December 31, 2009
December 15, 2009
Her name was Evelyn and she married the boy across the street when she was a teenager.
For a long time she painted her eyebrows; her real eyebrows fell out when she was thirty. Eventually she grew tired of the daily ritual and had them professionally tattooed. They were just slightly crooked. She wore her hair in short, silver curls, or “frizz” as she called it. And she never went outside without her jewelry- one gold bracelet, one gold ring with the initial “E”, her wedding band, wedding ring, and something around her neck I can’t remember. Her ears were not pierced. She kept her nails long and polished and nearly always wore a vest with her slacks.
Her husband was a photographer, and she always wondered why she looked like a movie star when he took her picture. It wasn’t until years later that he confessed he retouched each photo by hand to make her perfect. After that, she rarely posed for pictures.
December 6, 2009
I have decided to add a critical section to KittensInCarbonite, consisting of essays and musings on cinema, art, aesthetics, and anything else that strikes my fancy. I’ve had no less than two conversations about Ernst Lubitsch this week, and so it seems fitting to kick it off with an essay on one of my favorite Lubitsch works, Trouble In Paradise.
“That’s my wife, Carolyn. See the way the handle on her pruning shears matches her gardening clogs? That’s not an accident.” ~Lester Burnham, American Beauty
Hollywood was, and still is, a cinema that implores formalist tactics to create a realistic effect. The smallest elements, meticulously crafted to create continuity and unity within the frame, exist for no other purpose than to create a feeling of subconscious integration in the mind of the spectator. Baudry would argue that this, in turn, leads to a dangerous feeling of omniscience— a 90-minute looks into a sublimely ordered microcosm in which all the elements are perfectly arranged. We wouldn’t notice that Carolyn’s shears match her shoes, but we like it. We believe it. Granted, the above exemplifies a scripted, cynical commentary on a character trait rather than production design in and of itself, but Classical Hollywood cinema employed such invisibly meticulous methods without the wry observation.
More After The Jump…