Saturday, July 22, 2006

Mise en scène — miserable Melville — Marceau — Moptops

Two film projects:

Film #1 consists entirely of montages (drawn from various Hollywood movies) in which gawky/poor/otherwise insecure misfit gets a makeover/shopping spree. Ideally, there would be no dialogue present in the source material, just a mad swirl of conspicuous consumption, bodies entering dressing rooms and emerging in spectacular threads. (The conceit could be expanded to include montages in which people buy a lot of things, not necessarily wardrobe related.)

Sources could include: Splash, Pretty Woman, Clueless, Fat Albert, et al.

Film #2 consists entirely of montages (drawn from various Hollywood movies) in which characters laugh uproariously while enjoying a meal—expensive dinner, picnic lunch—with each other. Once again, no actualy dialogue should be audible: All we need to see are people raising glasses in a toast, throwing heads back in glee, shots of spaghetti being spooled around a fork, etc.

Sources could include: Sideways, Something's Gotta Give, et al.

Any takers?

* * *

We're a bad trip: Over at House of Mirth, James Marcus reads Melville's bummed-out Holy Land journals. Marcus reminds us that Melville's reputation was so low by the time of his death that the Times obit got his name wrong.

(The paper also bungled the obit of another American original.)

* * *

Readers of Harry Stephen Keeler's The Marceau Case and X. Jones—Of Scotland Yard! understand the importance of one disembodied line of text:

"Blimey, 'Erb! Little?" Lu Caslow's dreary eyes

Analyzing this phrase one way, you get the name "Meyer B. Li," another way, "Little Lucas."

A chance blog landing turned up this. The mystery thickens! (For more on that Marceau morsel, go here.)

* * *

Happy-making Beatles footage, from Mike Gerber.


Blogger Thomas Beard said...

Some nice, related bits from the last few pages of Elizabeth Hardwick's bio of HM :

"During his hours at work he was living with cannibals in woolen suits and ties and yet tatooed with ignorance and greed--some were arrested for embezzlement. In the midst of his fury Melville returned to his memory of the Holy Land, to the nighttime composition of Clarel, with its length and its failure forseen, an act of defiance, a scream for the scaffold...He died at home in his own house with a wife to care for him in his great distress and need. It appears he came to be grateful for her long years as Mrs. Melville, a calling certainly unexpected in her youth. Old age and habit, a settling down, a relief from the active 'writhing' D.H. Lawrence named the condition of Herman Melville's soul. If so, this ornament and pride of our culture was to end his days with a sigh, a resigned, bearable, pedestrian loneliness."

Also, does writing on Melville get any better than Hardwick's own "Bartleby in Manhattan"?

10:15 AM  
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