If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.
Friday 7 September 2012
Read gnomica 1-100 here!
Kevin Costner has feathers in his hair and feathers in his head.
The Indians should have called him ‘Plays with Camera.’
Pauline Kael (19 Jun 1919 – 3 Sep 2001)
That last line is a hoot, a hoot much earned by the p.c. turkey that actor-director Kevin Costner embarrassed himself in, Dances with Wolves (1990) — unlike his outstanding performance in that outstanding film No Way Out (1987), one I have talked about elsewhere – as I did about Dances with Wolves here. Pauline Kael, the acerbic suffer-no-fools doyenne (deservedly so) of 20th century American film criticism, wrote as follows about Dances with Wolves: “This epic was made by a bland megalomaniac… Costner shows us his bare ass like a kid at camp feeling at one with the great outdoors.”
Well, she does have a point! [Do see my earlier reviews referenced above!]
I have always loved movies – even bad ones! — ever since back in fifth grade of the late forties when I far too regularly played hooky from a soooo boring school and used purloined dimes to take the bus to downtown San Diego and have an infinitely more valuable day at the movies with candy and popcorn and my wild imagination (I did eventually get caught out, of course, and the frustrated principal, a dour Mr. Cherry, told me he did not know “what we are going to do about you” and then immediately did do something and sentenced me to two weeks of detention … until my impudently incorrigible recidivism once more kicked in and got me into trouble – it wasn’t my fault … blame the movies!). Funny thing is, I don’t remember a thing about fifth grade except how pointlessly, hopelessly tedious it all was, but I still today smile as I replay vividly in my head scenes from One Million B.C. (1940) with Victor Mature as Tumak, and South of Pago Pago (1940) with Jon Hall as Kehane, and Thief of Baghdad (1940) with Sabu as Abu, and Sinbad, the Sailor (1947) with Douglas Faribanks, Jr. as the eponymous hero, and Riding the California Trail (1947) with Gilbert Roland as the Cisco Kid, and on and on and wonderfully on …
And then here comes a clumsy Costner … disabusing me of my high opinion of his work from his performance in No Way Out. I think that back in the late forties, given the spirit of the times and my critical faculties still in inchoate process of forming, I would in all likelihood have loved the schematic Dances with Wolves and gone back to see it many times (I saw South of Pago Pago probably half a dozen times – I was very much into skin diving for abalones of the La Jolla cove at the time, and that scene in the film with that giant clam …!)
I guess this post was pretty much of just a reminiscing ramble from a happy-confusing period in my life, but I’m allowed one of those from time to time. Now I’m going to check out Netflix and see if they have South of Pago Pago, Thief of Baghdad, One Million B.C., …