Thrilling movie, loved it. Also the gayest movie I’ve seen all year… and I’m not just saying that ’cause of the neckerchief. Very manly sweaty back-slapping kinda movie, and a weird subplot where our neckerchiefed hero loudly neglects his “girlfriend”. Movie also features lead characters named Mario and Luigi. That’s not adding to the gaiety, I’m just saying. Odd to see actors speaking Italian with synchronized sound.

WoF2

Everyone’s stuck in this poor town and hangs out at the bar but nobody ever pays their tab. One day, an apparently rich fat man shows up and Neckerchief befriends him, then tries to start a little two-man gang to intimidate the others, when he’s not mistreating his girlfriend and his roommate. Fortunately, an oil refinery some miles away has an uncontrollable fire and they need a buncha nitro to block off the flames (fight fire with fire?). Nitro is loaded into two trucks and drivers are hired. Neckerchief gets in and helps the fat man cheat his way in… then roomie Luigi and some other guy drive the other truck. That part out of the way, the rest of the movie is a thrilling, bumpy ride.

WoF1

After dude’s friends die and he gets the explosives truck to the burning oil fields, he gets WAY too happy and drives himself off a cliff. Is he happy cuz he’s now rich enough to leave town? To afford more whisky? To marry his “girlfriend” who’s waiting for him? I don’t know! I was talking to someone recently who hated this… was it Trevor & Robert? Anyhow, they’re so wrong. This kicks some ass, even if I can’t always figure out the lead characters’ behavior (hey, they’re Italian). First film ever to win both the Golden Palm (Cannes) and Golden Bear (Berlin), and has been remade twice so far.

WoF3

Limelight 1

Five years after Monsieur Verdoux, twelve after The Great Dictator, and his third-to-last movie. This would be an interesting one to read more about. Charlie plays a clown (Calvero), used to be the most famous in the country but now all washed up. Meets a ballerina on the verge of success but with suicidal tendencies. She tells of a songwriter she once fell for, but insists she’s now fallen for Calvero, wants to marry him. He says that’s ridiculous, that he’s a failing old man and she’s a lovely young woman. Interesting philosophy, since Chaplin (63) wrote + directed and the lead actress (21) was much closer in age to Chaplin’s real wife (26). Anyway, they help each other out, Calvero fades away and lets the girl do her own thing without him. Doesn’t work – she tracks him down, gets him huge sold-out final gig, after which he conveniently dies leaving her to her dark handsome composer and a future as a world-famous ballerina

Limelight 2

Not a comedy, drama all the way, with a few funny bits. Sweet story, good looking movie, totally enjoyed it. I guess the most “personal” movie I’ve seen of his… seems more so than the Great Dictator.

At Calvero’s final gig, he’s doing some of the same jokes he does at the beginning of the movie that get walkouts and disinterest. But at the big sold-out show, audiences are hooting their appreciation, thunderous applause, love love loving it. The jokes haven’t gotten better, but the reception has. Old star suddenly propped up by current new stars and given a benefit gig with hugely overappreciative audience, seemed to me like the crowd is applauding themselves for supporting the old man, the kind of award-show self-important applause that has more to do with being important enough to attend the Big Event and cultured enough to recognize the Famous Talent than it does the actual performance. Don’t know if that’s what Chaplin intended, but anyway, the applause made Calvero feel a whole lot better.

Buster Keaton was in it!

Limelight 3

What I learned about life in the 50’s from watching The Day The Earth Stood Still:

Women scream and fall down when confronted with danger

Day The Earth Stood Still

In an emergency, army men ignore women entirely and let them get away.

If a spaceship lands in Washington DC, it’s okay to leave it guarded by two men and some police tape

Scientists necessarily have frizzy hair.

When you ask a US general to summon representatives from every country, the only one they’ll contact is Russia, whom they know will say “no” anyway.

Saying “klaatu barata nikto” can help in a lot of situations, not just when retrieving the book of the dead.

Day The Earth Stood Still

Even aliens believe in God. Lady: “He has the power of life and death” Klaatu: “No, that power is reserved for the almighty spirit”.

Kids say “golly” an awful lot.

The cold war was pretty serious stuff.

Aliens are well-mannered white men.

Day The Earth Stood Still

“The decision rests with you”

Skipping past twenty years, Las Hurdes, the Spanish Filmofono productions and a couple other Mexican movies… to Los Olvidados. I understood that this was one of the pre-60’s movies that Bunuel had the most control over.

Realist drama about a kid named Pedro whose mother barely loves him, if at all, and his friends, thug Jaibo and innocent Big Eyes. When there isn’t violence in a scene, there’s the threat of violence. Even Big Eyes and the little girl pick up a rock or stick and hold it up as if to bash someone’s brains out at one point, then pull back. Jaibo doesn’t pull back, killing a former friend (who supposedly sent him to jail) at the beginning. His crimes catch up with Jaibo, but Pedro’s poverty and lack of parenting and bad associations catch up with him as well.

Well-made movie. Echos of Salaam Bombay (seen a month ago) but with less positivity. Katy liked it pretty well, but watched the clock more than the screen.