Monthly Archives: June 2012

Link Dump: #71

This week’s kitty comes from a great Movie Morlocks piece about Harry Dean Stanton. You wouldn’t think that kitty could get any cuter, but then oh my god it’s being held by Harry Dean Stanton! Sooo cute. And now, sooo many links:

I have a pair of bizarrely spelled search terms for you this week: “puccy steert” and “fuc ma back puss a suc ma koc.” You heard it first here, folks: “suc ma koc.”

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Missed Connections

The story of Waterloo Bridge (1940) has all the hallmarks of your archetypal romantic melodrama. We get the couple who meet by chance, who are then beset by bad timing and miscommunication, turning their courtship into a feature-length tragedy. They get occasional reprieves—e.g., reports of the soldier boyfriend’s death are greatly exaggerated—but that just makes their ultimate freefall so much more heartbreaking. This is efficient melodrama. It squeezed tears out of me like a fist around a sponge. It distills the pain of being madly in love, of believing that “love conquers all” when, in fact, pretty much anything can conquer love.

The female half of this equation is Myra, a would-be ballerina in WWI-era London, part of a troupe ruled by queen bitch Maria Ouspenskaya. She’s played by Vivien Leigh, fresh from Gone with the Wind, but her performance here is the opposite of her fickle, demonstrative Scarlett: it’s internal, concentrated in her eyes and delivered half in whisper. Myra’s a victim of her own inexperience, taking a single meet-cute as the signal to bank her whole life on this new relationship. The wartorn Real World, however, will not abide her lovesick impulsiveness, and therein lies the tragedy.

Her male counterpart is Roy (Robert Taylor), who endures a stint in a German POW camp, yet remains even more oblivious than Myra to the cruel realities of life. I’ve always found Taylor painfully bland, and here he’s like a puppy dog in uniform, with this blithe smile plastered on his face until the truth smacks him at the very last second. Taylor’s complacency befits a child of privilege, but he still feels miscast; he’s an earnest Nebraskan who’s ostensibly a scion of Scottish gentry and nephew to C. Aubrey Smith. (Smith, incidentally, was the face of British nobility. You can spot him wearing a suit of armor in my “One Hour Mark” image from Love Me Tonight.)

But Taylor’s banality doesn’t impinge too heavily on the film’s power. It was directed by Mervyn LeRoy, the Warner Brothers journeyman behind some of my favorite Pre-Code classics (like I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang and Gold Diggers of 1933), and he knows well enough to rely on the situation’s innate unfairness, frequent close-ups of Leigh’s face, and resonant snippets from Swan Lake and “Auld Lang Syne.” The result is an elegant, suggestive movie that also works as a trusty emotional sledgehammer. Two kids in love, both bound to institutions that drag them apart. What could be sadder?

For me, the film hits its tearjerking zenith long before Myra descends into the demimonde around Waterloo Bridge. It’s when Roy learns that he’s shipping out a night early, and she insists on seeing him off at the plaform even though it’ll mean certain dismissal from the ballet. I expected to see a drawn-out goodbye, a kiss, anything. But instead Roy just wanders through the crowded station, glancing around for Myra until he’s forced to board. She gets there, sure, but with only enough time to wave and call his name as he chugs off for France. The moral here? No matter how bad circumstances will be, things can always get a little worse.

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We Have a Winner

And now, to put the finishing touches on this year’s Queer Film Blogathon, we have our raffle winner, determined via random number generator! Drum roll, please…

(The winner will receive a copy of Boze Hadleigh’s book Celluloid Gaze.)

The winner is Margaret Perry of the blog The Great Katharine Hepburn! As they say on TV, “Margaret, come on down!” (I.e., send an email to p.g.grrr@gmail.com so I can mail off your book!)

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Queer Film Blogathon: Day 5

So this is it! The last set of contributions to the Queer Film Blogathon 2012. (Though please comment if you have any to add.) It’s been a hectic, fun week. I’d like to thank Caroline from Garbo Laughs, first and foremost, for inviting us to co-host and for just being all-around awesome. Thanks to everyone who participated by writing posts or entering the raffle. And you know what? Thank you for reading! I hope you had fun; I sure did!

And now, the posts:

  • Stacia from She Blogged By Night criticizes the complacency and complicity of the classic film blogging community, using the homophobia in Freebie and the Bean as an example.
  • Mary from One Stop Awesome discusses one of her (and my) favorite movies, Todd Haynes’ Velvet Goldmine. An Ewan McGregor nude shot is thankfully included.
  • Yvette from in so many words… has a pretty fantastic piece on the beauty of Brokeback Mountain.
  • Joseph from The Queer Film Blog gives us a queer reading of Prometheus. (Which I will read as soon as I’ve seen the movie!)
  • Finally, we have one more review from Christianne, on Call Me Kuchu, which details the plight of gays and lesbians in Uganda. (If this blogathon teaches everyone one thing, I hope it’s “Read Krell Laboratories all the time.”)

That’s technically it, but it’s not quite over yet, because 1) we still have raffle winners to announce tomorrow and 2) I hope the spirit of queer film blogging will live on all year ’round.

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Queer Film Blogathon: Day 4

Our week-long voyage through the world of LGBT-themed movies has almost reached its end, but the posts keep on coming…

  • Chris from Silent Volume (ooh, a silents-centric movie blog!) weighs the representations of gay characters in William Dieterle’s Sex in Chains.
  • Speaking of queer prison movies, Brandie from True Classics gives us an in-depth look at the Stanwyck-starring Pre-Code drama Ladies They Talk About.
  • “His kind of… man?”: Jesse Ataide from Memories of the Future gives us one of my favorite blogathon contributions so far, a queer reading of His Kind of Woman written with some help from Richard Dyer and plenty of pictorial evidence.
  • Staying in the ’50s, Lê from Crítica Retrô looks at how queer behavior was equated with “deviation” in movies like Strangers on a Train and Johnny Guitar (pictured above).
  • Ivan from Thrilling Days of Yesteryear tells us about Different for Girls, a British romantic comedy about a trans woman.
  • Finally, Christianne writes about the queer/atheist coming-of-age story The Wise Kids.

Check back later today for our wrap-up post and the name of the raffle winner! (Speaking of which, it’s still not too late to enter.)

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Queer Film Blogathon: Day 3

We’re just past the blogathon’s halfway point and making incredible progress. Yet again I’m astounded by how diverse our participants’ interests and approaches are. So get reading!

  • Christianne has more for us: this time, she analyzes the dehumanizing clichés (and occasional triumphs) of transgender documentaries, from the quasi-doc Glen or Glenda (pictured above) to recent ones like She’s a Boy I Knew.
  • Stephanie Hammer from Magically Real recalls seeing boys kiss for the first time in 1971’s Sunday Bloody Sunday.
  • Wednesday’s Child from Deep Red Rum introduces us to the gay ghost story Heaven’s a Drag.

More to come tomorrow!

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Queer Film Blogathon: Day 2

The second day brings more queer-centric reviews, on movies spanning time and space, that continue to raise this blogathon’s already high bar of quality. So enjoy! (And don’t forget to enter the raffle!)

  • Christianne from Krell Laboratories returns to discuss the pleasures of Weekend—one of my recent favorites, too—as well as Richard Linklater’s latest, Bernie.
  • We’re off to Thailand courtesy of Peter from Coffee coffee and more coffee, who reviewed Sarasawadee Wongsompetch’s Yes or No.
  • More from Jake at Not Just Movies, this time a comprehensive post on Fassbinder’s In a Year of 13 Moons, which outdoes even Fox and His Friends when it comes to being depressing.
  • In perhaps the blogathon’s best-researched piece so far, Joseph from Marlene Dietrich: The Last Goddess reads Dietrich’s collaborations with von Sternberg through Sontag’s “Notes on ‘Camp’.”
  • Ever seen the early silent queer film A Florida EnchantmentAngela from The Hollywood Revue has, and was gracious enough to write about it for us!

Such an eclectic set of writing already, and we’re just getting started!

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