Thursday, October 4, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dr. BDH!

First, sorry about the lack of posts this week.  I'm struggling, Jonah Goldberg-style, with a deadline, although I do hope to catch up (with both the project and the blog) before the week is over.  In the meantime, today is the natal anniversary of Wo'C's Chief Medical Officer Dr. BDH, who is not only a wise and witty commenter, but has offered Sheri and I some of the best (and most potentially controversial) suggestions for the Better Living Through Bad Movies sequel we've ever read.

Which brings us to the obligatory Ocular Candy, which, as you know, we post on these occasions in lieu of a piñata or Ann Coulter effigy.
Traditionally we like to default to a Glamour Shot from the Golden Age of Hollywood, but today I'm going for something more contemporary.  Why?  Well, this clip needs a little set-up...

Grauman's Chinese Theater is celebrating its 85th anniversary by screening a series of classic films, and offering tickets for 25 cents.  On Monday I saw WINGS (1927), winner of the first Academy Award for Best Picture, and it stirred a series of random thoughts:

1. It was a decent restoration, although seemingly drawn from multiple prints and sources.  It began with an overture, then dissolved through every iteration of Paramount Picture's stars-and-peak logo going back to the silent era, and I was surprised to see how subtle were the differences; unlike Universal, they never abandoned key, iconic design elements like the circling aeroplane, and happily -- unlike Warner Brothers -- never went through an ugly "mod" period, although the mid-Seventies Gulf and Western version came close.

2. During the aerial battle scenes it doesn't require a lip-reader to see that Richard Arlen was a bit of a potty-mouth.

3. Poor Buddy Rogers spends the first two-thirds of the film with the Heartbreak of Archie Andrews Hair, and the last with Sudden Onset Reed Richards Syndrome.

4. Men were much more in touch with their emotions in 1927; these guys never stop weeping.

5. Oddly, they trimmed the male nudity. (Really, Paramount? It's not like the racist caricatures in Birth of a Nation -- who was going to be offended by a two second shot of naked bums in an Army induction office?)  However, the flash of Clara Bow's naked breasts (seen in a mirror) remains intact, along with a liberal dash of Second Act side-boob.  But it's bespoke, 1920s boobage, which reminded me of something the Good Doctor said when suggesting s.z. and I consider Clint Eastwood's Changeling (2008) as sequel fodder.   In a brief compendium of the film's failures, he singled out Angelina Jolie's unlikely Flapper, writing, "First of all, nature didn't start production on the Angelina Jolie version of female pulchritude until the 1970's, when Russ Meyer rolled out the first models."

I think Jayne Mansfield might dispute that, but like I said, he's not a man who quails before controversy, so please join me in wishing Dr. BDH a very happy birthday.

11 comments:

Carl said...

Jayne Mansfield had a waist, Scott. That's what BDH means, I bet.

If Marilyn Monroe was a struggling starlet these days, she'd be advised to get to a trainer and have a boob job.

Sad, innit?

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Happy B-Day, Dr. B.
~

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I don't care where the inspiration came from, the picture is worth it.

KWillow said...

Marilyn Monroe would be considered obese by Today's standards.

Dr.BDH said...

Wow, Scott, thanks! Or as my Elvis-besotted seven year old would drawl, "Thank you, thank you very very much."

Chris Vosburg said...

Happy Birthday, Dear Doctor, and many more.

I confess here that the appeal for some of silent movies has always been something of a mystery to me.

The acting is well, BIG, that is to say, if an actor wishes to convey despair to an audience, he'll do it like an onstage actor does it, for the folks in the back row, by putting the back of his hand to his forehead and looking skyward, squeezing his eyes shut.

M. Bouffant said...

And many happy returns to the Octobrans.

I'm all for nature, by the way.

Stacia said...

Happy birthday, Doc!

Li'l Innocent said...

Wow, Dr. BDH, Happy Birthday, and I say that even tho you've completely flummoxed me with that Russ Meyer remark. I've never seen one of his opi, though I have seen stills, but I read a long article once by a young movie-writing-about woman who went to see Russ to discuss his oeuvre. Accoding to the article, very large boobies were the salient factor(s). (Humorous parenthetical: Roger Ebert, according to the author a fellow-giant-booby-fancier and a pal of Meyer's, was there visiting.) Anyway, there is no way Angelina, lovely as she is, would have figured in the Meyer pantheon, unless she had herself enlarged considerably.

As to Marilyn's figure, it's helpful to specify which era of her career one is considering, as her level of zaftigkeit (is that right?) changed subtly but definitely between, say, "Niagara" or "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "Prince and the Showgirl" or "Some Like It Hot". In her earliest film appearances and publicity shots before she went blonde, which were often done in the gal-next-door-sexy style of the 40s, she was late-adolescent looking -- gorgeous and not quite matured. By her late career she was a fully-fledged goddess.

As for Jayne Mansfield, who was reportedly a very nice and intelligent person, I've always felt she took the wacko body obsessions of the era and made them into a spectacular joke of which she was fully aware. She had the body to illustrate that joke and she did it cheerfully. The whole plot of "The Girl Can't Help It" - a silly, amiable film - hinges on her character's complete disinterest in everyone's efforts to turn her into a pop music phenomenon, when she'd much rather get married, have a bunch of kids, and be cooking big dinners for the family.

I reached adolescence myself in that era - and did we junior-hi girls ever worry about what Nature would or wouldn't do for us! Up until then a flatchested girl could at least struggle along somehow. And then later, with the advent of Mary Quant et al, she could relax again: the petiter, the better, a state that lasted well into the 70s. Farrah Fawcett & Co jiggled bralessly and relentlessly, but they weren't big in Meyeran terms; in general, you weren't supposed to be.

The idea of a very slim body with supersize breasts, which occurs rarely in nature, became a Thing because surgery made it achievable. Tell you one thing: it's had a helluvan effect on comic art. Compare a current DC or Marvel female superheroine/villainess with one from the 40s thru 60s: it's pathological.

Did not mean to rant about boobie standards history -- I am avoiding doing actual work. And anyway, Dr. BDH, Many Happy Returns, even if you've never worn a bra!

Woodrowfan said...

Happy Birthday! side boobs!

D. Sidhe said...

Sigh, late to the party again.

I brought pink carbonated vodka, though, the wonders you see now that they have hard liquors in the grocery stores here.

Anyway, happy belated birthday to one of my favorite commenters.