Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Widmark Over Sardines

Many things make me think of my dad (currently holidaying with my mum in Mexico). But two things come to mind particuarly. One is Richard Widmark. The other is sardines.

Today it was announced that Richard Widmark passed away yesterday at the age of 93. He was the actor my father referenced years ago when I was very little, to explain to me how someone might play a certain sort of character in film or on stage, but be very different in real life. He'd seen Widmark play his signature psychopaths on screen and then appear in interviews as a modest and charming man. When he told me all this I hadn't seen a Widmark movie and when I finally saw him in his first screen role as Tommy Udo in Kiss of Death (1947, directed by Henry Hathaway) I wasn't with my father. We finally saw it together last year and shivered together at his psychotic gaze and that manic giggle as he pushed an old lady in a wheelchair down a flight of stairs. I also love him as the good guy/doctor/cop in Panic in the Streets (1950, directed by Elia Kazan), up against Jack Palance's particular brand of bad guy. He had a long, respected career and I'll stop almost anything to watch a movie if he's in it.

Tonight I have a lot of baking to do, so I knew I wasn't going to prepare myself anything too complicated. Then I espied a can of sardines in the cupboard. I thought of my dad and Richard Widmark and pulled them out. One of my dad's themes is the healthiness of fish oils and sardines in particular. Wise man. However it can be a challenge to get a kid to eat them so my dad turned them into a joke. He would mash up a can of sardines, throw in some mayo and put them on toast. He'd often dice some cucumber and throw that in too. He then dubbed it "compote d'herring", which he would declaim - and still does - in a thick French accent. I have to tell you, it's very tasty.

So tonight, I had compote d'herring on toast with a cup of tea and watched a bit of Kiss of Death as the first layer for Saturday's big cake baked.

Thank you Richard Widmark and thank you Pop!


willow said...

I enjoyed your story about Widmark, your dad and sardines!

My daughter has a French friend who has her eating sardines and other new foods! :P

Did you happen to see any of the Met broadcast of Hansel and Gretel tonight on PBS? Langridge was a fabulous could tell he really enjoyed the role. His makeup was fantastic! Even did a little curtsey at curtain call. Fun!

Suza said...

I have mine with sliced tomato and a thin slice of sharp cheddar melted on top of multi-grain toast. Yum - love sardines.

Blog Princess G said...

Oh that sounds good Suzanne! Will try it for sure.

Blog Princess G said...

Willow: I didn't know H&G was on. Grrr.. I'll keep a closer eye out for the broadcasts. Langridge would be wonderful!

R.A.D. Stainforth said...

Another one of my heroes gone (I mean Richard Widmark). That only leaves Peter O’Toole.