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 Fidelitous Highs: A VistaVision Adventure 
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
Appalled at the image quality of some of these: you'd think Jerry might inspired a DVD restoration or two!

He's too esoteric for that.


Sat Feb 28, 2015 8:28 pm
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You're Never Too Young | Norman Taurog | 1955

An instruction in the temporal dynamics of Hollywood gender, where Diana Lynn, the original teenager from The Major and the Minor, can now play the older, heavy female in this remake. Seven months older than Lynn, Lewis can be a possible 11-14 year-old, or a definite 25 year-old depending on what he's wearing and how far he can push his natural idiocy. It's all clean-ish fun, though. Lewis the perpetual idiotic youth, on the run from a murderous diamond thief, gets to play dress up as little "Willy", with consequent issues regarding maternally inclined women and the teenage girls of the private school, who have him booked up in hourly engagements. Martin has the girls booked in hourly engagements too, but as their athletics and music teacher. Very suspicious, but it's Lewis who gets entangled in the studiously innocent dirtiness.

As always, Taurog is never complacent with the action or subtext, with a ray gun that squirts milk and gives Martin a facial and desperate older women laying out the sex that the teens don't quite get, yet. Lewis is forced to eat a lit cigar, disrupts the Berkeley-esque music practice of teen girls (bottom out, knees bent inwards, a parody of the genuinely youthful flesh on display), and gets (or gives) a kissing lesson in a chemistry class. Left alone Willy mixes the chemicals to make a potent cocktail, and makes plain Lewis' assertion that The Nutty Professor was a decade in the making.


Sat Feb 28, 2015 8:33 pm
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is that the one from 13 Moons?


Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:05 am
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flieger wrote:
You're Never Too Young | Norman Taurog | 1955

Will watch this one next!

I'm intrigued by this image you posted on the previous page of Jerry being "swallowed by hordes of shopping-mad women", for it seems to continue this general theme of emasculation/feminisation. He's often dominated by robust female figures, or else stripped of his so-called masculine properties in a variety of ways. Geisha Boy does this quite a bit: juvenilisation, too, if you consider the title. And even as he befriends the young lad, it's more as a like-minded kid than an adopted father-figure. There's also something to be said about the idea of equating him to a Geisha, since the origin of the word is tied to the male sex and also prostitution. It's interesting that the film posits his character against what is a hyper-masculinised but also oddly unconventional Japanese male counterpart, too. What was that all about?

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Sun Mar 01, 2015 5:12 am
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Set a thief to catch a thief is an idiom I wasn't aware of until recently; fortunately, this isn't a prerequisite when it comes to enjoying Alfred Hitchcock's lush travelogue-caper, though it does shed a little more light on proceedings. While the title refers to Cary Grant's ex-burglar protagonist and his quest to unmask a jewel-pilferer preying on rich residents via their terracotta roofs, the ironic thing is that Hitchcock populates his film with all kinds of marauders and midnight manipulators. As such, none seem to know whom to trust and we the audience are even further encumbered by darkness; this results in lots of prying and padding, but also contributes to one of the director's less prevalent themes of crime as something almost entirely subjective. Still, among the vibrant and verdant backdrops of the French Riviera, To Catch a Thief catches Hitchcock at his most playful though not entirely devoid of suspense - and perhaps owing something to Ernst Lubitsch's Trouble in Paradise. There is the "If you love life, you'll love France" line, borrowed from a misguided tourism campaign: an idyllic concept immediately shattered by a woman's bloodcurdling scream. Then there is the shot of the black cat seen hopping from roof to roof; an image that so deftly prefigures the soft-footed, light-fingered characters that will subsequently follow him across the eaves. And finally, unforgettably, the symbolic fireworks that pop overhead in one particular scene as restrained intimacy quickly slides towards some kind of climactic explosion.
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“Bisogna essere molto forti per amare la solitudine.” - P.P. Pasolini

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Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:45 am
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Some nice words on TCaT in the context of Hitchcock's oeuvre, by Jaime N. Christley:

Without grouping it in the upper tier of Hitchcock's masterpieces (too many to name), one can still extract a great deal of the auteur's eccentric artistry, concealed behind the entertainment-first coding of the John Michael Hayes script, whose basic framework would be perfected by Ernest Lehman's screenplay for North by Northwest. Many night shots are cloaked in a jade green aura that anticipates Vertigo. Key scenes take place without a word, or with only a few words heard in passing. The opening minutes make abstract, Eisenstein-esque cutting into something funny and fairly user-friendly—as does the famous fireworks love scene. Something about its diffuse international-ness looks forward to later, more problematic pictures like Topaz and Torn Curtain; it would be difficult to argue that the features of Hitchcock's auteurism would, harnessed as they are to the slack Hayes narrative, raise To Catch a Thief to the heights of what he would make when he was firing on all cylinders. However, if the accused could be acquitted based on pure charm, the evidence here is irrefutable.

http://www.slantmagazine.com/dvd/review ... thief-2244

Where would you rank it, guys?

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“Bisogna essere molto forti per amare la solitudine.” - P.P. Pasolini

WCoF I II IIIL'EtàL'Eau한국88ShadowsBerlin thırd ISOLATIONVistaVision


Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:08 pm
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Elvis has a spineless father; a nonexistent mother. Elvis lives across the street from a brothel and its banter. Elvis and his fists are held back graduating, again. Elvis has a part-time bar job plagued by shady figures. Elvis falls in with the wrong crowd: boys with switchblades. But Elvis can sing! Oh, can he sing! In the world of teen-pics, this is what would commonly be known as a meal ticket; in the world of Elvis, this is but his bread and butter. With King Creole, Michael Curtiz follows broodingly in the footsteps of such memorable tales of youthful disaffection and delinquency as Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without a Cause and Elia Kazan's A Streetcar Named Desire, but does so with an approach that is more grim and grifty. Residue from the smouldering, stunning noir films that the director laid his hand to in the years previous, perhaps? While the New Orleans locations here reflect those used to such great effect in the Kazan, it is Ray's film that seems to hold more inspiration. It bears considering that James Dean was intended for the central role here before his untimely death, leading to the transformation of screenplay from boxing picture to musical and subsequent casting of Elvis, whose performance owes no small debt to Dean - and indeed Marlon Brando. Both King Creole and Rebel Without a Cause detail a crisis of young identity and the onrushing fear of premature manhood; more specifically, an inability to identify with or define oneself in relation to an alienating and disappointing father figure.
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“Bisogna essere molto forti per amare la solitudine.” - P.P. Pasolini

WCoF I II IIIL'EtàL'Eau한국88ShadowsBerlin thırd ISOLATIONVistaVision


Wed Mar 04, 2015 6:43 am
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
It's interesting that the film posits his character against what is a hyper-masculinised but also oddly unconventional Japanese male counterpart, too. What was that all about?

I have no idea. :? The Geisha Boy is a genuinely odd film in the Tashlin/Lewis oeuvre. It's kind of a relief, though, in terms of the rhythm of the film. You can just take it as it is and not worry about the usual idiocy-and-its-consequences dynamic.

More! No screenshots for this, the 700mb rip I had is atrocious. (Just picture the Great Dane driving the car, or Jerry in watermelon shoes etc.)

Hollywood or Bust | Frank Tashlin | 1956
Weak. The satiric edge that you find in the best of Tashlin is basically non-existent in this road trip movie, and where a palpable shudder passes through your body as Martin introduces the film welcoming their Oriental viewers, or where they go through New Mexico and we get to see Native Americans dancing: time for Jerry! Or where Martin croons his usual sweet nothings to a girl, and then when she walks away he grabs her, pins her to the ground and has his way with her. Ugh. This would be all very well if we had some semblance of sympathy for the boys, like in Artists and Models, or if the female love interest (Pat Crowley) had as much vitality or ability as MacLaine and Malone, but no. Martin's a no-good gambler, and Lewis is a Rain Man-esque celebrity stalker, intent on meeting Anita Ekberg so he can show her how much he loves her, hence the "Bust" of the title. It also has fake dog paw humour, which is always a negative.
A satire on celebrity fetishisation? Eh, perhaps, but I didn't really get that vibe. On Hollywood. Only in the most asinine and self-congratulatory way. I think it points more to the fact that Tashlin didn't write it, and his inventive wildness, lewd "sophistication" and flights of fancy don't quite mesh with a screenplay that doesn't originate with him. Susan and this have been his weakest, and his least lewd.


Wed Mar 04, 2015 7:42 am
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flieger wrote:
More! No screenshots for this, the 700mb rip I had is atrocious. (Just picture the Great Dane driving the car, or Jerry in watermelon shoes etc.)

Yeah, my rip for this one was pretty bad, too. Don't forget, though:

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“Bisogna essere molto forti per amare la solitudine.” - P.P. Pasolini

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Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:33 pm
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flieger wrote:
On Hollywood. Only in the most asinine and self-congratulatory way.

You're right: I think this is probably the weakest of their films I've seen. Especially the social and political commentary, which seems almost toothless in comparison to something like Artists and Models. It's almost as though they phoned this one in, which I guess leads to the inevitable questions about the duo's relationship at the time. Also, the increased shift by Lewis towards the centre of the stage and directly under the limelight, and Martin to the very edge of it in something of a supporting role. Personally, I've not noticed much in the way of on-screen tension, but the more I read on the subject, the more people seem to be looking for it! (From Chris Fujiwara's book on Lewis)

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“Bisogna essere molto forti per amare la solitudine.” - P.P. Pasolini

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Wed Mar 04, 2015 11:40 pm
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Lewis has often said that it's the only film of his that he's never actually seen, being "too painful to watch".


Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:14 am
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He meant painful cuz he's embarrassed of his behavior onset and how their partnership was deteriorating, not the quality of the movie which he obviously has no idea of

I never liked Artists and Models and think its satire is toothless (and that all of Tashlin's satire is toothless) and liked Hollywood or Bust more. Dino isn't more to the side here than A&M, he's actually got a better balance of wit and charm, not simply cartoon ladykiller+exposition+reactions to Jerry like A&M, also HoB has better songs all around and is more fun/consistent with its road movie structure (even fans of A&M seem to only admire the first half and not like the spy spoof second half - which is the only part I like, haha)


Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:02 am
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wigwam wrote:
He meant painful cuz he's embarrassed of his behavior onset and how their partnership was deteriorating, not the quality of the movie which he obviously has no idea of

yes

wigwam wrote:
I never liked Artists and Models and think its satire is toothless (and that all of Tashlin's satire is toothless) and liked Hollywood or Bust more. Dino isn't more to the side here than A&M, he's actually got a better balance of wit and charm, not simply cartoon ladykiller+exposition+reactions to Jerry like A&M, also HoB has better songs all around and is more fun/consistent with its road movie structure (even fans of A&M seem to only admire the first half and not like the spy spoof second half - which is the only part I like, haha)

I was going to qualify that 4yo review by saying that I'd probably disagree with my old self re. Hollywood or Bust. I seemed a little too adamant to disown HoB in the face of A&M. I dunno, maybe I was in a pissy mood that day. (I'd still probably like A&M more, but probably grow to appreciate HoB a little more, too.)


Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:12 pm
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wigwam wrote:
He meant painful cuz he's embarrassed of his behavior onset and how their partnership was deteriorating, not the quality of the movie which he obviously has no idea of

This would make more sense, though I've come across more stuff citing Martin's "behaviour" rather than Jerry's:

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wigwam wrote:
is that the one from 13 Moons?

Completely missed this when watching it recently, but yes!

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“Bisogna essere molto forti per amare la solitudine.” - P.P. Pasolini

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Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:32 pm
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I mentioned previously the juvenilisation and feminisation of the Lewis persona in Tashlin's The Geisha Boy and Rock-a-Bye Baby, but this is something that goes back to the Martin-Lewis period and Taurog's You're Never Too Young in particular. With his solo pictures, this process is emphasised by placing Lewis alongside a conventionally attractive Hollywood female; whereas in his earlier films there is also the presence of Martin - with his suave demeanor and sonorous voice - to further heighten this juxtaposition. In You're Never Too Young, Lewis takes the role initially played by Ginger Rogers in Billy Wilder's The Major and the Minor (from which this is derived), but thankfully doesn't go to the length of pig tails. Still, there is a sailor suit and a squirt gun and eventually a school: an environment in which Jerry flourishes and Dean desponds. Indeed, while Jerry's scenes with Diana Lynn (who also starred in Wilder's original) and her maternal figure are all pandering and innuendo, his interactions with the youths of the school seem almost genuine in comparison - finally, someone on his level? It might have been nice to consider Martin's role here as a gym teacher as some explanation for his character's weary patience in the face of his partner's antics, but alas, his presence is reduced to something almost tangential - a helpless, apologetic parent being led a merry dance, who eventually simply shrugs his shoulders and steps aside.
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“Bisogna essere molto forti per amare la solitudine.” - P.P. Pasolini

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Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:43 pm
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I can't count how many times I've seen this before: the motif of the black artist juxtaposed next to the white artist; one an organic and creative force defined by improvisation, the other a classically trained case hampered by naivety. In Melville Shavelson's The Five Pennies, it is Louis Armstrong and Danny Kaye that assume these respective roles, though Armstrong was also used in High Society (and Paris Blues, if I recall?) for a similarly limited purpose. Kaye plays legendary but little-known cornet player Loring "Red" Nichols, and in this particular scene becomes intoxicated enough to take to the stage and inevitably fluff his self-granted moment of fame. Cue the gravelly insults from Armstrong: "Don't look back, or you'll be trampled to death", but Nichols eventually impresses and is granted masculine legitimacy as a result. As a biopic, The Five Pennies does suffer somewhat from a decision to stew prolongedly in its own tragedy: much more of the film is dedicated to Nichols' difficulties to find work and make ends meet for his young family; with a significant portion set aside for his daughter's later battle with polio. There are some cute efforts to turn this tragedy into comedy, as he shuffles through increasingly artificial radio/television appearances where he plays everything from an Eskimo to a Cossack and even a genuine Canadian Mountie - though, these ultimately come off as awkward. A shame, since Nichols seems like a fascinating character whose life and work perhaps deserves a more comprehensive biopic.
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“Bisogna essere molto forti per amare la solitudine.” - P.P. Pasolini

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Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:21 am
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Pardners | Norman Taurog | 1956

Sons of themselves as fathers - grey-haired ranchers who are amusedly murdered in the first minutes - Lewis is the domesticated son of a rich matriarch, and Martin is still on the ranch. One has a real horse, the other an electric equivalent feeding his dreams in his bedroom, his only sanctuary from Agnes Moorehead. The rest is essentially Son of Paleface without the Tashlin aesthetic and the enormous body parts of the stars.
The last year, and with this and Tashlin's Hollywood or Bust, Lewis' vigorously earnest retard-ation strains the established dynamics of the relationship as far as it can bend. "You can't ride a horse? You can't spin a rope? It's a cinch you can't use guns… you're impossible." Lewis stutters: "Are we… are we still pardners?" The smooth polish of their partnership keeps things going in a notably screwy way, with Martin breaking furniture and going proto-Rio Bravo on a shack, while Lewis falls for a whore and gives a whistle like The Bellboy. Things are coming together while they fall apart.


Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:38 am
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Critical emphasis on Tashlin's satire is probably overdone. I mean, it's definitely there, but for me it's not the main thing of my favorite of his films. More to my speed is the strange melancholy of some of his efforts, like Rock-a-Bye Baby, Cinderfella and Disorderly Orderly.

I have probably made this post already.


Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:32 am
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i think thats Jerry not Tashlin tho, look how unmelancholy his stuff w/o him is


Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:50 am
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yeah, i know. but i think Tashlin helps balance out Lewis' maudlin side pretty well (minus The Geisha Boy).


Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:54 am
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yeah theyre probly best together (minus Geisha Boy) and if theres lots of solo jerry i love i think he learned his best stuff from Tashlin


Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:03 am
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flieger wrote:
The last year, and with this and Tashlin's Hollywood or Bust, Lewis' vigorously earnest retard-ation strains the established dynamics of the relationship as far as it can bend. "You can't ride a horse? You can't spin a rope? It's a cinch you can't use guns… you're impossible." Lewis stutters: "Are we… are we still pardners?"

Yeah, I kind of wish I'd have seen this one after reading up on the history of their relationship, since the film probably becomes a different one as a result. With each interaction gaining some kind of sub-reading, or taking on some kind of symbolic significance when considered in the context of their off-screen partnership. It's fascinating that Lewis so often plays the inferior figure defined by inability, when as you say, his presence in the creation of the film is obviously a lot more layered and one imagines holds more responsibility.

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“Bisogna essere molto forti per amare la solitudine.” - P.P. Pasolini

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Fri Mar 13, 2015 5:35 am
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The 1950s saw an increased, though almost tentative turn in British comedy towards the gleeful lampooning of stiff, traditional institutions and all that they stood for at the time. While the iconic Carry On films reserved their scattered barbs for a whole range of authoritative, self-important presences including the military and police, the Doctor series instead looked to skewer one profession alone: that of the medical persuasion, though the humour is much more polite in comparison. As the first British feature filmed in VistaVision, Doctor at Sea was supposed to elaborate and build upon the great success found with Doctor in the House - parent to a further five sequels after this one - but instead dwindles into relative incoherence and empty farce. As Penelope Houston justly maintains, the film "relies less on a coherent narrative than on a series of more or less comic episodes, anecdotally strung together"; with the jokes belonging to "a decidedly inferior order." What interests me more about this one is the way in which women are perceived, and the respective role of each gender. As we've seen with Jerry Lewis, here Dirk Bogarde's eponymous protagonist is presented as something of an affable, emasculated figure; one afraid of the opposite sex, typically portrayed here (in the shapely shape of Brigitte Bardot) as sexually pragmatic predators to be admired from a distance but avoided up close.
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“Bisogna essere molto forti per amare la solitudine.” - P.P. Pasolini

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Fri Mar 13, 2015 6:06 am
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Russell Crowe likes his drink.

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Fri Mar 13, 2015 6:16 am
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That's James Robertson Justice!

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Fri Mar 13, 2015 2:56 pm
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So, who else is up for watching some stuff this weekend?


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Sat Mar 14, 2015 12:21 am
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Continuing on from the previous point about the portrayal of women in the popular Doctor series, I'd agree to an extent with Janet Thumim who describes it as "reactionary in the extreme"; that they are typically described as "either subservient or predatory, a problem or a joke." She goes on to outline how they are often used to partner Bogarde, but are "rarely, if ever, of interest in themselves"; that they do invite empathy on the part of a female audience, but only "in order to participate in the pleasures of Bogarde's charming naivety apropos the politics of gender, or in the delights of his apparent passivity or vulnerability." This is even more evident in Doctor at Large than the previous two films in the series, for it doesn't tie down the bumbling Sparrow to any one place or setting, instead allowing him to roam the country lanes and high streets of England as an unmoored, bewildered bachelor. In many ways, this and the Carry On films also say a lot about the changing state of the traditional male during the 1950s, his various responsibilities or lack thereof. Sarah Street speaks of the threat to this role as posed by "the welfare state ethos with the nuclear family as its backbone", and Peter Hutchings points out how the series takes the new man and seeks to "trivialise and diminish him through humour and ridicule."
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“Bisogna essere molto forti per amare la solitudine.” - P.P. Pasolini

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Sat Mar 14, 2015 5:41 am
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Oh, I thought you meant Doctor Who, sorry.


Sat Mar 14, 2015 5:52 am
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These Doctor movies do look interesting from an "I could write a thesis on it" perspective.


Sat Mar 14, 2015 5:53 am
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They are rather shallow, though there's a fair bit to be gleaned with the advantage of hindsight: gender roles in particular, with women generally overlooked in favour of a bachelor lifestyle that objectifies them. Or at least, that reduces them to primitive creatures obsessed with sex or marriage, but rarely ever good at anything besides. And I find it fascinating the role that Bogarde plays in all of this: his protagonist is key here in that he is non-threatening to both male viewers and characters; a good old chap who would rather play the field than settle down. And at the same time is apparently irresistible for both female viewers and characters - something that Thumim claims is a male fantasy about masculine desirability to women. And all of this without considering his sexual orientation in real life!

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“Bisogna essere molto forti per amare la solitudine.” - P.P. Pasolini

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Sat Mar 14, 2015 6:47 am
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raise your kid


Sat Mar 14, 2015 6:50 am
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Hey, I left you some microwave ramen and a rented copy of The Taste of Tea.

Besides, you're old enough to look after yourself!

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Sat Mar 14, 2015 6:53 am
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Actually, today we went scootering and bought MLP merch.

What else is there to parenting? What else is there to life?

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Sat Mar 14, 2015 7:04 am
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One thing that stood out for me upon this recent revisiting of John Ford's The Searchers was the director's use of doorways and frames: a visual motif that runs throughout, used largely to represent some kind of threshold or transition between the different worlds and perspectives seen in the film - the inclusion of some, the exclusion of others. And it is a motif that one might say is constructed from the opening credits, where the titles appear superimposed upon a brown brick wall. Considering this image outside of its context, it is somewhat odd to find what is a quintessential western where the credits do not dissolve in and out over some expansive, dusty panorama. A brick wall represents quite the opposite, in fact - confinement rather then freedom, man-made rather than natural - and seems in this case to be referring to the state of John Wayne's Ethan, who finds no place within the borders of the domestic realm. This is further emphasised later on, when we see him look into the family abode through not one but two doorways, as though his distance from said realm is almost insurmountable. As the film opens, we see a woman emerge from a doorway and out into the shade of the porch; away from the glaring sun, and leaning upon a wooden pillar - structure and support. As the film closes, it is Ethan that takes her place within the doorway, but his movement and demeanour is quite different. It seems almost idle, but at the same time restless, and we come to realise that the character is ultimately doomed to be left lonely and sequestered.
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“Bisogna essere molto forti per amare la solitudine.” - P.P. Pasolini

WCoF I II IIIL'EtàL'Eau한국88ShadowsBerlin thırd ISOLATIONVistaVision


Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:01 am
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