Connect with us


“The Pale Blue Eye” Doesn’t Blink as it Captivates and Intrigues



The visuals are intense, captivating, and thick, right from the beginning, and we know we are in for one dark, yet deliciously devious tale, as we watch a figure crouched down on the water’s edge. It’s not clear what he is doing, but the clammer that is heard in the distance draws him up and out of himself. It is as foreboding a detail as one needs for Scott Cooper’s “The Pale Blue Eye” to grab our attention and draw us into its noose without a blink. We are intrigued, easily and swiftly, by the cold white crispness of the landscape and the darkness of what the snow is trying to cover up and muffle. Especially from those who seek to understand the dank, dark dirtiness that might be brooding underneath. Beautifully photographed by Masanobu Takayanagi (“Swan Song”), the film works its subtle magic on us, impressively pulling us into its gothic intensity, and with Christian Bale leading the way, “The Pale Blue Eye” barely gives us a moment, nor a reason, to look away.

The film is a fascinating blend of ominous foreshadowing and supernatural misgivings, courtesy of Scott’s eventive and exacting screenplay, adapted from the novel by Louis Bayard. It’s a well-executed gothic commotion that pulls the retired detective, Augustus Landor, played impressively, although sometimes overly dramatic, by Bale (“Vice“; “The Fighter“) who is delivered unwillingly into a mysterious murder and subsequent mutilation at the famous West Point military academy. He doesn’t seem intrigued or all that interested in coming in for the assignment, but the case is a complex one, and they seem to believe he is the one who can solve it. Quietly. And without causing unneeded alarm.

Christian Bale in Netflix’s The Pale Blue Eye. Photo: Scott Garfield/Netflix.

It seems that on a calm October evening in 1830, the body of a young cadet was found swinging from a rope just off the parade grounds. It’s an apparent suicide, which is alarming, but the true horror comes the next morning, when it is discovered that someone has removed the heart of the dead cadet, while it lay in waiting. Landor is enlisted by the military academy, particularly the superintendent, played deliciously by Timothy Spall (“Mr. Turner“), and a tightly wound Captain Hitchcock, beautifully played by Simon McBurney (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy“), with a certain Jean Pepe, portrayed by the always impressive Robert Duvall (“The Apostle“), on the side filling in the blanks. And together, they are pressuring him to investigate the mystery ever so diligently and professionally. As he seems to know his way around.

And he does, even while breaking a few rules here and there, like drinking and spending time with the lovely Patsy, played touchingly by Charlotte Gainsbourg (“Melancholia“) who acts as a companion, but also another who fills in the spaces required. Bale’s Landor also engages with one very particularly odd cadet, a young unusually poetic gentleman by the name of E. A. Poe, who is more intrigued by the macabre than maybe any cadet should. But this personage, played magnificently by Harry Melling (“The Tragedy of Macbeth“; West End’s Hand To God), is none other than the young soon-to-be writer Edgar Allan Poe, and here’s where this clever piece gets fascinatingly disruptive and unabashingly creative. In a grand and layered kind of way.

Poe is an intriguing force, but not the most popular with the other cadets, most notably portrayed by Harry Lawtey, Fred Hechinger. Joey Brooks, Steven Maier, Brennan Keel Cook, Jack Irv, Matt Helm, Charlie Tahan, and Gideon Glick (Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway). Poe is odd and obviously different from the others, yet, the qualities of the sensitive and erudite Poe edge the case forward with a subtle darkness that seems to envelope the whole. In many ways I wish I was more well acquainted with the famous writer, so I would be able to connect all the drops of blood from his most iconic and dark shorts stories, like “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Cask of Amontillado,” but most go over my head. There is the obvious black Raven, flapping its black wings on a nearby tree, dark and playfully giving us that special flavor, but all the other references, and I’m assuming there are, were lost on me. I’m sure that connective tissue would add some more fun detective work to the viewing, fleshing out the metaphores, but it also didn’t take away anything from the framework being one who is not in the know.

Toby Jones and Gillian Anderson in Netflix’s The Pale Blue Eye. Photo: Scott Garfield/Netflix.

The central story digs itself in quickly and sharply, as Landor tries to unravel the rope. The clues seem to fall almost too easily at his feet, but the cast of characters don’t offer much in the realm of suspects. Landor ends up focusing his interactions around the Marquis family, fronted by the man who did the autosy on the hanging cadet, a Dr. Daniel Marquis, portrayed by the compelling Toby Jones (“Infamous“). But it’s his wife, Mrs. Julia Marquis, played by Gillian Anderson (“Sex Education“) who steals almost every scene she is in with her delivery and design. No surprise there. Their son, cadet Artemus, played by the enticing Harry Lawtey (“You & Me“), and their lovely daughter Lea Marquis, beautifully portrayed by Lucy Boynton (“Sing Street“) fill out the family frame and become the emotional focus for both Landon and Poe respectively. The family fascinates, drawing us deep into their dynamics at the dining table and around their fireplace, with music and an undercurrent of something untouchable, that doesn’t quite give us a sense of ease.

Landor and Poe rummage together quite the emotionally touching bond along the way, finding connection and compassion as they try to unwrap the clues and theories that float out before them. It turns out the the mystery is less important than the engagements made, and within Cooper’s compelling narrative and atmospheric creation, their alignment feels fully sufficient and compelling. Bale is a wonderfully intense detective, unarming us with his brooding detatched persona. He digs into the part unleashing an edge that is sharp and sad all at the same time. His cleverness is deceiving, much like his literate nature, but it becomes increasingly clear he is not the star of this show, whether he realizes it or not.

Harry Melling in Netflix’s The Pale Blue Eye. Photo: Scott Garfield/Netflix.

Melling is the center, where all things evolve and are contained. He meticulously unveils a magnificent Poe, easily the most captivating and complex creature in this eerily dark and damp cinematic world. He’s emotionally timid and frail, but eager and daring in a way that draws us in, just like he is drawn to Landor. He needs Landor in a complex and dynamic way, like a forgotten child eager for validation and alignment. And because of Melling’s entrancingly egotistical, quiet, yet damaged son-creation, “The Pale Blue Eye” captivates, without a doubt. Whether we have a prior knowledge of Poe or not. The film deepens its sadness and darkness at every turn around the snow-covered ice house, finding weight and intrigue in Landor’s weariness, and a compellingness in Melling’s powerfully adept performance. Dig in, and enjoy the gothic darkness of “The Pale Blue Eye.” You won’t want to look away.

“The Pale Blue Eye” is now streaming on Netflix.

Christian Bale, Lucy Boynton, and Harry Melling in Netflix’s The Pale Blue Eye. Photo: Scott Garfield/Netflix.

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to


The Glorious Corner



G.H. Harding

TODD’S AWATS — (from World Cafe) Fifty years ago, Todd Rundgren released his album A Wizard, a True Star, and it sounded like nothing else. World Cafe correspondent John Morrison says Rundgren was pushing boundaries, both in the technical creation of the music but also on a higher level. “Really, the entire approach to sound in this record is exploration of the mind, the spirit, the nature of sound itself,” Morrison says. “Like, the whole album is a trip.” In this session, Morrison takes us on a journey through Rundgren’s A Wizard, a True Star, exploring what the album meant when it came out and how its influence continues to reverberate.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Todd recently -we’re both from Philly- and the caliber of his output is just astonishing. From his legendary solo albums (Something/Anything); to his work with Utopia ; “We Gotta Get You A Woman”; his production work with Meat Loaf and Badfinger; Ringo; and his terrific tour with Micky Dolenz; Joey Molland; Christopher Cross termed the Fifty Years Ago … celebrating The Beatles White Album and writing songs like “Black Maria,” “Just One Victory,” “Sometimes I Don’t Know How To Feel” and “The Want Of Nail,” Todd is simply amazing.

War Babies

Currently he’s touring with Daryl Hall and there’s a bunch of sessions with Hall that are on Daryl’s House. The way their two voices blend is simply amazing. One of my all-time favorite albums is War Babies, from Hall & Oates in 1974. Just amazing songs and the production, courtesy of Todd, is equally compelling. Stunning!

WILLIS REED RIP — I’m not much of a sports fan these days; I can’t even seem to keep up with all the new rules; but when Willis Reed was the center of The Knicks, I most definitely was. I even remember going to dozens of games at MAdison Square Garden (and always seeing Woody Allen there) and having the time of my life. Yes, it was eons ago; before the pandemic; but the game seemed to be so much more fun then. He passed yesterday. A giant for sure and an amazing player. RIP!

Joe Pantoliano

SHORT TAKES — Joe Pantoliano (Joey Pants) is essaying Morris Levy in the forthcoming play Rock & Roll Man about Alan Freed. Freed is played by Constantine Maroulis. Also coming is the movie Spinning Gold; the story of record exec-Neil Bogart. Both should be something to see … Am reading and reading nothing but rave reviews of Sunday’s Succession on HBO; the first of ten episodes which will wrap up the story. In all the reviews, the writing emerges the star. Jesse Armstrong, a genius for sure. Can’t wait. Check out Roger Friedman’s take from his Showbiz 411: 79 year old Top Gun: Maverick producer Jerry Bruckheimer: “Don Simpson (Bruckheimer’s late-producing partner) used to say we’re in the transportation business: we transport you from one place to another” …

Jason Ritter

Terrific Accused episode this week, starring Jason Ritter in Jack’s Story. Jason, John Ritter’s son was just excellent; the show was just renewed by Fox … Steve Miller, out on the road, has some interesting openers for his upcoming tour: Dave Mason and Joe Bonamassa. Mason’s book (Only You Know and I Know)  is out in May … Dennis Scott hosted a special invitation-only Happy Birthday, Mister Rogers event in Nashville for media, TV, radio and music industry professionals, with support from ASCAP, this past Monday.

Fred Rogers cake

The event featured special musical performances given by country singer-songwriter Teea Goans, singer-songwriter & guitar virtuoso Parker Hastings, who put a Chet Atkins-like spin on the original Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood theme song “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” and studio vocalist Gary Janney. Here’s the cake prepared for the event … Happy Bday William Shatner ; Chaka Khan; Reese Witherspoon; and Anthony Pomes!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Kim Garner; Cindy Ronzoni; Peter Shendell; Al Roker; Julie Gurovitsch; Avra; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Tony King; Charles Rosenay; Phil Collins; Tony Smith; Gail Colson; Howard Bloom; Carol Ross; Danny Goldberg; Paul Cooper; Tony Mandich; Randy Alexander; Shelley Cooper; Brad Balfour; and CHIP!
Continue Reading


Cabaret, Talks and Concerts For April



Spring, makes us gather as much sun as possible, but it also brings rain and it’s time to hop inside and catch your favorite performer. Here are our picks for April.

92 Street Y: 1395 Lexington Ave. 4/11: Apple TV+’s The Last Thing He Told Me: Jennifer Garner and Laura Dave; 4/19: Al Pacino in Conversation with David Rubenstein (In-Person); 4/30: Celebrating Balanchine: A Screening, Book Reading, Conversation and Performance with Director Connie Hochman, Heather Watts, Jennifer Homans, Tiler Peck, Unity Phelan, and Calvin Royal III Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of George Balanchine’s Death (In-Person)

Tony DeSare

Birdland Jazz: 315 West 44 St. Every Monday at 9:30pm Jim Caruso’s Cast Party; Every Tuesday at 8:30pm The Lineup with Susie Mosher; Every Saturday at 7pm Eric Comstock with Sean Smith (Bass) & special guest Barbara Fasano (Voice); 4/1: Eliane Elias; 4/3: Susie Mosher & John Boswell in CASHINO; 4/17: Anita Gillette & Penny Fuller: “Sin Twisters: The Next Frontier”; 4/17: Sean McDermott & Cassidy Place; 4/21 – 22: Tony DeSare; 4/24: Karen Akers and 4/25 – 29: John Pizzarelli Album Release

Christine Andreas

Cafe Carlyle: 35 E 76th St. 4/1: John Lloyd Young; 4/3: Seth Rudetsky; 4/5 -15; Alan Cumming and Ari Shapiro; 18- 19 Christine Andreas; 4/20-21; John Brancy and Peter Dugan; 4/22; Richard Tognetti, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra and 4/25-29 Candace Bushnell.

Carnegie Hall: 881 7th Ave at 57th St.

Chelsea Table + Stage: Hilton Fashion District Hotel, 152 W 26th St. 4/14: Marieann Meringolo and 4/17: The Skivvies.

Don’t Tell Mama: 343 W. 46 St. 4/ 21: Tanya Moberly and 4/28: Ricky Ritzel’s Broadway!

Dizzys Club Coca Cola: Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street. 4/21 -22: Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour

Gabrielle Stravelli

The DJango: 2 Avenue of the Americas. 4/9: Gabrielle Stravelli

54 Below: 254 West 54 St. 4/1: Jennifer Simard: Can I Get Your Number?; 4/1: Bianca Marroquín; 4/4: LIVESTREAM | The Tom Kitt Band;  4/7, 11, 15: Linda Eder;  4/12-14: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar: All For You; 4/21-22: LIVESTREAM | Seth Sikes & Nicolas King with Billy Stritch and 4/29: Darius de Haas: Maisel and More!

Reeve Carney – Photo by Matthew Tammaro

The Green Room 42: 570 10th Ave. 4/2: Melissa Errico; 4/13, 15: Sharon McKnight and 4/23: Reeve Carney

Sony Hall: 235 W. 46th St. 1/15:

Theatre at the West Bank Café: 407 West 42 St.

Jesse Luttrell

The Triad: 158 W. 72 St. 4/21: Jesse Luttrell


The Town Hall: 123 West 43rd Street. 4/23: Mariza

Continue Reading


The Glorious Corner



G.H. Harding

WOODSTOCK COVER STARS — (Via Best Classic Bands) — Bobbi Ercoline’s name may not be familiar to most, but millions own her photograph: Bobbi, whose last name at the time was  Kelly, and her then-boyfriend, Nick Ercoline, were huddled together under a quilt at the 1969 Woodstock festival when photographer Burk Uzzle snapped their picture. The couple, both then 20, were unaware that their photo had even been taken until several months later, when the three-LP Woodstock soundtrack album was released. They were among friends when they first realized the couple on the album cover was them.

“We were passing the jacket around when someone pointed out the staff with the orange and yellow butterfly,” Nick told AARP in 2019 for the organization’s magazine. “That belonged to Herbie, a guy from Huntington Beach, Calif. He was lost and having a bad trip, and we hooked arms with him until he was clear-headed. Then we saw the blanket. Oh my lord, that’s us!”

Bobbi and Nick only lasted one night at Woodstock, and never even got near the stage. They had given it their all trying to get to the festival, ditching their car when traffic became snarled and walking the final two miles. They spent most of their single day there on the hillside where the famous photo was taken.

Two years later, in 1971, they married. They remained together until Bobbi Ercoline’s death Saturday (March 18, 2023).

Nick posted the news on Facebook: “It’s with beyond great sadness that I tell my FB family and friends, that after 54 years of life together, of the death of my beautiful wife, Bobbi, last night surrounded by her family. She lived her life well, and left this world in a much better place. If you knew her, you loved her. She lived by her saying, ‘Be kind.’ As a School Nurse she always championed the kids … ALWAYS! As a person, she always gave. ‘How much do you really need if you have all you need or want?’ So she gave and gave and gave. She didn’t deserve this past year’s nightmare, but she isn’t suffering from the physical pain anymore and that brings some comfort to us.”

We’ve spoken much over the years about how that Woodstock event was so cataclysmic – culturally; musically; and certainly philosophically. Elliot Tiber wrote beautifully about it in his first book Taking Woodstock – a classic if you’ve never read it.

They tried to re-create it in 1994 and though it was good, it just didn’t have that magical flavor of the first one. I wasn’t at either, but as you can imagine, music from that 1969 concert still lives passionately today. I was, however, at Live Aid and that was my Woodstock for sure.

Not to get too poetic, but I came across a great quote yesterday: It’s worth being older now, to have been young then.

Derek And The Dominoes

SHORT TAKES — Derek & The Dominoes Bobby Whitlock on Jim Gordon: “Carl Radle and Jim Gordon … Didn’t get any better than that. The only other alternative [for Derek and the Dominoes] was Jim Keltner. And that’s who should have been the guy and who was supposed to be the guy. But it didn’t turn out that way. He was busy. The rhythm section of Carl and Jim propelled the songs we put together. Jim Gordon is the most musical drummer I ever heard. All of the drums were in tune. literally tuned to a key on the piano. Big kit. But Jim had this wonderful ability to interpret the nuances you could feel but not hear. Carl was solid as a rock. A downbeat player and right on it. So, we have Carl who is solid and down and Jim who is up and on it. So, it was perpetual motion” …

The Ides of March

Do you remember “Vehicle” by The Idea of March back in 1970? It became the fastest-selling single in Warner Brothers history. A little-known fact is that 14 seconds of the completed master of “Vehicle” was accidentally erased in the recording studio, (primarily the guitar solo), and the missing section was spliced in from a previously discarded take. The song reached #2 in Billboard, and #1 in Cashbox. The album “Vehicle” reached #55 nationally … Dolly Parton sings with Elton John on “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” on her forthcoming rock ‘n roll album. I bet it’ll sound great, but how many covers of that song has there been? Maybe they should have picked a John/Taupin deep-cut like “Come Down In Time” or “Amoreena.” Just saying … Does the phrase DLYZECOMKIN mean anything to you?

Micky Dolenz

Believe it or not, in one of those crazy-jumble games online, the phrase translates into Micky Dolenz. Crazy, right? See for yourself:

… Speaking of Dolenz, he departs Thursday on a Flower Power Cruise; then starts his Headquarters-tour on April 1 in Orlando …

Charles F. Rosenay does the Zach Martin Big Fat American Podcast next week, for his new release,  The Book of Top 10 Beatles Lists (KIWI Publishing) … HAPPY BDAY Gia Ramsey!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Carol Geiser; Bob Meyerowitz; eYada; Andy Rosen; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Paul Haig; Terry Jastrow; Anthony Pomes; Mark Bego; Charles F. Rosenay; Bill Graham; Kip Cohen; Heather Moore; Charley Crespo; [Robert Miller; John Luongo; LIME;  Carl Strube; Jen Ramos; and CHIP!

Continue Reading
Advertisement pf_06-2


Copyright © 2023 Times Square Chronicles

Times Square Chronicles