sovay: (Sydney Carton)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote2017-03-16 05:00 am

You are Bogart, he is George Raft, that leaves Cagney and me

1. Things I appreciate that modern technology allows me to do: at the end of an evening that included [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel spiking a scary fever, Hestia being dramatically ill under the bed, and me having to miss a film I had been looking forward to for weeks, cue up Josef von Sternberg's Underworld (1927) on YouTube and synch up the soundtrack by the Alloy Orchestra on iTunes and enjoy a silent movie I had not seen since 2008. I don't think I recognized then how much Clive Brook as Rolls Royce—at least once given a bath and a shave, though he's wonderfully unstarry in his scruffy phase—looks like a taller, thinner Richard Barthelmess. Part of it is the patent leather hair, but the neat cheekbones, the cleft chin, and the long, easily ironic eyebrows have something to do with it. They both have a trick of glancing watchfully upward; some of the same defensive shoulders, too. I can't tell if this speaks more to the types of leading men popular in the silent era or the possibility that I have developed a type after thinking for years I didn't have one. I've still never seen Brook in another role, despite his extensive filmography. I should give the one in the TCM buffer a try before it expires.

2. Speaking of gangsters, tonight I learned courtesy of a friend who is not on DW/LJ:

But there actually WAS a lesbian gangster in the 1950s in San Francisco, Eleanor (Tommy) Vasu. She dressed in men's clothing (gangster style), ran three lesbian bars, and was deep into rackets like parking lots, narcotics, and prostitution (she pimped her girlfriends out, as some butches did in those days). The Mob boys called her Tommy the Dyke. It's all true, I swear. That's Tommy below, on the far right.

Tommy


This is the sort of thing that makes me happier to know. I mean, not that pimping out my girlfriends is a life goal, but you get the idea.

3. Speaking of marginalization, I understand that the credited sources for Ranald MacDougall's The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1959) are M. P. Shiel's The Purple Cloud (1901) and Ferdinand Reyher's "End of the World" (1951), but having just read Nisi Shawl on W.E.B. Du Bois' "The Comet" (1920), I am really left wondering if that story is in the film's DNA. I haven't read the Reyher, but I have read the Shiel and the film displays much less overlap with it than with the Du Bois, in both premise and theme. As I indicated while running my mouth off in Tor.com's comments, it's a really close likeness for a parallel evolution. Any opinions or leads would be appreciated.

Life is very difficult when it's five in the morning and you need to get to bed in time to wake up early and call a doctor and there is a small cat asleep on your lap in absolute boneless trust and the occasional purr.
lilysea: Serious (Default)

[personal profile] lilysea 2017-03-17 04:44 pm (UTC)(link)

But there actually WAS a lesbian gangster in the 1950s in San Francisco, Eleanor (Tommy) Vasu. She dressed in men's clothing (gangster style), ran three lesbian bars, and was deep into rackets like parking lots, narcotics, and prostitution (she pimped her girlfriends out, as some butches did in those days). The Mob boys called her Tommy the Dyke. It's all true, I swear. That's Tommy below, on the far right.


Thank you for this! ^_^

[identity profile] hawkwing-lb.livejournal.com 2017-03-16 04:12 pm (UTC)(link)
Lesbian gangsters! That is a cool thing to learn. (I bet she would make a really good inspiration for a television series. Or a film.)

[identity profile] sovay.livejournal.com 2017-03-16 07:59 pm (UTC)(link)
Lesbian gangsters! That is a cool thing to learn. (I bet she would make a really good inspiration for a television series. Or a film.)

SIGN ME UP TAKE MY MONEY AWAY.

[identity profile] handful-ofdust.livejournal.com 2017-03-17 12:41 am (UTC)(link)
MINE AS WELL STRANGELY ENOUGH.

A couple of weeks ago I went to see a one-woman show by Margo MacDonald called The Elephant Girls, which was based around the all-female wing of the Elephant and Castle gang in London, who used to charge into newly-opened department stores en masse and steal EVERY FUCKING THING THEY COULD. The play is from the POV of their driver/enforcer, who wears guy's clothing and very obviously is a butch lesbian lady, but also falls into this twilight area where she's sort of the only immediate dating option for gang-members who don't want to retire. She's also deep in love with the gang's "queen," a woman named Alice Diamond, who pulls her into a crazy downward spiral of increasing violence and ever-longer jail terms. (There's a wonderful moment where Margo, who's being "interviewed" by the audience, pulls out all her weapons and lays them on what's supposed to be a pub's back table. By the time she got to the second gun she pulled out of her sock, having already divested herself of eight knives of varying size, two razors and a cosh, I was in hysterics.)

[identity profile] sovay.livejournal.com 2017-03-17 12:54 am (UTC)(link)
a one-woman show by Margo MacDonald called The Elephant Girls, which was based around the all-female wing of the Elephant and Castle gang in London, who used to charge into newly-opened department stores en masse and steal EVERY FUCKING THING THEY COULD.

That sounds amazing.

(There's a wonderful moment where Margo, who's being "interviewed" by the audience, pulls out all her weapons and lays them on what's supposed to be a pub's back table. By the time she got to the second gun she pulled out of her sock, having already divested herself of eight knives of varying size, two razors and a cosh, I was in hysterics.)

If this shows any signs of playing (a) outside Toronto (b) where I might have a hope of seeing it, please, please, please let me know.

[identity profile] handful-ofdust.livejournal.com 2017-03-17 03:42 am (UTC)(link)
I totally will.;)

[identity profile] moon-custafer.livejournal.com 2017-03-17 04:26 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't know whether it makes it into the play, but apparently one of the gang's higher-ups also delighted in living a double life in some English village where she was beloved as the upper-middle-class lady who ran and donated generously to all the local charities.

[identity profile] sovay.livejournal.com 2017-03-17 08:21 pm (UTC)(link)
one of the gang's higher-ups also delighted in living a double life in some English village where she was beloved as the upper-middle-class lady who ran and donated generously to all the local charities.

Okay, I want a play just about that.