Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The McNeil's Movie Korner Film Festival Wrap-Up, Pt. 1

Film scholars from all over the world have been pestering me for details about the McNeil's Movie Korner Film Festival. After letting it all sink in, I must say the festival began and ended with disappointment. The first twenty minutes of SALT AND PEPPER were all we could stand, for example. Yes, we men who can watch anything - defeated. We did watch it long enough to see the canary yellow turtleneck pictured at this "link," and thus were able to note that the leading lady of DON'T RAISE THE BRIDGE, LOWER THE RIVER seemed to have borrowed a lot of Sammy Davis Jr.'s clothes. On the plus side, SALT AND PEPPER made its own sequel ONE MORE TIME seem like a masterpiece. Now please understand. I am not recommending that the amateur should just dive into ONE MORE TIME. It requires years of training, of knowing what to look for. Mr. McNeil remarked at one point, for example, "I can tell Jerry [Lewis, who directed] walked everybody through this scene step by step." Imagining that was more fun than the actual scene! McNeil was also highly appreciative of Peter Lawford's special bachelor room in the castle, though the carpet was not shaggy enough for his (McNeil's) liking. McNeil still contends that THE PATSY is the pinnacle of Lewis' talents as a decorator. "The colors are more subdued," he explained. Then he gave Theresa an interesting lecture on attractive lamps in the films of Jerry Lewis... the way they match the drapes, and so on. At some point during the presentation, Theresa disappeared, and we sorely missed her for the rest of the festival. As for the disappointment that ended the program, THE WRECKING CREW contains off-the-charts misogyny, even if one adjusts for the cultural norms of the time or endeavors to think of misogyny as a mere plot device that runs the engine of a certain kind of farce. They blew up Nancy Kwan AND Tina Louise, for example. Blew them up! And I don't even want to tell you what happened to poor Elke Sommer. What a downer. But the festival did have its unadulterated highlights, which will be addressed in coming days. (Pictured, Nancy Kwan, so wrongly mistreated in THE WRECKING CREW.)