold Schwarznegger ? ? ? ? ?
I’ve seen this movie probably more than 30 times, yet it continually remains funny and fresh. First inspired by Dr. Pridjian to watch this film, it nearly became a cult film for the General Surgeons at Cook County Hospital. We would get together just to watch Arnold do his thing. This film is difficult to take serious. The plot is stupid, the acting is horrid, but quotes are often from historic characters, like Gengis Khan or historica situations. The music of Prokofiev is used prolifically. It was seen again only because Andrew Flanagan had never seen Conan before, and New Years eve seemed the most fitting time to watch it, if we weren’t going to watch another version of Die Fledermaus. In spite of all its stupidity, the movie seems to work, and it’s nice to see the governor of California in one of his earlier roles. Though there is a modest amount of partial nudity, it is never presented in a vile fashion, and the biggest aspect to prevent kids from watching this film is the shear violence that occurs. Of course, this film can turn one into a violent person, as is witnessed by a generation of surgeons from Cook County Hospital.
 
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Dec 31


David Oistrakh-Concertos and Encores ?????
These concerti (not concertos!) were published by Deutsche Grammaphon, which means of superlative recording style. The sound is very forward, which on my system, is close to being in the concert hall. This set consists of a potpourri of Oistrakh recordings, but most importantly, the Mendelssohn, Bruch, Glazunov, Prokofiev, and  Kabalevsky concerti. There is some repetition with the EMI set, with the Bruch and Prokofiev concerti on both sets, and some concerti only on the EMI set, such as the Brahms, Khatchaturian, and Shostakovich concerti. The duplicated pieces are definitely different performances, and definitely better recorded with DG than with EMI. Both sets are worth having. Oistrakh is a consummate violinist, the best that could ever be, and these recordings reflect the various pieces performed at their very best. Oistrakh is not so strident as Haifetz, and not as smooth or mellow as Menuhin. It is a commanding sweetness that I would make it my preferred recording for the hypothetical desert island setting.
 

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