Archive for Shakespeare

The Sunday Intertitle: Droogy Peggy

Posted in FILM, literature, MUSIC with tags , , , , , , on December 28, 2014 by dcairns


CAPTAIN JANUARY (1924) stars Baby Peggy, already a veteran at five years old. I can’t recommend highly enough the documentary BABY PEGGY: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM, in which this survivor of the silent screen tells us about her remarkable career, as clear a case of child exploitation (and endangerment!) as you could wish to hear. Heart-warmingly — and I use the word without irony — Peggy-Jean Montgomery is today quite at peace with her movie career, able to enjoy the interest of fans and her position as former movie star, while still being quite clear-headed about the wrongs that were done her.

CAPTAIN JANUARY is a decent Peggy vehicle, in the sense that there’s lots of cuteness for us to enjoy — BP was unbelievably cute, and she has a dog, Skipper, and a pelican, Hamlet, to boot. The bird’s name is explained by the reading material Cap’n Daddy, her guardian, has selected for her education ~

Unfortunately, though ably directed by Buster Keaton associate Eddie Cline, the movie severely lacks plot and jeopardy. A villain is introduced, then dispensed with, having achieved nothing, and the happy ending remains clearly in sight through all the darkest moments, as if through a diaphanous veil. Ideally, you want the third act to throw up some situation so horrible and inescapable that the audience, despite knowing you must surely have a Happy Ever After tucked up your sleeve, can’t conceive of how you’re going to produce it. But maybe, Peggy being so cute, the scenarists didn’t have the heart to push things that far.

Astonishingly, this was remade (not so astonishingly, with Shirley Temple) — I assume it wasn’t so much the narrative they wanted as an excuse to feature a small child in oilskins, admittedly an adorable sight.But it’s Peggy’s long-johns and bowler ensemble that steals the show, transforming her for a few brief seconds into a proto-mini-droog.


Being the adventures of a young girl whose principle interests are japes, lighthouse-keeping and Shakespeare.

Of course the inclusion in CLOCKWORK ORANGE of the novelty song “I Want to Marry a Lighthouse Keeper” is tacit acknowledgement that Kubrick had seen this and stolen the look.

With a Bare Bodkin

Posted in FILM, Theatre with tags , , , , , on September 4, 2014 by dcairns


One admires Shakespeare, of course, but one does wish he’d chosen a less comical phrase for unsheathed dagger than “bare bodkin” to go at the end of a sombre and meaningful line about the urge to suicide. It lacks the required gravitas, somehow. Always makes me think he means a bare body, or even a bare bottom. Still, when you’re churning the stuff out like Will, you’re bound to muck it up on occasion. Look at King Lear: greatest tragedy ever written, and smack in the middle of it he mislays an entire character, giving work to generations of academics who try to explain what in buggeration happened to the Fool. And don’t get me started on the missing scene in Macbeth.

A fellow who treats Shakespeare with this same bracing lack of respect is Carmelo Bene, and you can read more here, at today’s Forgotten. Bare bodkins a-go-go.

Mr. Versatile

Posted in FILM with tags , on October 26, 2012 by dcairns

A modest selection from the film credits of Herman Bing. “And each man in his life plays many parts” ~ Shakespeare.

Night and Day (1946) (uncredited) …. Ladisaus Smedick

Rendezvous 24 (1946) …. Herr Schmidt, innkeeper

The Devil with Hitler (1942) …. Louis

Public Deb No. 1 (1940) (uncredited) …. Dutchman

Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940) (uncredited) …. Silhouettist

Sweethearts (1938) …. Oscar Engel

Daffy Duck in Hollywood (1938) (voice) (uncredited) …. Von Hamburger

The Great Waltz (1938) …. Otto Dommayer

Vacation from Love (1938) …. Oscar Wittlesbach

Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife (1938) …. Monsieur Pepinard

Every Day’s a Holiday (1937) …. Fritz Krausmeyer

Beg, Borrow or Steal (1937) …. Von Giersdorff, aka Count Herman

Maytime (1937) …. August Archipenko

Champagne Waltz (1937) …. Max Snellinek

That Girl from Paris (1936) …. ‘Hammy’ Hammacher

The Three Wise Guys (1936) …. Baumgarten

The King Steps Out (1936) …. Pretzelberger

Laughing Irish Eyes (1936) …. Weisbecher

Tango (1936) …. Mr. Kluckmeyer, Tango Hosiery

Fighting Youth (1935) …. Luigi

1,000 Dollars a Minute (1935) …. Vanderbrocken

Three Kids and a Queen (1935) …. Walter Merkin

His Family Tree (1935) …. Mr. ‘Stony’ Stonehill

Redheads on Parade (1935) …. Lionel Kunkel

Here Comes the Band (1935) (uncredited) …. Hans Bergenspitz

Don’t Bet on Blondes (1935) …. Prof. Friedrich Wilhelm Gruber

In Caliente (1935) …. Mexican Florist

The Misses Stooge (1935) …. Sazarac the Magician

The Night Is Young (1935) …. Nepomuk

Crimson Romance (1934) …. Himmelbaum

The Merry Widow (1934) …. Zizipoff

Mandalay (1934) …. Prof. Kleinschmidt

Trimmed in Furs (1934) …. Engles the Lodge Owner

Blood Money (1933) (uncredited) …. Butcher Weighing Sausages

College Coach (1933) …. Prof. Glantz

Fits in a Fiddle (1933) …. Heinrich Mickelmeier

The Great Jasper (1933) (uncredited) …. Herman Beaumgartner

A Farewell to Arms (1932) (uncredited) …. Swiss Postal Clerk

Three on a Match (1932) (uncredited) …. Prof. Irving Finklestein

The Crash (1932) (uncredited) …. E.F. McSorley, Diamond Broker

Blessed Event (1932) (uncredited) …. Emil, the Head Chef

Crooner (1932) (uncredited) …. Vaudevillian with Dachshunds

Week-End Marriage (1932) (uncredited) …. Mr. Mengel

Westward Passage (1932) …. Otto Hoopengarner, the Dutchman

Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) (uncredited) …. Franz Odenheimer

Men of Chance (1931) (uncredited) …. Fritz Tannenbaum

Show Girl in Hollywood (1930) …. Bing


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