Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Bigger Perspective

I.T.D. (Information Technology Divisions) The Beginning

The byline for this blog is 'Question Everything'. So often in modern society we simple accept things as fact. It wouldn't be on a news stand or a television if someone wasn't looking out for our best interest, so everything they tell us must be true. Sadly, I have learned the exact opposite. Pretty much everything the media tells us is a lie.

We are trained to live in the here-and-now. How we got here and where the arch of our history might be taking us isn't stressed much these days. If you start to plan ahead and think about tomorrow you become harder to control.

If you live on the Gulf Coast and actually plan for that hurricane that will likely hit you in the next 5 years, you might stock up on water, sand bags and plywood window coverings. That means you will be spending less money on Hummers, Twinkies and Flat Screen televisions. Live NOW, spend NOW, be FREE! Marketing is a cruel joke in some ways.

Which is why I find myself drawn more and more to a website that really does give me perspective. The website is called Shorpy. The names comes from the young 12 year old boy in the first photograph they ever published.

This is a Photo Blog of nothing but old photographs in High Resolution. These are photos from the 1850s through the 1950. They usually post about 4 a day. Most of the photographs are stunning, but when you view them in Full Resolution, something magical happens. You can actually step into them. Unlike photography after WWII, cameras from this era used huge negatives, which gave a level of detail that is almost impossible even in today’s digital age.

You will never see most of these pictures, because they are tucked away in archives and are not easily found by the public. Even if you could find them, you would have to blow them up to see all the detail. Shorpy does that for you.

So what is the magic? When you look at the detail, you realize something. These people are us. The expressions on their faces, their walk, their hopes and their despair are all evident. They are all us. We haven't changed over the years. Only the trappings that we surround ourselves with have changed.

You won't see any electronics in these pictures. No telephone poles, no plastic, no air conditioning. Society may have been simpler back then, but there were still problems and there was still hope. The blog photo above shows a 'calculating room' of the Federal Government where rows of women (and men) toil endlessly on adding machines to calculate the amount of bonus checks for soldiers. There are no computer screens, no cubicles, no fancy desks...only a supervisor that literally stands behind them and watches them work. Still want to bitch about your current job?

And Shorpy? His name was Shorpy Higginbotham and he was a little kid photographed to document working conditions in the mining industry in 1910. He was 12 years old and worked in a coal mine for 10 hours a day. We will never know what became of him, but we can see the resolve in his face. Did he die of old age in a Pasadena nursing home or did he loose his life on the beaches of Anzio? Doesn’t really matter. I still see his expression on other peoples faces every day.

Clicking the title of the blog or clicking here will take you to the full size view of 'Calculating Room'. For a better perspective, browse their blog. It is well worth your time.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Not Being Subtle

In The Lap Of Luxury

We have been busy the past couple of days, hence the limited time to blog and read blogs.

We have been finishing up a home improvement project. That leaves about another 20 of them to go before we can just start 'living' in our house.

What we have pictured here is called the 'Venus Bath'. It is the master bathroom in our home. We totally gutted the old bathroom down to the studs and insulation and had it rebuilt. The cost (with help from George Bush's Tax Incentive Check) was in the five digit range. It took almost 3 weeks for the contractor to complete the job.

A few specifics about the bathroom. It has a hand pounded, free-standing copper bathtub that we purchased in Mexico. The ceiling is stamped aluminum sheeting that is hand-painted (by my wife). The custom facets for the tub cost in excess of $600. Since all the toilets that we looked at are now 'low flow' toilets that sit about 10 inches off the floor, we had our new one raised up off the floor to match the design motif for the tub. The room contains two wall size mirrors (framed to match the crown molding ... also hand-painted by my wife) that face each other and give an 'infinite window effect' for the room. The mural is tile, mounted to a plywood base, framed with cermic tile and hung on the wall. It weighs about 120lbs. Its cost was just under $1,000.

The tub will easily hold two adults and since it is metal, retains a lot of heat. After sitting in it for 45 minutes, the water is still pretty hot.

Suffice to say, that the wife and I will be taking a lot more baths in the future.

To see more pictures of the 'Venus Bath', check out the Flickr page by clicking the Blog Title.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Essential Cinema - 40

Black Narcissus

Deborah Kerr ... Sister Clodagh
Flora Robson ... Sister Philippa
Jean Simmons ... Kanchi
David Farrar ... Mr. Dean
Sabu ... The Young General
Esmond Knight ... The Old General
Kathleen Byron ... Sister Ruth
Jenny Laird ... Sister Honey
Judith Furse ... Sister Briony

Michael Powell
Emeric Pressburger

Rumer Godden (novel)
Michael Powell (written by) &
Emeric Pressburger (written by)

Jack Cardiff

A group of five nuns is sent to establish a church in rural India during the 1930s.

How a new perspective can reawaken the suppressed memories and desires of those in denial. A different point of view can be a dangerous thing.

I was very impressed with this film. This is one of the films that epitomizes the British Film Industry when it started to experiment with color after the 2nd World War. They took a slightly different tack than Hollywood and the results are very impressive.

This film is shot in Technicolor which gives it a fantastic visual image. The sets had to be lite with very bright lights and the colors come across as very vivid with deep shadows. The effect is as though you are watching a moving painting.

The plot of this film is not an easy thing to understand. It is fairly subtle and has to do with the ordeals that a group of nuns have to endure as they attempt to establish a convent in a remote part of India. The clash of culture and the raw, barbaric beauty of the rural countryside forces each of the sisters to question her vows and re-examine their past.

This film is a wonderful example of how sexual tension can be implied. There is a lot of smoldering eroticism in this film, but it is only hinted at in the looks on charactors faces and the things that upset them. You can tell there is a sharp difference in what the character are saying and what they are really thinking.

The performances are wonderful, especially that of Deborah Kerr, and the scenery is spectacular. There isn't much that detracts from this film except that some modern day viewers may find the lack of a story arch and conclusion to be a bit frustrating. But this is a different kind of story telling from a different age of film making.

This film is available for downloading in M4V format (iPod/AppleTV/Quicktime Pro) by clicking the graphic below.

This film is a part of my LaserDisc Collection which is located on the LaserDisc Database.

Clicking on the "Essential Cinema" title will take you to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) entry for this film. The listing of all the LaserDiscs that I have reviewed on IMDB can be found here.

Clicking here will take you to a listing of all the "Essential Cinema" reviews in my Blog.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Essential Cinema - 39

In Like Flint

James Coburn ... Derek Flint
Lee J. Cobb ... Lloyd C. Cramden
Jean Hale ... Lisa
Andrew Duggan ... President Trent
Anna Lee ... Elisabeth
Hanna Landy ... Helena
Totty Ames ... Simone
Steve Ihnat ... General Carter
Thomas Hasson ... Lieutenant Avery
Mary Michael ... Terry
Diane Bond ... Jan

Gordon Douglas

Hal Fimberg

William H. Daniels

A U.S. Secret agent must stop an organization of women from taking control of a space platform armed with nuclear weapons.

Originally, being super cool and suave. Historically, it is hard to believe that we ever thought that this was super cool and suave.

Back in the mid-1960s, there was a revolution in cinema that owed most of its origins to James Bond. There were numerous copies of the spy-formula, notably Matt Helm, Modesty Blaise and Derek Flint. None of them reached the same level as Bond and were soon forgotten.

'In Like Flint' was the second and last installment in the 'Flint' series. The first film was called "Our Man Flint". The persona of Derck Flint was an Americanized James Bond. He was edgier, more self confident, a master of all things scientific and saw women as simplistic one dimensional playthings. At least in the Bond films, the women had some sort of personality.

While this film may have been cutting edge for its day, in retrospect this work would not even be considered entertaining during Saturday morning cartoon time. Society has moved well past this type of entertainment and expects better writing, production values and plot lines.

There are some redeeming insights from the film regarding societies expectations and ideals back when it was made. It still suffers from a segregated cast (only Caucasian actors and extras need apply), and every women was single, childless and in a bikini for most of the film. This was obviously a male fantasy film, but even in that genre, I don't think most men really aspired to be 'In Like Flint'. He wasn't the every-man's spy, like Bond was.

It would be interesting to find and old Matt Helm film, staring Dean Martin, to watch in comparison. I know there was also one Modesty Blaise film made with Monica Vitti in the title role. I saw it once and I recall it being pretty corny, but hey, you get to look at Monica Vitti for 90 minutes, so it had some redeeming value.

This film is available for viewing in M4V format (iPod / AppleTV / Quicktime Pro) by clicking the images below.

This film is a part of my LaserDisc Collection which is located on the LaserDisc Database.

Clicking on the "Essential Cinema" title will take you to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) entry for this film. The listing of all the LaserDiscs that I have reviewed on IMDB can be found here.

Clicking here will take you to a listing of all the "Essential Cinema" reviews in my Blog.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Woman's Worry

Fear / Anxiety / Pressure

Originally, I had planned to make a series about this particular magazine, but instead I will opt for one glowing example.

Welcome to "Woman's World". This is a magazine that my wife seems to love. I am constantly finding new issues of it in our bathroom. I can't complain, because at $1.79 a copy, it is far better than "Cosmopolitan" or "O" magazine.

However, I have issues with this magazine and the stereotypes it perpetuates. It markets to the basic fears of women and claims to give them hope and promise for the future. This is much like Playboy promising young, hot, sexy blond babes for every 18 year old male that reads it.

Each issue of Women's World is essentially the same. The themes remain constant as does the basic cover layout and contents. Lets take a little stroll through the subliminal anxiety of the modern American women;

A) "God Bless America" We are narrowing our focus from the outset. While Muslims and other faiths might worship the same 'God', lets face it. This magazine really isn't aimed toward them. We are looking at the Bible belt here and women over 30.

B) "So Easy, So Cute!" This is a standard on every issue. It is the craft-like treat with a theme, such as flowers or the American Flag, or a teddy bear. It is almost alway a desert. It is an eye catcher for the starving woman on a diet. Most women standing in the checkout lane will wonder, "If that has low calories, maybe I can eat it!", better buy the magazine and find out.

C) "The Smiling, Middle-agd, Anglo-Saxon Woman" I don't recall ever seeing an African-American or Asian woman on this magazine. Again, Bible Belt Mid-Westerners don't tend to be those ethnicities. She always looks happy (like most of the readers 'want' to be), and is usually proclaiming that she has lost some un-imaginable amount of weight based on the main cover story (see "F" below).

D) "Cure Your Stress!" Welcome to fear #1. It is assumed that all reader of this magazine are stressed out over something such as weight, love life, finances, acceptance, the list is endless. So lets give the potential buyer / reader a life line on how to cure it.

F) "The Get-Slim Vitamin" Welcome to Fear #2. All women are overweight. The concept of an ideal weight for most women is unobtainable. This fosters a concept of inadequacies in women that they will do anything (including spending lots of money) to correct. I am constantly amazed at the new 'methods' that this magazine comes up with to loose weight. Here it is a vitamin, but in the past it has been the televisions shows you watch, the cars you drive or the candidates you vote for. "Vote for George Bush and lose 10lbs!".

G) "Loose 9lbs in a week!" This is the sub-plot to "F". There has to be a number reference regarding how much weight you could lose. The number has to be significant enough to make the woman think she can actually lose it, but small enough to sound realistic. The number is never less than 3lbs or greater than 15lbs. In all reality, any doctor will tell you that a true weight loss of more than 3lbs per week is unhealthy. So there claim of 9lbs in a week seems bit on the ludicrous side.

H) "Live Longer!" Finally, there is Fear #3. The fear of getting old and dying. The concept of telling these readers that death is inevitable and to enjoy the time you have left is unheard of. Aging / Death are to be feared and there MUST be ways to starve it off and be young and happy forever. At least this magazine wants you to think that.

I) "Paula Dean's Best Every Barbecue!" The planned party feast. This is another staple of the magazine. The HUGE dinner function that you can cook all these dishes for. While the dishes may actually be healthy, the quantities represented certainly are not. The concept of portion control is never mentioned. Besides, nothing makes you forget about stress and aging/death than eating pounds of meat and sweets.

J) "Save 10% on Gas!" There is usually a cost saving sub-heading thrown in somewhere on the front. But fear of monetary failure does not tend to be a major concern for these readers. At least not as much as stress, death and aging.

K) "Feel Happy Every Day!" (see "D" above) The message being, that most of the time you are not happy. Read this article and you can change your basic personality type and be freed from all the media pressure regarding your weight and your age. Yeah....right.

L) "Looks Years Younger In Just 30 Days!" (see "H" above) I don't think there is anything more pathetic than a 50 or 60 year old woman striving to hold on to her 20s and 30s. The readers of this magazine did not get that memo. The bottom line here is that you ARE old...and you do everything in your power not to let it show. Live in denial is the right thing to do.

So lets sum this up. The average middle aged white woman is 'stressed', 'overweight', loves to 'cook', loves to 'entertain' and is profoundly afraid of growing 'old' and 'dying'.

That means that the average American Woman's life adds up to: Being Stressed + Being Fat + Eating + Eating-A-Lot + Aging + Dying = Misery. Gee, what a great magazine. I am so glad I was born a male so I don't have to be marketed to in this way.

Instead, we males get "Playboy" and "Popular Mechanics"....but that is another blog. Who wants dessert?!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Minds Eye - 2

One More Time....tweaked

Learning from the last effort, I decided to make the same sort of visual but this one is a bit tighter and shorter. Probably won't be doing anymore, because I am running out of Phoenix landmarks that are within walking distance of my house.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Minds Eye - 1

Meanwhile, On My Day Off

A simple 6 minute film that I did yesterday. This film was shot entirely on my LG Cell Phone, using video and still images. It was shot in the interior of the Phoenix Public Library. My goal was to test the resolution of the camera and how it would look when edited and exported to streaming web video.

The images were transfered to my iMac G4 via Bluetooth and then edited in iMovie. It was then exported in Streaming Video at 320 X 240 resolution.

It may be interesting to note that while I was walking through the library I was listening to Jean Michelle Jarre on my iPod, which is also the soundtrack to the video.


Levi and the Train

The ground dropped away as the train rolled onto the trestle. Levi leaned toward the glass of the observation car and looked down. Three hundred feet below, the river looked green and placid. The brim of his Amish hat bumped against the window glass as his baby daughter shifted in his arms. This land was so vast and empty, nothing like his lush farmland in the upper midwest.

As the train soared above the Texas river he glanced around the observation car at his fellow passengers.

The shutter clicked on the Nikon AE6, capturing the placid face of the young Amish man as he starred at the broad Texas plain. Hiro flicked the film advance lever as he lowered the camera. He had taken more than 30 rolls of 35mm film. With each click of the shutter, another expression, another face, another story. He wondered what they were all thinking. Behind him he heard a cell phone ring.

Courtney looked at the caller-ID for a moment and then flipped open her phone and held it to her ear.

"So, you're going to talk to me again?"

It was evident that the person on the other end of the phone was her girlfriend in Santa Fe. Courtney was on her way to see her, but there had been a misunderstanding the previous day. The girlfriend had been told that Courtney was really coming to see her live-in boyfriend. Everyone within the Stream-liner got to hear the conversation, whether they wanted to or not.

"That's crazy, why would I do that? You know me better than that!"

The great gorge outside the windows went unnoticed. She was focused on the drama in her mind and nothing else really mattered.

Robert gently squeezed Lisa's hand and smiled at her. She grinned back at him as they listened to Courtney's one-sided conversation. They had met in High School 35 years ago. This was their journey back, across a lifetime of memories. Memories that spanned wars, jobs, marriages, children and loss. They both knew that the drama that surrounded Courtney would be just a footnote in her life, and not the chapter that she now thought it would be.

As the train rolled back onto the Texas prairie, Lisa leaned across the isle and asked Levi, "What your daughter's name?"

"Rebecca", was his reply as he gently bounced her on his knee.

"She is adorable."


This is a condensed slice of life from my trip earlier this year from Philadelphia to Phoenix by rail. All of these characters were present on the train as was the actual scene. The blog graphic is Levi standing next to the train in Ft Worth, Texas. You can read more about this trip in the original blog posted about it, Travels With Casper.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Olympics ?

The Agony of Defeat?

Whoa, Whoa, Whoa...wait a minute folks. Last time I looked, the name of this Blog was Hypocrisy, so I can't let this get away without a comment.

Last night, while I was channel surfing I came across the nightly Olympic Broadcast. There in all its glory was Women's Beach Volleyball. I don't know when this became an Olympic sport, but hey, what ever floats your boat.

About 2 hours later, before I went to bed, I surfed a few more channels, and much to my surprise, Women's Volleyball was still going strong.

I know from experience, that there are hundreds of events at the Olympics. Cycling, Rowing, Equestrian, Archery, Cross Country and many, many more. So why is it that the networks here in the States devote about 90% of their coverage to athletes that cover about 10% of their bodies in skin hugging Lycra?

In my view, the reason appears pretty simple. The game is easy to understand (no complex scoring or rules), the women have hard bodies, and they don't wear ANYTHING. What could be better for entertaining an ignorant and simplistic audience.

Don't get me wrong, they are athletes and damn good ones. But I hardly think they rate more than 30 minutes of Olympic coverage. Do women watch the men's swimming competition because they find the skills needed fascinating, or are they just ogling hard bodies?

This is as much about sports as the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. This is about ratings and and dumbing things down to a target audience that has zero attention span and over active libidos.

Personally, I would love to watch the rowing championships (lettered in it in college) or the wind surfing competition, although watching a race that takes 20 minutes and is hard to understand probably won't attract too many viewers either (unless they do it in the nude).

I can't understand why anyone would be interested in this whole charade, unless you had a really big ego and a really ripped body. This isn't sport, this is a media feeding frenzy to sell Doritos and Coca-Cola.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Essential Cinema - 38

Never On Sunday

Melina Mercouri ... Ilya
Jules Dassin ... Homer Thrace
Giorgos Foundas ... Tonio
Titos Vandis ... Jorgo
Mitsos Ligizos ... The Captain
Despo Diamantidou ... Despo
Dimos Starenios ... Poubelle
Dimitris Papamichael ... A Sailor
Alexis Solomos ... Noface

Jules Dassin

Jules Dassin

Jacques Natteau

A well educated American tourists attempts to 'enlighten' a Greek prostitute in a small seaside village.

Newer is not always better, and sometimes over analyzing a problem can only make it worse. Leave well enough alone. It is more important to be happy than to understand everything.

Every recent prostitute film from 'Irma la Duce' to 'Pretty Woman' owes a lot to this work. It was one of the first films that shed light on the idea that prostitution was a respectable and acceptable way to make a living.

If nothing else this film is a homage by Jules Dassin to his wife, Melina Mercouri. She is the focus of the film and she captivates any scene she is in with her zest for life and smoldering sexuality. The other thing you tend to fall in love with is the romantic ideal of living in Greece in 1960. It appears care free, relaxed and almost infectious with its love of the simple life.

The plot of the film is not overly complex and deals with an outsider, Homer (Dassin) arriving in town to study Greek culture. He is almost immediately captivated by Ilya (Mercouri) as one of the local prostitutes that 'freelances' and does not work for the town pimp. She negotiates a price with whomever she chooses, and sleeps with all the towns vendors in exchange for her daily goods (food, wine, drinks, etc), but she never 'works' on Sunday. Hence the title to the film.

Homer is smitten by Ilya and decides that he must 'save' her from what he perceives as a wretched life that is going no where and decides to educate her so that she can see the error of her ways. In the end, this does nothing but frustrate everyone in town. The education of Ilya does have a silver lining, which if anything, leaves the town more corrupted than when Homer found it.

The underlying theme of the film is that one should strive to be happy in what you do and more importantly, who you know. There is an interconnection between people in a small town, and disrupting those connections may lift some people up, but is not good for the whole of society. Regardless of his meddling, the towns people never turn on Homer, or blame him for anything. At their core, they know that life is to be enjoyed and blaming people for your troubles is just not part of the mix.

Clicking on the "Essential Cinema" title will take you to the Internet Movie Database entry for this film.

Clicking here will take you to a listing of all the "Essential Cinema" reviews in my Blog.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses....

Land of the Free?

I have written in the past regarding the right wing verses left wing political view and how they seem to change over time as we age and have more life experience.

So I am sort of on the fence when it comes to the homeless here in Phoenix, AZ. I see more of them than most. They ride the buses, hang out around Circle K begging for money, they sleep in the parks and push shopping carts around collecting aluminum cans and scrap metal to sell for money.

Today was particularly fun, as I rode the free downtown shuttle to the Health Club during lunch, and found myself sandwiched between 35 transients on a bus that was designed to hold 25. It was a pleasant experience. The fact that they place the local homeless shelter (actually is a campus, it is the size of a large high school) between the State Supreme Court Building and Phoenix City Hall does not make the situation any better. White collar professionals and the homeless don't really like to mix it up that much.

Although, having been in close proximity to them for so long, I have come to admire them in some ways. It is evident that most of them 'choose' this lifestyle. Years of partying and drug abuse will make you end up here, and most of them choose to stay. Some are a bit loopy and some just like the freedom of having nothing but what is on their backs. I have seen more than I can count sifting through ash trays for cigarette butts to smoke, and I have seen others sitting under a shade tree reading Tolstoy. Just like the rest of society, it takes all kinds to fill up this subset of the population.

Which is why I don't think they should be offered any assistance what-so-ever. Aside from handing out protein bars and water so they don't starve, I believe that the social service agencies that 'cater' to these homeless are only enabling them to continue to fail. You have to fear reaching rock bottom in order to avoid it. If you hit rock-bottom and find that it isn't that bad some folks tend to want to stay. Throw in free showers, clothing, health care and food, and they will never leave.

I have ridden the downtown shuttle enough times to hear and see this legion of the downtrodden in action. These homeless have a 'system' and they know how to play it to their advantage. They know what agencies are handing out free 'stuff' on what days and the quickest and cheapest way to get between the shelters. They know what to say to get special treatment and they know the best places to sleep at night where the police won't harass them.

The better angels of our nature tell us to be compassionate and help the poor, but this is a farce. When the poor are poor by choice, the better angels of our nature are enabling the poor to remain poor. There is an old saying, that "the child won't leave home until you padlock the refrigerator". Work is never easy, and the rewards of success come slowly with time, but it is better to force them to realize this ethic than to allow them to simply survive.

In an election year, where we will all have to decide between liberal and conservative, what are your thoughts on this issue? Feel free to throw some stones at me in the comment section.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Something is Terribly Wrong!

Prada or Louis Vitton?

I have been downloading a bunch of movies online recently. It isn't a hard thing to do if you know where to look, how to do it and have a lot of time for the files to download. Mostly I have been sucking down documentaries from the Internet that are pretty hard to find in theaters or movie rental joints (the British really know how to do documentaries well).

As stated previously, I had downloaded a very poor quality version of "The Dark Knight" and watched it. I wasn't all that impressed with it. It is a very slick film, but I have issues with two psychopaths, one dressed as a clown and one dressed as a flying rodent, going mano-y-mano with knives and explosives. It just gets a bit too much to take after a while.

To try and even things out, I also downloaded "Sex and the City" for my wife. Since she lasted all through "The Dark Knight", I thought it only fair to show something that she might find interesting. I have never been a fan of this show and never watched it when it was on HBO. I only knew that all my female friends and gay friends liked it.

So I fired up the AppleTV unit and started watching 'Sex and the City' in Hi-Def last Saturday morning. Much to my surprise, I found it rather entertaining. While the trappings of the film are somewhat whimsical (young women hanging out in New York and looking for love and 'designer' fashions) the actual personalities of the woman were very captivating. Sure, almost no woman is going to live this lifestyle, but it COULD happen.

By the time I was through the first 45 minutes I was thinking to myself that this was a really good film. It drew me into the lives of the characters because they were all dealing with issues and relationships that I could relate to. Love, honor, marriage, doubt, self worth, the meaning of happiness, and the true value of love and friendship. What a concept, and not once did any of them pull out a gun or try and blow something up!

It appears that I have made the leap from macho 'guy' pictures, to introspective 'chick' flicks. Maybe it is time to check into getting a prescription for some Viagra.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Essential Cinema - 37


Erica Gavin (Vixen Palmer)
Garth Pillsbury (Tom Palmer)
Harrison Page (Niles Brook)
Jon Evans (Judd)
Vincene Wallace (Janet King)
Robert Aiken (David King)
Michael Donovan O'Donnell (O'Bannion)

Russ Meyer

Russ Meyer
Anthony-James Ryan

Russ Meyer

The escapades of an insatiable wife living in the backwoods of Canada.

The sexual revolution and the concept of hedonism. Pushing the limits of what is acceptable to show.

I have always been a big fan of Russ Meyer. Along with Federico Fellini, I consider him a true innovator in film. Many write him off as a sexploatation film maker of the "B" movie genre. I beg to differ, he was a true pioneer and a maverick and his films have stood the test of time.

What always captivated me about Meyer's work was how he got so much out of a film by doing the basics and doing them well. His films are low budget and look it, but they captivate you regardless. The dialog is crisp and quick, the editing is sharp and the story moves along quickly. This film is only an hour long but you wouldn't know it when it is all over.

Meyer financed most of his own movies, used the same troop of actors, did his own cinematography and writing along with most of the editing. He ran the whole show and answered to no one. What you see on the screen is his vision and no one elses. You have to admire an artist that can create such a large body of work under those terms.

This was Meyer's first 'big' film that got wide release. It was also the first mass distributed film to be given an "X" rating, which is laughable by today's standards. There are no explicit sex scenes or graphic nudity in this film. But there is a lot of implied sexuality and topless women. What made the film controversial in its day was its portrayal of wanton sexuality and taboo subjects such as incest and lesbian relationships.

The plot is rather simple. Vixen likes to fool around and does so with wild abandon. Thrown into this mix are subjects of infidelity, racism, patriotism, honesty and morals. You don't really like Vixen in this film. She is beautiful to look at, but she is a bitch to almost everyone and only appears to seek self gratification and cares for no one but herself.

This film can be downloaded for viewing by clicking the album cover below. The film is in Quicktime M4V format (iPod) and requires Quicktime Pro to view.

This film is a part of my LaserDisc Collection which can be viewed here.

Clicking on the "Essential Cinema" title will take you to the Internet Movie Database entry for this film.

Clicking here will take you to a listing of all the "Essential Cinema" reviews in my Blog.

Friday, August 1, 2008

My - MP3 [Perry Como]

Perry Como / Ocean's Eleven (Soundtrack) / Pappa Loves Mombo

Don't write this song off just because of the artist. While Perry Como embodies the laidback smooth genre that fascinated our parents back in the 1950s and 60s, he is sort of considered old and stuffy by today's standards. However, I believe that behind his trademark sweater there was a real crazy person dying to cut loose. This song was probably considered pretty damn racy back in 1957. Listening to the lyrics today, I am amazed that this song hasn't been used on a Viagra commerical. This song is best known for being on the "Ocean's Eleven" soundtrack, which if you haven't heard it, is exceptional.

Ocean's Eleven Soundtrack
01. Theme For Young Lovers - Percy Faith & His Orchestra
02. Boobytrapping
03. Projects, The (Pjays) - Handsome Boy Modeling School/Trugov/Del
04. Plans, The
05. Papa Loves Mambo - Perry Como
06. Ruben's In
07. Lyman Zerga
08. Caravan - Arthur Lyman
09. Gritty Shaker - David Holmes
10. Planting the Seed
11. Pickpockets
12. Little Less Conversation, A - Elvis Presley
13. Dream Dream Dream - Percy Faith & His Orchestra
14. Stealing the Pinch
15. Blues in the Night - Quincy Jones
16. Tess
17. Hookers
18. $160 Million Chinese Man
19. 69 Police - David Holmes
20. Clair de Lune - Philadelphia Orchestra
21. Theme For Young Lovers - Percy Faith & His Orchestra

Papa loves mambo!
Mamma loves mambo!
Havin’ their fling again,
Younger than spring again,
Feelin’ that zing again, Wow!

My - MP3 is an ongoing experiment into obscure music that you may not have heard before. Clicking on the album will take you to the MP3 file of this song. Clicking the "My-MP3" title will take you to my music blog containing all the songs in the collection.