Saturday, July 14, 2007

Friday the Thirteenth

Happy Friday the Thirteenth! Celebrations of note today include a midnight screening of the eponymous holiday movie (1980)* at AFI's Silver Theater,* but I don't think I'll venture out. Another movie missed due to my overwritten two-day semester: Álex de la Iglesia's lusciously black comedy el Día de la Bestia (Day of the Beast, 1995),* a wicked favorite featuring one lapsed Basque priest's attempt to stem the apocalypse using methods cabbalistic and profane. ...Beast sets the tolerance below Iglesia's more jaw-dropping Acción Mutante (Mutant Action!, 1993)* a futuristic revolution so giddily pitch as to put facial staples to ripe comedic use. So what did I see? An immediate reward for curbing any linguistic potential: I was finally able to catch an early afternoon screening of John Houston's parlor pulp masterpiece the Maltese Falcon (1941).* Completely unimpeachable, though I was surprised to note how sedate Huston's direction is here. There are occasional touches of flair: one dramatically-lit foreshadowing finds the camera roving all around the Spade & Archer office seeking deep meaning in cast shadows, for example; but this movie is mostly presented flatly, inertly following long expositive passages with nary a grit of the niorish texture usually present in Houston's rich crime verité. Very well. This is pulp after all, and keeps nicely apace of Dashiell Hammett's complex novel, though without the author's many socio-sexual observations. Need I synopsize? Sam Spade is hired by some dame; but it's okay, Sam knows the dame is lying. What he doesn't know is about this bird statue, see, and a cast of real foxy characters chasing each other for it. But that's okay, too. Key to this movie's untouchable status is yet another flexible and almost diabolical performance by Humphrey Bogart as the hot-and-cold-running nihilist Spade, a shark in crook-infested waters. [Cavin]

Then, a 4 sided conversation ensued...

To which Blogger qemuel added:

Love me some Bogart.

I actually had planned on picking up the awesome DVD set of Maltese Falcon from the store before putting in my notice (and in effect use my final gift card to make the purchase). Sadly, we were out on the day I made my final discounted purchases. I will definitely pick it up later, though.

Don't blame you for dropping the class. Sounds like more work than it probably would've been worth in the long run.

Sunday, July 15, 2007 2:17:00 PM  
To which Blogger Mr. Cavin added:

Re the class: yeah, that was definitely my take, too. But I still feel like a quitter. I was very concerned that people at the institute would be mad at me for some reason. Sounds like needy emotional trouble to me. In other news, I have that copy of the Maltese Falcon of which you speak. What keeps happening to me is I keep buying stuff I really want, like this: I saw Act of Violence and Remember the Night at AFI, and so I bought a lot of film noir to watch at home. In one set, I have Asphalt Jungle, and Murder, My Sweet. These combined to make me want to get the Maltese Falcon. Make sense? So of course, before I can even open them, AFI is screening the very same movies. This has happened over and over since I arrived. Of course, if I sound like I am kvetching, I really ain’t: every time I see a movie I don’t already own, I run right out and buy it, too. Either way, almost all my home movies are still wrapped in plastic.

So what were you able to get with your final gift card?

Sunday, July 15, 2007 3:12:00 PM  
To which Blogger qemuel added:

It actually worked out fairly well; I had ordered the third volume of RUNAWAYS (and Brian Vaughn's final, by the way), and it came in on my last day. I picked that up, along with THANK YOU FOR SMOKING on DVD.

Sunday, July 15, 2007 8:23:00 PM  
To which Blogger Ian McDowell added:

The MALTESE FALCON DVD, which I don't own but need to, comes (I believe) with the two previous versions, THE MALTESE FALCON (aka DANGEROUS FEMALE) and SATAN MET A LADY. The former is particularly interesting, with Dwight "Renfield" Frye as Wilmer, and Ricardo Cortez playing Spade as a Latino horndog who is private eye primarily so he can schtup his female clients. SATAN MET A LADY is basically a not-so-funny comedy, with Warren William, who'd played Perry Mason and Philo Vance, portraying a Vance-like smoothie named Ted Shayne. It also has a Fat WOMAN and a jeweled ram's horn as the McGuffin. I really, really like the Huston FALCON, of course, but I prefer THE BIG SLEEP. FALCON is tighter and more logical and MUCH better plotted, and certainly more cynical, but BIG SLEEP is so delirious, with an even cooler Bogart getting laid every other scene like a pre-Code hero. Plus it's got the smoking hot stuff with Bacall.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 12:20:00 PM  

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