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don't ask for the moon

Is Ju Ju's bear-eared (because he is actually a bear) lookalike in danger of assassination? Say it ain't so! He's so cool! Also his name, hilariously, is Knut.

Yesterday a friend and I had an afternoon of melodrama, in which we watched Now Voyager and a totally awesome and amazingly camp film called Leave Her to Heaven, which I had shamefully never even heard of before. But it ruled! Especially because the characters moved from house to house throughout the film, each of which was even cooler than the last. We were particularly taken by their rustic retreat, Back o' the Moon (which, as I sniggeringly pointed out during the viewing, sounds kind of dirty), which featured lots of levels and cosy nooks, but the fancy New Mexico retreat was rather rocking too. Why doesn't someone invent a hotel whose rooms are reproductions of fantastic rooms from films? I know I'd stay there. Anyway, I heartily recommend holding a melodrama afternoon to anyone suffering from the "I thought Spring had arrived and had put away my gloves and scarves and now it's snowing" blues. Who cares about the weather when you've got Gene Tierney chatting someone up by telling him that he looks extraordinarily like her father, to whom she was always unnaturally close, or Bette Davis sporting what appear to be Groucho Marx's eyebrows and adopting a (frankly vile) neurotic child? And then there's the lighting-two-fags-at-once trick. And Gene Tierney's magical make-up that survives several minutes of swimming under water. And did I mention Bette's eyebrows? Pure magic!


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 20th, 2007 11:21 am (UTC)
I love love love both of those movies.

Did you notice the color in Leave Her to Heaven? It was shot with the Technicolor three strip camera, which is why the blues and reds are so vivid. Same technique that was used for The Wizard of Oz. I love those old color saturated films.

If you really really want melodrama, you must explore the films of Douglas Sirk. There's loads of subtext in them as well. I highly recommend: Imitation of Life, All That Heaven Allows, Magnificent Obsession, and Written on the Wind. Oh the humanity!
Mar. 20th, 2007 11:27 am (UTC)
It really was particularly garish, wasn't it? I particularly liked Gene Tierney's seemingly permanent make-up.

I love Sirk's films! In fact, our melodrama fest was inspired by the fact that we'd both watched three of those you mentioned relatively recently and thought it would be fun to watch similarly dramatic movies together (I watched Written on the Wind on my own, and it would have been even funnier if someone had been there to share the hilarity of the mambo of death scene...). I haven't actually seen All That Heaven Allows, though - I must see if I can find it on DVD. A new Sirk box set has just been released, but it's really expensive, alas.
Mar. 20th, 2007 11:38 am (UTC)
You can also indulge in Todd Haynes's Far From Heaven, an homage to Sirk that takes all that subtext and makes it text. I am so glad you already know about Sirk's work. Yay!

Yeah, they were garish, but I really liked that. Scorsese, in making The Aviator, used or recreated the color techniques specific to the era of Hughes's life in which they were filming. That's why the beginning of his affair with Hepburn is so super saturated with color. I thought it was great, and it really delighted the film geek in me.

Of course, there's like, 90% of Joan Crawford's movies too: Johnny Guitar, Mildred Pierce... oh man, there are just too many of them. One of my favorites is The Women with Crawford and Shearer, definitely the best version.
Mar. 20th, 2007 11:39 am (UTC)
Oh, and don't forget Barbara Stanwyck. Truly one of the greats, and not just in melodrama.
Mar. 20th, 2007 11:43 am (UTC)
I love The Women! Actually, I have searched high and low for a jpeg of Rosalind Russell knitting in the fashion show scene for LJ icon-making purposes (what does it say that I look at cool scenes in films and automatically think "ah, LJ icon!"?), but to no avail (I can't take screen shots from DVDs on my iBook).

I loved the use of colour in The Aviator too, especially the way it changed subtly as the film went on. And there is indeed something cool about that vintage garishness.

I have been meaning to watch Far From Heaven ever since it came out - I'd appreciate it even more now that I've seen the original Sirks.
Mar. 20th, 2007 01:13 pm (UTC)
I have a freeware program called DVD Capture, which I got from VersionTracker, that allegedly will do screen caps. I say allegedly because I haven't actually used it yet. But, I see that there are a couple more DVD screen cap freeware programs at the linky now, one which looks to be rated higher than the one I have.
Mar. 20th, 2007 01:43 pm (UTC)
Back when he was still Detlef Sierck, he directed one of the crazy typist films that I've written about in my thesis!
Mar. 20th, 2007 02:06 pm (UTC)
I don't suppose it's been subtitled and released on DVD?
Mar. 20th, 2007 02:21 pm (UTC)
No, I'm pretty sure it hasn't - I watched it on reels in the State Film Archive in Berlin!
Mar. 20th, 2007 03:06 pm (UTC)
No way! That's amazing. I only found out he was a Deutscher yesterday, so I had no idea what sort of films he made in his native land. Is the film full of sublimated homoeroticism? Damn, I wish it was available on DVD!
Mar. 20th, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
Oh man, I just found out that he directed a production of the Dreigroschenoper on stage! If only I could have witnessed that!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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