Archive for Jayne Mansfield

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]

Carradine Strikes Out

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on October 13, 2010 by dcairns

Consider this a sequel, of sorts, to that long-ago post, Ten Bad Dates With Roddy McDowell. This time, it’s John Carradine who doesn’t seem set to enjoy much luck.

Give up now, John!

The movie is FEMALE JUNGLE, a profoundly silly title for a not quite so silly movie, essentially a retread of BLACK ANGEL. Here it’s homicide cop Lawrence Tierney who fears he may have committed murder during an alcoholic blackout, which is pretty much the most serious faux pas a homicide cop can make. Apart from the always-intense Tierney (a guy who really did go nuts with a drink inside him) and Carradine (who looks GOOD in those specs, damnit — they add another, previously missing dimension to his head), there’s “And Introducing” Jayne Mansfield, who actually acts in a convincing human manner here, rather than deploying the light-comedy fembot style she made so much her own later.

Seen in the clip with Carradine is former beauty queen Kathleen Crowley, who’s quite moving and vulnerable in a Patricia Medina kind of way — her argument scenes with her husband, (screenwriter star Burt Kaiser) are so circular and illogical and poorly-written as to be actually a pretty convincing evocation of the average domestic tiff between people who have just plain gotten into the habit of fighting.

Nice atmos of late-night grime.

Images from 10Kbullets.com.

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

Rockin’ Good News

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on September 9, 2010 by dcairns

At last it can be told!

I’ve contributed essays to the forthcoming — very forthcoming — BluRay edition of WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER? from the excellent people at Eureka Masters of Cinema. The project was hatched in secrecy and darkness, so I’ve only just discovered that I share my duties as extra feature with Joe Dante, which makes the whole thing even more thrilling. Now I can introduce myself as his “unwitting collaborator.”

The Amazon product description is a febrile triumph in itself, and worth quoting in full. Do I detect the hand of Master of Cinema mastermind Craig Keller?

“Unsold on celebrity? Congested with consumption? Addled by status? You’re in The World, kiddo, brought to you by Frank Tashlin “Because Someone’s Got to Live in It.” And now a brief word on our latest fine product, the one that gives you the answer to that nagging question: Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? Ladies and gentlemen, no-one does straight-and-narrow quite like Tony Randall, and we guarantee his turn as lovable ad-man Rockwell P. Hunter will leave you in so many stitches you’ll be just silly with sc-HAH-rtissue! And speaking of tissue: once you see Jayne Mansfield bob and weave as starlet Rita Marlowe, the ambidextrous angel who takes Hunter under her “wings” to launch his agency into the $trato$phere, you too will coo her trademark “ooo”! But that’s not all! You’ll also get Ms. Joan Blondell, star of Nightmare Alley and of Opening Night, who rounds out the package as Ms. Marlowe’s assistant and handler as they say in Paris, quel package! Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? proves that love CAN be manufactured (how else could we get our Blu-rays in your hands??), and finds Frank Tashlin doing what he did better than everyone else: Frank Tashlin’!!! Trust us when we say we here at The Masters of Cinema Series are simply over-the-moon to be presenting Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? for the first time on Blu-ray anywhere on the planet. – Gorgeous high-definition transfer of the film in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio – New and exclusive video introduction to the film by director Joe Dante (Gremlins 1 & 2, InnerSpace, Looney Tunes: Back in Action) – Vintage Movietone short which captures Jayne Mansfield on tour promoting the film – Alternate music & effects track with a different musical score for the opening of the picture and other ‘temporary’ effects-placement – Original theatrical trailer – Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hearing-impaired – 44-page booklet featuring two new essays by film writer David Cairns, and an exclusive 2003 interview about the film with Tony Randall conducted by Ethan DeSeife.”

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

Remember, if you buy it via my Amazon link, it costs you nothing extra, but I get a little tiny percentage of the proceeds.

I will now be offline until, perhaps, Friday night, since I’m going to be in Dublin meeting with producers. A new edition of The Forgotten will appear at the Daily Notebook sometime today, so please drop by and check it out. I’ll link to it when I get back.

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