The Rock

I have self-satisfaction coming out of my ears. Yes, as I peruse my brand-new, still-warm edition of the Masters of Cinema BluRay of WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER?, an emotion akin to third-degree smugness creeps from the dank recesses of my id and leaves complacent footsteps all over my ego and superego. The reason being the three — count ’em! — three “essays” crammed into the compact accompanying booklet, each of them authored — personally — by my brain and forelimbs.

That’s not the primary reason to buy the thing, though — you should buy it for the movie itself, a crackerjack box of visual gags, satirical sideswipes and exuberant, nimble comic performances (Randall! Mansfield! Blondell!) and Gorgeous Life-like Color by Deluxe! After watching the thing, my eyeballs feel like they should be sealed in a  lead-lined box for a thousand years before it’s safe for them to look at anyone again. That thing has the platonic ideal of all your basic colours, with the brightness turned up to eleventeen.

You also get a video intro by arch-Tashlinite Joe Dante, the trailer, a Mansfield newsreel, and an alternative audio track, and a text interview with legend Tony Randall, conducted by Ethan DeSeife.

Just watched my copy, and Fiona and I were oohing and aahing at the colours like early cinemagoers experiencing projected images for the first time. An observation from Fiona I wish I’d been able to include in my essay: when Betsy Drake goes Mansfield-mad and starts making that high-pictched EEEOOH! noise associate with J.M., it’s as disturbing as Mercedes McCambridge’s revoicing of Linda Blair in THE EXORCIST. Tashlin’s comedy hovers near the boundaries of nightmare.

In stores October 25th — buy it now via my link and make me slightly more financially secure —

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? [Masters of Cinema] [Blu-ray]

14 Responses to “The Rock”

  1. Definitely! I’ve been collecting other MOC discs, which are all beautifully put together. But I’ve already spent my month’s salary on other Blu-rays and a new TV to play them on. Will your link still work next month?

  2. Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter was a humugous influence on Jean-Luc Godard. The party scene in Pierrot le Fou is a hommage to its credit sequence. And while J-L G has always credited “Nick et Samuel” with teaching him about sight and sound, Frank is definitely a major contributor to his aesthetic. You can even find Tashlin traces in Film Socialisme.

  3. Arthur S. Says:

    It seems odd that with all the attention paid to the 50s via the films of Sirk, Minnelli, Ray, Fuller, Kazan that Tashlin is left out since his films are maybe the harshest films of that period.

    I like best Artists and Models and The Girl Can’t Help It!.

  4. Yes, the link will still be good in a month. Maybe I’ll do a round-up of all the many fab Shadowplay products on the market.

    I’m excited to watch for Tashlin traits in the new Godard now! That party has a nice evocation of snippets of scenes overheard at a party, and it’s cool that the inspiration was a title sequence of little sketches inspired by TV commercials. One thing slowly merges into another. When is a party like an ad break?

    That Tashlin book was a major reference which I cite in my essays on the BluRay, along with Bogdabovich’s interview. Took me a while to track down Durgnat’s comedy musings, but they were handy too. Although I think he saw Tashlin as harsher than I do — there’s a real love for all the things he despises, I reckon.

  5. Ah, Jones is a demi-god. When Tony Randall has a hangover, Jones turns up the volume on his facial expressions to simulate the effects of that morning-after feeling, when everything is a bit too much.

  6. Yes, Frank Tashlin was a huge influence on Godard…but I like him anyway.

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