Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Day 60: Frolicking through Prehistoric Mindmelts with Garters

(Thought that might grab ya...)

Film 34: “Whirlpool” (1949)
Matinee Muse Unmasked
Written by Ben Hecht and Andrew Solt
Directed by Otto Preminger

Film 35: “10,000 B.C.” (2008)
B.C. Beefcake
Written by Roland Emmerich and Harald Koser
Directed by Roland Emmerich

Film 36: “The Young Visiters” (2003)
Victorian Class-Vaulting
Written by Patrick Varlow based on a story by Daisy Ashford
Directed by David Yates

Welcome to my first ever 3-for-1 movie review! I figure if I can watch them one after another, you can read about them together…faulty logic if ever I’ve heard it, but it’s my little reality here. Wilkommen!

Spend long enough in“Whirlpool” – between the claustrophobic Otto Preminger touch and Ben Hecht’s love of psychobabble and paranoia – and you’ll wonder why all the fuss over the simple deconstruction of the placid post-war housewife. Why all the fuss, when the job was done in the first few frames – the simple casting of the glamorous and alluring Gene Tierney (“Laura”) in the castrated lead role of Ann Sutton. Even her long tresses are clipped and pressed into mid-50s Lois Lane mold. I don’t need 45 minutes of bad noir rip-off detective work to tell me Tierney’s the victim here.

None of this keeps menacing astrologer/con-man David Korvo (Jose Ferrer) from digging into her brain with the same relish that the evil pseudo-Egyptian slave traders of “10,000 B.C.” whip their pyramid builders. And with the well-developed chests that all its main characters – male and female alike – possess, who can resent the lack of clothing? You want historical depth? Then why are you watching a movie about African mammoth hunters – oh yes, actual mammoth hunters – being enslaved by light-skinned crazy dudes in heavy black eyeliner? This is almost as fun as Jim Broadbent’s insanely insecure Victorian noble wannabe – for entirely different reasons.

Broadbent, one of English cinema’s consistent delights – stars as poor clerk Alfred who just wants to get laid – but not by just any girl…no, for him, it must be Ethel, a young fresh nobility-obsessed flower (Lyndsey Marshall). As if a film spurred by a story written by a 9 year-old – for real and for true – wasn’t dessert enough, onscreen walks (or mutters, more accurately) Hugh Laurie, as Alfred’s formidable rival, the Lord Bernard Clark. Yes, “House” fans. Laurie had a long, fruitful career – as an Englishman – before he faked a Midwestern hard ‘r’ and a limp for his strongest American ratings pull. I must admit, having discovered him in his native land first, that’s where I love him best, and he doesn’t disappoint here (does he ever?). Add in a little naughty Bill Nighy (the fading pop singer in “Love Actually”) for spice, and you’ve got a fast-paced, goofy class comedy.

What do you get when you combine all three?

Nothing normal.

Good times.

1 comment:

Melanie Young said...

p.s. Sorry about the goofy formatting on Film 35's title at top. My 'preview' and actual views obviously differ...