Saturday, April 29, 2006

Hair Stylists Gone Wild!

The 1920's must have been the most incredible anything-goes decade ever. Artistic experiments were busting out all over including in film. I have no idea what Mr. and Mrs. Small Town USA thought of things like Alla Nazimova's Salome (1923)but I'm sure they were confounded by the hair at least.

Nazimova as Salome. Supposedly she brought Stanislavsky's realistic acting principles to America with her. She must have lost the suitcase they were in.

For those of you entering western civilization in the middle, Salome is the "bring me the head of John the Baptist on a silver platter" story from the Bible.

Salome's mother. This is my hair on a humid day.

The man who loved Salome...

... and the man who loved him.
Do I need to mention this film is based on the play by Oscar Wilde?

The significance of the armpit grapes is unknown to me, but the styling of this film was intended to recreate the Art Nouveau illustrations of Aubrey Beardsley .

Some guests at Herod's banquet.

"Hey, if you tilt your head to the right you can get Channel 9!"

(that line would probably have been funnier before cable.)

Friday, April 21, 2006

The truth about Arnold Jacobs

My college band director, George Opheim, was also my bass trombone teacher. He had a motivational story for every circumstance, like the one about his one-legged dog, Brownie, who "never gave up".

And if I ever complained that a passage was too long to play as written in one breath on my horn, he'd shame me with the fact that Arnold Jacobs, continued to play tuba in the Chicago Symphony after losing a lung to cancer.

But today I find out that Mr. Jacobs had the full set of two lungs, thank you.

So now I'm beginning to wonder if maybe Brownie was getting around with more than one leg.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Czech out these hats!

We hardly see much of foreign media in the USA and that wasn't any different during the cold war. But it turns out one of my favorite movies from childhood was actually made in Czechoslokavia in the 1950's.

An American distributor shot some new footage with bad doubles to make the story look like it begins in NYC, and redubbed all the dialog in english. Cesta do praveku became Journey to the Beginning of Time.

Four boys in a rowboat travel down a river that somehow takes them to the very dawn of life itself. Harrowing encounters with stop-motion beasts and puppet creatures ensue. In high-concept terms I suppose that would be pitched as Huck Finn meets Jurassic Park

I didn't notice the bad dubbing when I was seven nor did I notice the amazing headgear these boys wore on their journey thru time.

Yes, that appears to be a handkerchief tied off on the corners serving as boy #4's hat.