Monday, June 2, 2008

Lilly Lilly Lilly Legs Lilly

Went out with Dave on Friday night to see “Vivre sa vie” at Film Forum, a Godard film with Anna Karina. This is like Godard’s Sirk movie, the story of a girl who slides into prostitution, then falls in love with a beautiful young boy who reads Poe in French. Then a pimp shoots her and she dies. I loved it. It’s a beautiful strange little movie, full of weird Godard tics like shooting a whole scene from the back of the actors heads. Karina is beautiful. At one point she watches several minutes of Jeanne D’Arc with Falconetti and Artaud. Jeanne D’Arc is all about those obsessive close-ups of Falconetti, like Karina an extraordinary looking woman.

In honor of Harvey Korman, I bought a new DVD of Blazing Saddles. Came home and of course watched it for the millionth time. And I still laugh out loud at parts. Some I laugh at because I always laugh at them, sometime I laugh at something I’ve never thought was funny before, and sometimes I start laughing because I know that really funny thing that always makes me laugh is about to happen and I start laughing IN ANTICIPATION OF SOMETHING FUNNY HAPPENING.

They have some extras on the DVD and they are OK. There’s something supposed to be ‘An Intimate Portrait of Madeline Kahn,’ which I thought would be a documentary or something. “Intimate Portrait,” right? It’s about three minutes of Mel reminiscing on Madeline’s audition for him. About three minutes. Really. Then it’s over.

I watched my new DVD of “Demons,” which was swell and very scary. Dario Argento produced it, and co-wrote it. Great set up. It’s Berlin, and these two girls get free tickets to a screening of a horror movie. They go, and it turns out to be a cheesy movie about teenagers discovering the tomb of Nostradamus. (There's the requisite spooky Nostradamus quote about cemeteries being their cathedrals and the cities our tombs! Or something.) And they start turning into demons. And then the plot of the movie starts happening in the audience. It’s mid-eighties, so everyone has hilarious clothing and hairstyles. The effects are really not bad for the time and it does have some genuinely scary stuff in it, before it turns into a nonstop bloodbath with eyeballs turning red and demons with eighties hairstyles tearing off the tops of people’s heads. And it’s got music by Rick Springfield!

Sunday went with Deb, Doug, Keith and John to see Catered Affair at the Walter Kerr. It’s modest stuff but well done, a Broadway musical about people with small dreams. Faith Prince is enormously touching in the lead. For a while listening to this show, I kept thinking these are not people who burst into song. But then she has the number after receiving the dead son’s medals and and effects. She sings to her husband how they are going to take the money and give the girl a wonderful wedding, a catered affair, they lavished all on the son, ignored the girl and now he’s dead. And she sings about how they have never given her anything and now they are going to give her a day of joy to look back on the rest of her life, some bit of joy her parents gave her when they had given her nothing else. And the number was exquisite, and I can’t imagine someone doing it better than Faith Prince. Tom Wopat is fine as a good man dealt a bad lot. Leslie Krietzer and Matt Cavanaugh are both good, but have little to do in those roles. And Harvey. God Bless Harvey. He can get a laugh out of a line like “I’m not invited?”

It’s interesting. Some of the critics complained how they had rewritten the show from the original. Harvey plays the uncle who everyone knows is gay but they all still refer to him as a ‘confirmed bachelor.’ And many critics complained that the character is now an anachronism, a modern gay man in the midst of this fifties story. And it’s nothing of the sort. He’s playing a gay man who has a measure of self-esteem. I don’t know what’s anachronistic about that. No gay man had any self-esteem before Stonewall? And they are very careful to always use the language of the time. The character would have been an anachronism if they were recreating a TV show of that period. But not if we’re talking real life.

It’s intriguing that it took two gay men – Feirstein and John Bucchino – to write a musical that’s about the importance of marriage.


WayneInNYC said...

I must, must, MUST get a copy of DEMONS from you.

David Johnston said...

Actually I'm not sure if you'd like it or not. It is pretty gory - more like a zombie fest. Lots of demons sticking their claws into people's heads.

Of course now I have to find Demons 2.