Saturday, September 11, 2010

Elektra Complex in Blue, or Leave it on the video shelf...

Well, this must've been a nightmare to film. The outdoor scenes have a certain, uh, unreality to them. There were either lots of hot lights, or many white sheet reflectors behind the camera. Or both. Anyway, greetings, my seven followers! You know, I almost plum forgot how to review a movie. And all the time I spent away from the ol' blog, why, it might as well be this time last year. But maybe I can get back into the swing of things. Well, the loftiest thought that comes to mind about Leave Her To Heaven is that this must be one of those films that's a gay icon... or am I thinking of the Douglas Sirk movies? I mean, all those pastels! I also couldn't help but think of The Shining, as both involve writers and the fate of a boy named Danny, but without giving too much away, LH2H goes further than that. Its plot is similar to Descending Angel, but with a twist. Actually, I guess the young-man-marrying-into-well-to-do-family genre is a long, rich one at that. But Cornel Wilde's not some gold-digging buffoon like Montgomery Clift in The Heiress! No, he's more like that dude who married Elton John and already has a career in his own right. Anyway, not to give too much more away, but when you pick up on one of the main character's motivations, the rest of the movie pretty much falls into place. Much like in the domestic scenes of All The King's Men... the original, not the remake which I hear wasn't too good. Gandolfini NOT in the Broderick Crawford role? For shame.
Anyway, for me, from an acting standpoint, it was worth it for Cornel's big scene when he finally decides if he should leave his wife or not. But everyone was good, of course. There was some story on TCM about the kid and his big swimming scene and how great it turned out... I may have to watch that again, if only on YouTube.
So for its first seven reels we have on our hands and screens a fine drama about a writer caught on that hamster wheel with art on one end, and life on the opposite. But then, there's that big final courtroom scene, and I and my viewing companions couldn't help but wonder a few things. First of all, the prosecuting attorney was the former fiancé of the victim. Shouldn't he be recused? We thought so, but as with Funny Farm, it's a small town, and there are shortages of everything, especially prosecuting attorneys. And 1a), you waste Vincent Price by having him play a normal, if somewhat creepy, person? (Oh, if you think that's bad, it's nothing compared to what Variety said. Rowr! That kitten's got claws!!) Secondly, what was up with the defense? Why, they were worse than James Woods in the big Dream On finale! Or Buck Henry in Defending Your Life! Almost makes you pine for the days of Johnnie Cochran. Even the judge looked like he wanted to object at a few especially critical points in the questioning. More liberties are taken than on L.A. Law, I swear. Actually, the jury does end up making the right call... half the right call. Time to call Dersh, I say. For one last movie reference, I know most people be hatin' on Intolerable Cruelty, but if you want a legal drama... comedy in which love plays an essential part in a courtroom, at least I.Cru does it right.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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