sovay: (Cho Hakkai: intelligence)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote2012-09-02 10:51 am

You could do a lot worse on this boat than a tumble with me

That was nine hours straight of pre-Code Paramount Pictures. Six features, three shorts. The sun had just risen by the time we were wandering the cool, shuttered streets of Harvard Square. I am not sure that I have, presently, the brain for a film-by-film writeup such as I produced for the Somerville's sci-fi 'Thon in February, but it was a wonderful thing to meet [livejournal.com profile] rushthatspeaks, [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel, and [livejournal.com profile] ajodasso for and exactly how I wanted to spend whatever stamina I had left this weekend. At this distance, I think I was most impressed by Girls About Town (1931) for its refusal to end in any of the moral directions that would have been inescapable a few years later, White Woman (1933) for everything about Charles Laughton (although his mustache alone would have sufficed), and Cleopatra (1934) for the way it retained only such minute and passing fragments of historical accuracy as would cause its audience to splutter all the more incoherently at the rest of the film, viz. the panther girls leaping through flaming hoops or Rush's speculation that Claudette Colbert's costumes were contractually obliged to reveal more of her breasts with each change until she got down to two feathers and a necklace and had to start building up again. The Wild Party (1929) mostly proved that Clara Bow should have flourished in the sound era (and that we are all very glad some things about gender in this country have actually changed) and the ending of Hot Saturday (1932) seems to have left everyone in the theater confused. There is no other word than "phenomenon" for Mae West in She Done Him Wrong (1933). Betty Boop Talkartoons are sort of amazingly surrealist. There were free donuts and coffee. And free pizza. Which I did not eat at the time, because that was two or three in the morning and I was doing fine on bitter lemon and chocolate with cornflakes in, but I have just made up for it by reheating some of the pizza from yesterday's adventures in moving and now I am going to lie down. I really, really hope an all-night pre-Code marathon becomes a regular feature of the HFA. I wouldn't at all mind two institutional excuses to lose sleep with film and people I like.

[identity profile] andrian6.livejournal.com 2012-09-02 03:08 pm (UTC)(link)
It's a shame some of these films are only available on YouTube, of all places. I do hope the festival becomes a regular feature. The more folks see these films, the better their chances of survival.

[identity profile] ap-aelfwine.livejournal.com 2012-09-02 07:23 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm glad it was such a good time for you. I'm looking forward to a further writeup, if you should feel at some point like making such.

[identity profile] ap-aelfwine.livejournal.com 2012-09-03 10:05 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you. May occur in comments.

You're welcome. I'll keep an eye on them, so.

I napped for about two hours in the afternoon, but I wouldn't say my brain's back online yet.

Hope all goes well on that front.
ext_13979: (Default)

[identity profile] ajodasso.livejournal.com 2012-09-02 09:59 pm (UTC)(link)
I think I was most impressed by Girls About Town (1931) for its refusal to end in any of the moral directions that would have been inescapable a few years later, White Woman (1933) for everything about Charles Laughton (although his mustache alone would have sufficed)

I enjoyed these two most of all, and for the same reasons, too (I will add that Kay Francis was a major highlight of Girls About Town for me)! The Wild Party was simultaneously fantastic and very frustrating...

[identity profile] movingfinger.livejournal.com 2012-09-03 12:02 am (UTC)(link)
The Stanford Theater in Palo Alto does pre-Code films regularly, along with their other excellent offerings. (It's the only place I've ever seen Ealing films.) I don't go as often as I ought...

Claudette Colbert is my favorite actress.

[identity profile] movingfinger.livejournal.com 2012-09-03 02:51 am (UTC)(link)
I admire her ease and her delivery---she never really gets lost in a role (that I've seen), but she's always expressive and there's a warmth to her that's very appealing. She had a lovely voice, too, and she used it well, her speech seems more vivid than most modern actresses (duh) but also more than some of her contemporaries (e.g. Hepburn).

[identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com 2012-09-04 07:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Is The Man in the White Suit the industrial espionage film, where the suit never wears out? I saw that on TV when I was in high school--part of it anyway--and thought it was very cool.

[identity profile] moon-custafer.livejournal.com 2012-09-03 11:32 am (UTC)(link)
mostly proved that Clara Bow should have flourished in the sound era

Haven't seen this one, but the more recording I hear of silent stars, the more I become convinced that the old "people's careers ruined by sound" trope is utter bosh.

[identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com 2012-09-04 07:12 pm (UTC)(link)
This was the day you saw the sun rise!

we are all very glad some things about gender in this country have actually changed

Which ones?

that was two or three in the morning and I was doing fine on bitter lemon and chocolate with cornflakes in

"Do not partake of the pizza, donuts, or coffee, or you may never leave the perilous realm, but partake only of these bitter lemon and chocolate [items] with cornflakes, that you may yet return home clothed in more than two feathers and a necklace."