Monday, October 14, 2013

Pyramid of Friends

Megan Abbott came over to watch WIFE WANTED, an extremely low-budget movie that Verdell sent me. WIFE WANTED is all about the scourge of "friendship clubs," which, according to WIFE WANTED, are where you go when you're lonely and there's a sweetheart waiting there to rip off all your money. These friendship clubs seem like a serious problem! It is a good thing there was no booze in the house or Megan and I would be dead from taking a drink every time someone in the movie said "friendship club." It is not unusual for a character to say "friendship club" twice in the same sentence! When Megan got home she looked up old newspaper articles about "friendship clubs" and found one that was like a pyramid scheme ("click" here). Apparently there was money involved, though I prefer to think of it as a way to get a pyramid of friends! And what's wrong with that? A hardboiled reporter goes undercover to crack the case of the friendship club, which is named Affiliated Friendship Club. He pretends to be a prosperous but lonely sheep farmer from Utah, but the actor doesn't try very hard to keep his "Utah sheep farmer accent" going. He slips in at out of it at his ease. He really only remembered to do it "whenever somebody mentions his ranch," as Megan observed. Greatest of all in WIFE WANTED was the bar frequented by the characters. There was a little piano in the bar, and when the man would play the piano, the piano would begin to glide around the floor as if propelled by magic! I mean, it really zoomed along through the bar, past tables, around a corner, and out of sight. No one seemed surprised. In this frame you can see a tiny bit of the magic piano, stilled for the moment. All Kay Francis wants is another drink and this crummy bartender refuses to give her one. He is like, "Wouldn't you rather talk?" He is like, "Eat this sandwich instead!" You can see the sandwich in question. What a lousy bartender.