muccamukk: A basket with a seal in it. Text: WTF!? (Politics: Phoque (WTF!?))
[personal profile] muccamukk
Enjoyed Doctor Who 10x02 "Smile." Though it's one of those situations where it's best just to coast on the banter and not really think too hard about the plot. It was one heck of a gorgeous episode in any case, and I do need a Bill icon from it. I'm still loving Bill's practicality and this slightly lighter, bouncier Twelve. Long may it last. They're having fun with not telling about the mystery so far, too (it's Gallifrey). Looking forward to next week.

Nenya and I watched Yellow Sky, which was a competent western staring Gregory Peck and Anne Baxter. It was only slightly rapey and a little bit racist, and had some nice cinematography, so I'm calling it okay for a Western.

We then watched Lust in the Dust Duel in the Sun, which I expected to be basically the same but in technicolor, and boy was it not.

To understand this movie, you have to picture this: The year is 1945, and our hero lies alone in a Florida swamp. He has spent months playing the happiest homesteader in history, despite the fact that his costars are 126 deer, 9 black bears, 37 dogs, 17 buzzards, 1 owl, 83 chickens, 36 pigs, 8 rattlesnakes, 18 squirrels, 4 horses, 17 raccoons and the world's most annoying child actor. Also Jane Wyman. He's not allowed to make out with Jane Wyman. It's a family picture, so the most he can do is put his arm around her shoulders, stare into the matte-painted sunrise, and say things like, "Golly, the Lord sure made a mighty fine day to plant corn on, ain't He?" (The director made them cut the "golly.") In between swatting mosquitoes, our hero writes to the man currently holding his contract. "Dear Mr. Selznick, Next time, please cast me in the opposite of this. Third billing is fine. Yours ever, Gregory."

Let it never be said that David O. Selznick didn't come through on that one!

The best title credit I've ever read:

Our movie opens with a bullshit Comanche folktale, but quickly moves on to our heroine's father, who promptly murders his wife and her lover in front of our heroine, and then goes on to hug our heroine in a way that struck Nenya and myself as distinctly unfatherly. This was not the last time this happened.

Our heroine is then shipped off to live on the RANCH FROM HELL with her dad's ex (played by Lillian Gish!), her dad's ex's incredibly bitter husband (Lionel Barrymore, of course), their Good Son (who cares) and their Bad Son (Mr. Gregory Peck, renowned star of the New York Stage). There's also a black maid, who based on dating probably wasn't a slave, but it was really hard to tell. Oh, our heroine is Mestiza and is played by Jennifer Jones in brownface.

Having been in the RANCH FROM HELL for about twenty minutes, every single person except the maid has either said something profoundly racist to her, slut shamed her, hit on her, or all three. Gregory Peck's character got the hat trick, in case anyone was wondering. "Burn it down and get out!" I yell at the screen. Jennifer Jones does not hear me.

Step mom! If you think that's verging on inappropriate, you should see how the biological parents and children were dirtybadtouching.

There is SO MUCH LEERING. Though none of it is terribly convincing as Gregory Peck at age thirty is not super capable of menace.

Anyway, through an astonishing combination of slut shaming, racism, sexual assault, patronising lectures and possible outright rape, neither of the brother love interests are looking that good (except possibly to each other), and the movie picks up more incest vibes by the scene. "WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS MOVIE!?" we wailed.

Gregory Peck did take his shirt off though:

Time passes, cast members drop like flies, mostly murdered by Peck, except for Lillian Gish who somehow manages to die of consumption. (The combination of Gish, King Vidor directing, and the massive amounts of sex and melodrama gave the whole thing a strong silent-era vibe.)

Peck finally murders his way up to his brother, at which point Jennifer Jones actually literally takes him out back and shoots him. He shoots her. She shoots him again. They die in each other's arms.

They kiss. The music soars. Jennifer Jones barely survives filming. Gregory Peck takes three movies off to play lawyers and reporters who don't shoot at anyone.

Thanks, Mr. Selznick.

Date: 2017-04-25 07:56 am (UTC)
nenya_kanadka: the letters wtf joined into a single glyph (@ WTF)
From: [personal profile] nenya_kanadka
He only kills TWO 1.5 people! And that one train. The remarkable thing is how much I'm nodding along to the description of him murdering his way through the cast, though.

That movie was a hell of an atmospheric depiction of a fucked-up family and several abusive relationships, though. Wow. Peck may not have leered too well at first, but by the end he had "I own you but I won't commit to you and also nobody else can have you" down pretty damn well--and had her so twisted up that it's only the threat of him shooting his brother a second time (not any sense that she's worth protecting herself) that gets her to go after him.

Despite the brownface this movie did manage to be 100% on Jennifer Jones's character's side? Like I've seen modern movies that would have blamed her more than this one did (0%). Except for the dying--I'd have liked her to shoot him and leave for AN ACTUAL HAPPY LIFE somehow. God. I'm morbidly curious about the book that "suggested" this thing, but probably don't actually want to know.

Gregory Peck takes three movies off to play lawyers and reporters who don't shoot at anyone.


I wonder what it was like to play spouses that respected each other ten years later. Adds another layer to Tommy Rath turning out to be so decent! If I were Peck I'd go out of my way to be extremely decent to my costar ever after. Gosh.

I really don't know what I was expecting.

Edited Date: 2017-04-25 08:00 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-04-25 03:33 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
Niven Busch was apparently a New York writer who had a perfectly good career at Time and the New Yorker, said "Hell with this" and sold out for Hollywood in the thirties like a lot of other East Coast writer types, and is mostly famous for writing the screenplay of The Postman Always Rings Twice and the original "Western Noir" Pursued, which.....also sounds disquietingly incesty. (I'm surprised I never saw that one since it was shot in NM, not AZ!) Then he got tired of alternating writing pulpy Western novels and pulpy Western screenplays for Hollywood and quit to write slightly-less-pulpy novels in and about northern CA. The only one of these I ever heard about was The Gentleman from California which was supposedly about Nixon. -- No, I was mixing it up with the old short story "The Gentleman from San Francisco," WHOOPS.

Date: 2017-04-25 08:02 pm (UTC)
nenya_kanadka: Wonder Woman poster (kneeling with sword) (Default)
From: [personal profile] nenya_kanadka
"More of an emotional murder spree" -- LOL, and also accurate.

Well, it's weird, because it's obviously a tragic tale of What (Inevitably?) Happens To You When you are a young brown woman who hasn't been brought up by rich (white, "classy") people. But I kind of got more of a "this is the best you can hope for, you poor thing, isn't it so tearjerking, fap fap fap" tragedy porn/marginalized-experience tourism, than outright "she deserved it for being not white and therefore naturally Bad." I think that impression was solidified for me in the scene with the fucked-up praying over her, which seemed SO obviously to be taking the piss out of the gunslinger-preacher dude. And stuff like where she smushes jam-toast into Gregory Peck's face...she's allowed to be pissed off and the narrative seems to support her.

This may all be a more optimistic reading than was intended by Selznick, obvs. And certainly most reviewers I've found on the Internets are like, "Oh it's a tale of ~obsession~ and ~passion~" and seem to blame her & her sexuality equally as much as Peck's character, for all the rape and abuse. So.

(I do kind of get the feeling that at least sometimes she's into sex with Lewt, in the "he's a total asshole but he's also hot" way, and a "I have a sexuality and would like to explore that, and the nicer guy won't have me, so" way plus the "well, it's not like he'll let me say no forever, is it?" thing. Like it's less forcible rape every single time and more an awful stew of manipulation and emotional abuse. I do think there's an aspect of her wanting to ride him like a pony--which, fair!--but I don't like it when that gets added to her ethnicity and people call her a sexy vixen or whatever bullshit. If that makes sense. She can be a young brown woman who sometimes likes sex with Gregory Peck without that making her an irredeemable [whatever misogynist/racist slur] or deserving of the hot guy turning out to be so horrible. (Nothing wrong with either wanting the hot guy OR wanting to be a lady OR not knowing what the secret code is to advance socially. The tragedy is that people think she's wrong for who she is + Gregory Peck is an abuser.) So on that level, her nascent sexuality is a plot point...but not the way 3/4 of the characters and most of the reviewers think it is.)

(((Am not a mixed-race young woman but have been a young woman with conflicted feelings about hot men who were jerks and also my only option for exploring sexuality, in a hugely slut-shamey culture, many years ago.)))

I also think that however sympathetic the movie was to her, that would have gone right out the window if she'd been played by an actual mixed-race actress. The fact that everyone knew that Jennifer Jones was actually white made a difference. Which is fucked up.

Was the Hemingway one another Ava Gardner? (The only reason it at all interests me, and I still think I'll give it a skip.)

Filming experience: some page I was reading was like, "Some of Jones's stress about how Selznick kept dithering about whether to leave his wife for her comes through with the character" and I'm like "YOU DON'T SAY." Good Lord.

SO INCESTY! Like normally I don't really pick up on incest vibes as my preferred approach is lalalalalnotlistening, but WOW!

Same! I'm actually surprised that there was less going on between the brothers (who seemed more ships passing in the night most of the time) because WOW. Honestly I could almost get into them having hate-makeouts where they're more or less trying to beat up/murder each other but also there are inappropriate boners and touching. IT WOULD BE LESS CREEPY than how Lewt treats Pearl!

Also, uh. That scene where Jesse slaps him full-on across the face and then his lip is bleeding plus he still has those scratches across his other cheek? Hottest scene in the film. *fans self*

Date: 2017-04-26 03:45 am (UTC)
nenya_kanadka: Wonder Woman poster (kneeling with sword) (Default)
From: [personal profile] nenya_kanadka

Yeah, I think we were supposed to think Jesse was actually a good guy, and that it was just mildly unfortunate that he'd happened to fuck up her life so majorly by being all hoity-toity about her sleeping with his brother. Whereas I am like HOLY SHIT DUDE, and also no, you don't get bonus points for being arrogant and patronizing if you're doing it in a "I won't sleep with you for your own good, and also won't tell you any useful information" way. I mean, great on not raping her! But. God. Not actually helpful in any way, and actively contributing to the problem!

I felt like some of the male-gazey camera was showing us what Lewt thought, like, pointing out that he was being a creepster. But it could come across as authorial POV as well, in some cases, you're probably right.

Vashti was, I think, supposed to be funny, but to me she came across like "LOL those dimwitted blacks!" which was racist as hell. Ugh. Even so she got to be smart enough to get the fuck out of Lewt's way when he was perving Pearl early on--I'd like to believe he hadn't harrassed her in the past but, honestly, I don't believe that. :(

He really does look like he's been rode hard and put away wet in that still. In a more consensual context, that'd be hot as fuck. Also, that slap. I may need to go rewatch it. :D :D

*quietly saves file*

Date: 2017-04-27 11:04 pm (UTC)
nenya_kanadka: Wonder Woman poster (kneeling with sword) (Default)
From: [personal profile] nenya_kanadka
I did mean to say that the weird preacher guy with his "please kneel down at dick height while I pray for you and ask God to keep you from a life of sin and to protect all those poor men who have to look at your boobies all the time" was.....only slightly more explicit with his slut-shaming than actual people I have known. (e.g. that one crazy uncle I keep talking about, but by no means only him)

It's so fucked up that "oh noes a black woman and a white man touching" was worse than actual rape and sexual assault. Because yeah. :| The character probably got his rocks off down at the brothel in the next town over when he was away on all those trips, and maybe he didn't want to touch her because she was black, but honestly that's never stopped racist rapists before, so. I hope she was able to get the FUCK out of dodge by the end of all that (maybe Jesse's wife hires her! and it's an incest- and assault-free household! maybe less racism too, who knows!) and I do agree that "featherwit" was probably protective camouflage.

I never say this, but the movie would be 1000% improved by more brothercest. Where's the SPN fandom when you need it??

Date: 2017-04-25 11:53 am (UTC)
hearts_blood: (For fuck's sake)
From: [personal profile] hearts_blood
I tried to come up with a coherent, intelligent comment, but all I seem to be able to manage is: "What even is this movie?!"

Date: 2017-04-25 04:11 pm (UTC)
hearts_blood: (All the drinks)
From: [personal profile] hearts_blood
It's really the only thing that makes sense!

Date: 2017-04-25 03:18 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
Yellow Sky - a pretty okay movie!

Lust in the Dust - OH MY GOD I FORGOT JENNIFER JONES IN BROWNFACE HOW COULD ASLDKFJLASKDJF /o\ I do remember them dying in each others' arms, though. It sounds like this movie shows way more of Selznick's id than anyone would ever want to know.

-- WAIT, I found details from a Jennifer Jones bio:

"Peck found it difficult to get inside the psychology of a rapist and killer." YOU DON'T SAY.

Jennifer Jones had shooting lessons and said "I feel as familiar with a rifle as I do with a cup and saucer." Asked about Pearl: "She isn't a bad girl really. She's an exciting girl. She's just in love with the wrong man."

"Selznick's script described Pearl as 'a mixture of fire and ice' and 'a she-cat with silky hair, muscles and softness.'" D:

King Vidor: "We would start the day by talking about the story and the characters and the action coming up. She would fix those luminous, intelligent eyes on my face. I could actually see her gradually becoming Pearl Chavez. Jennifer Jones would disappear."

In the book apparently Pearl shoots Lewt and goes off with his bro Jesse?!
Edited Date: 2017-04-25 03:47 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-04-25 04:13 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore, that ending is really calling for some fic. (NOT BY ME)

Opening of the book:

"She came and went in that land without women with as little notice as a man, always on a good horse, neither loafing nor in a hurry. She liked to hunt, but only difficult game: bobcat or lobo wolf or one of the little brown bears that grubbed for a living in the breaks of the Canadian River. Half the time, drifting along ranges, she wasn't bound anywhere in particular, she was just on the move. She might be clear over the New Mexico line or south to Alamitos County; if dark caught her too far from the McCanles ranch to get back easily she'd stop and eat at any line-riders' camp she ran across -- a custom which her uncle's foremen never encouraged but to which they became gradually accustomed. Before work call in the morning she'd be up and gone."

Date: 2017-04-25 04:16 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
I think she definitely has more agency in the book than the movie, although it sounds like that would be QUITE A LOW BAR.

Date: 2017-04-25 04:24 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore

Date: 2017-04-25 07:29 pm (UTC)
nenya_kanadka: Wonder Woman poster (kneeling with sword) (Default)
From: [personal profile] nenya_kanadka
Ohhh yeah, so many of the reviews have such awful descriptions of Pearl. OH MY GOD, just call her mixed-race or Mestiza, not [sexist slur] [racist slur] ~wild woman whose drives cannot be contained!~ Jesus Christ it's like they didn't clue in that the "feel sorry for all the men who have to see your hotness and try not to rape you" gunslinger preacher dude was WRONG!

I do have a feeling this was Selznick's idfic tho.

I'd be okay with Pearl living and going off with Jesse, if that meant "using Jesse to escape the shithole she's in" and then leaving him for someone less of an arrogant patronizing prick. Because he doesn't deserve her either (and I liked his canon ship fine).

Date: 2017-04-25 08:08 pm (UTC)
nenya_kanadka: Wonder Woman poster (kneeling with sword) (Default)
From: [personal profile] nenya_kanadka

oh my god

Yeah, really.

Doctor Who

Date: 2017-04-25 05:16 pm (UTC)
selenay: (Default)
From: [personal profile] selenay
I also enjoyed the episode, provided you ignored the plot because it had some holes and the interface bots were just a wee bit too cute to be scary for me. It was visually gorgeous, though, and I think that I'm falling further for Bill and Bill's friendship with the Doctor each week :-)

(I need to upgrade my DW account so I have some space for Bill icons.)

Date: 2017-04-25 08:26 pm (UTC)
navaan: (DW NineRoseJiggery-pokery)
From: [personal profile] navaan
I never expect much from the second ep of a Doctor Who season, so I'm not sure I noticed plot. Was there plot? Something about robots? I didn't notice, I was too blinded by more Bill and Twelve. They have such a fun dynamic.

Having been in the RANCH FROM HELL for about twenty minutes, every single person except the maid has either said something profoundly racist to her, slut shamed her, hit on her, or all three. Gregory Peck's character got the hat trick, in case anyone was wondering. "Burn it down and get out!" I yell at the screen. Jennifer Jones does not hear me.

O.o At this point I thought it couldn't get more outrageous, and then I read the rest of your review. Thanks for that.

Date: 2017-04-25 09:22 pm (UTC)
navaan: (Fables Bigby and Snow)
From: [personal profile] navaan
Yes, it feels like an echo of that plus a wild mix of pretty much all the dystopian tropes we've had on other episodes with veering into completely different territory at the end there out of the blue. But, yeah, who needs the plot when we have dazzling companion? (I hope I keep feeling that way, because otherwise I might actually start thinking too hard about plot.)

Date: 2017-04-26 01:20 am (UTC)
rachelmanija: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rachelmanija
It sounds like Gregory Peck sweating and bleeding in the dust would by far be the high point of the movie for me, so thank you for providing that.

Date: 2017-04-26 01:35 am (UTC)
rachelmanija: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rachelmanija
My God. That sounds AMAZING.

Date: 2017-04-26 03:48 am (UTC)
rachelmanija: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rachelmanija

Date: 2017-04-26 03:21 am (UTC)
nenya_kanadka: Wonder Woman poster (kneeling with sword) (Default)
From: [personal profile] nenya_kanadka
Can confirm! As soon as Mucca said you'd commented, I went "OMG Rachel would LOVE THAT MOVIE." :D

Date: 2017-04-26 03:48 am (UTC)
rachelmanija: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rachelmanija
I will report back!

Date: 2017-04-26 01:54 am (UTC)
nonniemous: (funny!)
From: [personal profile] nonniemous
Too busy laughing to really make any coherent comment!

Date: 2017-04-26 03:44 am (UTC)
kjata: (under the brown fog of a winter dawn)
From: [personal profile] kjata
me: *reading, reading, reading*
me: yep.

I haven't seen this one, but this is such a King Vidor movie. Selznick was gross AF, but King Vidor just. He just had no range.
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