Thursday, December 27, 2007

Will Hays was right

Last night I learned something. I watched two old silent filns directex by Cecil B. Demille, The Whispering Shadow and Old Wives For New. They were both made in the 1917 - 1918 time frame but they couldn't have been more different. Whispering Shadow was a typical for the time moralistic melodrama with a convoluted plot which climaxes in a man being executed for his own murder to protect his wife who had unknowingly become a bigamist by marrying the state's governor. Old Wives was another proposition entirely, a movie that proves it wasn't just off screen scandals that brought about the institution of the Production Code and the Hays Office in 1920.

It was the story of a successful man with a fat, lazy wife who falls in love with the pretty owner of a dress shop. There was little conventional morally about this film. In the course of things a man is shot by a jealous girlfriend. She is given some money and sent away by the hero and there is no hint she ever pays for her crime. The man's widow shows no sadness even as she shops for her mourning wardrobe. Another "professional mistress" is paid off. The fat wife eventually divorces her husband and marries a goldigger. There's even a bit of women runnging around in scantily clad nightgowns. There is no hint whatsoever of any remorse or "home and hearth" stuff. DeMille did things like this in the 20's but it was shock to see it starting this early especially without a trace of moralizing.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Thinning Of The Herd

One thing I can say, I'm learning what sorts of movies I don't like. I've been striking out a lot lately with DVDs. I rented "Sordid Lives" because it featured "Olivia Newton-John as a lesbian cowgirl" and hated it. It was nothing but a bunch of tired camp and cliched wacky Texas characters. "Antoineta", a Carlos Saura film that starred Isabelle Adjani and Hanna Schygulla, suffered from a lack of characterization and motivation. Then there was "A Woman With Red Hair" a Japanese "pink" film that was just there. I did watch a classic British thriller, "Green For Danger" that was fun. I'm hoping for better soon. I still have "Sweet Movie" and "Billy Budd" to get through right now, plus I'm off the next couple of weeks so I should have time to watch a bunch of things, maybe even go to an honest to god movie theater.

Friday, December 7, 2007

All The World Is Sad And Dreary...

I hate getting sick. I spent the entire last seven days with a bad cold which seemed to be exacerbated by blood pressure problems. I couldn't even concentrate about my ongoing problems, not that I can do anything about them anyway. I got someone to recommend some therapists to me. This may be my last chance to save myself so I hope I find someone who can help me.

The DVD thing hasn't been too great lately. I tried watching the movie "Palindromes" but that was too depressing even for me. I also watched Andrei Tarkovsky's last film, "The Sacrifice". I could appreciate it but it didn't really get to me. This time around I at least have the third disc of "Paranoia Agent", a Japanese anime I genuinely think is brilliant. I also got a sample of the old "Untouchables" series which may be interesting to watch with mature eyes.