Dinner and a Movie: Vincentennial

Saturday, May 28, 2011
Photos from A Treasury of Great Recipes

Inspired by Cinema St. Louis's "Vincentennial," I've decided to celebrate Vincent Price's 100th birthday by watching a lot of Vincent Price movies. I've also (naturally) added food to the mix by cooking out of A Treasury of Great Recipes by Mary and Vincent Price, or what we call "The Vincent Price Cookbook" at our house.  Sorry, Mary!  If you find a copy at a used bookstore or an estate sale, grab it.  It's a real cookbook (and a great one, at that), not just your average celebrity cookbook.  I've had mine for years, but I need to blog about it more!

The Food

Manicotti alla passetto

Quite possibly one of the most delicious things one could ever do with leftover roast chicken, Manicotti alla passetto is a favorite at our house.  We were even lucky enough to eat al fresco last night!  The salad dressing is from the back of the La Tourangelle walnut oil bottle: 4T walnut oil, 1T balsamic vinegar, 1t whole-grain Dijon mustard, salt to taste.  I usually just make half a recipe.

I also make a half recipe of the manicotti.  Our largest Le Creuset au gratin is large enough to hold all six manicotti.

Manicotti alla passetto

"In seventeenth-century England, George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham*, cut quite a figure as a courtier and playwright.  Perhaps he served these eggs at his after-theater parties--I like to think so.  In any event they bear his name and they are a perfect late snack for a midnight supper." 
-A Treasury of Great Recipes

Buckingham Eggs
Buckingham Eggs

This recipe is also available on food.com.

The Films

I thought I'd narrow things down to the films that will air next month on Turner Classic Movies.  Several of Price's movies are available on Netflix Watch Instantly, as well (including one of my personal favorites, The Comedy of Terrors, costarring Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone).

DVD cover from Wikipedia
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (Monday, June 20th, at 3:00 p.m. CST) is one of the very few films with an Elizabethan setting I can stand to watch, despite its ahistorical elements.  I was the teaching assistant for OU's Tudor England course, which basically means that I can't enjoy either of the Elizabeth films or The Tudors.  Several semesters before I was a teaching assistant for Tudor England, I was a student.  Our professor mentioned this film in class and one of the students asked, "Bette Davis?  Like that song?"  There's one person in desperate need of a classic film intervention.  Bette Davis really is great as Elizabeth, but I don't watch this one very often because it makes me cry.

Vincent Price has a small role in this film (only his second feature film) as Sir Walter Raleigh.  The rest of the supporting cast is outstanding, as well, and includes Olivia de Havilland, Donald Crisp, Alan Hale, Henry Stephenson and Leo G. Carroll.
Poster from Wikipedia

The Las Vegas Story (Tuesday, June 21st, at 6:45 a.m. CST) stars Jane Russell as a former Las Vegas singer who is married to Vincent Price's character (a compulsive gambler) and Victor Mature as her ex-lover and current Las Vegas sheriff's deputy.  Hoagy Carmichael co-stars.  Murder, intrigue and a helicopter chase (featuring one of producer Howard Hughes's helicopters, of course) ensue.  Not the best movie ever (did you figure it would be?), but worth the watch.  Entertaining.

Poster from Wikipedia

His Kind of Woman (Tuesday, June 21st, at 11:15 a.m. CST) gives Vincent Price his best role of the three films.  Stick with this one; the last third of the film is worth the wait.  Price is a hunting-obsessed action-movie star Jane Russell is trying to land while on vacation in Mexico.  Robert Mitchum, paid by a mafioso to head south of the border, ends up at the same resort.  The first part of the film is pretty standard noir stuff, but everything changes when gangsters and the feds arrive and Price's character takes over all the action.  Great stuff.  Lots of Shakespeare-quoting.  Take a chance on this one--you'll be glad you did.


Portrait of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (from Wikipedia)

I wrote a paper for my Stuart England class about Roger Palmer, the husband of Buckingham's cousin Barbara.  Mrs. Palmer was the mistress of Charles II and remembered by Paul for having bit the penis off a corpse.  I had totally forgotten about it until Paul reminded me when I told him we were having a dinner named after George Villiers and I couldn't possibly tell you which biography the information came from (so many random facts pop up when doing historical research), but Paul said there's no way he could forget something that crazy.  She was one interesting broad.  

Sir Peter Lely's portrait of Barbara after she had become Duchess of Cleveland (from Wikipedia)

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