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Category — Classics

Great Scenes – THE GODDESS

Having recently caught a target=”_blank”>trailer for the Michelle Williams vehicle My Week with Marilyn I was immediately reminded of The Goddess (1958) – directed by John Cromwell and written by one of Hollywood’s greatest scribes ever, Paddy Chayefsky. This thinly-veiled deconstruction of Marilyn Monroe is especially noteworthy for its vintage (made 4 years before her death!) and complexity, and seems a fitting reminder of what once made movies great – the way they challenged audiences to look past the visible into the gulf between representation and reality. In this day and age when movies are more primitive-minded and LCD-driven than ever before we need to look to the past to find complex films such as these to feed our malnourished minds. Kim Stanley‘s embodiment of the come-from-nothing-farm girl is more than just a revealing look at the starlet – it is also an examination of attention-seeking compulsive behavior which forever dooms those who seek their happiness in the approval of others. Just look at this scene where Marilyn – a lost soul torn apart by a constant need for attention – ineptly attacks her God-fearing mother where it hurts most.

and here’s another great scene from the movie (available in its entirety on youtube) in which Lloyd Bridges plays “Dutch” – another of Marilyn’s possessive suitors – a thinly veiled Joe DiMaggio?

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February 7, 2012   No Comments

Great Scenes – BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN

Before Empire Strikes Back, before Aliens, before Evil Dead II, here is the original “better than” sequel, which mines the source material for what is essential and pushes the magic a step further. Bride of Frankenstein (1935) is not only superior to the original but it is also the culmination of James Whale‘s singular sardonic surrealism. This is the film that marks him as the forefather of quirky horror and delectable strangeness. Take this scene in which Doctor Pretorius (played with fervor by Ernest Thesiger) charms Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) into joining forces on a new experiment – a scene chock-full of fantastic dialogue, jarring expressionistic sets, and eye-popping (for the time) special effects, way ahead of its time in tone, subject, and wit, presaging a future full of fictional mad scientists and very real clone technology. A key scene in a fascinating movie whose wraparound story begins with Mary Shelley (Elsa Lanchester, who also plays the Bride) and which continues to self-reflexively play with the themes of creation throughout. Ballerinas in bottles, kings and popes the playthings of a twisted madman: of Gods and Monsters indeed!

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January 9, 2012   No Comments

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