Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:

J. Lawrence Bradford: I'll ask you to return my check, please.
Carol King: Your check, huh that's on exhibition over there 
on the wall. I figured you'd stop payment on it. 
 J. Lawrence Bradford: I'll take the necessary steps... 
Carol King: You'll do what? Listen, you made a sap out of 
yourself and you tried your best to make a sap out of me. 
Now I never want to see you again, understand? 
And as for your check, well, you don't think I hold 
myself as cheaply as all that do you? 
J. Lawrence Bradford: Cheaply? Ten thousand dollars? 
Carol King: Well that's your estimate of me, not mine. 
That check is framed, not cashed! I put it there to remind me 
never to get mixed up with your kind again! 

My boyfriend's a big fan of the Busby Berkeley musicals and even though I'm not much for musicals I've made it through them on the strength on two things and two things alone -- 1) those kaleidoscopic dance numbers they're famous for, and 2) Joan Blondell, who I always find extremely likeable.

And it's good to have somebody on-screen to like when there are gorillas like Ruby Keeler & Dick Powell clomping around. (Ugh those two are the worst.) Anyway here's my favorite thing from any Berkeley movie -- the "Forgotten Man" number that ends this film:
Blondell was born 110 years ago today! 


Pierce said...

Actually, if you know the back story, it helps. Keeler was married to Al Jolson, who had a huge ego. She wanted to divorce him, but she was Catholic. To keep her busy, he got her a contract for Warner Bros. She couldn't really act or sing, but she really wasn't that bad a dancer or she'd never have worked on Broadway. This was the depression, so the Busby Berkeley films were a godsend. He did 3 in 1933, and of those, the best is Footlight Parade. Joan Blondell, who was married to Dick Powell at the time, has one her best roles as James Cagney's secretary, who's always getting him out of scrapes.

Footlight Parade is worth sitting through, because there are three glorious musical numbers, including Berkeley's Masterpiece, at the end of the film: Honeymoon Hotel, with Dick and Ruby is an extension of 42nd Street's Shuffle Off to Buffalo. It's followed by the breathtaking, By a Waterfall, with a hundred girls cavorting near nude in a huge Ziegfeldian pool. The final number, Shanghai Lil features Keeler and Cagney doing a challenge tap dance on a bar, and it's also exquisite because it shows an opium den, and what happened to some of the women sold into White Slavery. It's a hard look at the period, and has a smart, enjoyable script. Check it out!

JA said...

I've seen all of them, Pierce! I cannot stand Ruby Keeler or Dick Powell, and any number that overly features them gets on my last nerve. If there is a Hell "Pettin' in the Park" is what plays in the elevator

joel65913 said...

The My Forgotten Man number is truly amazing as is Joan in the prologue to it.

I likewise don't get Ruby Keeler, she just had a tribute day on TCM during their Summer Under the Stars festival and since I'd only seen a few of her films thought I'd give her a fair shake and sample a couple more of her movies. The result....her allure still escapes me. She couldn't act, couldn't sing well at all and her dancing is amateurish.

I'm also with you on the young Dick Powell who at least could sing but his aw shucks manner is beyond annoying. However when he switched to noir with Murder, My Sweet he became much more bearable.

But Joan Blondell was great, always bright and sassy and as she aged a premier supporting actress in the class of Eve Arden and Thelma Ritter. I've always found her very similar to Ann Sothern another actress I'm crazy about.

FoxVerde said...

that imagery of the soldiers marching on the conveyor belt in one direction and then the wounded broken men trudging along on the opposite conveyor was really something. says a lot about what the ruling class really thinks of the working man who are always the ones shipped to the front lines and either killed or end up ptsd/addicted + broken. :(