Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cloned meat? I think not.

Passed a woman on Bergen St. last night holding a cigarette and that contemporary patent medicine called Vitamin Water in the same hand. I was coming home from an Otto Preminger double-feature at the Film Forum. Not one of the great Hollywood directors, Preminger, although he has his place in movie history for breaking with the censorship regime, but I hadn’t been to the Forum in at least a month. First up was Forever Amber, a very fine painterly use of Technicolor, but ruined by the talent. George Sanders as Charles II was the only worthwhile performance. And the bad hair; as a man of locks (it’s beyond my shoulders these days), I was sorry to see the bizarrely frozen blocks of hair most of the male characters sported. Let your freak flag fly, my lads! (Queen Margot remains the Best Historical Hair [Male] award winner). The Fan was second; a melodramatic version of Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan. A more enjoyable film, although the contemporary (London, 1949) framing narrative was a mistake. Dorothy Parker is one of three credited for the script.* George Sanders, who made a career of a persona suave, debonair, and louche, was in this one too, as Lord Darlington. I see that he killed himself in 1972 with an overdose of downers, claiming in his note that he was bored of the world. How is it possible to be bored with the world?

*The classic credit line for the 1929 Pickford/Fairbanks version of The Taming of the Shrew: “Written by William Shakespeare, with additional dialog by Sam Taylor.”

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