Metropolis (1927) anyone?
After viewing this film recently for the first time, I wondered how much of the story is representative (or at least symbolic) of the fight against the Code? Take for example, Elizabeth Taylor's character, Catherine. The previous summer she had witnessed the most utterly grotesque sequence of events that culminated in the horrific death of her manipulative cousin, Sebastian. After her return from Europe, the story is held inside her tormented mind and she is consquentially punished for the danger the truth she holds represents to others. Katharine Hepburn plays Violet, Sebastian's mother, whose incestuous relationship with her son lends to her desperate need to keep Sebastian's image alive and well - one even may say "pure". Catherine threatens to tarnish the image with the tale of Sebastian's last summer in Europe and Violet wants to literally rip the story out of her brain, by means of employing Dr. Curkowicz, played by Montgomery Clift, to perform a lobotomy.
[potential spoilers ahead]
Catherine is the owner of a story that needs to be told and encounters a long and difficult path to become the story's teller. When she is finally able to give birth to the story, the experience is painful, ensuiing in screams and sobs but in the end healing. Violet, the censor, the person still alive who is most threatened by this story is not capable of handling it after repressing it for so long.
Catherine - Story - Hollywood
Violet - Censor - Hays Code
Does anyone see the connection? I tend not to think this was in any way on purpose but it was probably a subconscious for of rebellion. It could also be the English major in me just looking for something to analyze. Who knows? What I do know is this film is unquestionably part of Hollywood's break from the code.
Here are some of my favorites...
Our state fair, is the best state fair in our state.
I have always been fascinated by the way people watch films, especially how they chose the films they see. A person's past repertoire of films seen says a lot about who they are and what motivates them. I like to think that the body of films I've seen shows that I'm adventurous, curious, open-minded, passionate and emotionally-driven. It also demonstrates how I tend to form attachments, especially to particular persons.
State Fair (1962) is one of many remakes of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. The film is difficult to find. It is not often shown on TV and it's not available on it's own DVD. Rather, it lives in the bonus materials of it's more popular sibling, the 1945 version. You wouldn't think to look for it there, if you were searching for it. And why would you be searching for it anyways?
I found it because I was actively searching for it as one of the many Bobby Darin films I wanted to see (because I Heart Bobby Darin!). I watched it first, before seeing the 1945 version, and was pleasantly surprised. I'm not usually one for musicals but there was something light and refreshingly bouyant about this film. My favorite part was the feeling I had of having unearthed a hidden gem...
... and then came the domino-effect. Watching this film became a catalyst for watching many more. I loved the music in this film, so I watched the 1945 version to get another dose of it. Then I found that I really enjoyed Dana Andrews in that film, and maybe I should watch another one of his. Oh, and look at that. Alice Faye made her film comeback with State Fair (1962) , her last film after Fallen Angel (1945), which also stars Dana Andrews, so I saw that. Then there was Pamela Tiffin, who I found pleasantly annoying as Bobby Darin's love interest. Then I stumble upon her film Come Fly with Me (1963), a nice '60s romantic comedy, which introduced me to Dolores Hart, who was in another film Where the Boys Are (1960), which of course I had to see. Also, State Fair (1962) was my first introduction to Ann-Margret, and I just had to see another of her films, so I saw Made in Paris (1966). This made me realize, that the '60s weren't so bad and that actually I really love '60s romantic/sex comedies and wanted to watch more of those films and so on and so forth. I could go on (because it did go on from there) but I think you get the drift.
This is very representative of my viewing pattern. I watch one film, I enjoy it, I can't get enough, so I watch a lot more semi-related films. It's a wonder I find time to do anything else. I do however, highly recommend watching this film, if you haven't already. Ignore moral of the story, which is out-dated and quite boring, and enjoy it as a fun and light musical. And who knows, maybe you'll go on a fun-filled film journey afterwards like I did.
If and when I can get my hands on a copy of this gem, I'll make sure to review it here.
Yet this guide, even with its flaws, is my ultimate classic movie companion and one of my most prized posessions.