Deus Ex Hackensacker

I quite like my new piece at The Chiseler, especially the title.


18 Responses to “Deus Ex Hackensacker”

  1. ehrenstein47 Says:

    “The Palm Beach Story” is my favorite Sturges because of its multi-faceted plot, relentless giddiness and Mary Astor — my Role Model. She’s a version of Stuges’ mother Mary Desti who as he said “dragged me through every goddamned museum in Europe” and put him in her pal Isadora Duncan’s dance class. The thought of litte Preston in a pseudo-Grecian tunic is too delightful for words. She’s also responsible for giving Isadora the scarf that spelled her doom (caught in the wheels of a Buggati it strangled the legendary cultural poseur.

    Both the “weenie King” and the “Ale and Quail Club” speak well of Sturges’ fondness for old men who still have a lot of life in them. As for Rudy Vallee he’s as delightful tallying up the expenses for Colbert’s new wardrobe (he just loves write figures down) as he is singing “Goodnight Sweetheart” to her. All’s well that end’s well for all except perhaps “Toto” (Astor’s perpetual suitor who seems more a domestic animal than a person)

    And now here’s Rudy with a song used to great effect in both “Bonnie and Clyde” and “My Own Private Idaho”

  2. My favourite aspect of Sturges’ childhood is when she was a “scarlet woman” to Aleister Crowley, the celebrated sorcerer, and little Preston and the “wickedest man in England” hated one another. I envisage a Dennis-the-Menace (US version) antipathy, pranks, etc…

  3. La Faustin Says:

    The scene where Vallee’s “Goodnight, Sweetheart” serenade sweeps Colbert and McCrea into each other’s arms is worthy of Da Ponte.

  4. bensondonald Says:

    It was a few decades before I finally grasped that the title sequence was not only a miniature parody romantic comedy, but also a setup for the closing gag.

    The Ale and Quail Club inspires a game: List fictional clubs and such, particularly those portrayed in movies. To wit:
    Sons of the Desert
    Mystic Knights of the Sea
    Delta Delta Delta
    The Diogenes Club
    Junior Woodchucks
    The Owls’ Club
    Zorro’s Fighting Legion
    Drones Club
    Cobalt Club
    The Amateur Mendicant Society
    The He-Man Women Haters Club
    American Eagle Squadron
    Conrad Birdie Fan Club

  5. Great list — I’m trying to think of any you’ve missed. Stevenson’s Suicide Club, I guess.

  6. ehrenstein47 Says:

    Rivette’ s (and Balzac’s) “Les 13”

  7. bensondonald Says:

    Sons of Knute
    The Blue Blazers
    Wa-Tan-Ye Girls
    Popeye’s Cartoon Club
    Orphan Annie’s Secret Society
    The Baker Street Irregulars
    World Aquanaut Security Patrol
    International Rescue
    Rescue Aid Society
    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
    The Jets
    The Sharks
    The Ratz (led by Eric Von Zipper)
    United Network Command for Law and Enforcement
    Beagle Boys Inc.
    Audible Boy Bird Watchers Society
    Junior Thunder Riders
    The Funny Company
    Combined Miniature Deterrent Force
    New Ashmoleon Marching Society and Students Conservatory Band

  8. the Bookhouse Boys
    um The Three Amigos?

  9. Fiona Watson Says:

    Sturges had observed the effect Vallee had on audiences. Whenever he appeared they laughed. Even when he was playing a straight, dramatic role. ESPECIALLY when he was playing a straight dramatic role. The studio bosses were in an uproar over Sturges’ suggestion and even threatened to pull the plug completely, but PS was steadfast, insisting that they would thank him and that a new star was about to appear in the firmament. If what I mean by ‘new’ is ‘old, out of favour and annoying.’ Anyhoo, Sturges’ hunch proved to be correct, several execs had to eat their hats, and John D Hackensacker The Third is one of the great comedic inventions of all time.

    And Cher’s a fan!

  10. Fiona Watson Says:

    Sorry! They just bang on about how great Joel McCrea is, which I’m not disputing! Here’s some Rudy to balance things out.

  11. Somebody needs to make that Aleister Crowley vs. Little Preston Sturges movie.

  12. You and me and about two hundred other people would definitely watch it. Especially to see Crowley get a suction-cup arrow right in the third eye.

  13. Those 200 people would constitute the best fictional club EVER. Jeffrey Tambor for Crowley.

  14. Hahaha — brilliant casting! Brian Cox would be good too, but he’s not quite as funny.

  15. La Faustin Says:

    Late to the list party —

    Friends of I-talian Opera.

  16. bensondonald Says:

    If you haven’t seen “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”, check it out. Rudy Vallee reprises his Broadway performance as a sort of Hackensacker Redux, a corporate CEO who still sports 1920s golf togs and sings a literally old-school college fight song. While his songs referenced his crooner days, his character was decidedly respectable old money.

  17. I recomposed The Chiseler’s front page so that you are top-center. Where you belong!

  18. Friends of I-talian Opera is a club that’s fake as well as fictional.

    How to Succeed has been on my to-see list for a looong time.

    Thanks, Daniel!

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