Archive for Ida Lupino

The Sunday Intertitle: Nipper!

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , on February 21, 2021 by dcairns

Lupino “Nipper” or “Nip” Lane — Henry William George Lupino — was known to me mainly for his being second cousin to Ida Lupino, and for his vigorous, indeed violent, comic dancing in Lubitsch’s THE LOVE PARADE. But I got lured into helping crowdfund a DVD because the clips were so amazing, and I’m very glad I did.

Nipper, we’re told, wasn’t particularly interested in creating a constant screen persona, he’s a bit chameleonic. The first short we ran was GOOD NIGHT NURSE in which he’s a nervous wreck seeking treatment from Dr. O. Stoppit, played by Nipper’s younger brother Wallace, who looks convincingly decades older but is remarkably spry when the gags require it.

Since gags are what Nipper is interested in, the gags had better be good, right? And they are — there’s a Stan Laurel “freak gag” thing going on, with the double-jointed Lane swelling up like a balloon, having his tongue stretched like elastic, and impersonating a skeleton (a good trick if you can do it). As with Mr. Laurel, this business is at least as disturbing as it is amusing, but there are plenty of other kinds of tricks on display, from the brutal stepping on the gouty foot routine so beloved of Chaplin (and thus probably rooted in the British music hall tradition from which both Charlie and Nipper originated) to the kick up the arse as a surrogate for the handshake or hat tip.

But there’s also REALLY clever stuff. Which makes this disc exciting — we get to see an original comic mind throwing out strange gags and eccentric pay-offs nobody else would think of, and executing them in ways nobody else could physically achieve. Congratulations already to Dave Glass & Dave Wyatt, and I suspect those congrats will only get heartier as I work my way through this collection.

I Covet the Waterfront

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2020 by dcairns

Here’s a minor but highly enjoyable Litvak WB drama with a comic tone — a companion in some ways to THE AMAZING DR. CLITTERHOUSE. As with that charming oddity, there’s a serious villain and a comic hero, or in this case, heroes.

Or is that strictly correct? The pic’s leading man is John Garfield, who gets the screen time commensurate with this status, and what I suppose we must call the romance, with Ida Lupini. Garfield plays a nasty character, not only a racketeer but a sadist, albeit one with dangerous charisma and a slick line of chat.

The film’s clitterhousing is divided by part-time fishermen Thomas Mitchell and John Qualen (in maybe the closest he got to co-lead). Garfield’s protection racket puts the squeeze on them, the law proves ineffectual (the script’s least convincing moment, and surely it could have been made credible) and they are driven to contemplate… murder.

The trouble is, unlike Clitterhouse, who was what I’m going to term genre-fluid, able to become a melodramatic psycho when the plot demanded it, then shift back to absurdity, these guys exist in only a few closely-aligned modes — sympathetic, pathetic, and comic. Can comic characters kill a serious one, and get away with it under the Production Code? As with CLITTERHOUSE, the answer is surprising.

Maybe the balance isn’t as neat as in DR. C., and maybe that’s because Garfield has to be given a substantial enough role to justify his presence, or maybe he’s not given enough genuine appeal to make his wooing of Lupino compelling (she loses sympathy for taking any interest in him, over poor Eddie Albert’s honest schnook). But still, it generates a ton of suspense and gets itself out of narrative trouble with surprising wrinkles. Fun.

Plenty of the the eponymous fog fog fog, and WB atmosphere. The impressive dock set seems to be decorated with one of Errol Flynn’s cast-off galleons.

OUT OF THE FOG stars Porfirio Diaz; Elvira Bonner; Uncle Billy; Irving Radovich; Nicholas Pappalas; Miser Stevens; Kate Canaday; Miles Archer; Delphine Detaille; ‘Slip’ Mahoney; Louie Dumbrowsky; Minor Role (uncredited); Wormy; McNab; Uncle John Joad; Big Bertha; and Hamilton Burger.

Neg Gate

Posted in FILM, Television with tags , , , , , on February 11, 2020 by dcairns

16mm Shrine cap2

Movies as a doorway to Beyond? We consider the question in the latest Neg Sparkle.