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Posts tagged ‘classic film’

Elmer Gantry: A Reason To Get Up In The Morning

By , 31 January, 2012, No Comment

I just discovered that one of my favorite films, Elmer Gantry (1960), will be on TCM today, Tuesday, January 31, 6:00 AM (ET). I’m going to be up to watch it because I haven’t yet purchased the DVD.

Starring Jean Simmons and Burt Lancaster (who won an Oscar for his role as Elmer Gantry), this is a powerful film about faith and fanaticism, foibles and fairness — but above all, it’s character-driven story about human character. It’s the best combination of issues to chew on and characters to consider, long after the film is over.

I love those sorts of stories.

Shirley Jones Seducing Burt Lancaster

In terms of fashion, the spotlight is on Shirley Jones (who also won an Oscar for her role of Lulu Bains) in classic lingerie, most notably visible in the scene in which Lulu attempts to seduce and shame Elmer. (Click the link to watch!)

What may have begun as the vengeful opportunistic act of a lover scorned (deflowered and left to prostitution) is quickly shown to be more complicated, exposing more than unfinished business but unrequited feelings between the two.

It’s brilliant stuff, really. Not what many may expect from the Shirley Jones they remember from The Partridge Family or know from musicals (although I cry every time I see Carousel).

But if you watch Elmer Gantry, this is precisely the sort of thing you learn to refrain from. For Jones’ performance as Lulu (as layered as anyone else’s in the movie), should teach you to look beneath the surface, what you think you know. The perceptions of “who and what Shirley Jones is” that the viewer brings to this classic film is, in this case, a layer of experience that only adds to this film.

Comedic Advice From Silent Film

By , 5 February, 2010, No Comment

At the Silent Film Archive, I found this scan of an article in the June 1926 issue of The Home Movie Journal, by Raymond Griffith, titled What People Laugh at and What They Don’t.

Page From June 1926 issue of The Home Movie Journal

Page From June 1926 issue of The Home Movie Journal

In this article you’ll find not only the golden keys to comedy, but proof that silent film comedies weren’t made merely of cheap simple sight gags like slipping on banana peels — in fact, the reason why I’ve never found slipping on bananas is actually mentioned in this article:

we even laugh when a man slips on a banana peel although that is not a healthy laugh for the next moment we realize he may have suffered real injury.

In my humble opinion, when you read this old article, you’ll see where many of today’s comedies, comedians, sitcoms, and cartoons have gone wrong; rather than focusing on discomfort and shared embarrassments, much of today’s comedic productions are just simply mean.

Comedies must be clean and wholesome. That is very important. We may laugh at the joke of a comedy situation that is off-color, but we don’t mean it. The laugh is no more sincere when the cause is the man slipping and falling on a banana peel.

You can see and read the rest of the article here — I hope you do, and that you’ll let me know your thoughts.

My Small World Of Gigantic Film Epics

By , 28 December, 2009, No Comment

With all the bustle of holidays, my film friends and I have had a terrible time getting together for our usual movie watching. I myself have even had little time for solo sofa loafing and watching films; hence the lack of film posts recently. But hubby and I did manage to watch TCM’s A Night at the Movies: The Gigantic World of Epics.

The special discussed Hollywood’s “biggest screen spectaculars,” from the genre’s beginnings to how the genre fell out of favor in the ’70s and ’80s — and how epics were recently reborn with films like The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Gladiator, Braveheart, etc. What I really learned was how few of the classic film epics I really have seen.

Of all the films covered, I’ve only seen Gone with the Wind, The Ten Commandments, and Samson & Delilah. Hubby fared far worse, having only seen exactly zero of the films mentioned, despite a college course on classic film history. (Maybe that’s because in ’93, epics were still out of vogue?) In any case, I decided my movie watching gal pals and I would have to select a few epics and schedule them for our Classic Schmassic film nights.

On my list are The Birth of a Nation, Doctor Zhivago, Ben-Hur, Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and On the Waterfront (which has been on my list because of Brando in Street Car). But my first choice may just be Cleopatra.

Cleopatra: The Downfall Of Epic Films

Cleopatra: The Downfall Of Epic Films

Not just because it’s an epic, but because, like Let’s Make Love, I’ve preconceived notions — and wish to protect Marilyn. Simply put, I’ve avoided this last of the epic films because of the epic film history behind it: Cleopatra was sucking the studio dry, so studio execs (fearful that Elizabeth Taylor would walk off set, sending the film and studio further into the sinkhole) used Marilyn Monroe as the whipping girl for film and film star extravagance. Maybe now it’s time to finally watch Cleopatra and judge it as a film.

But I’ll have to see how the other girls in my group feel.

TCM’s own page for the documentary is sans input and your’s truly feels too sheepish to write a synopsis (let alone a review) of documentary of classic films — especially as she’s seen so few of the films under discussion. But Mike Hale at The New York Times has posted what I think is a good review of The Gigantic World of Epics.

I could be biased though, because Hale starts his article off naming Turner Classic Movies as his favorite television channel and ends his article with what I call the proper sentiments regarding acknowledging TCM’s value:

They probably would have also been amused at the notion that within half a century, work like theirs would need preserving — that a television channel would be devoted to it, like an around-the-clock museum. We should all take a moment to look up from our cellphone screens and give thanks.

I do thank TCM. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to try before I buy movies, nor would I know about a majority of films to put on my ‘to watch’ lists. Including epics.

Elle’s “Women In Hollywood Issue” (Vintage Film Fashions!)

By , 9 November, 2009, No Comment

The November issue of Elle magazine (along with it’s ever-increasing holiday push) is focused on women in Hollywood, including a list of “the 63 most loved and feared in the biz.”

Elle's The Women In Hollywood Issue, November 2009

Elle's The Women In Hollywood Issue, November 2009

If you’re a modern movie maven, you’ll love this issue (even if you take issue with some of the selections — I know I always do with lists, as you’ll soon see!).

And if you’re a classic film fan or a vintage glamour fashionista, you’re sure to love this issue’s Elle Shops, a Fashion In Film Countdown of “monochromatic stunners inspired by our favorite black-and-white films.” Even if only giving it an ‘A’ for effort.

(Remember, you can click the images to see much larger scans!)

In at #10, From Here To Eternity, focused on vintage-styled beach & resort wear.

Elle: From Here To Eternity

Elle: From Here To Eternity

Number 9 is Paper Moon; I’m not much of a ‘tomboy,’ but I’m completely smitten with the sweet Chloé by Hannah MacGibbon silk linen jacket.

Elle: Paper Moon

Elle: Paper Moon

At #8, Swing Time, featuring a few little white ruffled blouses in the tuxedo-inspired pieces.

Elle: Swing Time

Elle: Swing Time

Raging Bull is in at #7. Again, it’s not my style — and I haven’t seen the film.

Elle: Raging Bull

Elle: Raging Bull

At # 6, Shanghai Express; the Dolce & Gabbana goat-fur coat is just one of those pieces I’d have to try on to see if it would be fab or fug… Plus, I’m more than a bit ambivalent about fur; I only own vintage fur pieces.

Elle: Shanghai Express

Elle: Shanghai Express

Some Like It Hot is in at #5. I hate-hate-hate it when folks say you get the look of a film by wearing clothing with the star’s image printed onto the fabric of a dress or t-shirt or whatever. That’s not the look or style of the film; it’s crass celebrity commercialism. And the white cotton Phillip Lim dress covered in golden sequins is so not that film.

Elle: Some Like It Hot

Elle: Some Like It Hot

For Philadelphia Story (number 4 on the list), the Elle staff seems to have missed the entire fashion story here… Katharine Hepburn’s look wasn’t, as they say, about “demure dresses and menswear-inspired shapes.” It was about refined femininity and very fine tailoring. I don’t think a single piece shown here (save for, perhaps, the Paule Ka dress) would please either actress Hepburn or costumer Adrian.

Elle: Philadelphia Story

Elle: Philadelphia Story

In at #3, is A Hard Day’s Night. I would have thought there’s be more truly mod looks here, but…

Elle: A Hard Day's Night

Elle: A Hard Day's Night

Casablanca is in at #2, and I am under-whelmed.

Elle: Casablanca

Elle: Casablanca

Elle Shops #1 fashion film story is The Wizard Of Oz. I don’t know where to begin here… I think they’ve taken great liberties with the look & feel of the film. And what on earth is up with all the unappealing tie-dye-esque stuff on the far right?

Elle: The Wizard Of Oz

Elle: The Wizard Of Oz

Now it’s your turn — do you agree with me, or with Elle?

Lessons In Vertigo (Hitchcock’s Vertigo, That Is!)

By , 22 September, 2009, 3 Comments

Vertigo (1958), with James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is another “classic film” you may have heard so much about that you’ve possibly avoided it — but that’s not its only problem.

Now 51 years old, Vertigo is a film which has long been playing on late night on television — a position that puts films into the easily dismissed pile, not only for its too-frequent showings, but an air time left to insomniacs and after-bar munchies-eating persons who turn TV on for some noise once back in a too-quiet house. The results are that a film that most people know is a called a classic is now either too old and junky to watch or a film they’ve seen bits & pieces of and were unimpressed.

Sadly, my previous viewings of Vertigo were of the post-bar & trying to fall asleep variety and so were admittedly hampered. While I knew I wasn’t giving the film a proper viewing, I was very bored. For this reason, when my movie club suggested Vertigo, I wrinkled my nose — but once it was suggested as a Classic Schmassic, I had no way out.

Vertigo Film Poster

Vertigo Film Poster

Vertigo is a rather stylish movie, but it moves slowly…

One one hand, you have lovely details — both for fans of vintage and character points for story lovers. (Early on I was most in love with Bel Geddes who, despite her often poorly written lines, earnestly tugs are your heartstrings; the lack of sexual tension made utterly clear as Stewart takes a look at lingerie artist/designer Bel Geddes’ work.)

Stewart Doesn't Seem To Care About Bel Geddes' Bra

Stewart Doesn't Seem To Care About Bel Geddes' Bra

But on the other, you can’t help but feel a bit impatient for the famous Hitchcock to get going. And even when Hitchcock does get going there are problems.

Novak Clutching Stewart in Vertigo

Novak Clutching Stewart in Vertigo

First, there was the fact that I knew we, as an audience, have become much more sophisticated in our mystery-suspense movie watching. No, it’s not that we wanted more special effects and higher body counts (as if!), but I figured even my 9 year old would figure out the secret identity switcher-roo and basic plot premise. I’m not boasting that my children are gifted; simply too experienced with (and perhaps even jaded by) mystery and suspense films (and books) today to not guess the plot. Maybe audiences back then were too, maybe this was Hitchcock’s intent; I don’t know and I leave such matters to film critics and the like. But I do know that once I got my kids past the slowly unfolding story to a plot they could easily guess, they’d be bored.

This leads us to the second problem.

After the slow-moving pace and the spoon-fed clues, Hitchcock suddenly jerks us like a fish in a line. Stewart is in the mental ward; then he’s out of it. Me and my film-watching friends asked, “Is he dreaming this?” “Is he out?” “Is he out of the ward or out of his mind?”

Stewart is both.

Out of the hospital and out of his mind, Stewart can’t stop looking for the girl he believes is dead, finding Novak’s face and figure in nearly every woman he sees. When he finds her, he doesn’t seem any less crazy because while we know it’s Novak he doesn’t — yet he forces this woman to dress and look like the doomed lady he loves.

Key Players In Vertigo: Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak Times-Two

Key Players In Vertigo: Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak Times-Two

As a woman, these scenes are very uncomfortable to watch and Stewart goes from poor dupe to manipulative, controlling, and abusive boyfriend.

Like how Bel Geddes was just dropped from the film, it may all be done to swing audience favor from Stewart to Novak; but it’s not pretty. Watching Novak be transformed is not a blossoming; it is not movie magic reuniting lovers; it is disturbing and creepy and misogynistic.

And then, when Stewart realizes how he’s been duped, he doesn’t feel pity towards Novak. His anger, aggression and abuse may be the catalyst for curring the very acrophobia which led to his victimization, but it’s not healing; this too is ugly.

Perhaps Stewart would have come around, could have come around (as we the audience would have if we were clued in on a few things, such as the plot holes), but what happens next left all of us sputtering. It wasn’t mere surprise at a (finally) unexpected film twist — it just didn’t seem to make any sense.

“Did his film budget run out?”
“Did we miss something in the back story — all those spoon-fed bread-crumbs?”
“Are we dumb?”

A serious WTF? movie moment — and then the film ends.

My first thought whilst writing a review of Vertigo in my head was, “Watch it and be surprised!” but while actually writing this review, I find myself feeling cheated. And angry. Should a sudden and inexplicable WTF? ending equate to a good mystery and/or suspense? Can you call a film “classic” when the mystery and suspense are so out of character and random that it feels slapped-together?

When the film was originally released, theatre goers didn’t care for Hitchcock’s Vertigo; but since then, film critics have lauded the film classic status, placing it on Top 100 and even Top 10 lists. These film critics have said that audiences didn’t understand the film, didn’t appreciate Hitchcock’s work. But I think the original audiences had it right and that the film critics wrap Hitchcock’s status around the film and make it something it’s not.

Bel Geddes Tries To Make Herself Something She's Not

Bel Geddes Tries To Make Herself Something She's Not

Stewart did a fine job of making himself unlikable (no easy task); Novak may never have done such fine dramatic work as she beautifully did in her two complicated roles; and Bel Geddes was (surprisingly to those of us who only knew her as the aged matriarch of TV’s Dallas) simply heartbreakingly wonderful as the taken-for-granted-girl-who-is-a friend-but-not-a-girlfriend. Had Hitchcock only crafted a real ending that made sense — or left us some of those giant bread crumbs to follow into whatever madness he was thinking — Vertigo could have been good, grand even…

As it is, I suspect you’d have to be a male to look past the creepy misogyny and slapped-on ending to appreciate Vertigo; this is one classic I’m still calling a schmassic.

Listen To Busby Berkeley?!

By , 16 July, 2009, No Comment

If this isn’t the strangest, most ironic record album…

Hooray For Hollywood, The Golden-Age of the Hollywood Musical Companion Volume, “Musical Numbers Created And Directed By Busby Berkeley.”

Hooray For Hollywood Album Cover

Hooray For Hollywood Album Cover

A Busby Berkeley billed musical recording? Of course I snapped up the retro vinyl — but Berekely’s lavish, lush and sometimes lewd choreography sure isn’t seen on an LP!

A United Artists record (UA-LA361-H-0798 Mono, copyright 1975), it comes with a 16 page booklet (the full size of the sleeve!) with lots of photos and brief information on the musical numbers, songs and film. Certainly delightful — and the music is fine (though my personal copy has a few “skips,” so I am going to have to clean it better and see if I can improve things), but just the idea of audio sufficing for the splendor of a Busby Berekely production is still too funny.

Even if you have an excellent memory and want to close your eyes as you listen to the music & remember the glamour and spectacle of Berkeley’s sequences, they will pale in comparison; nothing, not even your vivid imagination, compares to seeing the incredible art of Busby Berkeley. He’s just too magical.

The record contains the original soundtrack recordings — and if you love these old movies, you’ll love hearing them.

Songs Side A:

1. Introduction — The Busby Berkeley Girls Medley: Blue Moon, I’m Like A Fish Out Of Water, Hooray For Hollywood/Johnnie “Scat” Davis, Frances Langford

2. I’m Going Shopping With You, The Words Are In My Heart/Dick Powell

3. You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me/Bebe Daniels

4. The Lady In Red/Winifred Shaw

5. All’s Fair In Love & War/Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, Lee Dixon, Rosalind Marquis

Songs Side B:

1. Young & Healthy, Shuffle Off To Buffalo/Ruby Keeler, Clarence Nordstrum, Una Merkel, Ginger Rogers

2. Don’t Say Goodnight/Dick Powell

3. Young & Healthy/Dick Powell

4. Spin A Little Web Of Dreams/Veree Teasdale

5. Dames

6. Dames/Dick Powell

However, the record itself has, on side B, what can only be called a Berkeley-inspired idea: a circle of ladies who will spin on your turntable!

Busby Berkeley For Your Turntable!

Busby Berkeley For Your Turntable!

High-Five Friday: Vintage Fashion & Film Edition

By , 9 July, 2009, No Comment

Another High-Five Friday!

1. Your Momma Wears Capri Pants, a feminist fashion history lesson including Audrey Hepburn (and some snark) at Kitsch-Slapped.

2. Find a fabulous celebration of two years of vintage film posts at Out Of The Past — congrats, Raquelle!

3. Antique Jewelry – Investment and Fashion at Central Kentucky Antiques and Collectibles.

4. Clifford Aliperti, of Vintage Meld, is also the NY Classic Films Examiner, so add that to your list of usual haunts.

5. The 3rd edition of the New Vintage Reviews Carnival, where “old stuff” (vintage film included!) is reviewed monthly, is out and if you’ve got something to share, you can submit your own posts (or those you find elsewhere) via the carnival submission form for the next editions.

Monday Movie Meme: Trauma In Your Drama?

By , 15 June, 2009, 3 Comments

This week’s Monday Movie Meme is all about trauma — and the minute I read it I knew just what I was going to say!

Just this past weekend, the girls & I in film club watched Easy Rider (1969) for our latest Classic Schmassic screening and, because there’s very little glamour and fashion to discuss, I wasn’t sure I’d mention it here… But now I have an excuse *wink*

Easy Rider was an easy choice for our Classic Schmassic viewing because it’s not only a film we’ve all heard glorified so much (it’s a “touchstone for a generation,” the start of “mockumentaries,” etc.) but it’s such a “male film” (motorcycles, traveling by two cross country — something even today that two women would be too vulnerable to do, and more motorcycles) that we all wrinkled our noses when the title was suggested; the collective nose wrinkling made it mandatory viewing.

For the first, what, quarter? half? of the movie, I (and the rest of the film club) were bored out of our minds. The two main leads, Peter Fonda as Wyatt & Dennis Hopper as Billy, were not particularly likable to us; selling drugs is not as glamorous to women who have children, and then there’s the rather sexist regard of women (no matter how accurate, it’s not likable). The trip itself makes some commentary on “others in our society,” both conservative powers that be (“The Man”) and those living on the fringe (sometimes supposedly “Utopian”); but we just found ourselves faced with further dislike of the characters (who really didn’t know how good they had it). It was becoming intolerable to watch (exhibited by our increasing talk) — and then Jack Nicholson appeared on screen (as George Hanson).

The Boys On Bikes In Easy Rider

The Boys On Bikes In Easy Rider

Easy Rider is supposed to be the movie that made Nicholson a star, so matter what your thoughts on him (and in my film club, they vary to the least flattering thoughts you can imagine!), you are sort of compelled to see what the fuss was about. As good as Nicholson is (and we all agreed that he was good here), even his charming performance wasn’t quite turning this movie into something we were all glued to.

We were anxious, shifting in our seats, trying not to talk when we desperately wanted to entertain ourselves somehow, when finally one scene pulled us all in.

It’s the scene were the three guys stop to eat in a Louisiana restaurant. Here we actually found a level of unpleasant realism which made us shift in our seats for completely different reasons; it was the sort of extreme vulnerability that we’d each felt at one time or another — the sort of fear which keeps us from trying to travel cross country in such small numbers.

This kept us riveted to the movie from then on.

And once engaged, we were shocked with what happened next.

I won’t tell you what it was. Doing so would be more than a spoiler; it would completely destroy your viewing of the film.

Part of our shock was wondering how we’d each managed not to know this about the film… Had everyone who talked about the film provided the same “non spoiler” respect? Was most of the chatter about this film perpetuated by those who had never even seen it? Or had each of us been living under rocks?

In any case, from that moment on we were in shock — the medical kind. We were cold, some of us were shaking, and we were aware that other things were happening on the screen — but we weren’t quite sure if we were seeing them or interpreting them right.

By the time we got to the doing drugs with hookers (played by Karen Black and Toni Basil) in the cemetery scene, we were already feeling disjointed and confused…

Perhaps the DVD spiked our Diet Cokes? We sure felt like we were on a trip.

But the movie doesn’t end there; and neither did our trauma. Again, I won’t go into details; if you’ve managed not to know the entire plot, I won’t be responsible for ruining it. Instead, I’d much rather be responsible for encouraging you to stop resisting this film. Easy Rider, for all it’s bluster & bluff, is legendary stuff.

Just don’t drive any deserted roads alone. Not after viewing — maybe not ever.

Easy Rider is one move that I can safely dub as Most Traumatic Film I’ve Seen.  I’ve cried more, I’ve been more depressed, I’ve been angrier; but I’ve never physically suffered from shock from a film before.

Forbidden Wellman

By , 26 March, 2009, No Comment
Forbidden Hollywood Collection Volume Three

Forbidden Hollywood Collection Volume Three

Those of us utterly engaged by Pre-Code movies are excited this week by Turner Classic Movies and Warner Home Video’s latest release: the third volume in Forbidden Hollywood Collection series.

The four-disc set contains six films, all by William Wellman — who is vastly becoming one of my favorite directors. The films are: Other Men’s Women (1931), The Purchase Price (1932), Frisco Jenny (1932), Heroes for Sale (1933), Midnight Mary (1933) and Wild Boys of the Road (1933). (Of the films, I’ve only seen The Purchase Price, Frisco Jenny, Heroes for Sale and part of Midnight Mary when it was on TCM the other night. I’ll discuss them more in depth later; for now, I’m just excited to have them all available on DVD.)

Also included in the DVD box set are two documentaries on Wellman (Todd Robinson’s Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick and Richard Schickel’s The Men Who Made the Movies: William Wellman) which are much appreciated because Wellman has been vastly under-appreciated as far as Hollywood goes, because the director was not known for playing Hollywood politics properly. But that’s largely why Wellman’s work is so fantastic.

Unafraid of telling stories that were relevant to the times, he focused social issues such as prostitution, adultery and drug addiction, and the real moral questions (as opposed to “morality plays”) surrounding poverty, service and good will — issues that largely are still with us today. So it’s easy to see why Wellman made his great films before the Hay’s code (The Motion Picture Production Code), when movie making was nearly restricted to concise, predictable, rather unimaginative and predictable stories. (This is not to say that all films made after the code was instituted in 1934 are bad; but too often it is easy to see where stories were bent to the will of The Code.)

William Wellman Jr., instrumental in the release of his father’s films for this collection, was interviewed at The London Free Press where he had this to say about his father’s reaction to :

“He didn’t like the fact the the Code came in because he thought that the pictures — at least the ones he was making, even though they were risque in some sense — were still quality pictures,” Wellman Jr. says. “He felt that they were real. He didn’t like the Code coming in and then they started having to make all these changes. Of course, the filmmakers were always trying to work around it and get something through that maybe they weren’t supposed to.

“But he loved that era (the Pre-Code days). That was his favourite era.”

That era is my favorite too; and that’s largely due to Wellman’s films.

Don’t You Sometimes Hate Yourself?

By , 19 March, 2009, No Comment

Recently I posted about my movie watching group and how we were going to push past preconceptions regarding certain films and watch them — finally. This past week was our first effort and we watched “my” former rejection, Sunset Boulevard (1950).

I’d previously rejected this film because I thought I knew it. That most-mocked line from the (nearly) final scene, “Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up,” has become such an over-used quip that I shuddered when people dropped (forced) the cliched line into conversation. But I was more than bored with the film…

The parodies of Gloria Swanson as Sunset Boulevard‘s Norma Desmond, the aged and forgotten silent movie star who lives in the past, have so permeated pop culture that I actually thought of Gloria as that character. Sure, I thought she was beautiful, but I just knew Gloria had failed when the talkies came out just as her character, Norma, had.

One of the first times I’d ever seen such a parody of the film was when I was a youngster. It was Carol Burnett and her non-too-cleverly-disguised ‘Nora Desmond’ character.

From then on, every parody, quote, reference and mere suggestion of the film’s possible reference made me sigh with boredom.

And when I suggested it to my movie group, there were sighs all around; all of them had done their best to avoid this film too, and none were happy to have it suggested. Ah, the perfect film for our project then, ey? *wink*

Oh, the poetic justice then, that each and every one of us (six women), fell in love with the film.

And Gloria Swanson? Oh, honey do I owe you an apology! You were brilliant!

I’d tell you more about the film and our reactions, but that would be yet another tired review of a film you thought you knew. And I have no desire to do that — to you, or the film. I’d much rather prefer that you just knew that the lot of us ashamedly ate our hats; and I invite you, encourage you, to do the same.


Oh, and if you or someone you know has been avoiding film noir, our group decided that this would be the perfect film to pop your noir cherry. One of the many delights of Sunset Boulevard is the sublime, nearly perverse, sense of humor which adds the perfect edge to what some fear is the “all melodramatic gloom all the time” that is film noir. (Note: Neither myself not the other members of my film group dislike film noir or feel that’s a fair statement; but that’s the sort of comment we hear from noir nay-sayers, and so we’d like to offer this movie up as a very enjoyable entre to the genre.)

Now, just go watch Sunset Blvd. You’ll be glad you did.

PS The title of this post comes from a great line in the movie:

Betty Schaefer: Don’t you sometimes hate yourself?
Joe Gillis: Constantly.