MCMXXXIX LI: Gulliver’s Travels

Gulliver’s Travels. Dave Fleischer. 1939.

Oh, it’s animated! Is this the first animated movie in this blog series? I think it may be.

Directed by Dave Fleischer…

It quite un-Disney so far.

It’s very odd, though. The animation shifts wildly between being quite good and OH MY GOD WHAT”S GOING ON WITH THAT FACE THE HORROR THE ROTOSCOPE

And I’m one quarter in, and I have no idea what this movie is even going to be about.

The audio could have been more legible on this bluray. And… I’m not so sure about the picture, either. It’s so… soft? It looks like it’s been upscaled from a DVD?

Aha:

Due to the film’s public domain status, it has been released by many distributors in various home video formats. E1 Entertainment released the film on Blu-ray Disc on March 10, 2009, but received strong criticism for presenting the movie in a stretched and cropped 1.75:1 format, as well as applying heavy noise reduction.

Well, that’s not the version I have here… this isn’t 1.75:1. But it’s still not actually good.

That’s kinda cool.

What.

Anyway, this is the second “feature length” animated movie ever, so I really should be cutting it some slack. In addition, it was made on a really tight schedule for it to premiere Xmas 1939 (after the astounding success of Snow White), and… they had to make do.

But the problems here aren’t technical, really. This is just a sucky movie. The storyline is befuddling (i.e., there really isn’t much story here, just an excuse to draw gags… that mostly doesn’t work), and the pacing seems designed to make even gags that could work seem awkward.

This blog post is part of the 1939
series
.

MCMXXXIX L: Gone with the Wind

Gone With The Wind. George Cukor, Victor Fleming, Sam Wood. 1939.

So we’re now in December 1939, and I have only three movies to go in this blog series. This one is … big. Long? Long.

Ooops. I had forgotten that this movie is so long that is has an overture.

So it starts seven minutes in.

So southern!

I haven’t seen this movie since the… mid 80s? So what I’m wondering is, of course: How racist is this gonna be?

Well, it’s got Black actors, at least. That’s gotta count for something.

Oh, wow. This movie is made… er… by the same directing team as The Wizard of Oz?

Hm… Victor Fleming is the credited director on both, so I’m not sure what’s up with that. Anyway, that’s a pretty astounding feat: Directing these two huge movies the same year.

Mm-hm!

OK, I’ve never understood Clark Gable’s supposed charms. He’s just kinda a sleazeball?

The director(s) do a lot of this shot with varying participants. It’s a good shot, though.

I like this movie! It’s really taking its time, but the pacing feels so natural; not dragged out like in modern “epic” movies. It’s got a good flow.

But it really leans in to the tragedy of Southern soldiers being killed, and the tragedy of those waiting at home… very effectively at that. But then you think about the monstrous thing they died fighting for and it’s… it’s…

I guess you could make a moving movie about the brave German soldiers (and their long-suffering wives) that died defending Buchenwald from shadowy, never-seen on screen American soldiers?

NOW SOMEBODY”S GONNA MAKE THAT MOVIE SORRY

Oh my god. The portrayal of Prissy…

I guess this movie asks the question: Will Scarlett ever stop being such an asshole? (I’m guessing that it’s gonna go “no” at the end.)

This really is quite racist. I mean, beyond the call for a movie from 1939.

Scarlett in Scarlet.

The plot really doesn’t make that much sense. I mean, beyond “women be stupid and evil”. Why didn’t she just let that guy marry her sister and then bilk him out of $300 instead of marrying him herself?

OK, she had higher ambitions than just $300…

I think the misogyny of this movie has been undercommunicated. I mean, the bit about Scarlett causing her husband’s death because she was breaking Sharia law I mean, driving her carriage without a man…

Unfortunately, condoms weren’t invented in 186… 7?

Oops!

The hooker with a heart of gold.

Hattie McDaniel got an Oscar for this role, and it’s well deserved. The oldifying makeup and dye they’re using on her is kinda eeeh, though.

I’m gonna build those stairs in this apartment.

Ah, yes, that post-rape glow.

Yeah yeah.

I liked the first fourteen hours, but the last hour was kinda a drag.

This blog post is part of the 1939
series
.

The Best Comics of 2020

It’s been a year and… some… and I forgot to do a year end summary. I know! It’s what you all were waiting for.

So: When I read comics, the ones that are particularly cool end up on a little shelf near the couch where I can look at them fondly while doing other things. These are the ones that ended up on that shelf last year, and are therefore the best of 2020? Right?

Right.

But this time around I don’t have time to write about any of them, so just some snaps.

Familiar Face by Michael DeForge:

Cryptoid by Eric Haven:

Almost American Girl by Robin Ha:

Mitchum by Blutch:

Tears of the Leather-Bound Saints by Casanova Frankenstein:

Inappropriate by Gabrielle Bell:

Psychodrama Illustrated by Gilbert Hernandez:

A Gift for a Ghost by Borja Gonzalez:

Goblin Girl by Moa Romanova:

Non #8 edited by Eric Reynolds:

Umma’s Table by Yeon-Sik Hong:

The Contradictions by Sohpie Yanow:

Døden by Halfdan Pisket:

I Want You by Lisa Hanawalt:

Nori by Rumi Hara:

Portrait of a Drunk by Ruppert & Mulot & O. Schrauwen:

The Sky is Blue with a Single Cloud by Kuniko Tsurita:

Aaand… those are the best comics from 2020. The jury is in. A house. Somewhere.

And then there’s these books, which are really spiffy, but not from 2020:

Nobody’s Fool by Bill Griffith:

The Man Without Talent by Yoshiharu Tsuge:

Reincarnation Stories by Kim Deitch:

Well! That wasn’t a lot? Hm. Well, I’ve been reading mostly new and fresh comics this year, I guess…

There you have it. Now you know what to buy people for Xmas in just … nine months?

MCMXXXIX XLIX: The Devil’s Daughter

The Devil’s Daughter. Arthur H. Leonard. 1939.

The audio and video quality here is horrible… but I’m enjoying this already.

Love this tune.

This is a super low budget movie, but it does have a certain charm? I guess it’s mostly down to the actors — it’s not that they’re… convincing… but it’s all very amiable.

OK, it’s getting kinda bad now.

It’s ahead of its time in some ways? I would have guessed that this was made in the mid-fifties — it’s got so much in common with so many bad movies I’ve seen via Mystery Science Theatre 3000 — but it’s 1939. I guess… it’s because it’s a low-budget American movie made outside the studio system?

This blog post is part of the 1939
series
.

MCMXXXIX XLVIII: Destry Rides Again

Destry Rides Again. George Marshall. 1939.

Oh, I thought this was one of those serial movies… Destry Comes To Town… Destry Fights the Indians… Destry Rides Again.

But no; it’s got Marlene Dietrich, and it’s one of those them there serious westerns.

Well, OK, this isn’t exactly a serious western… but it’s mainly in the costumes and the set design: The story itself is quite lighthearted. It’s about a wimpy-looking new sheriff arriving in a rough town and cleaning it up.

This blog post is part of the 1939
series
.