Archive for June 11, 2008

Bob Hope springs eternal…

Posted in FILM, MUSIC with tags , , , , on June 11, 2008 by dcairns

There’s not much Mitchell Leisen on YouTube, but fortunately this clip from THE BIG BROADCAST OF 1938 was there, saving me the trouble of loading it. It’s not really a film, as such, more a collection of songs and skits, and as a result it doesn’t really show Leisen’s true abilities at sculpting emotion, although there is a Mexican number, reflecting his rampant obsession with that land, and this heart-tugging moment.

Heart-tugging, with Bob Hope? Watch it and see. Deprived of any real emotional meat in the film, Leisen sinks his teeth into this scene, going for the tear ducts with his usual discreet ruthlessness. The blocking and cutting is extremely simple, but the choice of hitting the big weepy moments with close-ups really pays dividends, and shows how effective such tight framing can be if it’s held back for when it’s needed.

Hope’s partner here is Shirley Ross, and she’s the real heart of it, and Leisen knows it.


Colossus of New York

Posted in literature with tags , , on June 11, 2008 by dcairns

B. Kite, AKA the Manigma, AKA the Whistling Phantom, softly requested that I notify any New Yorkers out there of this evening of poetry and sound. Even the directions are poetic! The phrase “take the L train to grand and walk one block west to humbolt,” will soon take its place in the western canon.

Since the Manigma, AKA the Absent Avenger, AKA the Blinding Hand of Christmas, has the following special powers —

He can see by the light of yesterday’s moon —

He can breath under milk —

He can eat the food out of old photographs —

He can reach into a man’s mind and sprinkle raisins —

— I would be foolish indeed to disobey him.

Here is a short poem in screen-cap form to sort of get you in the mood. I call it, “Smile, Mr. Kuleshov.”