Archive for Jean Cocteau

Moulouk

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on January 12, 2014 by dcairns

Ace Shadowplayer Anne Billson writes in The Telegraph about Cocteau’s LA BELLE ET LA BETE, and mentions the story that the Beast’s makeup design was based on star Jean Marais’s dog, Moulouk.

I immediately wanted to find a picture of Moulouk to see if there was really a resemblance. There are lots of pics online, as it turns out, but this is the BEST –

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The silly joy on the faces of both man and dog makes me insanely happy!

And Moulouk doesn’t look enormously like the Beast, but things don’t have to be literal (which is one of the lessons of the film, by the way).

When Henri Alekan attended Edinburgh Film Festival, Fiona asked him about how he lit the Beast as if he were a beautiful woman, with soft focus, a strip of light across the eyes, etc. “But ‘ee was beautiful, no?”

Who lives in a house like this?

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , on June 18, 2013 by dcairns

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UNDERCURRENT is generally regarded as minor Minnelli, but it was attractive to me because the idea of that director with noirish material seemed like a fascinating match. In fact, we’re kind of in a contemporary version of GASLIGHT — is it a problem that Katherine Hepburn somewhat lacks the vulnerability of Ingrid Bergman? Not as much as it is that Robert Taylor is, as usual, a cigar store Indian in terms of expressivity and charisma.

But there’s always Robert Mitchum… but only for a few scenes. They’re the most compelling bits in the film, because although Hepburn of course can act for two if required, it’s a lot better if there’s someone with real substance for her to bounce off of.

Which leads to the film’s most amusing trope, the “ranch house” Mitchum supposedly lives in. If you suspect that a Vincente Minnelli ranch house supervised by Cedric Gibbons might not be the kind of place John Wayne would call home, you’d be right, but would you have anticipated… this ~

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The big Buddha is a nice touch, but the Cocteauesque hands holding torches put the tin lid on it.

Kate wears a cowl to add to the spiritual dimension.

There IS a possible queer studies reading to be made of this film, in which Taylor’s obsession with his brother and murderous past stand in for homosexuality. He even stammers a line about hoping his marriage to Hepburn would help him “straighten out.” But Taylor’s ulterior designs don’t excuse or explain Mitchum’s unusual taste in interior design.

Happiness

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on July 27, 2012 by dcairns

No time to write anything, but Marcel L’Herbier’s LA COMEDIE DU BONHEUR, which has no particular reputation at all, looks rather splendid here, don’t you think? Avec Louis Jourdan, Ramon Novarro, Michel Simon, Micheline Presle, and Jean Cocteau as screenplay collab.

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