I Luvz Me THE MONSTER AND THE GIRL

by Buzz on 14/10/2014

The Monster And The Girl is the old familiar story of a gangster who is p.o.ed at other gangsters for turning his sister into a prostitute so they frame him for murder and after he’s executed the local mad scientist transplants his brain into the body of a gorilla (because, hey, science!) after which he escapes and goes on a murderous rampage until he kills everyone who did him & his sister wrong.

monster_and_girl_poster_01

Once you decide to just roll with it, The Monster And The Girl turns into a surprisingly poignant story. Zipping along at a brisk 64 1/2 minute running time, using every low budget trick in the independent film maker’s book (1941 edition), it manages to become far more than it ever dared hoped to be.

This may be Charlie Gemora’s greatest role in any of the dozens of films he made inside a gorilla suit. He uses body language and extremely expressive eyes to covey the anguish the protagonist feels and his still-human reasoning abilities. If they gave out awards for best performance by a guy in a monkey suit, he should have taken home an Oscar.

MonsterGirl

Tho released by Paramount, it seems more like an independent production that they picked up for distribution. They don’t make movies like this anymore but I’m glad that when they were making them, they did.

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Fictoid: One Day At Castle Frankenstein…

by Buzz on 13/10/2014

make me woman cap

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Corleone Family Values Day

by Buzz on 13/10/2014

You celebrate your murderous Italian criminals,

corleone family portrait wedding

I’ll celebrate my murderous Italian criminals.

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The Words Of The Prophets…

by Buzz on 11/10/2014

…are written on the subway walls
and tenement halls

WotP Bertolt Brecht

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John Steinbeck On Writing

by Buzz on 9/10/2014

JohnSteinbeck

If there is a magic in story writing, and I am convinced there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another. The formula seems to lie solely in the aching urge of the writer to convey something he feels important to the reader. If the writer has that urge, he may sometimes, but by no means always, find the way to do it. You must perceive the excellence that makes a good story good or the errors that makes a bad story. For a bad story is only an ineffective story.

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Fictoid: One Day In The Strike Zone…

by Buzz on 7/10/2014

did it hurt cap

“Did it hurt”///

“Did what hurt?”///

“When you fell from heaven”///

“Wait — did you just call me Satan?”///

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On The Convention Trail…

by Buzz on 2/10/2014

1950_04_cartier_gnomepresscalendar

I’ll be at the Dallas / Fort Worth GI Joe and Action Figure Show 2014 in Grapevine, Texas on Oct. 4 & 5 tap-dancing like a Nicholas brother discussing*my involvement with G.I. Joe, Transformers, Thundarr The Barbarian, and a host of other questions about my career in animation / comics / videos games.**

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*  Now that the statute of limitations is up…

** Besides the obvious one of “Who would hire you in the first place?”

 

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Grudge Match: Norman Rockwell vs Edward Hopper

by Buzz on 30/09/2014

So I was reading a discussion on art (specifically what differentiates “good” art from “bad” art)[1] and it occurred to me that while usually comparing one artist to another is typically at best comparing apples to artichokes, there was one comparison where we could at least get granny smiths compared to jonagolds.

Norman Rockwell (1894 – 1978) and Edward Hopper (1882 – 1967) are near perfect compare & contrast subjects. Both lived at the same time, both staked out small life America as their prime subject matter.

Make no bones about it, Norman Rockwell was a phenomenally talented painter, and easily one of the best illustrators ever. A good eye for detail and composition, an even keener eye for anatomy, characterization, and facial expression. Look at his paintings and a whole story unfolds before you. Clever, witty, a consummate illustrator of the American scene.

Norman ROCKWELL Going and Coming 1947

Note that word:
Illustrator.

As much as I enjoy Rockwell’s work, as appreciative as I am of his talent and ability, Rockwell only brought so much to the party. He expected — nay, required his audience to already be familiar with his subjects before his put brush to canvas.

norman rockwell the-discovery

There was nothing new he had to offer, nothing original besides his personal style which, while good (arguably the best in his field) was not demonstratively different from literally scores of other artists working for the same markets.

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Yes, there is something unique to Rockwell’s work, and you can almost always spot a Rockwell painting…but there are a whole lotta guys who were doing pretty much what Rockwell was doing and they were all pretty much interchangeable.[2]

Norman ROCKWELL Christmas Homecoming 1948

This is not to diminish the talent or the ability or the skill sets of Rockwell’s direct competitors, but the difference among them was pretty slight, typically one of degrees, never of magnitude.

Amos Sewell - baseball-in-the-hospitalcase in point:  Amos Sewell

Cross to the other side of the street to see what Edward Hopper was doing with the same subject matter and –

HOLY @#%& — LOOK AT THAT LIGHT!!!

edward hopper - nighthwk

NOBODY EVER SAW LIGHT THAT WAY BEFORE!!!

Whatever Rockwell saw in a scene, Hopper saw something…else. He saw something that was truly unique, something that no other artist had ever put on canvas before.

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Something we had all seen but had never realized we had seen, and so when we saw it through his eyes it was a shock to the system, a startling realizing that yes…it was like that…it did look that way!

Summer Evening by Edward Hopper

Hopper didn’t rely on us to bring our own past knowledge to the experience; Hopper brought something we didn’t even know existed.

Office at Night

And that would have been remarkable by itself, but Hopper took it several steps further.

morning-sun_custom

He used light as no one ever used it before, taking the quality of his light — be it a melancholy setting sun or an office like by a single stark bulb or a nether zone of shadow between the dreamscape of the cinema and the tawdry lurid lights of the lobby — and putting it to work to literally shade and illuminate his characters.

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It’s pretty easy to figure out the story in any Rockwell painting, and with the exception of the occasional rained out baseball game we know it’s going to be a happy ending.

hotel-lobby

Not so with Hopper. There are dark, unseen melancholies we can’t recognize not because we are unfamiliar with them but because we are too familiar with them, locking them up and blocking them off deep in our hearts, pretending they do not exist.

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Hopper brings them forth, and we are forced to admit we have no pat, happy answers to banish them, that they will stay with us now, circling around the edges of our consciousness, a sad but constant reminder that we are not the masters of our fates / the captains of our souls that we want to be.

Kinda special for daubs of paint of stretched cloth, huh?

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[1] As distinguished from hack work.   Hack work exists all along the spectrum.

[2] Don’t believe me, go look at the “slick” magazine covers of the 1940s – 60s: Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, Liberty, plus dozens of regional and special interest magazines. If Rockwell had been abducted by aliens in 1940 the genre would never have missed him and would have continued on pretty much as it did, only with more work for the other guys.

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This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

by Buzz on 29/09/2014

CREEPY92-41

Russ Heath goes to town
(from Creepy #92)

found at Pappy’s Golden Age Blogzine

Happy Birthday, Russ

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The Words Of The Prophets…

by Buzz on 27/09/2014

…are written on the subway walls
and tenement halls

WotP Jacque Fresco

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