An Actor and a Half

Somebody should have told John Gilbert not to put a woman on a pedestal — not even the top half. The film is THE SHOW and it’s covered in a little piece I’ve written for Moving Image Source, dealing with the circus movies of Tod Browning. All the fun of the fair!

11 Responses to “An Actor and a Half”

  1. I mean the prose is wonderful and it certainly captures the appeal of Browning…”one of us” indeed. The finale of FREAKS is shocking but at the same time you can’t hate them for doing it, it’s their world, you play by their rules, and if you break it, you pay the piper. And it also captures the freedom of the early days of cinema, where movie directors came from anywhere. Would Browning be Browning if he went to film school? Can you even teach his movies in film school since they seem to defy every facet of rationality that such institutions are founded on.

  2. Christopher Says:

    Browning to me,is a bit like the Edgar Allan Poe of Film directors.I sometimes wonder if these fantasies are partly the result of delirium tremens.Good report on Tod Browning,makes me want to sit down with several of these films..and watch the parade go by..

  3. A song from Elvis:

  4. Oh, I don’t know how rational our film school is… I think you can teach the value of irrationality sometimes, even if a lot of teaching concentrates on the things likeliest to work, the systems which can be helpful. The filmmaker’s sensibility always pushes them off the beaten track into their own obsessions.

  5. Beautiful!

    I may have mentioned this before, but I’m kind of glad to have been able to see this film as a kid (it still isn’t seen as particularly controversial here, and plays on TV fairly often). Partly because I didn’t know Uncle Remus was black. He was just a nice old man. Childhood innocence is overrated in many ways, but it’s nice to be able to recall a time in one’s life when race had literally no significance.

  6. When asked why he liked children so much Maurice Sendak said “Because they’re not racist and they don’t lie.”

    I reccomend Van Dyke Parks’ song cycle “Jump!” (on Warner Bros. CD) which is a musical setting of the Joel Chandler Harris strories at considerabel distance from Disney. In one fo the songs the father rabbit sings to his dying child.

  7. That was delightful! I may add him to my Xmas list.

  8. “Mother, aren’t you going to dress today?”

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