Sunday, November 13, 2011

Way Out Jeff

Thank you MELANCHOLIA for getting me posting more regularly.

I've been thinking that it is easy to write arguments for or against modern films. Arguing either side on MELANCHOLIA wouldn't be a stretch for any of us on here. But writing about classics is difficult because they don't conform well to words (at least not for me). WAY OUT WEST is really funny and enjoyable, but those generic adjectives don't really do it justice. You had to have been in the theater with that beautiful print playing to really feel the impact of it. It was just a blast. And Chaplin's THE PAWNSHOP before hand was an unbelievable treat. A blissful evening. That's what classics do for me. It's the experience of them as well as the content that makes them among the very highlights of existence.

Anyway, WAY OUT WEST has some really great sight gags. It's brisk, awfully funny, and filled with visual lunacy. It's no Marx Bros. absurdist circus, but it is a damn good time.

This must have been classic comedy weekend for me because I also caught THE BANK DICK this morning. I started it on TCM many years ago but fell asleep. I'm glad I got to finish it now because it's a comedic gem. Fields's persona was so ridiculous, but of course hilarious. Egbert Sousé is one of the great names in all of film (accent aigu though not grave–does anyone who has seen this know if that is an intentional mistake?). There's so many great gags in this that I wouldn't know where to begin.

Also, been thinking more about CITY FOR CONQUEST. Cagney character's tragedy in the film hits home hard (no boxing pun intended) because he is being carried towards his doom on the dreams of another. His dream is to live simply and be happy. His goil's dream is to transcend the City, and she encourages him to do the same. It's the sadness of the scene I mentioned in the last post that really holds the whole film together. We see the two intertwined characters going off in separate directions at this point and nothing will be the same. As I've gotten older I've really started to come around to the dream Cagney expresses here. When I was younger it was all about ambition and reaching the top (the top of what? Who knows). Now I'm like Cagney in that I just want to carve out a little niche for myself somewhere where I can be happy and enjoy my time. Movies and film club are helping with that.

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