Archive for March 8, 2023

42nd Chien

Posted in FILM, MUSIC with tags , , , , , , , on March 8, 2023 by dcairns

Inspired by Coin-Op Comics.

Dick Powell’s enthusiastic reaction to seeing a girl murdered in 42ND STREET does seem comparable to Pierre Batcheff’s’ crazy death-lust in UN CHIEN ANDALOU. Kuleshov proposed cutting from a man waving in front of the Kremlin to another doing the same before the Eiffel Tower, proving that visual matches trump all logic — we will believe the men are waving at each other if the angles are right, even though we know they can’t be. Bunuel and Dali create a similar dissonance by cutting inappropriate reaction shots together with clashing stimuli.

What’s going on in Busby Berkeley’s head is harder to figure out — he stages death scenes during dance numbers here and also in DAMES (I think) and ROMAN SCANDALS. The two just seem to belong together in his mind, staples of innocent entertainment. This all predates his killing/injuring a bunch of people in a drunk driving accident, but it post-dates his WWI service as a field artillery lieutenant — I don’t know if he was actually IN the field, but as it’s often suggested his drilling of chorus girls into massed arrays was influenced by his military experience, the death/dance formula may have been fixed in his subconscious at that time, as what the Scientologists would call an engram.