“Voice characterization by Mel Blanc” – this is the credit that always fascinated me as a kid growing up on Looney Tunes cartoons like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester & Tweety, Yosemite Sam and Foghorn Leghorn.
Where were the other names, I thought?
When it was revealed that all these voices were actually by one man, I was dumbstruck. The range and versatility is so amazing it doesn’t seen possible.
Someone described Mel Blanc as a method actor for cartoon characters which is a good way to put it. He gave a unique personality to all the parts he gave voice to. View full article »
MONKEY BUSINESS directed by Norman Z.McLeod (USA, 1931)
After two movies based on vaudeville shows, Monkey Business was the first Marx Brothers film written specially for the big screen. It’s included on the syllabus of the The Language of Hollywood Coursera MOOC to show how, with the coming of sound, many films of the 1930s were not dependent on innovative auteurs but relied on the ability of the players to generate the entertainment.
Effectively, this means that the director’s job is reduced to simply pointing the camera and relying on the timing of the performers.
The Marx Brothers had honed their comic skills on Broadway and knew exactly what audiences wanted, as is proven by the huge success of this movie.
Theirs is the essence of situation comedy with the specific situations here being a ship, a high-class party and a barn. Most of the action takes place on board an ocean liner where the four brothers are stowaways. View full article »
UbuWeb today turned me onto The Nothingists.
I had never heard of this Dadaist, NO! NO! , group from Russia .
This is not surprising when you learn that their nihilist manifesto was summed up by the slogans:
Their “Creative Bureau of Nothingists” sounds like it would have made a great Monty Python sketch and would be a good name for many political departments.
The Nothingists [Nichevoki] were short lived.
They formed in Moscow in 1919 and ceased all (in)activity in 1923.
Nothing more is known.
THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS directed by Wes Anderson (USA, 2001)
“She knows there’s no success like failure. And that failure’s no success at all” – Less Than Zero
Bob Dylan’s lines are apt for this movie even though this particular song is not on the soundtrack. There are plenty of other cool tunes, though, including another by Dylan (Wigwam).
I always like directors who use contemporary music to establish moods and characters rather than as some fancy sonic wallpaper.
Mark ‘Devo’ Mothersbaugh wrote the original score and Wes Anderson is ,like Jim Jarmusch. David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Darren Aronofsky, a filmmaker with an ear for songs which create just the right atmosphere.
In The Royal Tenenbaums, for instance, the morbidly secretive Margot is defined by Nico’s sublime covers of Jackson Browne’s These Days and The Fairest Of The Seasons. The first of these begins with the lines “I’ve been out walking, I don’t do that much talking these days”.
For the scene of Ritchie’s suicide attempt you hear Elliot Smith’s Needle In The Hay a spooky choice given that Smith died of knife wounds, probably self-inflicted, less than two years after the film was made.
Best of all, a private detective’s report into the love life of Margot is presented in a series of tableaux from her past life and loves to the tune of The Ramones’ Judy Is A Punk.
John Lennon, The Clash, The Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, Nick Drake and Van Morrison are among the other artists used. View full article »