Erotic Intertitles of the Week

From Howard Hawks’ A GIRL IN EVERY PORT. Titles written by Malcolm Stuart Boylan. Photographed off my TV because I couldn’t get the frame-grabber to work on this disc.

This would be a sexier film if perhaps Louise Brooks had more scenes — waiting for her to show up in the second half is AGONY — and if she were complimented by more winning leading men. The thought of Louise in any kind of menage with hulking gorilla Victor McLaglen smacks of the bestial. Although I guess some people are into that. Robert (KING KONG) Armstrong as McLaglen’s bulbous buddy, is a bit more attractive, but somehow gets absorbed into the same muscular, macho, jaunty, sentimental vibe whenever he shares the screen with Big Victor.

What this means is that Hawks was right to say that his films really got going when sound came in. The Hawks ethos can’t really flex and extend and become sophisticated without opening its mouth. The clipped verbiage of intertitles allow insufficient room.

(Oddly, it’s very easy to read Vic’s lips. I say oddly, because most  of the time he doesn’t seem to HAVE lips. He’s all toothy grin, like a musclebound skeleton.)

Nevertheless, this is an enjoyable movie, making horrible activities like barroom brawling seem fun and innocent, the way Raoul Walsh would. Hawks really fits into that beautifully-crafted late-20s scene, where the compositions and editing have a precision and grace that kind of got discombobulated for a while when talking started in Hollywood pictures.

Louise Brooks’ role really deserves to have more said about it — so I’m going to say it…

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2 Responses to “Erotic Intertitles of the Week”

  1. Once Louise hits the screen you literally cannot see anyone else.

  2. Yes, despite Vic Mc being six times her size… She’s marvellously natural, and seems to totally get the character without judging her. A delight.

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