Friday, February 12, 2021

Merrily Nightmare Flowers Go to Ridgemont High

Criterion Announcement Day is coming a little early here in February! It's usually on the 15th, but here on February 12th they've gone and given us our sweet sweet fix -- maybe they're taking advantage of February being the shortest month, I don't know, but I'll take it. There are five titles coming out in May -- the one that caught my eye right off the bat is the super sleazy 1947 Circus-Noir Nightmare Alley starring Tyrone Power and Joan Blondell, which is one of our faves. It's currently being remade by Guillermo Del Toro (see our previous posts) with an insanely stacked cast -- Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, on and on. But the original is ace, crazy dark, and I recommend checking it out! Love the cover art too:

May's other four titles include a 2007 concert documentary about the Moroccan band Nass El Ghiwane called Trances, and then Hou Hsiao-hsien's dreamy 1998 whorehouse reverie called Flowers of Shanghai, which I just saw for the first time last fall thanks to the NYFF screening this lush new restoration included on Criterion's disc. It's a hypnotic thing but exceedingly molasses-paced so be prepared for that. But Tony Leung looks great, even with that period-appropriate but un-flattering hairline. (When doesn't he.)

The then the last two titles are Cameron Crowe and Amy Heckerling's classic 80s teen-comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which I doubt I need to explain to anyone reading this post, and then Dorothy Arzner's 1932 "open marriage" comedy Merrily We Go To Hell starring the great Sylvia Sidney and the great Fredric March. I've never seen MWGTH, and always meant to! Can't wait for the chance. Mr. March is such an underrated stud.


joel65913 said...

Ooooh treasures!!

Since they are basing the new version more on the novel than the bleak masterpiece of a movie I'm okay with the Del Toro film but it will have to go far to top the Ty Power film. Power and Joan Blondell are great in the film but my favorite character and performance remains the mercenary psychologist Lilith played by the tragic Helen Walker.

Merrily We Go to Hell isn't in the same league but is worth seeing for those two leads. I agree that in his youth Fredric March was a very beautiful man. That is was a great actor was just icing on the cake.

Anonymous said...

I never really liked Fast Times at Ridgemont High but that cover is amazing.

Jason Adams said...

Anon -- I always liked the girls in Fast Times (Jennifer Jason Leigh and Phoebe Cates) but otherwise it's not really one of my faves either, I just never connected to it. Maybe if I'd been born 10 years earlier