The fifth chapter in "32 Days of Movies", an audiovisual tour through 366 films.
Hooray for Hollywood!
Depression lingers. War looms. Fascism marches across Europe. And yet here we are, hobnobbing with socialites and hanging out with callous adventurers, giggling at pratfalls and whizzing along in car chases, playing with children's toys and fighting off wild Indians. We're dazzled by Robin Hood, hushed by a mythic Lincoln, and assaulted by the last of the dodos.
Concluding our survey of the thirties (or at least that sliver of it captured in my collection), we dive right into the thicket of Tinseltown. In this chapter, America dominates, and by America we mean Hollywood, and by Hollywood we mean movie stars, and by movie stars we mean Henry Fonda, Katherine Hepburn and, in particular, Cary Grant (that unseen third wheel in the picture above). A narrow view, to be sure, but aside from the contingencies of my control group (recent boxset purchases filled gaps while also creating imbalances), this focus can be justified by the desire to display, if only once, the glamorous allure of the silver screen unalloyed by its other appeals and values.
There are only two exceptions to the isolationist flavor of this chapter (excluding an American film set in Europe, and dealing with the rise of Nazism - albeit not in the particular clip I chose). The first is a British thriller by a man soon to be one of Hollywood's brightest lights himself. The second, way out of left field, is a somber picture about peasants, hailing from the country that was soon to be America's enemy.
Since my purpose here is to show everything, not pick and choose in terms of a theme, I left it in but if it doesn't seem to fit (aside from an appropriate graphic transition I was able to provide) that is, in a sense, just right: it can serve as a brief reminder of what was going on in the outside world - and a good transition into the next clip, a Hollywood picture which took a hard look at recent history.
Then listen closely to that last lyric, because the clouds - far from being far behind - are closing in, and tomorrow they will unleash a torrent to sweep up America, and with it Hollywood and the movies.
Tomorrow: Storm Clouds Gather
Yesterday: The Golden Ages
I repeat yesterday's question, about the variable streaming quality, and address it to anyone with technical expertise. It is particularly evident throughout the fourth clip; early in the fifth it's really bad and then - bam! - it fixes itself and the picture becomes pristine. Which is nice, but I'd rather not have trouble in the first place. If anyone has advice about compression or anything else, please e-mail me at movieman0283 at gmail.