We get one of our earliest Jean Renoir films this week, and it's a treat. Noted for it's encapsulation of Paris between the wars, Boudu Saved from Drowning is a critique of Bourgeois values via rejection. It's also noted for essentially allowing star Michel Simon to play his no-holds-barred libertarian and libertine self. Pat and I have problems with rejecting Bourgeois sensibilities for right wing individualism, but maybe we just have problems with spitting in books.
We have our first encounter with the legendary Ernst Lubitsch this week, with his 1932 film Trouble in Paradise. Released before the code was in effect, Trouble in Paradise has all the moral-rotting adult themes, innuendos, and victorious criminals the Motion Picture Production Code sought to protect us from. It also has, quite probably, my favorite opening establishing shot of Venice in any film ever.
After last week's less then impressive W.C. Fields outing we get another serving of the misanthropic drunk. The Golf Specialist (Monte Brice, 1930), The Pharmacist (Arthur Ripley, 1933), The Fatal Glass of Beer (Clyde Bruckman, 1933), The Barber Shop (Arthur Ripley, 1933), The Dentist (Leslie Pearce, 1932), and the silent Pool Sharks (Edwin Middleton, 1915). While some are better and more memorable than others, I think Pat and I enjoyed each much more than we liked The Bank Dick. The less time we spend with W. C. Fields the more we enjoy him.
We invited Stephen Goldmeier over for another round of Lost in Criterion, little did he know that Pat and I were secretly planning to hunt him for sport! Of course since I'm a pacifist, killing Stephen may take awhile. In the meantime we discuss Irving Pichel and Ernest B. Schoedsack's 1932 adaptation of Richard Connell's short story The Most Dangerous Game.
Despite being made by men who detested drinking on film, big game hunting, and Soviets, The Most Dangerous Game struggles to find something to say beyond "killing people is bad unless they're bad (or Russian?)" and a strong warning against verbally tempting fate with one of the quickest turn-arounds on a "but that would never happen" in film history. It could have used more focus on a theme, or at least more pulp to distract from the lack of one.