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If You Were The Guest Host, What Would You Talk About?


Palmerin
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You know that I have previously complained that Osborne and Mankiewicz often fail to say anything genuinely relevant about the movies that they introduce. I suppose I should explain what I would like the comments to say.

Let's take THE ADVENTURES OF DON JUAN of Vincent Sherman as an example. You can count on Osborne and Mankiewicz speaking about frivolous stuff such as the fact that Errol Flynn was not in the best of shape, and therefore needed the help of stuntmen. If I were the guest host I would speak of the genuinely important feature of that film:

DON JUAN himself.

Most people visualize that character through the opera of Mozart and da Ponte, not realizing that there are many versions of this story, in some of which Don Juan is portrayed more positively. Of particular importance is the play DON JUAN TENORIO, by Jose Zorrilla y Moral, in which DJ really falls in love with the daughter of the Comendador, with the result that, in the climax, she successfully stops her father from dragging DJ to Hell.

Herbert Dalmas and the other writers of Sherman's movie--which included William Faulkner--undoubtedly were influenced by Zorrilla's play, and were led to portray DJ as a noble patriot who is willing to risk his life for the sake of Queen Margaret of Austria, who was indeed a loyal wife who tried to compensate for the weak character of her husband. Altogether, this film makes for a worthy addition to the many artistic depictions of this character, one of the most iconic in literature.

Those would be my introductory remarks. For the conclusion I would point out my main objection to the movie: the Duke of Lorca practically overthrowing the monarchy. That basic plot would be appropriate for the Middle Ages and for the 19th century, both of them periods in which coups d'état were frequent, but not for the 17th century. The 17th century was a period of unequalled respect for royalty, to the point that the overthrowing of Charles I and James II of England were events that absolutely shocked all of Europe. Spain itself has a perfect example: John Joseph of Austria, acknowledged bastard son of Philip IV, had a long political and military career, which allowed him to build up a considerable following; the Queen Mother was not popular; and her son and JJ's half brother, King Charles II, was physically and mentally weak. If this had been the Middle Ages or the 19th century JJ would likely have tried to claim the kingship; instead he simply removed the Queen Mother from power and installed himself as the power behind the throne, allowing his brother to retain his authority as monarch. The Duke of Lorca would have been equally circumspect: he might have engaged in a bit of embezzlement--a crime common among politicians of this period--, but he would never ever think of harming or undermining the royal persons.

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One wraparound I didn't care for, delivered by Ben recently, was about Joan Crawford in JOHNNY GUITAR. First of all, she's been Star of the Month countless times-- and this is supposed to be Sterling Hayden's chance to shine. But Ben ended up talking about how westerns were not her genre of choice (obviously). 

 

And in another thread, someone else complained about Ben going on about ROUGHLY SPEAKING being intended for Bette Davis and Joan Crawford (who both turned it down before Rosalind Russell took it). It was an evening devoted to Roz. But instead, we get this droning on about how films are now not only Bette Davis movies or Joan Crawford movies-- there are also almost-Bette Davis movies and almost-Joan Crawford movies. 

 

Whoever is writing the wraparounds is obviously obsessed with Crawford and Davis and would probably love it if BABY JANE was broadcast on an endless loop.

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One wraparound I didn't care for, delivered by Ben recently, was about Joan Crawford in JOHNNY GUITAR. First of all, she's been Star of the Month countless times-- and this is supposed to be Sterling Hayden's chance to shine. But Ben ended up talking about how westerns were not her genre of choice (obviously). 

 

And in another thread, someone else complained about Ben going on about ROUGHLY SPEAKING being intended for Bette Davis and Joan Crawford (who both turned it down before Rosalind Russell took it). It was an evening devoted to Roz. But instead, we get this droning on about how films are now not only Bette Davis movies or Joan Crawford movies-- there are also almost-Bette Davis movies and almost-Joan Crawford movies. 

 

Whoever is writing the wraparounds is obviously obsessed with Crawford and Davis and would probably love it if BABY JANE was broadcast on an endless loop.

Those were TOP ANNOYING!--perfect examples of totally missing the point of the movies that are supposed to be the topics of the comments of the host.

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You know that I have previously complained that Osborne and Mankiewicz often fail to say anything genuinely relevant about the movies that they introduce. I suppose I should explain what I would like the comments to say.

Let's take THE ADVENTURES OF DON JUAN of Vincent Sherman as an example. You can count on Osborne and Mankiewicz speaking about frivolous stuff such as the fact that Errol Flynn was not in the best of shape, and therefore needed the help of stuntmen. If I were the guest host I would speak of the genuinely important feature of that film:

DON JUAN himself.

 

Palmerin,  In the early 1990s, I saw a production of a play presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company. It was Nick Dear's adaptation of Tirso de Molina's El Burlador de Sevilla, which is the first literary work about Don Juan (written before 1630). It was directed by Danny Boyle (who later directed the film Slumdog Millionaire). Linus Roache played Don Juan; Ciaron Hinds played his uncle. It was great fun! Perhaps Danny Boyle, who is now also a film person, would have been a good host to introduce the Don Juan film, in the context of the work's history.

 

As far as the theme of this thread goes, I agree with you about the nature of film intros. I actually don't like the idea of guest hosts, unless it's someone like Whit Stillman, who talked about his films a year or so ago. I would just like a host who can say something serious about the film and not just talk about the "stars."

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