The King of Siam, I Am, I Am

Anna looking ever pained by Rex Siam

This film, Ann and the King of Siam, I am actually watching through my grandmother’s eyes, imagining what she may have felt watching it. (I am also watching it under the influence of a Christmas flu.) For all I know, we may have watched it once together in her living room, though it’s more likely we would have watched the musical The King and I. There are movies that one grows up hearing are classics, or they play often enough on television and have an air of authority to them that one’s young mind accepts them as classics, and this numbers among one of those. If I ever watched it with my grandmother, I imagine she would have communicated “classic” in her manner, without saying a word, which is to mean she would have watched. Like she watched Mannix. Classic. A romance novel on the table beside her, next her High Ball. Classic. All America seemed to once reverence the authority of the giant hoop skirt, rather than be only amused that it was a bunch of hula hoop rings sewn together. A hoop skirt and some lace and a few rhinestones, toss in a chandelier in the background, and there you had it, a classic.

Classics had the authority of school teachers standing before their maps, thwacking Europe here and Asia there in the desultory manner bred of the morning salute to the flag honoring America as the universe and whatever was outside its borders as good as lint under the couch. What was it doing there, not annexed yet? Like Thailand, that little country way over yonder we never discussed because all we needed to know about it we had learned from The King and I, or Anna and the King of Siam. And that was they wanted to be just like us but couldn’t be because they would never *own* great-great-great grandmother’s hoop skirt.

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The Heiress of Washington Square and her Cinderfella


What this movie taught me about life, which I already knew, is angst and pain almost always sound better in French, especially if your first language is English and that’s all you know. The French always sound like they’re just trying to keep the fun to a privileged few rather than spread it around, even when they’re forthright about the waters being full up with sharks.

Brigitte Bardot avec Lino Ventura – plaisir… by patvar

Oh, boo hoo, I have finally watched The Heiress, and, damn, though you know in your heart of hearts (and from some readings of James) that there’s no way in hell things could or will possibly go right, a counselor isn’t going to pop up out of the shrubbery of Washington Square and usher everyone into some quick rounds of therapy for painful insights followed by confused but thank-god-that’s-all-over hugs, little Dalai Lama elves aren’t going to magically recalibrate everyone’s emotional balance beams with “consider the true meaning of life” moments shoved center screen–though you know it’s not that kind of film, one still rather wishes this had at least an alternative ending feature that offered happiest, kind-of-ok, and not very definite resolutions, so with your blood sugar satisfied you can accept the reason you care as much as you do is precisely because it’s not that kind of film.

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What an Affair to Remember Taught me About Life

An Affair to Remember taught me to look both ways before crossing the street. Except I already knew that. I’ve known to look both ways, and not only at the big red Stop sign, since I was three years of age. My child already knows to do the same, which doesn’t warrant me any kind of medal as he’s fourteen. But I ought to remind him because now that he’s a teenager  I need to make it very plain to him that not even love is a good excuse for running into traffic, “Unless,” because I can always think of an “unless” that defies absolutism, such as if I looked into the street and there was my child chasing a red balloon into it. “What if it was someone else’s child?” Now, see? (And let’s not continue in this vein because this isn’t a blog on ethics and personal responsibility.)

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The Shining – A Comparison of the Green Hall Behind the Office and the Red Hall

The Overlook Hotel is a maze and our ability to map the hotel beyond a few seemingly geographically/locationally concrete portions is pretty well impossible, but we still have sympathetic relationships that can be used to link some areas.

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Updated maps of The Shining

Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining”–The Maps

I’ve attempted to get the proportions as best as possible, discovering that I was able to do so via the graphics on the carpet as I was able to count them off.

Hi there. This post gets a fair number of visitors and for some reason the idea of everything not fitting together makes some people upset when it really shouldn’t. The initial response of many is to think in terms of continuity and design problems on a major production and that the maps are a matter of nit-picking at small details.

One has to realize that Kubrick practiced the same mismatch technique in certain places in 2001 and with the apartment of Bill and Alice in Eyes Wide Shut. For instance, he radically shifts internal orientation of space as opposed to what we see on the exterior of one of the ships carrying Floyd to Clavius, so that the pilots have views of both the earth and moon which could only have been had by Floyd. He moves the bedroom of Bill and Alice. Also, in Eyes Wide Shut (never mind the maze of streets down which we are taken numerous times under different guises) he discreetly dropped in elements directly connecting the Nathanson apartment with the Ziegler mansion. So, the Overlook is not exceptional in Kubrick’s films for its disequilibrium.

The interior of the Overlook simply doesn’t fit with either the exterior on the studio set or real life; the different parts of it don’t connect together in the way Kubrick visually leads one to believe. His manner of editing establishes assumptions, but those assumptions are wrong. I cover possible reasons for the “why” in my analyses of the different films, but can’t give you a flat-out “why”. What one can discuss, which I’ve done in the analyses, is the psychological and cinematic effect these mismatches and the false flow may have on the viewer. What the maps below do is supply a pretty basic and simple first approach to seeing how we do have these mismatches.

In respect of The Shining, one can also look at the way Kubrick gives the impression of our viewing a family “together” at the Overlook, when we almost never see Jack, Wendy or Danny in the same shot. We have them together in the car, we have them briefly together when Danny meets Dick in the Gold Room and when he is left with Dick as his parents go off to the boiler room with Stuart. After that, after everyone else has left the hotel, the only other time we see Jack, Wendy and Danny together is in the post-choking scene in the Colorado Lounge. We never even see the three in the same shot in the apartment. At the end, by the time Jack has hacked his way into the suite, Wendy and Danny are in the bathroom and Wendy has quickly sent Danny out the window so he’s not even in the suite. The lobby is particularly interesting as one really “feels” we should have seen all three of them there together, and yet it never happens. As with the architecture, Kubrick gives a certain feeling for what is happening and has happened, and quite often it is different from what we’ve seen on the screen.

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The Wild World of Batwoman

If you’ve not seen “The Wild World of Batwoman” then the quality at YT is too poor for watching, but just 20 seconds will give you a taste of the joyousness you’ve missed. (Twiddling thumbs waiting for Dreamhost FTP to come back up online so I can finish work. C’mon, respond to my support ticket already!)

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