Happy mistakes

A mismanaged day. but it resulted in some good things ~

The morning was easy — to Cinema Jolly for Dave Kehr’s retrospectives on Universal, the Laemmle years, and William K. Howard. LADIES MUST LOVE, an uncharacteristically zippy E.A. Dupont pre-code and the Sturges-scripted THE POWER AND THE GLORY. More on those another time.

In the afternoon I couldn’t make up my mind. I’d seen the silent THE INFORMER in Bo’ness. I opted for WRITTEN ON THE WIND — a Technicolor print from the camera negative, as it turned out. Scratchy in places, but breathtaking.

I had totally planned to see WISE BLOOD, introduced by producer Michael Fitzgerald and Queen of Continuity Angela Allen, but found myself switching to Iranian melodrama ZARBAT instead. It wasn’t as crazy as billed, so I bailed on it, only to learn that I left just as it was about to go nuts.

That brought me out into a thunderstorm so I sought shelter at Rupert Julian’s THE SAVAGE, which had Colleen Moore but was still a Rupert Julian film from 1917, and incomplete to boot. But where else am I going to see that? And then a Gregory La Cava cartoon, and then I skipped out during a documentary figuring to return for Mae West in SHE DONE HIM WRONG, only to find a massive queue for that and a further thunderstorm.

Enjoyed a big chat with David Bordwell and Dave Kehr and Jonathan Rosenbaum though, so that was fine. Had massive dinner. Assumed the open-air screening of King Vidor’s THE PATSY was off, so set my heart on ERASERHEAD. In fact, the rain had stopped, the forecasts were clear and THE PATSY went ahead.

ERASERHEAD was great, though. Spotted a picture of a mushroom cloud on Henry’s wall.


4 Responses to “Happy mistakes”

  1. bensondonald Says:

    I remember “Written on the Wind” for its understated symbolism: Lana Turner picking up a hunk who pumps gas, then at the end of the film fondling a model oil derrick as a substitute for Rock Hudson.

  2. Also, Robert Stack being told he’s impotent by a doc in a diner (!) and exiting to find a small boy, the child he’ll never have, jouncing about on a hobby horse in a grotesque parody of the sexual act.

    Also, I thought he could drop 100 pounds of dynamite in ten seconds?

    But I found it stylish, odd, lurid, often witty (“Sure it’s safe, the tanks are loaded and the pilot isn’t, for once”) and yes, finally moving.

  3. I love WRITTEN ON THE WIND. A perfectly stylized film. That phallic oil derrick Dorothy Malone clutches is mirrored in the portrait of her character’s father on the wall behind her. That and the kid on the horse are funny and powerful at the same time.

  4. When Sirk lunges into camp he’s fearless — how could any artist know he could do that stuff and make it emotionally satisfying?

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