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Maria Cecile Callier
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A once-great silent film director, unable to make the transition to the new talkies, lives as a near-hermit in his Hollywood home, making cheap, silent sex films, and suffering in the knowledge of his sexual impotence, and apathetic about the plans to demolish his home to make way for a motorway. His producer and his producer's girlfriend come by to see how he is doing (and to supply heroin to the actress as her payment). The girlfriend stays to watch them filming, and is deeply impressed by his methods. When the actress goes to the bathroom, and dies there of an overdose, the girlfriend takes her place in the film. Then the producer returns... Written by
Steven Pemberton <Steven.Pemberton@cwi.nl>
The film's main movie poster featured a long preamble that captioned a photograph of the film's five characters next to it. The text read: "Upper Right: This is Rex in 1930. Ten years from now, he will win an academy award, be the biggest star in Hollywood, and own half of Ventura County. Lower left: This is Harlene in 1930. Five years ago she was the golden girl of the silver screen. She carried a mink purse, wore platinum earring and drove a white Phaeton. Lower center: This is Boy Wonder in 1930. He was one of the great directors of Hollywood. He directed sweeping epics and brilliant comedies. Lower right: This is Miss Cake in 1930. She only came to watch. Upper left: This is Big Mac in 1930. He produced stag films. He would later become the head of the biggest motion picture studio in Hollywood...Now they make pornos. But they're brilliant pornos". See more »
Sitting at piano, Boy Wonder plays song Moonglow, written in 1934. The movie takes place at least three or four years earlier (characters repeatedly talk about a then-unknown actor named Clark Gable, already a big star by time song was written). See more »
The end credits are shown in black-and-white, against a backdrop of a silk cloth. It is also grainier and scratched in spots compared to the rest of the film. It is very reminiscent of the credits of vintage 30's melodramas. See more »
"A degenerate film with dignity" is the tag line for this comedy...and it is...a comedy. One thing many people might miss from this movie is the humor. At times it is bitter sweet and at times it is caustic. With characters like the mogul named "Big Mac", who wants to conquer the hamburger stand market, to the the porn actor called "Rex the Wonder Horse", who moonlights as an undertaker; what can you do but laugh.
It is very much a filmed stage play taking place in one large room with only a handful of actors. Yet you will hardly notice it. True to it's time frame (Hollywood at the dawn of sound), it's stands up to it's own time (1970's) and today's (2000's). Currently the porn industry does almost as much business as main stream films ("What Price Hollywood?"). In fact, Porn generates more money than Country Music. How many country music channels are there? How many porn?
You may never listen to the tune "Moonglow" in the same way again.
Watching it as a bitter sweet comedy, you cannot but enjoy this film. I have only seen the 117 min. version and not the shortened one. Be warned if only the 99 min. version is available.
It's difficult to find this movie. But if you get the chance, see it.
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