Tag Archives: Film

La belle et la bête, et al.

MANY HAVE PAID HOMAGE to Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film La belle et la bête—from Philip Glass’s “Cocteau Trilogy,” to Tony Kushner’s dream sequences in “Angels in America,” to Disney’s aptly titled cartoon musical version, Beauty and the Beast—while the film itself, starring Josette Day and Jean Morais, draws on many influences. Below is a gallery of some still images from Cocteau’s work, interspersed with engravings by Gustave Doré and paintings by Johannes Vermeer. Continue reading

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A Few More Thoughts on Duck Soup.

Though I’ve already written about the Marx Brothers’ 1935 film Duck Soup, I was re-watching it last week, and realized that, of all the Marx Brothers films, this one might be the closest they came to celluloid perfection. Though some may point to A Night at the Opera as being the Marx Brothers’ best film – to be sure, it is insanely, hysterically funny – it never feels too far off from Vaudevillian stage traditions. (Indeed, the Marx Brothers perfected Opera by taking it on the road as a stage show. Don’t see much of that these days.)

Throughout the film, the Marx Brothers remain a force of willful chaos directed against the old guard, with Groucho delivering a barrage of one-liners, any one of which could power the USS 30 Rock from here to Timbuktu. The big musical number, “We’re going to War!” would best be described as a cross between yodeling, line-dancing, tongues-speaking, head-standing and xylophone playing, capped off with the four brothers singing the spiritual song “All God’s Children Got Wings,” the lyrics aptly changed to, “All God’s Children Got Guns.” Continue reading

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A Guide to the Marx Brothers.

The other day, I was shocked to find out that most people don’t have a working knowledge as to the names of the Marx Brothers. Imagine!  Seeing as the next few posts here at GB, HR. will revolve around all things Marxian, I thought it might be a fine idea to put up some sort of guide to the Brothers Marx. From left to right:

  • Chico Marx as the piano-playing, heavily Italian-accented punster, so-named because he was the one who – in real life – always got the chicks;
  • Groucho Marx, the grouchy wisecracker, in his trademark greasepaint mustache and eyebrows;
  • Harpo Marx, the mischievous silent partner – except for the occasional horn, whistle, or prerequisite/eponymous Harp solo – dressed in an oversized coat-of-many-tricks,
  • Zeppo Marx (the optional brother) as the pretty boy, named Zeppo because of a childhood affinity to Zeppelin airships;
  • Margaret Dumont (pictured below, sharing a sody-pop with Groucho) as the hoity-toity Gilded Age holdover and foil to the Marxs’ antics – indeed, Groucho sometimes called her “the fifth Marx Brother.”

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A Brief Pictographic History of Love.

Presented above, please find a Brief Pictographic History of Love in Occidental Civilization, the gallery’s twelve images roughly spanning the period from when the Hapsburgs began their rule of the Holy Roman Empire, to Season 5 of The Hills (c. 1450-2009 CE).  The pedagogical ordering of the rows of this Brief Pictographic History:

  • Row 1: 1450-1930 (Religion)
  • Row 2: 1930-1950 (Film &. Suffering)
  • Row 3: 1950-2009 (Television &. Other Things)

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