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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Zoo in Budapest

And Also: Katherine Harris (yeah, that one) has a book out about principled leadership. Not making it up. Reports are that Democrats are reading it. I referenced this as a rolled up newspaper following by a "bad bad dog," a few months ago. Or whatever. Clearly, I misspoke to some extent, since clearly it is now some serious move that (per Sen. Frist) helps our enemies. Oy.

I am a fan of Loretta Young and an early movie of hers that sounded pretty good was finally on television when this writer knew about it, namely Zoo in Budapest (1933). [A nod to another deceased movie star, Maureen Stapleton, not related to my knowledge to Edith Bunker.] Good little movie. An innocent -- parents died when he was young, grew up in the zoo's walls -- falls in love with a runaway orphan (she's 18, thus due to serve five years apprenticeship in a tannery or something). Young does look, well young, especially in pigtails ala that red freckled kid from Switzerland. Overall, charming movie with a good (especially for the time) animals going wild climax. Did look like it was filmed on location, at least at some zoo.

The last scene was a bit striking though. After saving a young boy, the lovebirds manage to end up together, the young zookeeper caring for the animals on the estate of the boy's parents. A bit restrained for someone who basically had gone native with the animals at the zoo (and got in trouble for stealing furs from patrons -- nifty that I just edited my chapter on animal rights and welfare before watching it; furs is really where I truly draw the lines ... it is in a sense worse than hunting on the frivolous harm to animals meter), but so it goes. More ironic is that -- after we grew to like them partly because they seemed a bit different from everyone else -- Eve said that "now we can be like everyone else."

I'm not sure if that is quite a good thing. It is true though that for an orphan, normality is not exactly the worse thing in the world. Nonetheless, it does highlight the tendency of various movies to be rather conservative, though some points are added to show that being overly so is a problem. For instance, Talk of the Town is a rare movie dealing with the Supreme Court. It is a Cary Grant/Jean Arthur vehicle (another two I enjoy, especially the latter) though the justice to be is played by someone else. Grant is a self-proclaimed anarchist wrongly accused for burning down a factory, but in the end, he leaves the judging to the professionals. I think there is a lot of potential in court cases for some good movies, and some actually have been made.

Anyway, a couple more comments about the movie. I guess the quick shot of Eve in her underclothes while changing into a dress sown for her benefit (to escape, since they always wore bland uniforms that lost nothing in the B&W) might have been a tad risqué at the time, huh? Compare this to one of the sisters on Related last night in her black bra ... it does seem sometimes, a bit of skin or the suggestion thereof is on some level more revealing. Also, the scene where the moronic cage cleaner starts attacking Eve is also pretty rough -- nothing much happens, of course, but the suggestion of rape is clear.

A word also about Mrs. Henderson Presents. I briefly commented about this last time and commented that it was not quite that good. It should be noted that it had its moments. One also gets to see Bob Hoskins nude, though this is not exactly a grand recommendation. [When the performers first disrobe, they want the men to as well, so we have a rare example of full frontal male nudity in a mainstream film.] The supporting cast, including the woman performers, is good -- other than the two leads, they do not have much to do, but this is sort of a pity.

And, though a scene that bothered me still does, it can be taken to give a shot of reality to the proceedings. It just is that it seemed a cheap way of going about it. Don't quite recommend it, but it might be a good rental.