Thursday, May 28, 2009

I like movies, except when I don't

I've been on a movie kick lately, because my beloved laptop has gone tits up and there's nothing else to do in the living room except watch movies. And when I say "movie kick", I mean more than the normal 20-odd movies I watch per month. The problem, though, is that I've recorded a bunch of movies that suck on toast.

Well, let me back up: I haven't watched the entire movie in most cases, so the film may actually not suck on toast. It may be brilliant. Perhaps these films include giant mechanical spiders, which automatically elevate any boring old movie to genius level. That was Orson Welles' big secret, you know. Giant mechanical spiders. They always stole the scene from Joseph Cotten, which is why he eventually went mad and invented Cherry Garcia ice cream. But I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.

These are the films I've recently been unable to finish, some because they might, perhaps, just maybe, suck out loud:

1. Danger Lights (1930) - I should have known that this was going to blow when I saw in the opening credits that Hugh "Captain Mumblypants" Herbert was the fucking dialogue director for this film. Come on, people. Hugh Herbert? The mumblemumbleWOOWOO guy? I actually wrote down a couple of things Alan Roscoe said in this film, which I think you'll enjoy: "Whine on you mumpus menargh!" and "What is the shoe doo, bupuko bakah?" Great job directing the dialogue, Hugh! Alan Roscoe doesn't sound like he's speaking in tongues at all.

Of course, I turned up the volume, as people are wont to do when they can't hear shit. Too bad that every spar
e moment between lines of dialogue was packed to the gills with train sounds. Loud, stroke-inducing, teeth-grinding, pillow-punching train sounds. I gave up after 25 minutes. Maybe you will, too: the movie is here on archive.org.

2. Within Our
Gates (1920) - I only stopped watching because my ding dang DVD got full and didn't record the last half. Very disappointing.

3. Love In the Rough (1930) - I recorded an epic buttload of Robert Montgomery movies a few months ago, and found nearly all intolerable. Of the three films I tried to watch, this was the worst. "Their Own Desire" (1929) was decent enough, despite the fact that the film is not 100% Norma Shearer free, and I made it through that one in its entirety. The next film was "The Easiest Way" (1931), which I'd seen a long time ago and liked quite a bit. The 3rd film, though, was "Love in the Rough", one of those snooze-inducing late-20s stage plays with a ridiculous premise and a sidekick that's supposed to be funny but is really annoying. Like, pluck your eyes out and stuff them in your ears kinds of annoying.

4. Guilty Hands (1931) - I finished this one by judicious use of the fast forward button, stopping only for the luscious Kay Francis. I won't tell you what the super secret trick ending was, but for whatever reason, I saw it coming a mile away. Even though it was stupid. So stupid I yelled at Lionel Barrymore, "Why you so stupid, Stupid?" But he flipped me off and made "The Devil-Doll" just to make me cry. Bastard.

5. Menace (1934) - Okay, this is kind of funny. A friend of mine let me "borrow" some movies, one of which was supposed to be "The Menace" (1932). Instead he sent me "Menace" (1934), which is another one of those early stage-to-film murder mysteries, a genre I had just sworn off of for a little while. I'm being stalked by an entire film genre! It's not a bad movie, really, but I've seen so many that I always know what's going to happen, even when the movie allegedly has a ton of twists and turns. It's my keen mind. No, for serious, I should have been all like a detective and shit.

"Menace" starred Gertrude Michael, pictured here in lovely art deco glory.


Note that neither "Within Our Gates" nor Gertrude Michael were given toasts. There is a reason for this, but it's very cryptic and complicated and, quite frankly, you'd never understand it.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Randopic #4: Scandals!



A 1945 advertisement for Reis underwear. No seams to sit on!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Kitteh in teh Lake

I discovered today that my kitteh Petey's favorite movie is "The Lady in the Lake" (1946). He usually never pays attention to the TV, but he couldn't stop staring at the movie today, especially when Audrey Totter was on screen. He even ran up to the TV to try to catch her when her bracelet shone particularly brightly.


Audrey Totter is friend to kittehs everywhere!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Best. Day. Ever.


KAZ' EARRINGS ARE BACK WOOOOOOOOOO!!! They're all big and gaudy and you can see them! YAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Boeing Boeing (1965)

I officially give up on 1960s sex comedies. Enough is enough.

"Boeing Boeing" (1965), also known as "Boeing (707) Boeing (707)", is a sex comedy starring Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis.


Curtis plays Bernard, a reporter in Paris who has an apartment he shares with 3 female flight attendants. None of these women know anything about each other; they're all lead to believe this is their permanent home and that Bernard is their fiance. He makes sure they're all away at the appropriate times by keeping strict control of their schedules and noting the times when they're away on their respective flight schedules.

This is skeevy enough, but his maid Bertha (Thelma Ritter doing the same damn role she did in every movie she made) helps him in his scheme. She changes out the ladies' underwear so the German woman doesn't accidentally find the French woman's bras, changes the photo in the living room to the appropriate girlfriend, stuff like that. Even takes the blame when something suspicious happens so that the girlfriends hate her and think she's the cause of all the weird goings-on. Bertha's ire is almost always directed at the women, too, while she's just moderately frustrated with Bernard.

Not skeevy enough? Good, there's more! Bernard's acquaintance Robert (Jerry Lewis) arrives and decides he likes the set-up so much he's going to steal it from him. Not just the apartment, but the three girlfriends and even Bertha, who he lies to in an extended scene where he tries to woo her away from Bernard.

When I said aloud that this was incredibly skeevy, my husband noted that this wasn't just skeeve, it was a case of "skeeve vs counterskeeve".

Basically, it's yet another 60s sex comedy where women are things. They are rarely referred to by their names, instead referred to by the airline they work for; the German woman is called "Lufthansa", the English woman "British United", etc. They're credited this way on the IMDb.


In the opening credits the actresses' measurements (i.e. 36-24-36) are listed under their real names, with no mention of the characters. So it's not just that the characters are objectified, the actresses themselves are turned into nothing more than objects valued based on the size of their breasts and buttocks.


The best part was when Bertha, told to keep girlfriend Lise away from the other two girlfriends, drugged her with so much sleeping potion she really thought she'd killed her. Ha ha! The fun we have!

The film isn't even funny, so you can't make the argument that objectification is all in fun. There aren't many jokes, it's all Scooby Doo-like hijinks with the running around airports and the hiding women in rooms and the hey. Curtis has all the charisma of soggy cardboard and the comedic talent of dry oats. Thelma Ritter... god, don't talk to me about Thelma Ritter. The most annoying actress on the planet. All she does is play the goofy maid, or sometimes a mom who pretends to be a maid. That she was nominated for an Oscar 6 damn times for playing the same role says as much about the Oscars as it does about her.

Jerry Lewis is wonderful and is sadly, sorely, terribly wasted in this film. The female leads are played as stereotypes, given bad wigs and stilted dialogue, and are all as wasted in their roles as Lewis was. Susanna Leigh's role in "The Deadly Bees" was a lot better than her role here, as was her performance. Go watch "The Deadly Bees" and leave "Boeing Boeing" alone.

As to this genre of movie? Enough. There are so many good movies to watch and, as the cliche says, so little time. I've given the 1960s sex comedy enough of a chance that I'm confident that it will not be a mistake if I avoid it for the rest of my life.

Wayman Tisdale

Wayman Tisdale was the first "wow!" musician I discovered when I started listening to smooth jazz a few years ago. My enjoyment of light jazz first began as a casual listener who just turned on the smooth jazz channel while eating dinner, but then I realized that not everything was just "elevator music". Of course, I knew Tisdale's name because he had been a basketball star, but was surprised at how lively, complex and enjoyable his music was.

Tisdale died Friday, May 15, at age 44. He had been taken to the hospital after having difficulty breathing, and he had been battling bone cancer for two years.

Of course, because some people are insane when it comes to sports, Tisdale once reported that former coaches and players actively wished he would not survive the cancer, their animosity against him from his basketball days was so great.

This seems like hyperbole, but allow me to illustrate: In keeping with being a big fucking asshole, Chuck Woodling, retired reporter for the Lawrence Journal-World, decided it would be a good idea to bring up some trivial college basketball incident for no reason other than to cast the recently-dead Tisdale in a bad light. See, back in 1984, Oklahoma played University of Kansas in Lawrence and the team, led by the arguably psychotic coach Billy Tubbs, acted poorly. Tisdale was a 19-year-old on the Oklahoma team at the time, so Woodling thought now would be a great time to grouse about how horrible Tisdale was because he was associated with the incident.

Except, if you'll read the article, you'll see Tisdale wasn't really involved. And the article isn't about Tisdale at all, except for a sentence or two saying, essentially, "Wayman Tisdale died, oh hey, remember when Oklahoma University was TOTES MEEN to our team?"

Chuck Woodling, you may suck it.

As you can see from the comments in the article, almost everyone thinks Woodling was out of line. And he was. It wouldn't matter if Tisdale was alive or not, the fact is that he was not a big player in the incident, that the incident was 25 years ago, and every sane person in the world has moved on by now.

Every day, I get a little more disappointed in humanity.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fashions of 1920

I was watching part of "Within Our Gates" (1920) last night -- only part of it because my disk had run out of room about an hour into recording, so I was a wee bit peeved -- but I was absolutely enamored of the fashions of that era. Sylvia especially has a gorgeous white dress in the early part of the film. I'm not usually into fashion of any era, but I was so struck with Sylvia's dress that I thought I'd do a little fashion spam post.



This is Evelyn Preer, who played Sylvia in "Within Our Gates". (sauce: Omega418 on flickr) She's so gorgeous. She was reportedly one of the best actresses of her day, but sadly very few of her films survive.


Sylvia's dress in the movie looked a lot like Bess Truman's, seen here in her 1919 wedding to some guy named Harry. I think he did something once. Maybe a couple of somethings.




Here are some patterns of dresses very similar to ones seen in "Within Our Gates". Alma, the supporting female role, wears a suit almost exactly like the one on the right. (sauce - some fun early fashion stuff here)




Another set of patterns. So pretty.




Sylvia had a coat in the film a lot like the woman on the left does. Photo circa 1925. (sauce)




A 1920 fashion study by photographer Baron de Meyer. Beautiful. (Update March 2010: A terrific link on de Meyer here at Aesthetes Lament, courtesy Dfordoom of Cult Movie Reviews.)


School Frocks of 1919! (sauce)





Paul Poiret fashions (sauce)


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Life. Don't talk to me about life.

Due to a bit of a family emergency, I will not be around on Le Interhole for the next few days. This goes for She Blogged By Night, Twitter, LiveJournal, and email. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

awwwwwwww


This made me "awwwwww" more than cute kitties.

defending the home

We have some minor repairs on the house from last year's hail storms and tornado, and I had some calls in to a local repair place to call me back so we could set up a time to get a couple things done. This morning at 7:30 AM some guys from this repair place show up unannounced and start hammering on our house. I should mention we're on a night schedule and so at 7:30 AM we had barely gotten to sleep. (Somewhat unusual for me, but I stupidly stayed up all night doing research on Marie Prevost.)

Of course, we didn't know what the hell was going on at 7:30 AM, except it sounded like someone was trying to break in. So my
husband ran outside to defend the home...

...in his Mr Bubble t-shirt.

The weird thing is that this didn't scare the repair guys off. Despite telling them to wait until we called to schedule a time, they came back a few hours later and started breaking down the house again.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Interesting Stuff

Jacques Rivette is quoted about "Titanic" and Kate Winslet:
the actress is awful, unwatchable, the most slovenly girl to appear on the screen in a long, long time. That's why it's been such a success with young girls, especially inhibited, slightly plump American girls who see the film over and over as if they were on a pilgrimage: they recognize themselves in her, and dream of falling into the arms of the gorgeous Leonardo.
Yes, this man:



said this actress:


was "slovenly".

I don't even like "Titanic", but come on, Jacques.

The rest of the interview is here, and there are some real gems in there. As Madeline Kahn would say, "What a nice guy."


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Randopic #2



I love these demotivators thingies. I'm such a tool.