Archive for Eugene Pallette

The Sunday Intertitle: Unsightly ducts?

Posted in FILM, MUSIC, Sport with tags , , , , , , on December 11, 2011 by dcairns

It’s pretty startling when you’re watching a 1930 musical and the Super Mario Brothers crash into it. Especially when they’re played by Jack “the Tin Man” Haley and Eugene “the Fat Man” Pallette.

The movie is FOLLOW THRU (an unintentionally chortlesome title for readers of Viz comic and the generally puerile-minded like me) and it’s a light comedy musical about golf. Yes, golf. Don’t be dismayed — YET — a week before this one’s opening in 1930, MGM released LOVE IN THE ROUGH, another golf-based musical. So it’s not strange at all, see?

Nancy Carroll, who can’t sing but looks charming in two-strip with her red hair and rosy cheeks, is the daughter of a Scottish golf buff (Claude King) who raises her in the ways of the club and tee. Romance blossoms with Charles “Buddy” Rogers (as fresh-faced as ever, and he can sing, a bit) and the usual lightweight complications ensue, resulting in Haley and Pallette dragging up as plumbers and raiding the women’s locker room. This sounds like a cue for PORKY’S style non-hilarity and nudity, but it’s not that pre-code. In fact, the only racy content is Haley’s boob-grabbing hand gestures in this classic number —

But the sight of Nancy Carroll in a mini-kilt at the fancy dress ball may set your pulses racing.

Jack Haley’s a strange performer, isn’t he? He’s the only one in THE WIZARD OF OZ who struck me as “wrong” — it might come off as a dated acting style, but I think it’s a heightened stylisation that would probably seem artificial in any era. His compatriots on the Yellow Brick Road, Ray Bolger and Bert Lahr were just “funny uncle” figures to me, whereas Haley was extraterrestrial in his fey, grinning perkiness. He’s actually less abnormal WITH the funnel on his head and the lead paint.


Composography, again

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on November 28, 2011 by dcairns

So, perhaps foolishly, I thought it would be fun to cut out Jimmy Stewart’s Floating Head of Death from the dream sequence in VERTIGO and insert it into a frame from the tunnels of light sequence in 2001. As you can see, I’ve lovingly preserved the bit of neck sticking out of Jimmy’s invisible polo-neck, and his weird billowing hair-tuft. Why? Well, why any of it?

Somehow dissatisfied with my strange efforts, I then cut out Eugene Pallette’s Floating Head of Death from the zany climax of Busby Berkeley’s THE GANG’S ALL HERE (badly) and stuck that into the dream sequence from VERTIGO. Well, it makes as much sense as anything else around here.

Crime of an Anatomy

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on September 14, 2011 by dcairns

Last week I wrote a celebration of the physical grotesquerie of the great Clarence Wilson, now visible at The Chiseler. One of the less-famed of the pre-code rep company servicing Hollywood in the early 30s, Wilson deserves to be sung of more often, and louder.

A furtive spell-check amended the piece, making it a hair less Rabelaisian than intended: I had compared everybody’s favourite fat man, Eugene Pallette, not to an inflamed bullock, but to an inflamed bollock. But it’s equally true either way.

During the course of the article, I compare Wilson himself to a zombie, a horse, and a crustacean, although the closest equivalent in nature might be some kind of beetle or roach. The movie THE PENGUIN POOL MURDER, however, an entertaining romp with Edna May Oliver as a crime-solving schoolteacher, comes up with its own comparison — some kind of horrible fish.

Seconds earlier, though some minutes before Ms Oliver’s appearance, the film also seems to offer a pretty good piscine analog for her long-faced fizzog —

And here’s an unrelated limerick, co-written with Hilary Barta.