Sunday, February 08, 2004

Remembered the Grammy/ies were on while at Bree's, tuned in just as Maurice White was introducing OutKast. No, I like the way you move. What about the guy with the plaid suit and umbrella, of whom a clear shot was never given -- did they CGI in outtakes from Bamboozled, or was I suddenly watching a Howard Jones video? (Let me explain Upland High School: The morning after a HoJo concert, a vast number of my classmates appeared weaing their "Dream Into Action" shirts. No, throw off your mental chains.)

Scattered impressions of The Threepenny Opera (Pabst, 1931): I don't know the plot of the original play as well as I do the songs, but I don't recall a subplot concerning 200 beggars overrunning a coronation parade. Mackie Messer never even gets near the gallows in this version. I'm not that familiar w/ Pabst either, but I was surprised that this movie didn't seem heavily Expressionist in style, outside of a late night scene in a bank; wouldn't say it was made on Brechtian principles either, despite a few inserts of a narrator commenting directly on the characters about the futility of human endeavor. Strong lead performances, not as stagy as you'd fear, and some amazing Breughel/Tom Waits extras. Business deal between gangster and beggar-king at end is made to connect with earlier marriage scene by use of candlelight; most interesting political idea is that Peachum, who exploits the poor for his own gain, nearly loses control of his 'army' thanks to the sheer force of actual human misery. Only about 6 Brecht/Weill songs used in the film, and those, almost randomly -- the great "Cannon Song," which comes early in the stage version (it was the first one the audience warmed to on opening night) is moved much later, for example. Dim memory of reading that this was a troubled production -- should look it up.

2 strange things about the screening. (1) Whoever sync'd the sound for this print wasn't very careful -- most of one reel had an audibly skipping record of a single barrel-organ chord in the background. Distancing in a Brechtian sort of way, though I can't believe it was intentional, as it senselessly ran though all of Lotte Lenya's "Pirate Jenny." Was the original soundtrack on discs, ala Vitaphone shorts? (2) Introduction by producer's son, who was mainly concerned to let us know that Fritz Lang had been pals with Goebbels, and returned to Germany several times after his 'exile' to settle his financial affairs.

This Bordeoms side-project (OOIOO) is a yawn, plus the digipak ripped instantly.

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