Monday, February 9, 2009

Ideas that Walk and Talk


As is now custom, here's another scene (or three) from this week's Name That Movie, Lost Horizon. I've written up Lost Horizon before and have included the two videos I have previously posted at the bottom of this post. One is Welcome to Shangri-La celebrating the art direction of Steve Goosson with the music of Steve Tibbetts and the other is Isabel Jewel, as prostitute Gloria Stone, giving the "noble animals of the human race" the what for, before her moral upperhand trails off into a chronic hacking cough. But first, a new scene to look at.

This is yet another strange scene from this strange fascinating movie espousing pacifism and Buddhist-like moderation. If I could create my own genres, and why can't I, I would creat the Political Tract Genre and place this in there along with The Fountainhead. In both movies, there is no real character development as the characters simply function as vessels for ideas or as metaphors for another group or notion. Here, Thomas Mitchell represents capitalism, reformed. Edward Horton the clueless intellectual elite. John Howard, reactionary violence and cowardice. And so on. As such, there are no real personal conversations that go on in the film, just a relating of philosophical or political ideas and positions.

This next scene represents the only conversation that Jane Wyatt and Ronald Colman have that has nothing to do with Shangri-La, the pacifist philosophy (Wyatt by the way represents the idealist, sure that no one in the world is bad, just in the wrong place at the wrong time) or political beliefs. And it's an odd one. Colman tells her "'why' is the most annoying word in the English language" then plays a game where he performs a mother and daughter conversation for Wyatt, who looks uncomfortable as he does. He put her hand on his hand, later she moves it, he puts it back. Then he makes a joke about "mommy" wringing the neck of the daughter, Wyatt asks if he would like to wring hers, he says "yes," she runs, he chases her, she says upon being caught "I sorry, I sorry" like a little girl as he play strangles her and then ... they kiss. Huh? What the hell? It's odd to say the least. The equating of strangling a little girl with sexual arousal does give one pause. And yes, I know they were just joking around with each other and playful frolic in the movies always leads to sex but still, to these eyes, it's weird. The writers could have come up with a hundred other "cute" ways for these two to finally kiss and they came up with this? Oh well.



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And here are the two previous clips I posted last year.



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