On this day in 1895, Babe Ruth was born. He is generally considered the greatest baseball player of all time. I don’t think this is true. For one thing, it doesn’t make much sense to compare different positions and different times. One thing is true: Ruth was part of a revolution in the game. In the early days, the game was all about being able to finesse the ball into an empty part of the field. But then the game changed to the home run focused game it now is. It doesn’t really matter, but I do think the game was more interesting back then. But I’m not sure that with all the great advances in pitching that batters could still play in the old way. Maybe just hitting the ball as hard as possible is the only option.
Other birthdays: mathematician Scipione del Ferro (1465); duel winner Aaron Burr (1756); French portrait painter Achille Deveria (1800); French Fauvist painter Othon Friesz (1879); ideologue, racist, and big government conservative Ronald Reagan (1911); Hitler’s girlfriend Eva Braun (1912); actor Zsa Zsa Gabor (97!); actor Patrick Macnee (92!); cinematographer Haskell Wexler (92!); actor Rip Torn (83); actor Mike Farrell (75); actor Jacques Villeret (1951); independent filmmaker Robert Townsend (57); and actor Alice Eve (32).
The day, however, belongs to the great film director Francois Truffaut who was born on this day in 1932. I will admit, I’m not a huge fan of the French New Wave. It’s not that I don’t get it. I just don’t especially enjoy it—at least at this point in my life. Truffaut was first a film theorist, and this is where he can be at his most annoying. This very much seeped into his filmmaking. Nonetheless, Truffaut is probably my favorite of the New Wave directors. His first film, The 400 Blows, is the prototypical New Wave film. And it is very good. Personally, I’m more fond of Shoot the Piano Player. I don’t really like to talk about Jules and Jim, seeing as how much it has scarred me. Truffaut went to Hollywood and made Fahrenheit 451, which I think is a very weak effort. The film that most stands out to me is Day for Night, which I still really love. Here is the great “cat actor” scene:
Happy birthday Francois Truffaut!