Tuesday, May 27, 2014
The Lights Go Out
Marlene Dietrich and John Wayne in SEVEN SINNERS. The Navy men love Marlene Dietrich in this movie! But they REALLY go bananas for her when she dresses up like a Navy man and sings a little song about being a Navy man. They love it! They're so excited to see a woman dressed up like their buddies... or themselves. Lot of interesting gender stuff in this movie. At one point when the lights go out a Navy man mistakes John Wayne (another Navy man) for Marlene Dietrich! That doesn't seem likely. This guy tries to smooch John Wayne and then Dietrich says, "I don't want you girls to think I'm intruding." Hmm! Not all of the gender stuff is pleasant or amusing: Broderick Crawford, whose character is played off as a lovable goon who loves to scrap, suddenly goes psycho and smacks Dietrich (his best friend!) around because she's supposedly not good enough for John Wayne and will ruin his Navy career. Then they weep and embrace and pretty soon Broderick Crawford is running around in fast motion in a zany bar brawl (fighting a huge army of bad guys in identical white linen jackets and white fedoras; it's like something out of THE MATRIX) and the movie forgets that the troubling scene ever happened. Well, there's a bittersweet ending and the lovers must part forever. But not in real life! According to this John Wayne bio I just read, he and Dietrich were quite the item. (Significantly, it's Broderick Crawford who ends up sailing away with John Wayne at the end of the movie.) But most importantly I caught a few minutes of a movie called TWO-BITS & PEPPER the other night. The capsule description said it was about a horse and a pony who save some kidnapped children. That seems like a difficult job for a horse and a pony. As I discovered, the bad guys were BOTH portrayed by Joe Piscopo. One Joe Piscopo has a "comically" warped mouth and thick glasses and the other was like some kind of street tough with a scar and a leather jacket. I think Joe Piscopo had the feeling he was paying tribute to THE NUTTY PROFESSOR or something. He wasn't. HE WASN'T!