Random neuron firing, lame philosophy, literary pontificating, movies, sex, clothes & other femme stuff

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

The Grand Prize goes to Chris Lott
For emailing me the correct textual sources for my purchasing decisions. I had to buy Picnic, Lightning, because those two words compose, as Chris notes, "one of the best two word prose poems ever." He goes on to advise, "Anyone who DOESN'T know its source should be beaten with a big stick." Fortunately, everyone who replied (all five) did know it was from Lolita and 'scaped whipping. That one was probably too easy for this overeducated crowd.

The other allusion, "Jungle Red," was apparently more recondite. Chris came the closest, but even he identified not the precise text I had in mind but rather a recasting of it. Chris proposed the June Allyson-Joan Collins vehicle The Opposite Sex, a remake of George Cukor's fabulous The Women, with Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford, adapted by Anita Loos (with, apparently, the uncredited assistance of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Donald Ogden Stewart) from Clare Booth Luce's play. Undoubtedly, the application of the nail-polish color "Jungle Red" plays the same role in the remake as in the original--signaling a character's willingness to use all feminine weapons at her disposal to win the man she wants and best her rival, sexually and socially. So it seems fair to say that Chris honestly got my allusion to painting my nails Jungle Red, even though he owed his understanding to a different text.

Maybe there needs to be some proselytizing here. The Women is one of my absolute favorite films of all time. It's perhaps most notable for its gimmick--no man ever appears on screen. Though many scenes are set in populous environments--a gargantuan spa (the opening tracking shot through which is widely imitated), a department store, a fashion show, a dude ranch, a restaurant--either the environments are culturally marked female (I first wrote "feminine" but then remembered the Nevada dude (divorce) ranch [which setting, by the way, inspired the book that became the film Desert Hearts], though populated solely by women, isn't exactly feminine) or the camera shoots selectively so as to capture only moments when areas in heterosexual spaces happen to become female. One of the highlights of this 1939 black and white camp classic is the central fashion show scene (all clothes designed by the movie-fabulous Adrian), which for ten minutes is all in gorgeous technicolor. (It's not exactly what you would call a montage, or else you can bet I would have put it on my list below.)

feeling sleepy. nap. much more to say when awake.
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