Archive for Frank Tashlin

Math Appeal

Posted in FILM, literature, Science with tags , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2012 by dcairns

Chuck Jones’ skilled and witty film of Norton Juster’s script of his own short story.

It should have been un-adaptable, like Gogol’s The Nose, but everything works, except maybe the social attitudes. Stuff like “didn’t know what to do with her hands” is just delightful, because it sets up just the kind of cognitive dissonance (“WHAT hands?”) that laughter is made of — when two irreconcilable concepts forcibly co-exist, the brain can only escape a Robbie the Robot short circuit by bolting through the escape hatch marked GIGGLE.

The Dot is a really horrible character. There’s a real “Hero of the Beach” muscle-mag attitude that women are passive objects to be competed over by men. While the Line and the Squiggle enter into this honestly and without actually being mean to each other, the Dot is a spoilt, malicious creature who abuses anyone who doesn’t satisfy her incessant demands for novelty. I hope the poor Squiggle finds somebody more his own speed and settles down into a life of creative anarchy.

Apparently this is available on a DVD of Frank Tashlin’s THE GLASS BOTTOM BOAT, which is vaguely apt, but it should really be an extra with VERTIGO. Both because of the ways in which Jones’s visuals approach Saul Bass’s (the YouTuber who posted it apparently thinks it’s by Norman McLaren — a fair guess, but WRONG), and in the way the short reverses the sympathies engendered in Hitchcock’s film — a woman trapped and torn and manipulated and molded between two horrible men is replaced by a female manipulator who remodels the men in her life, rejecting the less adaptable model in favour of the one who can literally be bent to her will.

A small contribution to the short animation blogathon hosted by Pussy Goes Grrr.

Come on, they’re not THAT bad…

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on August 11, 2011 by dcairns

From the titles of Frank Tashlin’s THE FIRST TIME.

This is now the subject of this week’s The Forgotten, over at the new-look Daily Notebook. Here’s a scene, the Housewife’s Revenge Upon the Erring Hubbie:

The Rock

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on October 20, 2010 by dcairns

I have self-satisfaction coming out of my ears. Yes, as I peruse my brand-new, still-warm edition of the Masters of Cinema BluRay of WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER?, an emotion akin to third-degree smugness creeps from the dank recesses of my id and leaves complacent footsteps all over my ego and superego. The reason being the three — count ‘em! — three “essays” crammed into the compact accompanying booklet, each of them authored — personally — by my brain and forelimbs.

That’s not the primary reason to buy the thing, though — you should buy it for the movie itself, a crackerjack box of visual gags, satirical sideswipes and exuberant, nimble comic performances (Randall! Mansfield! Blondell!) and Gorgeous Life-like Color by Deluxe! After watching the thing, my eyeballs feel like they should be sealed in a  lead-lined box for a thousand years before it’s safe for them to look at anyone again. That thing has the platonic ideal of all your basic colours, with the brightness turned up to eleventeen.

You also get a video intro by arch-Tashlinite Joe Dante, the trailer, a Mansfield newsreel, and an alternative audio track, and a text interview with legend Tony Randall, conducted by Ethan DeSeife.

Just watched my copy, and Fiona and I were oohing and aahing at the colours like early cinemagoers experiencing projected images for the first time. An observation from Fiona I wish I’d been able to include in my essay: when Betsy Drake goes Mansfield-mad and starts making that high-pictched EEEOOH! noise associate with J.M., it’s as disturbing as Mercedes McCambridge’s revoicing of Linda Blair in THE EXORCIST. Tashlin’s comedy hovers near the boundaries of nightmare.

In stores October 25th — buy it now via my link and make me slightly more financially secure –

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? [Masters of Cinema] [Blu-ray]

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