buy Flomax no prescription Synthroid without prescription buy buspar buy Singulair online buy Prednisone online Amitriptyline lasix without prescription buy buspar online buy super Levitra online Prednisone without prescription buy trazodone without prescription Zithromax No Prescription Propecia Amoxicillin

Weekly Mishmash: May 3-9

Blonde Ice (1948) and High Wall (1947). Two strictly average noirs that operated on vastly different budgets. High Wall was an MGM production with a distinctly paranoid, “Warner Brothers” feel about a war veteran (Robert Taylor) accused of murdering his wife. Committed to a psychiatric hospital, Taylor comes under the observation of a sympathetic female doctor (Audrey Totter) who helps him unscramble his memories and prove his innocence. Unusual film with an interesting premise. MGM usually cast Robert Taylor in roles that were beyond his abilities, and this was no exception. He’s decent, but bland. Christopher mentioned how this part would have been much better played by Montgomery Clift; an edgy actor like him would have elevated this film beyond the routine. I loved Audrey Totter, however, in a role that went beyond her usual femme fatale image (Ms. Totter is in her 90s and still with us, by the way).

High Wall (1947)

Contrastingly, this week we also saw the grubby looking, independently produced ‘B’ Blonde Ice. This melodrama with noir elements went out of circulation for several decades before getting re-released on a fancy (by VCI Home Entertainment standards) DVD. This film is about a San Francisco society columnist who marries and kills man after man, but don’t get your hopes up. Mostly it consists of scenes with wooden actors standing around talking to each other. The one thing I’d recommend here is actress Leslie Stevens, enjoyably uninhibited in the title role. I could tell that Stevens saw the uniqueness in the part and played it to the hilt. Up against High Wall, we actually enjoyed this one a bit more.
Heavy Traffic (1973). Ugly, strange and totally watchable Ralph Bakshi film combines animation with still and live action footage into a trippy stew, like an underground comic come to life. This one hangs a thin story about a New York City cartoonist and his jivey gal pal on a cacophony of racist and sexist imagery. The portrayal of a ghetto teeming with non-stop violence and crude sex was severely off-putting at first, but eventually I got into it. The animation is crude and not particularly well-done, but at least the film aimed for something different and in that respect it succeeded.
ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway (2007). Showtime taping. Not being much of a theater geek, I didn’t expect much of this comprehensive look at four different musicals premiering in the 2003-04 Broadway season. Surprisingly, it turned out to be one of the best documentaries I’ve seen recently. Here’s a sign of how good this was — even though I knew the ending, I was still swept up in it. Helping immeasurably is the fact that the filmmakers started this project during an excellent season. Wicked, Avenue Q, Caroline, Or Change and Taboo are followed from modest workshops though grueling rehearsals, openings, critical and audience receptions and the final blowout at the Tony awards. All four shows get a probing, insightful treatment. The filmmakers are unsparing in showing that the Boy George/Rosie O’Donnell project Taboo had a troubled journey to opening night, but everyone involved comes across sympathetically. The civil rights-themed Caroline, Or Change is presented as more of a hard sell. Although the show seems like the very definition of “critic’s darling,” from the clips here it looks like a heavy-handed, tuneless bore. I also liked the contrast between the ultra-smug critics dishing in trendy restaurants with the hard working gyspies demonstrating that it takes real sweat to put on a show. The main thrust of the film, however, lies between the scrappy but likable outsider Avenue Q and the audience-pleasing, overproduced Wicked (which, honestly, looks horrid to me). Both shows wound up being huge hits, of course, but they each embody the fact that Broadway is a constant battlefield between commerce and art.
Small Town Gay Bar (2006). Nicely subtle doc about gays and lesbians finding community in the conservative backwoods of Mississippi. Even though the film ambles and loses focus occasionally, I enjoyed it. The only section I didn’t like came when the filmmakers interviewed that hateful blowhard, Fred Phelps. Why, I don’t know. They could have included a less extreme religious figure and still gotten their point across. Aside from that, pretty good.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation