“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 26 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Part Y Ernest Hemingway 14th part, More Summing up Mark Twain, Racial Equality Part 3, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS and Mark Twain )

HEMINGWAY:You like Mark Twain?

SCOTT FITZGERALD: I’m going to find Zelda.I don’t like the thought of her with that Spaniard.



GIL PENDER:I’m actually a huge Mark Twain fan.I think you can even make the case that all modern American literature comes from Huckleberry Finn.-

The Book of Ecclesiastes pictures life UNDER THE SUN without God in the picture. The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.”

Ecclesiastes 4:1,

 Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them.

(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)

Francis Schaeffer noted concerning this verse, “Between birth and death power rules. Solomon looked over his kingdom and also around the world and proclaimed that right does not rule but power rules.” 

No better example of oppression can be given than that of slavery, but even though many Christians were involved as slave owners the abolition movement in the United States would not have been successful if it wasn’t for people like Mark Twain’s father-in-law Jarvis Langdon (more on this abolitionist later).

PBS American Experience & The Abolitionists Part 1 1820s 1838


TELEVISION REVIEW; When Ken Burns Pilots the Twain Riverboat

Several passionate, lucid commentators explore the profound moment in Twain’s masterpiece, ”The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” when Huck decides not to turn in the runaway slave Jim and take the consequences instead. ”All right, then, I’ll go to hell,” he says. The scholar Jocelyn Chadwick explains how Twain follows Huck’s thoughts as he is ”unlearning” the racist stereotypes that have been bred into him. Mr. Banks says the scene ”makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up today,” which it should. Yet this passage, perhaps the most tough-minded in all American literature, is read by Mr. Conway with lilting piano music in the background, softening the effect and making it seem that these astute commentators have been talking into the wind.


Mark Twain

It was a close place. I took . . . up [the letter I’d written to Miss Watson], and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: “All right then, I’ll go to hell”—and tore it up. It was awful thoughts and awful words, but they was said. And I let them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming.

These lines from Chapter 31 describe the moral climax of the novel. The duke and the dauphin have sold Jim, who is being held in the Phelpses’ shed pending his return to his rightful owner. Thinking that life at home in St. Petersburg—even if it means Jim will still be a slave and Huck will be a captive of the Widow— would be better than his current state of peril far from home, Huck composes a letter to Miss Watson, telling her where Jim is. When Huck thinks of his friendship with Jim, however, and realizes that Jim will be sold down the river anyway, he decides to tear up the letter. The logical consequences of Huck’s action, rather than the lessons society has taught him, drive Huck. He decides that going to “hell,” if it means following his gut and not society’s hypocritical and cruel principles, is a better option than going to everyone else’s heaven. This moment of decision represents Huck’s true break with the world around him. At this point, Huck decides to help Jim escape slavery once and for all. Huck also realizes that he does not want to reenter the “sivilized” world: after all his experiences and moral development on the river, he wants to move on to the freedom of the West instead.



I can now say for certain that I wish my hometown had its own version of Landmarks seventy-five years ago. That’s because in 1939, the wrecking ball took apart this historically significant house that once sat at the corner of Church and Main streets in downtown Elmira.

The Langdon House

The Langdon House, facing Main Street

This large Victorian home was the home of a wealthy coal merchant named Jervis Langdon. He was an ardent abolitionist, and he served as a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad along with his close friend Thomas K. Beecher. The brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Thomas Beecher was the pastor of Park Church located across the street from Langdon’s home. Both men counted Frederick Douglass as a close friend. The famed abolitionist even once visited Langdon at his home in Elmira.

It was Langdon’s daughter, however, that would make the most significant impact upon the Langdon legacy in Elmira.

Olivia Langdon as a young woman

In 1867, Olivia’s brother Charles traveled to the Mediterranean aboard a boat named Quaker City. On the trip, he befriended a reporter writing a story for a California newspaper. That reporter was Samuel Langhorne Clemens, soon to become known as the famous author Mark Twain. One night, Charles showed Clemens a small daguerreotype of his sister Olivia. Upon looking at the portrait of the delicate woman, Clemens admitted to falling in “love at first sight”. Throughout the rest of the trip, he asked Charles to bring out the photograph and allow him to gaze upon it again. When the trip concluded, Twain made a point to visit Langdon and his sister during a trip to New York City. During that visit, Clemens was invited to visit the Langdon home in Elmira. It wasn’t long before Twain found himself knocking on the large door of the Langdon home on the corner Church and Main.

For the next two years, Clemens courted Olivia and visited Elmira often. After an initial rejection, the two became engaged in late 1869. On February 2, 1870, Mark Twain and Olivia Langdon were married by Thomas K. Beecher in the library of the Langdon home.

Over the next twenty years, the Clemens family would make Elmira their summer home. While there, they lived at Quarry Farm, a Langdon vacation home located on a large hill outside of town. In the octagonal study built there for him, Mark Twain found what he called “the quietest of all quiet places.”  Here, he would write the majority of his most famous works, includingAdventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, andA Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.

Mark Twain at Quarry Farm in Elmira

While in Elmira, the Clemens family would spend a large amount of time at the large house in town. Three of the four Clemens children were born in the house. The house was a convenient place for Clemens to entertain visitors or to do business. The house is where Ulysses S. Grant once visited Twain to discuss his memoirs, a work that Twain helped get published. Clemens even stated that since the house was so large, one could “always escape your enemies in Langdon house”.

The Langdon home is also where on a warm day in 1889, a young reporter from British India traveled to Elmira in search of his idol. Detailing the experience in his later work Letters of Travel, Rudyard Kipling recounts his arrival in Elmira:


Langdon, Jervis (1809–1870)

Short Biography

Jervis Langdon, a native of New York State, married Olivia Lewis in 1832, and the pair settled in Elmira, New York, in 1845. He became prosperous in the lumber business and then wealthy in the coal trade, which he entered in 1855. His extensive operations included mines in Pennsylvania and Nova Scotia, and a huge rail and shipping network supplying coal to western New York State, Chicago, and the Far West. An ardent abolitionist, Jervis Langdon served as a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, and counted Frederick Douglass, whom he had helped to escape from slavery, among his friends. Jervis and Olivia Langdon had three children: Susan (who was adopted), Olivia (“Livy”), and Charles. Jervis approved SLC’s marriage to Livy despite his marked difference in social status. He lent SLC one-half of the $25,000 needed to buy the Buffalo Express and gave the newlyweds a house in Buffalo. He died in 1870 of stomach cancer, leaving bequests totaling $1 million. Livy’s inheritance was to remain central in the life of the Clemens family.
Today: How Warner T. McGuinn, with help from Mark Twain became one of America’s most prominent black attorneys.

Warner McGuinn was born in 1859 in heavily segregated Richmond, Virginia to Jared and Fannie McGuinn, free Negros in the time of U.S. slavery, a time when it was illegal to educate slaves for fear they would revolt.

But being “free” Warner was educated in the segregated public school system, where he was an outstanding student and he graduated from Lincoln University, an all-black school, in 1884. He briefly studied law at another all black school, Howard University, when in 1885 in a stunning development, the Yale University Law School accepted him.

This was a great opportunity to attend one of America’s most prestigious schools. But Warner had no money and worked as many as three jobs at a time to pay for his tuition, books and food. He lived in the home of a school janitor. Then something incredible happened.

He met the famous writer; Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens).Twain was very impressed with this young man and upon hearing of his financial struggles, agreed to pay for his education. “I do not believe I would very cheerfully help a white student who would ask for the benevolence of a stranger, but I do not feel so about the other color,” Twain wrote in a letter to Yale Law School Dean Francis Wayland. “We have ground the manhood out of them, and the shame is ours, not theirs, and we should pay for it.”

Twain’s remarkable generosity freed Warner from his financial struggles and he excelled, graduating No. 1 in the Yale Law School class of 1887. Shortly afterward, he began his law practice in Kansas City, Kansas before moving to Baltimore in 1892 and establishing what became a successful law practice. Warner was also an activist for women’s suffrage (American women could not vote until 1920) equating it to African-Americans’ battle for civil rights.

As a lawyer Warner’s greatest case was in 1917 in federal court, where he persuaded the court it was illegal for Baltimore to segregate black or other people. Later, as a civic leader Warner was twice elected to the Baltimore City Council. But what he became best known for was mentoring a gifted black law student who would later rise to historic prominence. That student was Thurgood Marshall.

Marshall (1908 – 1993) became famous for arguing landmark cases, most notably successfully arguing the Brown v. Board of Education case before the U.S. Supreme Court (1954), in which public school segregation was declared illegal. Later, Marshall became the first African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1967 – 1991).

In his personal life, Warner married Anna L. Wallace in 1892 and they had a daughter Alma born in 1895. Anna passed away in 1929 at the age of 69 after 37 years of marriage and Warner never remarried. He passed away in Alma’s Philadelphia home at the age of 78 in 1937.

But please note the historical significance of what happened when Mark Twain offered a crucial helping hand to Warner, an extraordinary law student. Despite national segregation, he became an outstanding attorney and in turn mentored many young attorneys, color aside, most notably Thurgood Marshall. And it all started with Twain’s generosity.


Success Tip of the Week: You never know what will happen if you too courageously pursue your dreams as Warner McGwinn pursued his. As happened for him, destiny may open doors for you providing the resources you need to succeed.

Josephine Baker at Bricktops in the film MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

ZELDA FITZGERALD: I know what you’re thinking.This is boring. I agree!I’m ready to move on.Let’s do Bricktop’s!- Bricktop’s?-

SCOTT FITZGERALD: I’m bored! He’s bored! We’re all bored.We. Are. All. Bored.Let’s do Bricktop’s.Why don’t you tell Cole and Linda to come with, and…um…uh…Gil? You coming?

[Cole Porter’s”You’ve Got That Thing”]

You got that thing- You got that thing The thing that makes birds forget to sing  Yes, you’ve got that thing, that certain thing You’ve got that charm,that subtle charm that makes young farmers desert the farm

[Joséphine Baker’s “LaConga Blicoti”He has lost And has it To dance And feel Yes, The world of people see In the heart Music ]

This is one of the finest establishments in Paris. They do a diamond whiskey sour.Bon soir, tous le monde! (Good evening, everyone!) Un peu tir de bourbon, s’il vous plaît .(A small shot of bourbon, please.)

SCOTT FITZGERALD: Greetings and salutations.You’ll forgive me. I’ve been mixing grain and grape.Now, this a writer. uh…Gil. Yes?- Gil…

GIL PENDER: Gil Pender.- Gil Pender.

Flapper Party

A Night at Bricktop’s: Jazz in 1930s’ Montmartre

Bricktop’s Monico cir 1931. Photo by Carl Van Vechten

Ada ‘Bricktop’ Smith played barkeep to the ‘Lost Generation’ of international ex-patriots living in Paris in the 1930s. The red haired cigar smoking American singer made the jump from Harlem to Montmartre—and her nightclubs became all the rage. A Who’s Who of musicians clamored to play there. The glitterati of the 30s knew hers was the place for ultra-chic café society.


Bricktop, Los Angeles, 1917. Photo from the autobiography,Bricktop

Born Ada Beatrice Queen Victoria Louise Virginia Smith in 1894 to her black father and mulatto mother, the baby’s flaming red hair earned her another name—Bricktop. She was a teenager when she got her first job in show business on Chicago’s South Side and wound up a headliner in Harlem’s top Jazz Age cabarets.

“I’m 100 percent American Negro with a trigger Irish temper.” – Bricktop on her genealogy


But Paris was Bricktop’s magic charm. Her bistro was a beacon for Parisian nightlife. The international set gathered there to bask in her hospitality and enjoy each other’s company. Ernest Hemingway and T.S. Eliot wrote about her. Cole Porter gave her gowns and furs and even composed a song for her. And F. Scott Fitzgerald once quipped, “My greatest claim to fame is that I met Bricktop before Cole Porter.”


Montmartre cir. 1925. Photo from hemingwaysparis.blogspot.

This week on Riverwalk Jazz actors Topsy Chapman and Vernel Bagneris offer narratives drawn from the memoirs of Bricktop and Langston Hughes. The Jim Cullum Jazz Band and the Hot Club of San Francisco give us a musical tour of Paris in the 30s.


Inside Bricktop’s Monico. Photo from the autobiography,Bricktop

Langston Hughes, Paris 1938. Courtesy Library of Congress

Harlem in Montmartre
Bricktop ran several clubs in Monmartre. Her spot on Place Pigalle was a combination nightclub, mail drop, bank and neighborhood bar for the most elegant people in Paris. Bricktop would leave the stage and walk around the tables, stopping to rub a bald head, kiss a cheek or tell a joke.


Bricktop (2nd from left) and friends at the club. Photo from the autobiographyBricktop

“I always said I’m not a singer, but I have my own style and I make it tough on singers who have to follow me. John Stienbeck told me, ‘Brick, when you sing ‘Embraceable You’ you take 20 years off a man’s life.’ And I swear, every time I shimmy, a skinny woman loses her man.”   – Bricktop on her performing style.


In 1931 Brick moved into the grand old nightclub The Monico and hired singer Mabel Mercer. She booked only the best musicians. Sidney Bechet and Django Reinhart played for Brick. When Louis Armstrong was in town he came by to play, as did Fats Waller and Duke Ellington.


Fats with musicians at Bricktop’s. Photo from autobiographyBricktop

Bricktop’s great musical guardian angel was the supreme master of popular song Cole Porter. She taught his friends the latest New York dance craze at his ‘Charleston cocktail parties,’ and he introduced her to the set that would become her loyal clientele.


Duke Ellington and the Peter Sisters at Bricktop’s. From the autobiography Bricktop

Cole was the only person at Bricktop’s who had a special table reserved for him at all times. No one else was ever allowed to sit there, even when the club was packed and the Porters were in New York. Not even the Prince of Wales got such royal treatment.


Cole and Linda Porter. Photo newyorksocialdiary.com

Through the years Cole Porter found ways to show Bricktop that her affection was returned. He composed his tune “Miss Otis Regrets” for her to perform, and it became her signature.


“Miss Otis Regrets” sheet music. Courtesy songbook1.wordpress.

 “‘Miss Otis’ is a song about a rich woman whose lover deserts her. She tracks him down, pulls a gun out of her velvet gown, and shoots him. In the end, she’s hanged for it. Very few people do it correctly. In my performance, I bow at the end, raising my hand in a motion across my neck to suggest a lynching.” – Bricktop


Live to America from Bricktop’s in Paris with Edward R. Murrow


Reinhardt & Grapelli. Photo last.fm.

Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt built his career on his musical genius despite a reputation for being unreliable and short tempered. Bricktop had been warned against hiring him to play at her club, but she followed her own instincts and never regretted it. Together they made jazz history—winning fans on both side of the Atlantic with a live shortwave radio broadcast on June 12, 1937 hosted by radio legend Edward R Murrow. Our broadcast this week includes an audio clip of this historic broadcast during which Django’s famous temper flared when Murrow mistakenly credited Stephane Grapelli as the composer of one of Django’s tunes.


Bricktop at Le Grand Duc, 1928. Photo from the autobiography,Bricktop

Queen of Paris Nightclubs
From the Grand Duke in the early 20s to the end of the 1930s, Bricktop built her reputation as the Queen of Paris Nightclubs. When Hitler invaded Poland everyone realized that war would soon darken the ‘city of lights.’ Bricktop sailed for the States in October of 1939 on one of the last boats out.


At Bricktop’s, Paris. 1950 Photo from the autobiographyBricktop

It was the end of an era, but it wasn’t the end of Bricktop’s. She would go on to open clubs in Mexico City, Rome and New York before returning to Paris in the 1950s. In 1973 at the age of 78 Bricktop came out of retirement to launch the final venue of her career in New York City. She told reporters:


“Anywhere I entertain becomes Bricktop’s. Running a saloon is the only thing I know and I know it backwards and forwards. As for me, it’s nice to be mingling  around again. Not working nights began to wear on me. Ciao, babies!”


Photo credit for Home Page teaser image: Bricktop’s Monico circa 1931. Photo by Carl Van Veckten


Where is Bricktop filmed in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS? In the article, “Midnight In Paris film locations,” you can read:

Midnight In Paris location: rue Malebranche, Paris

Midnight In Paris location: arriving at Bricktop’s: rue Malebranche, Paris

From here – these parties soon get so boring – it’s on to ‘Bricktop’s’. The singer and dancer Bricktop ran famed nightclub Le Grand Duc at 52 rue Pigalle (later, in 1929, she opened Chez Bricktop a few doors down at 66 rue Pigalle).

In the film, though, her club appears to be housed way to the south near the Pantheon, at 17 rue Malebranche, (another former screen location – this was previously the home of Audrey Hepburn and her father Maurice Chevalier in Billy Wilder‘s Love In The Afternoon) (metro: Luxembourg).

The real Bricktop (real name Ada Smith) lived on into the 1980s, and actually appeared as herself in Woody Allen‘s 1983 Zelig, to talk about the Human Chameleon’s visit to her nightclub.

Midnight In Paris film locations

Film locations: France

Midnight In Paris location: Gil gets an invitation from the mysterious Peugeot: Church of St Etienne du Mont, rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, Paris

Lightweight but hugely enjoyable whimsy from Woody Allen, as writer and nostalgia fan Gil (Owen Wilson) gets a first-hand taste of Jazz Age Paris.

Like Allen’s New York films, the movie provides a handy guide to the best the city has to offer – providing you’re not on a student gap year budget.

Midnight In Paris location: rue Galande, Paris

Midnight In Paris location: little shops of the Left Bank: rue Galande, Paris

Like Manhattan, the movie opens with a montage of beauty shots set to a jazz score. Among the flurry of images, you can recognise locations from other Parismovies, which may be homages or simply the best views of the city: there are the little Left Bank shops of rue Galande – with the giant flea sculpture – (seen inRichard Linklater’s Before Sunset), avenue des Camoens with its view of theEiffel Tower (Francois Truffaut’s Le Dernier Metro), the columns of Parc Monceau(Gigi) and the double-decker Pont Bir Hakeim (Last Tango in Paris and, more recently, Inception).

The movie proper begins in Monet’s Garden, the former home of impressionist painter Claude Monet in Giverny, where writer Gil reveals his love for the romantic image of old Paris.

Monet lived on this estate from 1883 until his death in 1926. The Japanese-style wooden bridge, famous from his paintings, can be found in the water garden section. It’s actually a copy, after the original bridge, which the artist commissioned from a local craftsman, had deteriorated beyond repair. About 50 miles northwest of Paris, you can comfortably visit Giverny, as a day trip from the city.

Midnight In Paris location: Hotel Le Bristol, rue du Faubourg St Honore, Paris

Midnight In Paris location: Gil and Inez stay at the luxurious Parisian hotel: Hotel Le Bristol, rue du Faubourg St Honoré, Paris

In the City of Light itself, Gil and fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams) stay with her parents at Hotel Le Bristol, 112 rue du Faubourg St Honoré (metro: Miromesnil). Smack in the centre of the high fashion shopping street (Pierre Cardin, Hermès, Lanvin, Lacroix…), Le Bristol has been the Paris base of Hollywoodsters such asKim Novak, Rita Hayworth and Charlie Chaplin.

Midnight In Paris location: Le Grand Vefour,rue de Beaujolais, Paris

Midnight In Paris location: Gil and Inez dine with her parents: Le Grand Véfour,rue de Beaujolais, Paris

Equally upscale (even for Paris) is the restaurant where Gil rather vocally disagrees with Inez’s Republican folks, and where smug know-all Paul (Michael Sheen) first puts in an appearance. It’s Le Grande Véfour, 17 Rue du Beaujolais(metro: Bourse or Pyramides), tucked away behind the columns at the entrance to the gardens of the Palais Royale. Opened in 1784, the restaurant’ boasts an impressive list of customers – many of whom have plaques marking their favourite tables – including Napoleon – and naturally Josephine – as well as writers Colette and Victor Hugo, philosopher Jean Paul Sartre and artist/film-maker Jean Cocteau.

It’s in the gardens at Versailles that Paul snidely dismisses Gil’s nostalgia as ‘Golden Age Thinking’. Versailles is about 45 minute rail journey from Paris Austerlitz station – you can purchase a round-trip RER ticket (you can book a joint trip to include Giverny if you have limited time).

The interior of the grand Palace of Versailles itself, built for Louis XIV, is glimpsed toward the end of the movie as the unfortunate detective hired to follow Gil finds himself seriously lost. The palace is also seen in Milos Forman’s Valmont andSofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette.

Midnight In Paris location: Chophard, Place Vendome, Paris

Midnight In Paris location: Inez and her mother talk wedding rings: Chophard, Place Vendome, Paris

With the wedding on the horizon, Inez talks rings with her mother as they window shop at jewellery store Chophard, 1 place Vendome (metro: Tuileries) – a mere stone’s throw from the Ritz.

Midnight In Paris location: Musee Rodin, Hotel Biron, rue de Varenne, Paris

Midnight In Paris location: Pretentious Paul disputes the museum guide: Musée Rodin, Hotel Biron, rue de Varenne, Paris

During a tour of the Musée Rodin in the Hotel Biron, 79 rue de Varenne (metro: Varenne), Paul contradicts the guide (a cameo from Carla Bruni) about the sculptor’s wife and mistress. The Hotel Biron was Auguste Rodin‘s home from 1911 to his death in 1917, and he bequeathed his artworks to the nation on condition they be exhibited here. There’s an admission charge for the museum itself, but you can tour the gardens for only €1.

The alfresco wine tasting is at La Belle Étoile, the rooftop suite of Hotel Le Meurice, 228 rue de Rivoli (metro: Tuileries) , overlooking the Tuileries. Dubbed the ‘Hotel of Kings’ – Queen Victoria, Alphonse XIII and the Shah of Iran (who was deposed by the Iranian revolution while staying here) are listed among its royal guests. Other luminaries include composer Tchaikovsky, as well as two artists who appear as characters in the film – Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.

Ever the showman, Dali spent at least one month of each year at Le Meurice. Determined to live up to his image as Master of the Surreal, he occasionally demanded a horse be sent to his room, or a herd of sheep, or flies caught from the Tuileries. That’s room service for you.

Understandably, this rarified life is getting all too much for Gil, who takes off alone for a breath of fresh air.

Lost and slightly tipsy, he slumps down on the steps of St Etienne du Mont, rue de la Montagne Geneviève (metro: Cardinal Lemoine), where he gets an invite from the mysterious 1920 Peugeot Landaulet, and the plot spins off into fantasy. Note that the ‘magic’ steps are not the main entrance, but to the side of the church, facing north.

Apart from the steps, we see precious little of the church itself, which houses the shrine of Saint Geneviève, the city’s patron saint, along with the tombs of physicist and philosopher Blaise Pascal and playwright Jean Racine. Revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat (the one murdered in his bath by Charlotte Corday) is buried in the church’s cemetery.

Midnight In Paris location: quai de Bourbon, Ile St Louis, Paris

Midnight In Paris location: Gil arrives at the 20s party: quai de Bourbon, Ile St Louis, Paris

Gil is whisked away to a party on quai de Bourbon (metro: Pont Marie), on the western tip if the Ile St Louis. With Cole Porter playing piano, his hosts introducing themselves as Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston andAlison Pill), Gil realises something very odd is going on.

Midnight In Paris location: rue Malebranche, Paris

Midnight In Paris location: arriving at Bricktop’s: rue Malebranche, Paris

From here – these parties soon get so boring – it’s on to ‘Bricktop’s’. The singer and dancer Bricktop ran famed nightclub Le Grand Duc at 52 rue Pigalle (later, in 1929, she opened Chez Bricktop a few doors down at 66 rue Pigalle).

In the film, though, her club appears to be housed way to the south near the Pantheon, at 17 rue Malebranche, (another former screen location – this was previously the home of Audrey Hepburn and her father Maurice Chevalier in Billy Wilder‘s Love In The Afternoon) (metro: Luxembourg).

The real Bricktop (real name Ada Smith) lived on into the 1980s, and actually appeared as herself in Woody Allen‘s 1983 Zelig, to talk about the Human Chameleon’s visit to her nightclub.

Midnight In Paris location: Restaurant Polidor, rue Monsieur le Prince, Paris

Midnight In Paris location: Gil meets Ernest Hemingway: Restaurant Polidor, rue Monsieur le Prince, Paris

The non-stop partying moves on to Le Polidor, 41 rue Monsieur le Prince (metro: Odéon), where Gil leaps at the opportunity of getting Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll) to cast an eye over his novel. A mere stripling, dating back only to 1845, Le Polidor was indeed patronised by Hemingway, along with fellow scribes Paul Verlaine, André Gide, James Joyce, Antonin Artaud and beat poet Jack Kerouac. For once, prices are comparatively modest and – don’t worry – no, it hasn’t been replaced by a launderette.

The next day, back in the 21st century, Inez and her mother consider forking out €18,000 for an antique chair at Philippe de Beauvais, 112 Boulevard De Courcelles (metro: Ternes or Courcelles). If you’re looking to track down that special bit of furniture, be warned that Beauvais is actually a dealer in antique lighting, offering a collection of 18th to early 20th-century chandeliers, electroliers, candle sticks, lanterns and the like.

Incidentally, the striking church you may notice in the background of the scene is the Cathedral of Saint-Alexandre-Nevsky on Rue Daru, seen in the Oscar-winning 1956 film of Anastasia, with Ingrid Bergman.

Midnight In Paris location: rue de Fleurus, Paris

Midnight In Paris location: meeting Picasso at Gertrude Stein’s: rue de Fleurus, Paris

The second magical midnight sees Hemingway take Gil off to visit Gertrude Stein(Kathy Bates) and her lover Alice B Toklas at the writer’s real home, 27 rue de Fleurus (metro: Saint Placide). It’s here he also meets Pablo Picasso and his current mistress Adriana (Marion Cotillard). The house isn’t open to the public, but a plaque above the door commemorates the writer’s 33-year residence.

Looking for a Cole Porter record, Gil bumps into Gabrielle (Léa Seydoux) at the flea market of Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, Le Marché Paul Bert, 96-110 rue des Rosiers (metro: Porte de Clignancourt), to the north of the city at Porte de Clignancourt. This is the old market you might have seen in Louis Malle‘s freewheeling 1960 comedy Zazie Dans Le Metro.

Midnight In Paris location: Musee de l'Orangerie, Place de la Concorde, Paris

Midnight In Paris location: Gil outsmarts Paul at the Monet exhibition: Musée de l’Orangerie, Place de la Concorde, Paris

Eight of Monet’s huge water lily pictures are displayed at the Musée de l’Orangerie, Place de la Concorde (metro: Concorde), along with works by Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Renoir and others. It’s here that Gil finally manages to outsmart Paul with his background knowledge of the Picasso painting.

But another night brings another party. The fairground bash with carousels is held in the Musée des Arts Forains – the Museum of Fairground Art, at thePavillons de Bercy, 53 avenue des Terroirs de France (metro: Cour Saint-Émilion). The brainchild of Jean Paul Favand, this unique private collection of fairground art, including German swings, merry-go-rounds and carousels, is generally used as a venue-for-hire, though it’s possible to book ahead for private visits.

It’s here that Gil bumps into Adriana again, and together they take what seems to be quite a stroll. From southeastern Paris, they find themselves in Montmartre, descending the photogenic steps on rue du Chevalier de la Barre, running alongside Sacre Coeur, down to rue Lamarck (metro: Anvers).

Midnight In Paris location: Parc Jean XXIII, Ile de la Cite, Paris

Midnight In Paris location: Adriana’s journal is read to Gil: Parc Jean XXIII, Ile de la Cité, Paris

Gil is amazed to find himself mentioned in Adriana’s journal as it’s read to him in the Parc Jean XXIII, tucked away on the Ile de la Cite, behind Notre Dame Cathedral (metro: Maubert Mutualité).

Midnight In Paris location: Maison Deyrolle, 46 rue du Bac, Paris

Midnight In Paris location: the Surrealist wedding party: Maison Deyrolle, 46 rue du Bac, Paris

The Surrealist wedding party, where Gil pitches the idea for The Exterminating Angel to a flummoxed Luis Buñuel, is the extraordinary Maison Deyrolle, 46 rue du Bac (metro: Rue du Bac), awash with insects and taxidermy. Since 1831,Deyrolle has offered animal, botanic and mineral specimens to nature lovers, schools, universities, museums and scientific institutions. it’s not surprising that its collection became a magnet for the Surrealists.

Midnight In Paris location: Maison Deyrolle, 46 rue du Bac, Paris

Midnight In Paris location: loved by Surrealists: Maison Deyrolle, 46 rue du Bac, Paris

Luis Buñuel, by the way, was intended to be the artist (finally replaced by writerMarshall MacLuhan) dragged out of the cinema queue to refute the loudmouthed pseudo-intellectual (a forerunner of Paul) in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall.

Midnight In Paris location: Restaurant Paul, rue Henri Robert, Place Dauphine, Paris

Midnight In Paris location: the coach and horses arrive for Adriana and Gil: Restaurant Paul, rue Henri Robert, Place Dauphine, Paris

It’s on the quiet triangle of Place Dauphine, hidden away at the opposite end of the Ile de la Cité from the parc, in front of Restaurant Paul, rue Henri Robert, (metro: Chatelet), that a coach and horses arrive to give Adriana her own trip back into the past. Regulars at Restaurant Paul once included Yves Montandand Simone Signoret, who happened to live in an apartment above the restaurant.

Midnight In Paris location: Maxim's, rue Royale, Paris

Midnight In Paris location: Gil and Adriana are transported back to the Belle Epoque: Maxim’s, rue Royale, Paris

Adriana and Gil are whisked further back to the Belle Epoque finery of Maxim’s, 3 rue Royale (metro: Concorde or Madeleine), where scenes for the 1958 musicalGigi were filmed, and on to the Moulin Rouge, 82 boulevard de Clichy (metro: Blanche) where, in turn, painters Toulouse Lautrec, Gauguin and Degas hanker after the great age of the Renaissance.

Neither John Huston’s 1952 film of Moulin Rouge nor the 2001 Baz Luhrmannmusical were filmed in the real nightclub (the Luhrmann film was made entirely on soundstages in Sydney, New South Wales), though the Huston film was made largely in Paris, including scenes at Maxim’s.

Midnight In Paris location: Shakespeare and Company, rue de la Bucherie, Paris

Midnight In Paris location: Gil browses the bookshop: Shakespeare and Company, rue de la Bucherie, Paris

After finally splitting with Inez, Gil drinks at l’Ile de France, 59 quai de la Tournelleat rue des Bernadins; and browses in Shakespeare and Company, 37 rue de la Bucherie (the bookshop starting point for Before Sunset).

Midnight In Paris: Pont Alexandre III, Paris

Midnight In Paris location: Gil and Gabrielle meet up in the rain: Pont Alexandre III, Paris

He finally ends up with Gabrielle on the wildly elaborate Pont Alexander III(metro: Invalides), (Anastasia again, the 1952 Moulin Rouge and 1985 Bond movie A View to a Kill), acknowledging that “Paris is at its most beautiful in the rain”.



The Life Of Mark Twain

This series deals with the Book of Ecclesiastes and Woody Allen films.  The first post  dealt with MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT and it dealt with the fact that in the Book of Ecclesiastes Solomon does contend like Hobbes  and Stanley that life is “nasty, brutish and short” and as a result has no meaning UNDER THE SUN.

The movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS offers many of the same themes we see in Ecclesiastes. The second post looked at the question: WAS THERE EVER A GOLDEN AGE AND DID THE MOST TALENTED UNIVERSAL MEN OF THAT TIME FIND TRUE SATISFACTION DURING IT?

In the third post in this series we discover in Ecclesiastes that man UNDER THE SUN finds himself caught in the never ending cycle of birth and death. The SURREALISTS make a leap into the area of nonreason in order to get out of this cycle and that is why the scene in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS with Salvador Dali, Man Ray, and Luis Bunuel works so well!!!! These surrealists look to the area of their dreams to find a meaning for their lives and their break with reality is  only because they know that they can’t find a rational meaning in life without God in the picture.

The fourth post looks at the solution of WINE, WOMEN AND SONG and the fifth and sixth posts look at the solution T.S.Eliot found in the Christian Faith and how he left his fragmented message of pessimism behind. In the seventh post the SURREALISTS say that time and chance is all we have but how can that explain love or art and the hunger for God? The eighth  post looks at the subject of DEATH both in Ecclesiastes and MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. In the ninth post we look at the nihilistic worldview of Woody Allen and why he keeps putting suicides into his films.

In the tenth post I show how Woody Allen pokes fun at the brilliant thinkers of this world and how King Solomon did the same thing 3000 years ago. In the eleventh post I point out how many of Woody Allen’s liberal political views come a lack of understanding of the sinful nature of man and where it originated. In the twelfth post I look at the mannishness of man and vacuum in his heart that can only be satisfied by a relationship with God.

In the thirteenth post we look at the life of Ernest Hemingway as pictured in MIDNIGHT AND PARIS and relate it to the change of outlook he had on life as the years passed. In the fourteenth post we look at Hemingway’s idea of Paris being a movable  feast. The fifteenth and sixteenth posts both compare Hemingway’s statement, “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know…”  with Ecclesiastes 2:18 “For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” The seventeenth post looks at these words Woody Allen put into Hemingway’s mouth,  “We fear death because we feel that we haven’t loved well enough or loved at all.”

In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Hemingway and Gil Pender talk about their literary idol Mark Twain and the eighteenth post is summed up nicely by Kris Hemphill‘swords, “Both Twain and [King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes] voice questions our souls long to have answered: Where does one find enduring meaning, life purpose, and sustainable joy, and why do so few seem to find it? The nineteenth post looks at the tension felt both in the life of Gil Pender (written by Woody Allen) in the movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS and in Mark Twain’s life and that is when an atheist says he wants to scoff at the idea THAT WE WERE PUT HERE FOR A PURPOSE but he must stay face the reality of  Ecclesiastes 3:11 that says “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” and  THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING! Therefore, the secular view that there is no such thing as love or purpose looks implausible. The twentieth post examines how Mark Twain discovered just like King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes that there is no explanation  for the suffering and injustice that occurs in life UNDER THE SUN. Solomon actually brought God back into the picture in the last chapter and he looked  ABOVE THE SUN for the books to be balanced and for the tears to be wiped away.

The twenty-first post looks at the words of King Solomon, Woody Allen and Mark Twain that without God in the picture our lives UNDER THE SUN will accomplish nothing that lasts. The twenty-second post looks at King Solomon’s experiment 3000 years that proved that luxuries can’t bring satisfaction to one’s life but we have seen this proven over and over through the ages. Mark Twain lampooned the rich in his book “The Gilded Age” and he discussed  get rich quick fever, but Sam Clemens loved money and the comfort and luxuries it could buy. Likewise Scott Fitzgerald  was very successful in the 1920’s after his publication of THE GREAT GATSBY and lived a lavish lifestyle until his death in 1940 as a result of alcoholism.


In the twenty-third post we look at Mark Twain’s statement that people should either commit suicide or stay drunk if they are “demonstrably wise” and want to “keep their reasoning faculties.” We actually see this play out in the film MIDNIGHT IN PARIS with the character Zelda Fitzgerald. In the twenty-fourth, twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth posts I look at Mark Twain and the issue of racism. In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS we see the difference between the attitudes concerning race in 1925 Paris and the rest of the world.


The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 4 Ernest Hemingway)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 3 Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 2 Cole Porter)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 1 William Faulkner)

MUSIC MONDAY Cole Porter “Let’s Do it, Let’s Fall in Love” in the movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS



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