Archive for October 15, 2008

Pin-Up of the Day: Martine Beswick

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2008 by dcairns

Appreciation of ONE MILLION BC happens in three stages. First, as a child, one watches it purely for the dinosaurs. Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion saurians are marvellous — they breathe (with the aid of inflating bladders), snarl (with the sound of slow-motion cats hissing) and die, agonizingly.

Later, revisiting it in adolescence, one is transfixed by the spectacle of Raquel Welch in a fur bikini as a cavegirl with false eyelashes. She may be “silicone from the knees up,” as one disgruntled makeup artist put it, but if so, it’s beautifully distributed.

Finally, in adulthood, one returns to the primordial plains and finds one’s interest drawn primarily to… Martine Beswick. She-vixen bitch goddess queen!

Now you are a man, my son.

(Follow the link.)

From Bond Girl to cavegirl to transexual Hyde, Martine B provided glamour and hauteur to British genre film for some years, and even played a major role — the Queen of Evil — in Oliver Stone’s first film (his best?), SEIZURE.

Wikipedia reports, of her recent activities: “She also owns a successful removals business in London.” Uplift by Beswick?

Lined up and ready to watch, I have THE PENTHOUSE, directed by Peter Collinson (THE ITALIAN JOB). The prospect of another Beswick performance to enjoy is so enticing that I keep postponing the pleasure of watching it… And I normally have pretty weak impulse control when it comes to movies. But I know there’s a relatively small number of Beswicks to enjoy…

The Key of Songs

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on October 15, 2008 by dcairns

This is the ending of Marcel Carné’s JULIETTE, OU LA CLEF DES SONGES. Don’t watch it if you don’t want to see what happens at ending of Marcel Carné’s JULIETTE, OU LA CLEF DES SONGES.

Why is it here, on Shadowplay, in Sexy Week? Just because of Gerard Philipe, I guess. When Fiona first saw him, in René Clair’s LA BEAUTE DU DIABLE, she struggled to concentrate on the film because Philipe was so lovely. It helped that he was playing the devil, with cute little horns in his hair…

GP does actually look a bit like a cartoon frog, I think. In cartoons, they often give frogs necks, slender and elegant ones. It was Chuck Jones who observed the essential necklessness of the true frog, and captured in in his seminal toon ONE FROGGY EVENING. But with his slender neck and big, wide eyes, GP is like an attractive cartoon frog that’s transformed into a handsome prince, maybe just retaining a little trace of frogginess as a reminder of his humble pond-based origins. Which makes him all the more endearing.

I’m also sharing this scene with you because it’s a hard film to see, and because there’s a general idea that Carné stopped being of any interest when he stopped collaborating with his screenwriter on the early works, Jacques Prevert. I haven’t seen enough later Carné, just this one (which I think was the first movie my benshi film describer friend David Wingrove translated for me), and LA VISITE MARVELLEUSE, but they’re both very interesting and certainly in keeping with Carné’s poetic and romantic sensibility. And LES PORTES DE LA NUIT, the last completed Carné-Prevert collaboration, which flopped at the box office and has the reputation of being an artistic failure, is a KICK-ASS piece of poetic realism. Just DEVASTATING. It might actually be my favourite of all their films.

In this scene, our hero tries to return to the fantastical Wonderland/Oz/Neverland of Juliette. He succeeds.. at a price.