Tuesday, May 15, 2018


Computer issues have given me an excuse not to pay attention to the world of politics -- for a while. In the meantime, I have decided to share with you the one pop cultural artifact that has cheered me up in recent days: The 1935 version of She, starring Randolph Scott, Nigel Bruce, Helen Mack and Helen Gahagan in the title role.

This is THE GREATEST FILM EVER MADE. Or so it seems at the moment. (The spell should wear off in a few hours.)

At one time, the film was considered lost, until a print was found in a garage belonging to (of all people) Buster Keaton.

This was Gahagan's only film: She went into politics, taking up the cause of migrant workers. Richard Nixon defeated her in an infamous race for the Senate. He smeared her as a commie, calling her "the Pink Lady." She responded by dubbing him Tricky Dick, a nickname that stuck. It was all very 2016.

Nigel Bruce, a couple of years away from Watson-hood, isn't bad, even though he displays his usual tendency to end some of his lines. Prematurely. He actually gets to throw a few punches and even kills a dude during the "teetering rock" scene, accomplished in a single, unbroken long shot. In the same lingering take, Scott dispatches more than a dozen attackers. Nowadays, a bravura shot of this sort is called a "oner;" I can think of only one earlier example.

Scott's a little amorphous and ill-at-ease as a romantic adventurer. Eventually, he would find his truest self as a squinty-eyed, leather-faced Western star. The standout of the film is Helen Mack, a tiny waif so incredibly thin that one can't help wondering if she's getting enough to eat. (This movie was filmed during the Depression.) In her early scenes, her line readings are gloriously awful, but as the film progresses, she becomes another actress. The bitchy confrontations between Mack and Gahagan left my gob well and truly smacked.

And oh my god...THE SETS! And Gahagan's entrance! And the sacrificial dance sequence...! And Max Steiner's score!!!

(Seriously, it's probably Steiner's best score. Did you know that Mahler was one of his teachers?)

Expect to laugh. It's impossible to watch this one without supplying your own MST3K commentary. And yet She (like a few other fantasy films of the 1930s) creates a trance effect, if it catches you in the right mood. When high camp becomes this delirious, it attains a kind of profundity.

The ideal way to see this movie would be to find a time machine and transport yourself to Hollywood in the 1970s, where you can look for a revival theater screening. The audience should be 40% gay guys, 40% college-age hipsters, and 40% people doing shrooms. (Why don't the numbers add up? Because the three categories would overlap.)

If the current state of our country makes you despair, watch this movie. It explains everything.

Question: Scott always pronounced first as "foist" and worst as "woist." I was under the impression that people who speak this way usually hail from New York. Scott, however, was born in Virginia and raised in North Carolina.
Answer: Look up 'rhotic'. It ain't "foist" and "woist", it's saying 'first' or 'worst' and not pronouncing the 'r'. Picture Mia Farrow in Radio Days trying to say 'Hark! I hear the cannons roar' but saying "Hawk! I heah da cannons raw". In North Carolina, and in all American Southern English, native speakers say 'north' to rhyme with 'moth'.
The Trump Kim Jong-Un summit looks as though it will be cancelled.

The two Korean regimes are a feast for people interested in symbolism and magic. Many very memorable and important cases of this are mentioned nowhere on the internet, at least nowhere that I could find. Korea is a very old country. It is of comparable age to China. I advise any fans of wacky stuff who have sufficient curiosity to take a look. You think Poussin depicted mountains close to Rennes-le-Chateau? Well take a look at Korea! Your efforts will be repaid.

For a taster (quite boring compared to much of the stuff I've found, but not mentioned elsewhere as far as I am aware, and it will serve as a taster), see if you can find the yin-yang symbol the two leaders are making in front of the mountain picture in this image.

Seriously, how fucking likely was it that Trump would "bring peace" to Korea?

Mushroom clouds soon?
Have anything to offer about this guy?
The movie... wow. Just wow.
That movie was incredible. Wow. Just wow.
McNaughton's work has really gone downhill lately. I mean technically. Speaking as an artist myself.
One of the all-time worst movies. No wonder Helen Gahagan never made another film.
You didn't understand it. The symbolism...the symbolism...
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