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New Podcast! The Movie Palace – “Gilda”

It was a pleasure to join the great Carl Sweeney on his podcast The Movie Palace to discuss Gilda, Charles Vidor’s iconic postwar film noir which is possibly the most exciting movie ever made about tungsten monopolies. A psycho-sexual thriller about two men trying to forge a future in Buenos Aires and the woman who comes between them, Gilda remains one of the most enduring films of the late forties in large part due to Rita Hayworth’s central performance.

At the same time, Gilda occupies an interesting place in the film noir canon, never quite considered a classic in the style of Casablanca or The Maltese Falcon or Double Indemnity, but always respected by those with an appreciation for postwar American cinema. It’s certainly a film about which I have very mixed feelings, even if they aren’t quite as intense as those between Johnny and Gilda.

The Movie Palace is a podcast that takes an affectionate look at the Golden Age of Hollywood, with Carl talking about a classic film with a guest once a week. It was an honour to be asked on, even if I’ll concede out of the gate that I’m not anywhere near as familiar with the era of filmmaking as Carl is.  You can check out the episode here, back episodes of the podcast here, or just click the link below.

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Any Witch Way But Backwards: How Oz The Great & Powerful Erodes the Feminist Appeal of The Wizard of Oz…

I quite enjoyed Oz: The Great & Powerful. The visuals were amazing, and I thought that Sam Raimi brought the world of Oz to life in a way that audiences haven’t really seen since 1939. Despite the fact that the film was limited to elements from the source novels rather than the classic film, meaning no red slippers and the Winkie Guards chanting a generic “ho-ho-ho” instead of “ho-ee-ho-ee-oh”, I think that Oz: The Great & Powerful is the first time that a film has taken us back to that version of the wonderful world of Oz.

It’s a shame, then, about the script. I have a lot of problems with the screenplay by Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire. Indeed, I’m less than thrilled that Kapner has apparently been tapped by Disney to prepare a sequel. While Raimi and his cast, and his production designers, seem to understand a great deal about the magic of The Wizard of Oz, it seems like Kapner and Lindsay-Abaire seem to have missed the point.

It’s a shame, then, that Oz: The Great & Powerful rolled on March 8th, celebrated as International Women’s Day. Dorothy Gale has been described as “the first feminist role model” and The Wizard of Oz is packed to the brim with strong female characters. Although Dorothy obviously can’t play a major role in this prequel, one does wonder where all the strong women have gone.

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Note: This post contains spoilers for Oz: The Great & Powerful. Consider yourself warned.

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A Gilda Caged: Thoughts on the Movies We Label “Classic”…

I had the pleasure, a while back, of attending a screening of Gilda being hosted by the Irish Film Institute. The black-and-white forties noir-tinted thriller is somewhat warmly regarded among film historians, and one of those movies you label as a “classic” without any real hesitation. However, as I emerged from the cinema, I found myself wondering how such a film would be received were it released today. I honestly wonder what we would make of these “classics” if they didn’t have the word “classic” to hide behind.

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