This post dovetails into the fact that I left a movie off the last Flick Clique – 1957’s The Big Caper, which we caught on Netflix streaming. I’m not surprised it got left out, actually, since it was a pretty forgettable late noir with Rory Calhoun and a bunch of sleazeballs attempting to break into a bank vault. It’s a decent enough flick to pass the night away, all right, just one without any especially outstanding qualities. The film does boast a rare onscreen leading lady turn by Mary Costa, best known for being the voice of Aurora in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.
Speaking of Costa and Calhoun, I came across this oddity from The Jack Benny Show in which Mary and Rory sing a duet and do a bit of shilling for The Big Caper. I actually think current talk shows would be much more worthwhile if they had movie stars doing a bit of song ‘n dance. All the better if it comes out as silly as Mary and Rory’s “Mutual Admiration Society.”
Amid Amidi of Cartoon Brew recently posted on the vintage 1956 short 90 Day Wondering, one of three shorts that Chuck Jones and the talented folks at Warner Bros. did for the U.S. government. Jones certainly didn’t slag off on these rarely screened shorts. Meant to encouraging Army vets to stay enlisted, this one has the same appealing quality and craftsmanship as the theatrical W.B. shorts. Some of fanciful background art that Maurice Noble created here is beautifully done.
This PBS-endorsed music video of Julia Child is the most mesmerizing thing I’ve seen all week. The idea of Julia remixed into a techno-pop video mashup sounds gimmicky, I know, but John D. Boswell (a.k.a. Melodysheep) weaves voices and music in a beautiful, respectful way that celebrates her love of food and cooking. A good commemoration of the lady’s 100th birthday:
There’s not a lot of art pieces that have people buzzing like Christian Marclay’s The Clock. The 24-hour video installation is made up of seamlessly edited clips from hundreds of films depicting the exact time of day in which that particular clip is shown, an effect which comes across as both clever and profound. It encompasses scenes of characters looking at clocks and watches, and instances where the time is spoken by the actors (I wonder if Judy Garland in The Clock is included?). The filmed excerpt below, a three-minute stretch from just after high noon, might give you a taste of what it’s like — but I imagine one truly has to see a big chunk of it to get the full effect. Currently showing in bigger coastal cities, it’s in huge demand right now (a massive digital file, Marclay only did a few copies and it has to be exhibited under his strict provisions). The chances of this arriving in a podunk spot like Phoenix are practially nil, but big congrats to Marclay and his acheivement.
This New Yorker article details the creation of The Clock and Marclay’s background in thought-provoking audio-visual mashups.
More vintage Bell Telephone ephemeral films — this 1979 tape trumpeting the products in their “Design Line” is probably the goofiest of them all. I actually remember these special phone designs being a really big deal at the time (and coveting the Snoopy and Mickey Mouse models!). Bell even had special stores in shopping malls set up to peddle this stuff, although I never personally saw one. The film is nine minutes long, but totally worth it for all the kitschy designs, fashions and set decor. The most puzzling phone would be the one that folds up into a discreet wood-paneled box. Disguising household technology as wooden furniture when not in use seems like a completely bizarre concept to wrap your brain around, and yet that was a huge thing in marketing radio and TV consoles going back to the ’20s. People who bought Bell’s Stowaway model could be secure in knowing that their phone could be mistaken for a Kleenex box when not in use. A very expensive Kleenex box — these specialty models retailed for anywhere from $39.95 (Exeter) to $109.95 (Antique Gold).