Sunday, December 10, 2006

Cold Turkey

Well, it was a banner weekend for the forgotten Dick Van Dyke movies of my youth. Last night, during my recuperation, I happened to catch COLD TURKEY (1971) on one of the "cable" channels. I must have seen COLD TURKEY a dozen times as an innocent lad. As an adult with back pain, it struck me that COLD TURKEY takes a dim view of humans in general, and sees the human body as a swamp of grotesque necessities. Rendered in a series of jarring extreme close-ups, the movie is a symphony of spitting, hacking, sneezing, scratching, squirming, drooling, picking, and, especially, sweating. People sweat and sweat. At one point a cake is served and even the cake appears to be sweating. COLD TURKEY has as ugly and melancholy a view of people as anything by Bunuel. In fact, if you are feeling too good about life and feel the need to bring yourself down a "peg" or two, I suggest a "double feature" of COLD TURKEY and VIRIDIANA. As a boy, of course, it was more about Tom Poston staggering around and acting like a humorous drunkard. I hope none of the bleakness rubbed off on my young mind, although it would explain a lot. Pernicious!