Sunday, November 11, 2007

Visiting The Past

I've finally gotten around to the reason I bought the "Jazz Singer" DVD, the bonus disc of old Vitaphone Talkie musical shorts. It's an interesting trip. The performances aren't too campy. Most are quite good remembering the styles of the time. It is fascinating though that most of the shorts include at least one risque song with lyrics like "She may step out but she won't give in." It's not that big a shock when you think about it. At that point Warners was just experimenting and getting the shorts out there. Nobody thought about playing to small towns with more conservative mores. It's another thing that gives a lie to how straight-laced things supposedly were way back when.
The biggest musical surprise so far has been The Ingenues, an all-woman orchestra where violins, cello, harp, banjos, accordions, and a bassoon were used in addition to the usual big band equipment with every woman playing two or three instruments.

Then there is this other, very strange film I saw. Every now and then I'll run into something like "Project A-Ko" or "Super Milk Chan" that reminds how flat out weird Japanese pop culture can get. I saw a lulu last night, "The Glamourous Life Of Sachiko Hanai". This was a simple little story about a Tokyo call girl who gets shot in the head, becomes a genius as a result and gets involved in a spy plot involving a clone of President Bush's finger when she isn't tearing off her clothes and having sex at every opportunity. This American edition had a self imposed rating of "Seriously F***ed Up" and it was well-deserved. The movie was completely insane and I'm kind of surprised it doesn't have more of a reputation. There is one scene where they show panic aboard a nuclear aircraft carrier by waving G.I. Joe dolls in front of a still picture of a military command center. By the time that shows up it seems perfectly normal.

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