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 [ 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.

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'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.

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