Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Not Quite Enough Marbles

So all these guys are sitting on one side a long table in masks talking to each other and the door opens and they all turn and look at the camera at the same time - that's pretty scary! I feel like I've seen this startling effect copied in later movies. I couldn't find the exact moment on the internet, but this came right afterward. It's from LA MAIN DU DIABLE (a much more apt title than the English version: CARNIVAL OF SINNERS), the latest entry in our annual Halloween film festival. Kind of a fairytale. Jacques Tourneur's dad directed it! I want to know why he was back in France directing this at about the same time his son was in America directing CAT PEOPLE - what a family! - so I'll grab that Chris Fujiwara bio of the younger Tourneur and get back to you later. So! I was walking back home from Square Books the other day when Melissa Ginsburg accosted me from the passenger window of a pickup truck! And Chris Offutt was driving. And they wanted to know whether I wanted a ride, which was funny because I was next door to my house, which they well knew, so they were being hilarious. And they pulled into the neighbor's driveway and I leaned in the window of the truck and we had a talk. And it turned out by coincidence that the newly and impulsively purchased book I had under my arm is one of Chris's favorites! Chris said he read it all as fast as he could and can't wait until enough time passes so he can read it again. It's the "Hollywood Trilogy" of Don Carpenter, three novels in one volume. I was telling Bill Boyle about it and he already knew everything because he's a big fan, too. They were out of print for a while, and Bill was tracking down the separate volumes at the library. So I just started reading the first one and to my surprise it's pretty much about Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, and it's narrated by Jerry Lewis. I exaggerate! The decade is wrong, for one thing. And I've only read a couple dozen pages. But one partner in the comedy duo is a crooner, and the crooner hates to rehearse and is always late, and the crooner likes comic books, and his teammate's schtick is to act like he has "not quite enough marbles rolling around in my attic," and they're embarrassed by the low-budget movies the studio forces them to make and are much more at home in their loose and highly improvisational nightclub act, which they have moved to Las Vegas... all these things apply to Martin and Lewis, though there is also a lot about these characters that does not apply to Martin and Lewis, but I'm going to ignore those parts.