The Virgin Suicides

Geez. There’s a lot of big names here (and names that are gonna be big later)…

I saw this movie back in the 90s, but I remember absolutely nothing about it.

This is a really callous movie. If it had a few more jokes, it’d almost be a John Waters movie. (Or perhaps that’s just the Kathleen Turner presence speaking.) It’s very stylish, and very cynical.

Aaah! Kirsten Dunst isn’t Kristen Bell! This explains so much!

There’s something really odd going on with the white balance in some of the shots. I guess these days it would all be colour graded into something less odd-looking.

Like what I said about the white balance…

Anyway, I didn’t dislike the start of this movie — it was kinda mysterious, even if a bit icky. But now it’s just “oh, abusive parents gonna abuse”, which isn’t that interesting.

This is the kind of movie I want to love? But I don’t? It’s probably just me, and the movie is a masterpiece. But I’m going with:

The Virgin Suicides. Sofia Coppola. 1999.

The Garment Jungle

*gasp* Not terror!

This is from a box set of Columbia noir movies — the picture looks nicely restored, but there are some audio/video sync issues?

Hm… but only when some people are speaking? Perhaps some people were dubbed and the problem was always there?

This is an odd movie. I mean, I don’t know where it’s going at all, and that’s unusual. And I like it.

The performances are rather stiff, though, as if the director didn’t know quite how to direct people… but the (credited) director, Vincent Sherman, is an old veteran of the business, so that’s not it at all.


Aldrich called the movie “the first pro-labor picture; in it I am trying to emphasize another particular aspect of our times – the tragedy of the small businessman, caught between the ever expanding large corporations and the pressures of organized labor. The small businessman has often, in order to stay alive, compromise with graft and blackmail….[the film] should be an unusually frank film.”


Sherman says Cohn then asked him to finish the picture. “I didn’t know what the hell was going on,” said Sherman. “I re-shot, I would say, about seventy percent of the picture in about ten days time.”

So Aldrich was fired, and Sherman re-shot most of the film in a very short amount of time. I guess that explains the general weirdness of the film.

Nice hat!

The cinematography on this is really on point. Lots of striking shots…

The tough-guy union man is also adept at changing nappies. That’s an unusual detail to put in…

There’s just a lot of stuff going on here — as if this movie was designed to appeal to students writing term papers on it thirty years later. There’s the union thing, of course, but also the Italian mobsters vs Italian organisers, and Jewish manufacturers, and the apparent love interest being the (obviously) soon-to-be-widowed wife of the organiser (with the nine month old baby), and…

Was all that in the original script, or is it this messy because of the change in directors?

(She’s breastfeeding the baby.)

About the half-way point, the movie just seems to get a whole let interesting. I mean, on a scene-to-scene basis. It’s more pure melodrama instead of being a kinda odd thing? Perhaps the remaining Aldrich scenes are towards the beginning (if they filmed it chronologically)?

Yeah, the first half was weird and great, and the last half is just snooze-ville: No nerve, no interest, no fun.

So… this is one of those things where your mileage will vary a lot. Some of the early scenes are so great you might want to this, and the last half is so boring that seems too good. So I’m going with:

The Garment Jungle. Robert Aldrich & Vincent Sherman. 1957.

She Done Him Wrong

Ah, right — I’ve seen this movie before a few years back. But that was a lousy DVD copy, and this is from that new Mae West blu ray box set from Indicator.

Mmm… beer…

Oooh, I love this movie. It’s all repartee.

Mae West is so much fun to watch. She absolutely hams every line up to the max; very knowingly makes everything into a triple entendre. It’s just delightful.

West controlled casting (and pretty much everything; she wrote the movie, too), so she cast Cary Grant in his (I guess?) first major part. She allegedly didn’t want anybody to outshine her on the screen, so she didn’t want a well-known actor… and boy is Grant awkward in some of these scenes. But he’s still the same charming Cary Grant everybody came to love…

Eek! That’s a really unfortunate anti-Semitic caricature…

That hair must have taken hours to get just right… it’s like a helmet of blondeness.

I guess this is, really, more of a movie — it’s got some pacing problems, and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but… I just find it delightful. It’s so cute! So I’m going with:

She Done Him Wrong. Lowell Sherman. 1933.