I’m so happy about Vincent Minelli right now.
I used to avoid him because of Meet Me in St. Louis – which I hadn’t seen at the time, but now that I have seen it I hate it even more. Then I watched the Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese doc about all the old american films he liked and Minelli’s name kept coming up. Judging by Scorsese’s work with a Minelli, I was still very skeptical.
Then yesterday I watched Designing Women (worst title ever), which I thought was great for reasons besides Lauren Bacall. It seems like her roles are built around the fact that she comes across as a very strong woman. She is always calling the shots for most of the film until the last frame when things have to end correctly, which in the 50s (and especially now) was usually in a heterosexual and happy union. Designing Women is different, though. She starts out in the happy heterosexual union and everything starts to go wrong because of the expectations involved. It is only after the happy couple has looked to non-traditional sources that they can be successful.
That’s not to say that the film doesn’t have its own sexist elements. There is, of course, the minor detail that the woman needs to accept the man’s bullheadedness in the end by letting him lie to her. But this seems to be balanced out with the fact that there is no talk of the financially successful woman learning to cook or giving up her career or her maid. (not the most Marxist-friendly movie, but what is…right Baudry? hahahHA oh theory, you crack me up. – incidentally, Baudry was referred to as “the sausage king” by my film theory teacher in an attempt to force us to remember that he has this ridiculous notion (according to her) that everything (meat) goes through the grinder (the profit motivated cinematic apparatus) and becomes sausage (capitalistic). And now I have to look up his real name whenever I’m trying desperately to impress people (Brian) with my vast theoretical background (one class). She was so stupid.) Anyway, the movie even takes stereotypical female attributes (like jealousy) and make them universal and – this is what I thought was so awesome – dealt with in the same ways. Both of them want to cause physical violence when they find out the other person has had relationships in the past. Maybe not the most logical way to deal with your feelings, but certainly the most primal in both sexes.
The best part of the movie is the guy with the very flamboyant nature, who resists ideas that all feminine men are homosexual. In the end he ends up kicking ass with his awesome dance moves.
The movie isn’t so kind to boxers.
And then The Bandwagon was so awesome I can hardly stand it.