Goodnight to The Duchess

Very sad to learn of the passing of The Duchess of Alba.


If you know my work, you know I’ve done quite a bit of peerage research over the years. She was the most titled aristocrat alive, and at the time had “the most expensive wedding in the world”. In fact, here are all her official titles, I think….

Doña Maria del Rosario Cayetana Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Francisca Fitz-James Stuart y Silva
…XVIII Duchess of Alba de Tormes
XI Duchess of Berwick
XVIII Duchess of Hijar
XI Duchess of Liria and Jerica
III Duchess of Arjona
XVIII Countess of Lerin
XVIII Constable of Navarre and Eibar
XIV Countess-Duchess of Olivares
XVI Marchioness of El Carpio
XVII Countess of Aranda
XXII Countess of Lemos
XIX Countess of Miranda del Castañar
XVII Countess of Monterrey
XX Countess of Osorno
XVIII Countess of Palma del Rio
XX Marchioness of Moya
XVII Marchioness of Orani
XI Marchioness of Osera
XVII Marchioness of San Leonardo
XIX Marchioness of Sarria
XI Marchioness of Tarazona
XVII Marchioness of Valdunquillo
XVI Marchioness of Villanueva del Rio
XX Marchioness of Villanueva del Fresno
IX Marchioness of Almenara
XVI Marchioness of La Algaba
XIV Marchioness of Barcarrota
XVIII Marchioness of Castaneda
XIX Marchioness of Coria
XIV Marchioness of Eliche
XVIII Marchioness of Mirallo
XX Marchioness of la Mota
XIX Countess of Andrade
XVI Countess of Ayala
XX Countess of Villalba
XIV Countess of Casarrubios del Monte
XIV Countess of Fuentes de Valdepero
XI Countess of Fuentidueña
XVII Countess of Galve
XVIII Countess of Gelves
XXIV Countess of Ribadeo
XI Countess of Santa Cruz de la Sierra
XXIII Countess of San Esteban de Gormaz
XI Viscountess of la Calzada
29th Lady of Moguer
Constable of Aragon
Marshal of Castilla
Can you imagine all of that being announced by a herald as she entered the room of a ball or royal function?
Goodnight La Duquesa.

Ancient Movies

I remember when I was 20 or so, a younger guy from my college says, “Have you seen, like, every ancient movie ever made before 1965?” Well, I haven’t of course. But it is scary that I recognize and know the names of actors from before 1945 all too often. I even know who else they’ve co-starred with, what directors, who they hated, who they slept with and any possible scandals as well. Maybe I should have been a guide at the Max Factor Hollywood Museum after all? Anyways, here some “Ancient” movies I dig, and maybe you will too.

She runs a car company, yells a lot at board meetings, sleeps with all her hot male employees and has a kick ass pad to boot. This movie is worth it alone for the art deco set design. As for the message that women should act like women and be soft and cuddly and not in any sort of power position that would make her husband feel inferior? Eh.

Warren William likes to play bad guy workaholics who do business any way they can. In this he plays a very driven Department Store manager; I’ve noticed men who have seen this movie just love his character. It is also very interesting to see how department stores used to operate, and all the jobs that no longer exist. Of course there’s drama and suicide too. At one point Warren even gets Loretta Young drunk on champagne and bangs her while she’s unconscious. Again, worth it for the costumes and sets. Are there any Warren William movies during this period where he didn’t play a ruthless business man gone bad who enjoys getting young girls drunk on champagne and banging them while they are unconscious? Well, I suppose “Imitation of Life”, but that’s gotta be some strong champagne indeed! Anyways, this is a lovely pre-code film with all sorts of drama and suicide very much like “Skyscraper Souls” without the office building part.

How can you look at this picture and NOT want to see it!? And mind you, Joan Crawford and Norma Shearer really did hate each other that much — they aren’t acting! This movie is “all about men”. There are no men in the movie actually, but you get enough catty one-liners and ridiculous costumes that they would look out of place. Joan Crawford and her bath tub are a hoot, and the movie actually goes into color for one segment: the fashion show. Again though, I’m not too crazy about former playwright/congresswoman/ambassador Clare Boothe Luce and her message in all of this: keep the husband at any cost, even if he is a lying, cheating, deserting son of a bitch.