Saturday, June 14, 2014
Comparatively Subtle Winkie
I'm on hiatus, so what else am I going to do? It's been a lot like a McNeil's Movie Korner Film Festival, but McNeil isn't around so it's a Lonely Film Festival. Oh, sure, Dr. Theresa sits in once in a while but she does things during the day like a real human. Coincidences pop up, the kind you get during an actual McNeil's Movie Korner Film Festival. Why, just today I accidentally watched two movies in a row with Cesar Romero in them - 25 years apart in the making! Imagine if you will the awakening of my giddy childlike wonder at such an occurrence. The first Cesar Romero movie was WEE WILLIE WINKIE, starring Shirley Temple. It was in this John Ford box set I've had for years, filled with oddities by that director I've only begun to sample. The next Cesar Romero movie was IF A MAN ANSWERS, which McNeil gave me years ago, but not as long ago as he gave me that John D. MacDonald novel I finally read. IF A MAN ANSWERS was still in the plastic. In more ways than one! It made the blunt, sentimental colonialist propaganda of WEE WILLIE WINKIE look downright politically subtle by comparison. Ford at least gave his murderous revolutionary bad guy (Cesar Romero) some warmth and complexity. Meanwhile, the greatest fantasy that Sandra Dee's brain can possibly generate is that of tying on an apron and serving an enormous white pie to Bobby Darin. Godard, kind of like slugging back a shot of wheatgrass. But LA CHINOISE made me think of McNeil too. You know how McNeil loves carpet and furniture in the movies! And LA CHINOISE is a movie about furniture. That is a lie I just typed with my own fingers but I guess I'll stick by it, I mean, look at that lamp. At least you could put WEE WILLIE WINKIE and LA CHINOISE in conversation with each other, I mean, they were made on the same planet, hey, I told you I was going crazy, okay, time to take an aspirin and watch more movies.