Looking Backward: TCM Second Looks, Friday, May 24

26 May

It’s difficult, I find, to write specifics about Second Look movies after indulging in the pleasures of participating in the massively-attended live Twitter Wingdings Illeana Douglas hosts during these programming blocks.

Inside Daisy Clover (1965)

She carries that hat off almost as well as Jerry Biffle.

#TCMparty has been around much, much longer than Second Looks, but I must say there’s a lot of life in these Friday nights; I think it’s in the nature of the Second Looks idea that there’s a uniformly fun attitude about these movies – they’re unfamiliar to most, beloved by a cult, and if ever a crowd was willing to accept a proposed movie as sometimes-touch-and-go but worth the attention, it’s the #TCMparty-ers. Which makes for lively chatter. (There was even some time in Twitter Jail for Douglas last night because of the crazy amount of activity. A badge of honor.) But precious little of the Internet’s usual polarizing diatribe style of discourse.

I have to collapse after the third movie (usually around 2 a.m. here), so I missed out on the end of the conversation, but I recommend the experience highly. It’s the best party on the Internet.

Anyway, in brief:

Inside Daisy Clover would probably have worked really well if it had been made in 1970 instead – the waning days of the studio system were barely willing to take on the subject matter the film danced around, and the temporal distance from the era it dealt with was awkward  – but there were still some stunning visuals and tremendous performances from Christopher Plummer (same year as Sound of Music!), Ruth Gordon, Katharine Bard, Robert Redford and, of course, Natalie Wood, who I still think does better silent than verbal work (the breakdown and the self-imposed muteness after) but has ample face time here for the former;

The Loved One (1965)

Who is Aimee wearing? Chanel’s Leia Boleyn collecton.

The Loved One, as noted, I’ve seen and loved already, but it was really nice to watch it with some other Misfit Toys of its age (all the movies were from 1965 except The Arrangement from 1969);

Mickey One (1965)

Yes!

Mickey One was a grand surprise, a movie I’d probably never have run across and was really into. The Getz/Sauter score, the Chicago locations, the general Frenchness, frisky but not cloying, a bunch of incredible faces among the day players, and a terrific not-depending-on-his-looks Warren Beatty bein’ all paranoid and freaked out (and a surprisingly effective lounge entertainer);

The Arrangement (1969)

(Season 7 Mad Men spoiler)

The Arrangement lagged for me in its final half hour, but overall it was kept exciting by Kazan’s direction and Kirk Douglas’s face which, young and old (cf. Ace in the Hole on a previous Second Looks), is un-unwatchable (the breakdown and the self-imposed muteness after…hmm), and the cast is impressive top to bottom. I was surprised by how little Kazan’s late 60s gimmickry bothered me – I guess the context of Guy Losing It forgives a lot of trickery (and I forgave this more than I was willing to forgive Fight Club by the end. Maybe that’s just me.) Think like the doorknob Foley when Charles doesn’t enter Gwen’s bedroom and the lights and shadows in the little room where Flo & Eddie have their final knockdown (my Wife as we watched noted that the married couple at its center are named Flo & Eddie; coincidence).

The Arrangement also really drove home Inside Daisy Clover’s lessons that sisters named Gloria are a handful, and breakdown-based real estate decisions are invariably flammable. (Sidenote: I just happen to be in the middle of Walker Percy’s Lancelot, which…nevermind. I’m beset on all sides here.)

Another Second Look worth every minute of lost sleep.

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