Archive for the Painting Category

Ellenshaw on Frisco Bay

Posted in FILM, Mythology, Painting with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2019 by dcairns

I’m hopeful that a bunch of you won’t be able to identify the images here, thus creating INTRIGUE.

Which I will then SHATTER by telling you they’re from Disney’s THE LOVE BUG. Matte artist/ genius Harrison Ellenshaw was responsible.

His art adds a whole layer of melancholic, nostalgic beauty to MARY POPPINS and it kind of does the same, or tries to. The plotline doesn’t really sustain such emotions, especially in the final third, which is just one big car race, with gags more notable for their difficulty/expensiveness that for being particularly clever or funny.

But the first two-thirds… a lot of peculiar stuff in this movie (spiritual ancestor to CHRISTINE).

As a movie-besotted child, Fiona fantasised that Herbie, the sentient Volkswagon, must be possessed by a poltergeist, or else the reincarnation of a human in machine form. (Weird kid.) In the movie, there is actually an explanation offered, though it’s more in the form of speculation/bullshit than actual canonical backstory (kind of like how various characters in Romero’s zombie films suggest their own theories of zombie apocalypse causation). Buddy Hackett’s Tennessee Steinmetz, who has studied in Tibet, puts forth an animist view, proposing that man has invested so much emotion into his mechanical creations that they have become alive.

Amazingly, Buddy manages to put this theory over with some conviction. The ultimate version of HERBIE would be like A.I., with the machines reigning supreme after humanity’s extinction. HERBIE INHERITS THE EARTH, anyone?

As David Wingrove pointed out to me, there’s a weird irony/perversity to the fact that director Robert Stevenson was a conchie who went to America to get away from the war, and ended up working almost exclusively for the two biggest right-wingers in Hollywood, Uncle Walt and Howard Hughes.

Also watched: HERBIE RIDES AGAIN, which is the one I remember seeing on first release (not really any cool new paintings), and THE BLACK HOLE, for which Ellenshaw came out of retirement and created some amazing imagery.

Chim-chim-cheree.

THE LOVE BUG stars Zeke Kelso; Rosemary Pilkington; Lord Fellamar; the singing bone; Mr. Snoops; Tommy Chan; Officer Gunther Toody.

HERBIE RIDES AGAIN stars Madelon Claudet; April Dancer; Sheriff Al Chambers; Col ‘Bat’ Guano; Horace Debussy “Sach” Jones; Mr. Hilltop; Captain Flash; and Baron Samedi.

THE BLACK HOLE stars Hauptmann (Capt.) Stransky; Norman Bates; Max Cherry; Robin Lee Graham; Weena; Dirty Lyle; and the voices of Cornelius and Maj. ‘King’ Kong.

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Fat Head

Posted in FILM, Painting with tags , , , , on January 16, 2019 by dcairns

 

Current mood.

Watching actual Laurel & Hardy after watching STAN & OLLIE is a revelation, even if one knows exactly what kind of revelation to expect. “So THIS is what laughing until you can’t breathe feels like!”

(None of the endless succession of guffawing extras in STAN & OLLIE evokes the painful hysteria a good L&H routine can produce under halfway favourable circumstances.)

Of course, as in TIT FOR TAT here, the hilarity comes with a measure of discomfort. As a child, Fiona feared for Charley Hall’s life when the boys embed his head in a huge tub of Rex’s Pure Lard (no impure or half-hearted lard would do). A friend reports still feeling greasy after watching this a week ago. Hall, clawing a face-hole for himself in his new, literal fat-head is both funny and horrible, as is the moment when he wrenches the entire disgusting mass from his cranium and hurls it splat on the floor, and the later moment when he scrapes fistfuls of clinging fat from the back of his neck. Ugh!

His cash register being filled with syrup gives me a distressing sticky-fingered feeling too. It’s like Salvador Dali’s Atmospheric Chair, which no-one could look at without feeling great anxiety.

Film Artist

Posted in FILM, Painting with tags , , on August 30, 2018 by dcairns

William Cameron Menzies sketch for GONE WITH THE WIND.

Since The Believer has put its back issues online, you can read my big piece on Menzies HERE.

I’m baffled by the title, but as I recall, I failed to think up anything better so I can’t complain.