Month: March 2017

The Magic Lantern: Episode 044 – The Enchanted Cottage

I first saw The Enchanted Cottage (1945) very late at night, alone. I was entranced by the very singular tone and the quiet romance, and while the film stayed with me, it hasn’t necessarily been constantly on my mind. Since our episode on Desperately Seeking Susan (Seidelman, 1985), I’ve been thinking a lot about identity, and have been a bit stuck in the vision I have of myself as morphing slowly into Shirley Booth (or any sack of potatoes you can name). And that’s why The Enchanted Cottage seemed like the film I had to choose next. It would give us the chance to talk about these ideas of identity, since homeliness and disfigurement are central themes, plus I think it’s a gem that not enough people have seen.

And then Cole asked a question during recording that has been on my mind ever since. To paraphrase him, how do you get a new audience, especially a younger one, interested in something very old-fashioned like this film? We discussed this in some detail, but as often happens, I had more ideas after we finished recording. I mentioned discovering an actor or genre you like, and then connecting those dots to see where they lead. I would also put story in that rundown. This is, in part, why we do recommendations in each episode; so that if you find you really like something but don’t know where to go next, maybe our suggestions help you find your new favorite thing. It’s that sense of connection, of curation, that inspires a lot of what we do. For example, I’ve never been a huge seeker of animation. It’s not because I don’t like it, but because I tend to not think about it. I’m the sort of person who really connects with an actor and a performance at a human level. But it’s my friends who have all led me to my favorite exceptions to this self-imposed rule, and led me to discover some absolute favorite films. So, this is my plea to give all art a try in order to find what really speaks to you. If you haven’t yet seen The Enchanted Cottage, or know someone who hasn’t, check it out! And then follow our recommendation rabbit hole for more ideas!

What you’ll find in this episode: Cole’s universal attractiveness, which themes may have resonated with a World War 1 or 2 audience, whether the message is about hiding all homely people away in sheds, and how the particular experiences of Robert Young and Herbert Marshall seemed to make their characters come alive.

– Ericca

Links and Recommendations:
Check out The Enchanted Cottage on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of Portrait of Jennie.
Cole’s further viewing pick of The Best Years of Our Lives.
More on why certain injuries weren’t talked about in “The Rhetoric of Disfigurement in First World War Britain”.
From Australia, “Broken gargoyles: the disfigured soldiers of the first world war”.
And a very special thanks to the folks who came out to my Murder, She Wrote night with Austin Film Society!

GTGM Episode 48: 48 Hrs. (1982)

Jamie and Doug work the night shift at the Rice-A-Roni plant in downtown SF. The other night their boss told them that if they are late just one more time they’d be fired. This runs through their minds as they watch their nightly transportation (city bus #264) speed past, engaging in a gunfight with a beat up old Cadillac.

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The Magic Lantern: Episode 043 – The Andromeda Strain

The Andromeda Strain (1971) is one of the building blocks of my scifi cinema education. I was born as science fiction films really began to lean into realism and more serious subject matter. The fears of the atomic age were beginning to wane and anxieties about artificial intelligence and what we might be bringing back from our explorations with the Apollo missions were on the rise. As a result, we saw fewer glowing, mutant monsters and more lethal microorganisms. As the threats grew smaller, the facilities to deal with them grew more extravagant. We entered a golden age of production design for cinematic laboratories and space stations and this film is one of my favorite examples of that. In addition to the classic aesthetic, it also addresses one of the great scifi themes – the potential end of life as we know it. It works as meticulous procedural, warning about humankind’s arrogance regarding our place in the cosmos, and triumph of art direction. I love the atmosphere of isolation that it generates, the very specific paranoia of the time that it exudes, and the then-state of the art technology on display. Come get decontaminated and check it out!

What you’ll find in this episode: murderous space germs, gender politics in the scientific arena, color coordinated laboratory/jumpsuit combos, Ericca’s Shirley Booth impression, and our trip to Johnson Space Center.

– Cole

Links and Recommendations:
Check out The Andromeda Strain on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of Sneakers.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Panic in the Streets.
The home of Johnson Space Center and NASA.
A look at the split diopter shots in The Andromeda Strain.
An overview of the five deadliest outbreaks and pandemics in history.
Cole’s Film Discoveries of 2016 list over at Rupert Pupkin Speaks.

Criterion Close-Up 59: Late Spring and the Films of Yasujiro Ozu

Mark, Aaron and Matt Gasteier explore the filmmaking world of Yasujirō Ozu, centering on his pivotal masterpiece Late Spring (1949). It would be impossible to explore all of his dozens of his films in one episode, so we give an overview of his work, his style, and his contributions towards international cinema.

3:00 – Ozu Introduction

15:00 – Ozu biography & style

29:00 – Setsuko Hara

39:00 – Late Spring

Episode Credits

Next time on the podcast: French Series, Part Three

GTGM Episode 47: Mannequin (1987)

Each morning all the keyboards and keytars in Jamie and Doug’s music store are strewn about and fur coats litter the floor. They know it’s that wierdo who’s into mannequins that’s responsible for the mess but they can’t say anything because he’s Estelle Getty’s golden boy.

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