Thursday, September 07, 2017

Kinda Scary

I half-watched some of a Frank Capra movie on TCM last night and I'm not gonna say it reminded me of David Lynch, even though it did, but I am aware that everything reminds me of David Lynch now because I just watched a lot of David Lynch.
(Megan Abbott did point out the IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE quality of the recent TWIN PEAKS finale.) But the title of the Capra movie I half-watched is A HOLE IN THE HEAD, which isn't comforting, is it? So Frank Sinatra and his little son are trying to sleep and Carolyn Jones suddenly appears in their window, dancing in her swimsuit and long gloves. It was supposed to be funny! But it struck me as eerie. Once again, this is all my own fault. Then Carolyn Jones shows up with a whole apple in her mouth and strikes a Laura Palmer pose:
The way Sinatra expresses affection for his son is to say he's gonna sock him or punch him or "flatten" him. He's consistently violent in his love imagery, but we never think he's really gonna flatten his son. At one point he says wistfully, "He's a funny kid, you know? I could beat him up, anything, leave him someplace, and I bet he'd still love me. Kinda scary." KINDA!
The background (and foreground) is filled with strange, silent animals, for which I choose this monkey that blows bubbles as representative. The monkey that blows bubbles is next to a photo of Eleanor Parker's husband and son, whom she matter-of-factly describes drowning together before her eyes. Frank Sinatra's little boy is immediately taken with Eleanor Parker because (I think it's obvious) she is like his dead mother come back to life.
She catches the little boy staring at her because she reminds him so much of his dead mother (I believe is the subtext) and gives him a sultry wink as he peeps at her from behind a porcelain dog. Oh, and Dub Taylor works the desk at Frank Sinatra's hotel, where they use the same kind of keychains you get at the Great Northern.
You know, I really have more screen shots than I know what to do with. You should see the ones I'm skipping. There was this disturbingly infantile character (below), a very poor man's Jerry Lewis, who, in his father's words, "runs to the toilet" whenever there's a customer in the store (the same father, Edward G. Robinson, who complains about his "underwear crawling up" on him, a complaint I do not recall hearing expressed so bluntly - or indeed at all - in any other 50s movies; does he say "crawling" or "creeping"? Does it matter?) and you know how much Jerry Lewis reminds me of David Lynch, even though this is not Jerry Lewis, just a tulpa.
I hardly know what to end with.
Well, here's a guy in a white dinner jacket with a pistol on a diving board. Moments later he will pretend to shoot himself in the head with a blank for a laugh, but I don't think that's where the title comes from.