Saw two movies.
New Morals for Old (1932, d: Charles Brabin). TV Guide basically said it was about a brother (Robert Young) and a sister (Margaret Perry) getting in conflict with their parents. It’s 1932, only 72 minutes long, and Myrna Loy is in it. I was in.
And I liked it quite a bit, the first seven minutes or so sets up the divide between the “kids” and the parents (Lewis Stone, Laura Hope Crews). Both sides don’t understand each other at all. A feeling that still resonates today and I definitely had those conversations the Robert Young character had when he said he wants to be a painter and the parents are like wtf. Okay, it’s 1932 so they can’t say wtf but they say the equal to it.
I thought that was interesting, the other interesting part of the movie is for most of the film the sister’s boyfriend is a married man and spoiler alert, the movie doesn’t end with her getting gunned down or anything like that. The parents obviously are aghast by what she’s doing but they don’t kick her out of their home.
Lastly, I loved all the camera moves in the movie. A lot of pull backs which I think is an effective way to start a scene. The movie is not an Ophuls movie but it’s not a stagnant, scoreless bore either. Anyway, so look for that movie next time it’s on TCM.
The other movie I saw was Tango Tangles (1914, d: Mack Sennett) which I thought was just bonkers. It’s like Mack Sennett saw the success of Between Showers and said, you know what’s better than two guys fighting over the same woman? Three guys fighting over the same woman! And instead of Los Feliz, let’s go to a dance hall. Action!
That’s basically the movie in a nutshell, the great Fatty Arbuckle, Ford Sterling and a mustache-less Charlie Chaplin fight, kick and bite each other for a very attractive coat check girl. And the topper for me was the ending which I’ll subtly spoil as well since I’m on a roll on these things. It ends with Chaplin and Ford falling down but we don’t know what happens to Fatty and the girl. There’s no sweet ending because that’s not what these movies are about. They’re about violence and chaos which I very much appreciate!
Also, one last thing that I thought was funny about the short was Fatty and Ford are members of like a rag-time band for the dance hall. But of course, they stop playing the instruments in order to beat the crap out of each other. Meanwhile, the other band members keep playing on without blinking which I thought was wild. Who knows how long those guys had been together in this band and yet presumably they throw it away on a very attractive coat check girl…swoon. Also, I wonder if there would have been more comedy mined if the band members had stopped playing and either tried to stop the boys from fighting or if they had picked a side. All funny ideas in my mind but they went with Plan C, doing neither and just keep playing, acting like nothing is going on. Hey, it worked!
thanks for read (or skipping)