Friday, January 18, 2008

You ever write a conversation one week, then have it the next? It happened to me yesterday. Now I have to look at my comic script and decide what I want to keep and what I want to change, because I really don't want it to be about the conversation I had yesterday or the person I was having it with. I'm almost tempted to rewrite the whole thing from another angle. All kinds of problems in it seem to crop up now, too; I don't think the main character's interesting enough, I don't think the dialogue's lively enough, some of the dialogue seems irrelevant.

Life imitates art imitates life imitates art from over fifty years ago quite often for me, as I came across a similar conversation again last night in Mogambo, John Ford's 1953 film, set and filmed in Africa. I watched it on TCM. It had just about everything I loved about the 1950 King Solomon's Mines only with John Ford's beautiful photography. There's a great, persistent contrast in Ford's movies between plain, violent men (Clark Gable in this case), and gorgeous, sensitive photography.

It's not one of Ford's better movies. It features a rather milquetoast love triangle and some vaguely racist overtones, even as the movie seems oddly respectful of the people of Kenya, and showing authentic tribes without much ignorant, Hollywood doctoring. It's a beautiful, 1950s colour film and it's just a pleasure watching beautiful Ava Gardner in her starched, hourglass dress struggling to feed a baby rhinoceros despite a baby elephant's attempts to interfere, all the while trying to laugh and smile. Apparently Clark Gable didn't get along with John Ford primarily because of how Gardner was treated. The movie clearly was no picnic for her, which makes her poise and pretence of good humour sort of awe inspiring.

Grace Kelly's in the movie, too, and she's great to look at. I wish I could take screenshots.

Apparently Gene Tierney was originally up for the role, but had to drop out due to "emotional problems", which I found rather intriguing, prompting me to read a bit about Tierney's tragic and strange personal life. I'm really amazed I never managed to read or hear of any of this before;

After some 27 shock treatments, she attempted to flee, but was caught and re-institutionalized. She became an outspoken opponent of shock treatment therapy, claiming that it had destroyed significant portions of her memory.

This was when she was only thirty five--still quite young enough to a leading actress even by Hollywood standards of the time. She'd already, by this point, had two kids, followed by affairs with John F. Kennedy and Prince Aly Khan.

Tierney's autobiography was only two dollars on Amazon, so I ordered it last night.

I finished the evening by watching half of the Rifftrax version of Daredevil. I don't see a reason to watch that movie any other way.

Finally, thanks to the Enigma Kat for turning me onto Blood Red Shoes;

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