Wednesday, November 01, 2006

¡Olé! Just love that matador motif. I’d wear it to go see “Talk To Her” at BAM.
And the roses are a nice touch. Instead of the ribbon belt, I’d pair it with a wide pink sash and do my best to look like a matadora with bright pink knee socks and black ballet flats.

Wear it to a screening of “Pandora and the Flying Dutchman”. Now don’t get me wrong, this film is mind numbingly asinine. There’s a beautiful chanteuse who cannot love, a ghost ship, a flash back to the 17th Century where photography has already been invented, a man who drinks himself to death, and a torero with a prophetic mother. The leaden dialogue would make you feel pistol-whipped were it not for Ava Gardner’s campy approach to it. But with gorgeous color-saturated cinematography by Jack Cardiff, Ms. Gardner in a glittering array of evening gowns, and a star turn by actual torero Mario Cabre, it is transformed into hilarious good fun. Ms. Gardner knows the whole film is built upon her impossibly small waist and the ability to raise one eyebrow. James Mason approaches it like Peter Lorre doing Masterpiece Theater, all facial tics and sweaty forehead. But Ms. Gardner is phoning it in, which is all a script this poorly written should ask of a beautiful woman. Mr. Cardiff shows us a Spanish coastline worthy of Salvador Dalí. Man Ray did the anachronistic art work, including a beachside installation of busty, headless female figures that are supposed to be a Roman ruin, but end up looking like a 1950’s department store display.

This is one of those films that I would love to gut and overhaul. Say for example, write an entirely new script and dub it without, of course, worrying about synching the sound with the lips of the actors. Since the visuals are so splendid, it should really be seen in a new light.

The film reminded me somewhat of “Destino”, Salvador Dalí’s collaboration with Walt Disney. And yes, there was such a thing, I couldn’t make something like that up.


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