Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Defining Gesture

Thanks to a timely tip from Megan Abbott I watched some of I'LL TAKE SWEDEN on TCM last night. But - and here's the fascinating part! - I went to bed before it came on. But then I couldn't sleep! So I got up and watched it until our old, box-shaped TV from the 1990s finally died. I'LL TAKE SWEDEN killed our TV! And then - this is true, also - I got up and had a terrible new back pain and I went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror and some of my hair had turned white! I mean, I noticed a lot more white than I've noticed there before. I'LL TAKE SWEDEN! It's mostly Bob Hope walking around gracefully in many different beautiful suits, which I am sure he kept, because he was a terrible cheapskate. But I mean, he is a good walker and hand gesturer. Here (above) we see him with one hand just below his ribs, seeming to pantomime the thought, "These kids these days!" I would describe it as a defining Bob Hope gesture, though it occurs just once in the film (at least in the hour I saw last night). McNeil could confirm its essentialness and describe it better than I could. He has a knack for cataloguing these things. I remember once we were watching a movie in which Jeremy Northam played Dean Martin, and Jeremy Northam (as Dean Martin) was applauding something while holding a cigarette between two fingers, and McNeil said with delight and authority, "That's just how Dean Martin clapped!" Oh, how I wish McNeil had been here. Only he would have understood why I actually laughed a couple of times, once at a fantasy sequence in which Bob Hope's imaginary grandchildren are forced to eat a parrot, and once at some dumb wisecrack Bob Hope made while riding around with his head sticking out of the sunroof of a small Swedish vehicle.
There is one part (seen here) when he is looking at Frankie Avalon with real hatred. Like, I don't think he's acting! Or, actually, I think he turns out to be a better actor than we ever gave him credit for. Or both! He seems to be thinking, "THIS is what it's all come to? THIS? THIS FRANKIE AVALON?" Or he could be deep in character, thinking, "No way this motor-scooter riding rascal is gonna marry MY daughter!" I just can't tell. In addition, Frankie Avalon takes Tuesday Weld to a strip club on a date! For all his grousing about Bob Hope do you think this is where Mike Nichols got the idea for the scene in THE GRADUATE? Tuesday Weld is much more blasé about the strip club than Katherine Ross was, though there is identical twirling involved! However, it is not graphically portrayed in this case. The twirling in question occurs offscreen and is alluded to discreetly by Bob Hope and Tuesday Weld (see also). The strip club is called The Pink Kitten and the bouncer dresses like this:

18 comments:

  1. No more blogging? You've ruined my life. THANKS!

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    1. No, thank you! For showing me that the comment thing is working.

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    2. Seriously, though, your blog has been a constant for me on the web over many years. I finished Movie Stars in two sittings after buying it the first day it was available. You're one of my most favorites ever. GOODBYE!

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    3. That's nice, thanks! I hope you liked the book. I'm sure I'll blog a little something again at some point; I probably can't help myself. And/or maybe I'll write another book, but that sounds hard.

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  2. It is working but I am tongue tied at seeing this box. Will try to think of something eventually.

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  3. Maybe the thought of Frankie Avalon with his daughter causes Bob's heart to sink, and in the pic we see him patting down his upper abdomen looking for it. As for the gestures "essentialness", well, that will require much more study as you might imagine. I will keep the blog posted as my research progresses.

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    1. In a further answer to this question, McNeil sent a link to some more of this scary conspiracy theory stuff I can't click on. http://jackpendarvis.blogspot.com/2010/05/none-other-than.html It showed Bob shaking hands with General Patton, and if you removed Patton's hand, McNeil claimed, Bob would be making the "defining gesture" above. The conspiracy theorists say it's a Masonic hand shake.

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  4. My condolences for your television

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    1. We watched HIGHBALL on that television!

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    2. Hey...what were we watching when one of your previous televisions blew up? In Atlanta. I'm sure it wasn't I'LL TAKE SWEDEN - that would be too good to be true.

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    3. It was a season finale of THE SOPRANOS. The first season, I think. And it was the same TV, come to think of it. We were able to have it repaired, which was still a popular business at the time, TV repair. Its current symptoms were identical.

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  5. I miss reading about you reading about owls.

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    1. No owls in the book I'm reading now. Maybe the curse has been lifted!

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  6. The Place Where Jack Pendarvis Had a "Blog." What a sad title.

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    1. I already blogged again. It's a problem.

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    2. I KNEW you couldn't stop! But, hey, you're allowed sporadic bursts of blogging. Just don't keep us hanging for months or years. Days? Okay.

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  7. You not having a blog is boring. Bor-ing!

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  8. For months you've had a post that "allowed" "comments" and I didn't know, which really cut down on my opportunities to take advantage of this situation, let me tell you.

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