Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The bracelet length

Do you like this one?

Oh, it's lovely - but,
aren't the sleeves a
little short?

Oh, that is for the
bracelet, Monsieur.
That is what we call,
the bracelet length -

Just as many of us had
begun to think well e-
nough of April, for giv-
ing us the Resurrection
(not unlike Hackensacker
in The Palm Beach Story,
restoring Gerry Jeffers
to the pinnacle of fa-
shion), a new bracelet
has been foretold for
this same month, which
is likely to restore
the forearm to the plâ-
teau to which Hacken-
sacker raises it with
rubies and diamonds. Or
so they wish, at the
world's most valuable
corporation - as had
Hackensacker's been,
once upon a time.

Oh, Hackensacker com-
rehends. Would you like
a bracelet?

You mean, Gerry almost
weeps, with stones?

Certainly with stones,
Monsieur, the sales
priestess promises him,
whacking Gerry into si-
lence, zay are all ze

We know so little of
miracles, that it is
consoling of Apple to
scatter their latest
incarnation before us
in this month of gath-
ering introspection in
the Southerly latitudes.
Not that Palm Beach is
so distant from Cuper-
tino, as the lucre flows, 
freshets of its tributar-
ies shoring up the nose.

You have been denying 
yourself, Monsieur, 
one of ze basic plea-
sures of life, the
priestess remarks, is-
suing the mark out the

I never tire of this
especially splendidly
stage-managed jest on
society and its requis-
ites, conceived and dir-
ected by a Yale man, of
all things; and when a
brilliant refreshment 
of the movie emerged
not long ago from Cri-
terion, I was there.

Mr Sturges could be
virulently funny, but
this is the one where 
he remembers his priv-
ileged roots with un-
faked sympathy, whole-
some salaciousness,
and the devil-may-care
play of the talented
boy. His Ale and Quail
Club, trap-shooting the
saltines with live am-
mo, is a pastiche of
such perfect pitch upon
our not-very-secretive
societies of silliness,
we all dismiss the case
against them. 

He reminds me of the
morning I spent at
Mark Cross on Fifth,
when in college I had
to pick up some lug-
gage for a pleasant
trip abroad. I used to
love the shop, anyway,
like my father before,
for its textures and
aromatics; and this
was just as well, be-
cause I found myself,
not against my will,
given time to browse,
as a young lady was
selecting things for
her trousseau. She
was a Miss Percy of
Illinois, and she
was about to marry
a Mr Hackensacker.
When it came my turn,
I was served every
bit as solicitously. 

So, one can't mock the
recurring stampede of
lemmings, for absolute-
ly anything from the
marque that is the rage.
It will pass, of course.

Mark Cross did, and I
miss them. Travel has
not been the same, al-
though the luggage has
held, and now glows. Of
this bracelet factory,
no such thing could be
said. Rubies and dia-
monds? I'm not worried.
They have the measure
of delight. They have 
the bracelet length.

Preston Sturges
  director and writer
The Palm Beach Story
Claudette Colbert
Joel McCrea
Mary Astor
Rudy Vallee
Paramount, 1942©
The Criterion Collection, 2015©

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