tilly_stratford: (Astaire: Wry smile)
Remember when I had that idea of watching all the major Robin Hood movie adaptions chronologically? Well many, many months later I got around to rewatching the second one on my list, the definite article, The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).

l_29843_285a7470

Admittedly as a film it doesn't offer a lot of nuance or character growth, but the thing that makes it so enjoyable I think is how it has a real sense of progression. It's not a collection of loosely connected episodes like most Robin Hood adaptions tend to be, instead plot point B follows plot point A in a fairly satisfying manner. And even before becoming an outlaw, Robin is unmistakably Robin (not the blushing flower of the Fairbanks version) -- even clad in green and a master archer. This movie knows what you're here for and it gives it to you right away.

It goes through most of the essential story beats you'd expect too, but with a few twists to keep it interesting. It dispenses with the Robin-in-the-Crusades origin altogether; Sir Guy of Gisbourne (played by Basil Rathbone and his amazing eyelashes) is the main villain -- the Sheriff seems to mysteriously disappear halfway through the film; Will Scarlet is, much more than Little John (played by the same guy as in the Fairbanks version, by the way), established as Robin's companion, even before they're outcast; And Much the miller's son is middle aged and has a fairly important part in the plot (and is probably the most underrated part of the movie).

Sure it's got its problems. As mentioned earlier, there's not much storytelling finesse or subtlety. There are some questionable acting choices here and there (like Claude Rains -- usually an AMAZING performer -- queer coding Prince John so hard it becomes a little embarrassing). I'm not crazy about the wigs (Flynn's pristine Marcel waves bother me) and there's something about those costumes, man. For such a lavish production I can't understand making fabric choices that make your costumes look this cheap (so much sheen and bunching, so little texture).

But in the end any Robin Hood movie stands or falls on its lead actor, and Errol Flynn, with his mischievous grin and muscular thighs, carries it pretty darn well.
tilly_stratford: (Fred and Cyd: Don't mind you watching)
Some people have a type of character they're always drawn to, you know? Like they watch a movie or read a book and they come across this character and he/she/it ticks off all the right boxes.

One of mine: The villain's second in command. A bit foppish, a bit vain, often a little (or a lot) less clever than their boss, but always ready to do some backstabbing if there's something in it for them. The moment a character like that gets introduced I know I'm gonna have a good time.

I'd decided it was high time for me to be exposed to The Prisoner of Zenda. All I knew was it featured fencing and was an extremely influential story. I decided to go for the 1937 movie because it had Raymond Massey as Black Michael and I wanted to finally see a Ronald Colman movie. And it was great fun, and then Douglas Fairbanks Jr. slinked onto the scene as Count Rupert.

I can't believe I've been avoiding Fairbanks Jr. just because I don't like his father's movies very much. That was so dumb of me.

vlcsnap-333367f

The rest of the movie, enjoyable as it was, became secondary. Rupert primly smoking cigarettes, delivering threats with heavy-lidded eyes, cocking his hat, admiring himself in the mirror, wearing very tight trousers. He had more costume changes than the heroine, for goodness' sake. He didn't leave a single box unticked. Now I don't know if I want to watch more Fairbanks Jr. movies or just keep rewatching this one.
tilly_stratford: (Astaire: Wry smile)
I'd decided my life was lacking in cute Anthony Perkins comedies, so after a great deal of trouble I tracked down The Matchmaker. It was fun (turns out Hello Dolly! is just The Matchmaker with some songs added, no really, the scripts are identical, the jokes are word-by-word the same) and Anthony Perkins was adorable (I was amazed at seeing him in drag before I realized that's basically the premise of Psycho). My second favourite thing was the Barnaby Tucker to Perkins' Cornelius Hackl, played by Robert Morse.

I'm fairly certain I've come across Morse before, but I always wrote him off as "that guy who reminds me of Mickey Rooney" (I don't like Mickey Rooney) because he's short, impish and gap-toothed. But I liked him in The Matchmaker, and then tonight I watched How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

I don't understand why I've heard so little about that musical. Sure it's got a washed-out beige colour scheme and some pretty sexist punchlines, but Morse is so charming as the lead you forget he plays a character who lies and manipulates his way to the top. All the while Morse got this infectious larger-than-life way of performing, very theatrical. The highlight of the movie is when he sings 'I Believe in You' to himself in the mirror. It starts off as a comedy number but gradually this great sense of earnestness and defiance creeps in; "I believe in you!"



Also yes I know Morse has been a big deal in Mad Men. I'm still not gonna watch Mad Men.
tilly_stratford: (HB: Steampunk Bush)
I went to a screening of Withnail and I at the Cinematheque in Oslo last night. I know I keep saying I'll stop going to screenings of films I own on DVD, but this was subtitled and there are parts of the film where the mumbling/accents/sound design makes the dialogue incomprehensible to me.

It's also been a few years since I saw the film in its entirety. When I saw the collection of "party hard" college boys who'd showed up to the screening I was thinking maybe I'd outgrown the film and would just find it childish and dumb. But no. It's still hilarious, and has so many laugh-out-loud moments for me you could hear me laughing over the din of the audience. The final sequence is equally heart-breaking, and every scene in the movie adds a facet to Withnail and Marwood's relationship. It's a great film.

Except for Monty.

God, that part has always bothered me intensely. When I first saw the movie as a teenager I felt really conflicted about liking the film at all. The "depraved homosexual" element is just so vile. These days I've come more to terms with how the majority of entertainment has more or less problematic elements, and I'm allowed to like things -- have guilty pleasures, even -- in spite of them, if I acknowledge that they're there. (No "But I like the film so it's not problematic!")

stuff )

On a lighter note; I remember when as a teenager I was just dying about Paul McGann's long curly hair and Renaissance angel looks in W&I. Now at 27 I was thinking "He's good looking, but a very predictable kind of good looking. ...Did Richard E. Grant have that unusual and ethereal beauty the last time I watched this film?" (Seriously, what a fascinating face!)
tilly_stratford: (Lupin III: Go getter)
What a time to be a Lupin fan!

We recently got our first theatrically released Lupin film since 1996. It's another Detective Conan crossover, I haven't seen it yet but the fans (if not the critics) seem to like it. There's also a Japanese live-action movie in production right now (meh, boring). Maybe it'll be as insane as the seventies' live action film.

BUT THE MAIN THING: There's gonna be another animated theatrical release this summer, it's gonna be our first officially Jigen-centric movie ever, AND it's made by the same dude who made the 2012 Mine Fujiko TV series (which, okay, I had my problems with but the action and art style was uh-MAZING).

The title's gonna be The Tomb of Jigen Daisuke, and I.

I just love Jigen so much.

Look at that promo image oh my God.

There's a very adamant rumour that it's gonna be the send-off for Jigen's voice actor, who's famously held the role since 1969. I refuse to even think about, because obviously Kiyoshi Kobayashi is both gonna live forever and voice Jigen for all eternity.

No. Shush. All eternity.
tilly_stratford: (HB: Steampunk Bush)
I'm not entirely sure what brought it on, but I had this idea I'd watch all the big Robin Hood movies in order. And then, I dunno, compare them I guess.

So I've seen the 1922 Robin Hood starring Douglas Fairbanks, regarded as one of the first big business Hollwyood productions (a cast of thousands, humongous sets, and the first ever movie gala premiere); And a bloated, overlong melodrama it is too. Over two hours long, and Fairbanks spends more than half of it as plain ol' Earl of Huntingdon, knight to King Richard.

The entire first act of the film deals, oddly enough, with Richard thinking Robin (sorry, Huntingdon) spending all his time wrestling with his manfriends and shunning women is all a bit inappropriate, and he lays several plots to force Robin to like ladies. Then of course comes Marion and fixes Robin's homosexuality shyness.

Despite the film's length, the story is very pared down compared to, say, every single other Robin Hood film. Prince John is the primary villain, obviously. Sir Guy spends most of the movie in The Holy Lands, even after Robin leaves for home, and the Sheriff I forgot was even in the movie until he was mentioned in the climactic scene.

Most of the scenes where Robin comes head-to-head with authority reads more like Keystone Cops gags than tense melodrama, except once in a while Robin stops to murder one of his pursuers and immediately throws his head back and laughs like the cold-blooded motherfucker he is.

I'm probably being too hard on the film. It's 1922, that's pretty damn early. In any case it had some absolutely beautiful posters:

l_102856_0013556_86969e89l_50247_0013556_0621e9bc
tilly_stratford: (Fops with canes are teh sex)
Yes, time to confirm it: My newest obsession is definitely John Barrymore in his silent era. Which is a relief, I mean-- I've spent a couple of months just half-heartedly liking things. That's not me at all. Thank God something came along.

I don't want to burn through all his best silent movies in just a few days, so my rule is only one (...ish) every week, with some of his early talkies (I'm ignoring everything after 1934 because yeesh, his alcoholism and mental issues really took their toll) in between.

His silent films are great fun though, even the ones that aren't particularly good. There's a lot of action, and even more romance. I've been infatuated with lots of actors and obviously I always enjoy when they get a love scene, but Barrymore love scenes really are next level stuff; Hands trembling, chest heaving, eyelashes fluttering... If you're really lucky it's all shot in profile, like in When a Man Loves (I've never seen an actor shot as much in profile as Barrymore):

*

Congratulations, you've just seen Drew Barrymore's grandparents making out (they married the next year). Share my shame.

When a Man Loves, incidentally, is a ridiculous, melodramatic film (he plays a priest, but can suddenly fence like a champ in the last reel) and I wouldn't recommend it to anybody, but it sure has a lot of sweet scenes.


*This is the first time I've had to fix the image quality of a film before I could gif it. Usually I gif a video file exactly as-is, but my copy of this film is kinda blurry and glitchy. That said, giffing silent films, turns out, is a cinch compared to seventies' BBC video transfer.
tilly_stratford: (Bogie)
My failure to see the appeal of Douglas Fairbanks Sr. had me thinking maybe swashbuckling movies weren't as good in the silent film days as they would get in the Tyrone Power and Errol Flynn era.

But no more.

See, I used to think John Barrymore was exclusively a talkies (and stage) actor, with his sing-songy delivery and sonorous voice. Not the case, as I found out.

In talkies, he's pretty entertaining. In silent films he's an absolute delight -- agile, flamboyant, sexy, and with one of the best-looking noses I've ever seen captured on film (they didn't call him The Great Profile for nothing).

Tonight I watched Don Juan from 1926 and apart from being a surprisingly sophisticated film, you cannot convince me this wasn't made primarily for a female demographic. From the moment Barrymore first appears as the Don exiting his bedroom, post-coitus and half undressed, the camera doesn't so much capture him as suggestively linger on his body. There were no women in the movie as revealingly dressed as Mr. Barrymore. What a silhouette!

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A lot of pre-Code movies strike me as sort of lewd (and very male gaze-y), but this was an elegantly suggestive movie even though it mostly centered around sex.

(Another silent Barrymore vehicle I've seen, The Beloved Rogue, features Conrad Veidt in his first Hollywood movie, and is hands-down the most homoerotic silent movie I've ever seen. You just won't believe how much pawing, caressing and embracing those two get up to in between Barrymore's fencing sequences.)

Ah, swashbucklers. Proving that all you have to do is don some tights, swing on a chandelier and leap on a table, sword in hand, and I'll love you unconditionally (except Fairbanks).
tilly_stratford: (Holmes: Curious collection)
So what did I do this year? I moved. I spent the summer all alone painting the family cabin. Got hooked on gardening. Got hooked on knitting (again). I was best man in a friend's wedding.

To be honest just about everything else about 2013 was pretty dismal. Depression, unemployment, insomnia, more visits to the emergency room than ever. At least 2014 can only get better.

Here are some more good things about this past year:

I watched 175 films through the year (not counting rewatches, documentaries and short films). I think my favourite movie experiences this year was watching Le Petite Monde de Don Camillo, and Cleopatra on the big screen -- which is why there's been a lot of Taylor/Burton films this year. There's also been a lot of George Sanders, and DC animated films.

175 films is admittedly pretty weak. My excuse is that I started knitting, and when I knit I've found I prefer to watch TV shows, because chances are I won't miss as much information if I glance away from the screen for a moment. I went from hardly watching TV at all to bingewatching all of Breaking Bad, Community, and Downton Abbey.

I also stuck to my last New Year's resolution: Finish at least one drawing every month! So here's one of those "my art year in summary" things:

Superheroes mostly )

So that's 2013 for me. Happy new year!
tilly_stratford: (Deadpool day)
Finally got around to watching Thor: The Dark World and oooooh that was fun! Definitely one of the stronger Marvel films to date, and superior to the IMHO kinda boring first Thor film (which, granted, had a wonderful final act). I'm so glad I got to watch it at the movie theatre, there's something magic about the audience reacting with spontaneous applause to Stellan Skarsgård not wearing trousers. I generally laughed harder at this film than I've done in a while. That quick little cameo by a certain member of the Avengers had the whole audience rolling in the aisles.

Also, God, so many delish men! Which is a thing Marvel movies tend to be so refreshingly upfront about (slow pan over Hemsworth's abs, the lighting and angles highlighting Hiddleston's cheekbones just so), so I'm going to be too. Just yum. When Idris Elba finally got to remove that clunky helmet I was all "Yessss".

And man, how great was Christopher Eccleston? I loved his character design too; To be honest the Dark Elf design was my favourite thing about the entire movie. Like this dude:

Algrim_DarkW

If I'm gonna criticize anything it's that it's like the movies have taken another step further into scifi cliché land. Laser guns that go pew pew. The space ships. I thought that was trite in The Avengers, it disappoints me even more in Thor's world which had this fun half fantasy, half scifi setting going on. And the movie didn't really waste any time explaining what all the science meant; It wasn't a dealbreaker, but I still like to have some concept of what I'm looking at (even if it's just explained by Skarsgård knocking two shoes together).

But all in all, a pretty good Marvel movie! (And don't worry, I'm definitely going pick it apart and look at the Norse mythology references in another entry -- it actually had some pretty obscure details in it).

Infernal

Oct. 23rd, 2013 08:53 pm
tilly_stratford: (Fred and Cyd: Don't mind you watching)
If you want a recommendation for an excellent horror movie for Halloween, Alias Nick Beal (1949) is the way to go.

Well it's not so much a horror movie as a straight-up noir with supernatural elements, but it's really the first movie I've seen that has pulled that off. Though to be honest, the bits that were supposed to be frightening had me clapping my hands in glee, because they owed more to film noir than any cheesy old monster movie.

Okay so it concerns this straight-as-an-arrow district attorney. You don't watch this movie for him. You watch it for the villain Nick Beal -- and I'm going to spoiler what sort of character Beal is, because that was the reason I watched this film and knowing ahead of time (the movie isn't exactly subtle about it anyway) won't lessen your enjoyment one bit. This is how unsubtle the film actually is: He goes by the name "Nick Beal". Old Nick, Beelzebub. It's a noir retelling of Faust. It's Lucifer as a hard-boiled gangster, and goddamned if that isn't a thing I've subconsciously wanted my whole life. Like, straight up Satan bargaining for souls with a clenched jaw and calling ladies "sister".

Credit goes to Ray Milland for the way he plays him though; He doesn't camp it up, he doesn't go for the effete angle; He just plays a silently menacing tough guy who just happens to be the Prince of Darkness.

Alias Nick Beal


I'm not saying it's a masterpiece (prepare for a bit of a disappointing ending), but gosh if it isn't one of the most fun movies I've seen in a long while.
tilly_stratford: (HB: Steampunk Bush)
I watched Safety Last! on the big screen, the one where Harold Lloyd dangles from the clock face over the city. To my shame, my knowledge of silent comedies up to this point encompass only Keaton and Chaplin (though to be fair I've watched a whole lot of them both), so it's hard not to compare Lloyd to them. So that's what I'll do.

The first thing that struck me about Lloyd is how ordinary he looks. He doesn't have Chaplin's greasepaint or Keaton's unique face; I'd say Lloyd is more handsome than funny-looking -- not handsome enough to base his schtick on that, sure (and I have to say I think both Keaton and Chaplin were quite handsome too), but quite attractive in his own right. With the makeup just accentuating his eyebrows and lips, and only a pair of glasses to hide behind his character (which I've learned is referred to as simply "Glasses") really looks like an everyday guy.

Silent-comedy-titan-Harold-Lloyd-in-Safety-Last-1923

And I get that feeling from his acting too, in a way. To me Lloyd seems way less theatrical than C. and K., he's a bit more low-key, he has a little more subtlety in this double-takes in a way that feels almost modern. I was half-expecting to find he'd avoided vaudeville altogether and gone straight into movies (not the case, as I found out), but I feel I can tell he didn't grow up in vaudeville like C. and K. did. Lloyd's subtleties are pretty intriguing for such an early movie, but they sometimes come at the cost of a good punchline.

The comedy falls somewhere between Chaplin and Keaton for me -- not as sentimental and childlike as Chaplin, not as dark or physical as Keaton. Some good gags, but fairly forgettable (though that monkey crawl through the department store had me in stitches). It's the climb that's the lynchpin of the movie, and the audience and I gasped in turn -- and then I learn there were doubles involved. Disappointing.

See, that's sort of my take on Lloyd. A good actor but not brimming with talent like Chaplin and Keaton -- they were also good comedic actors, but they picked up all these other little things for their entertainment value, and put them in their movies as little treats for the audience. Safety Last! is a fun movie, but it didn't offer any treats, and Lloyd didn't really leave me craving more.
tilly_stratford: (Bogie)
Apparently my late grandmother had quite the weakness for Errol Flynn. She would say my late grandfather's mustache made him similar to the swashbuckler and that was a factor in my grandmother's attraction to him, my grandfather. So in a roundabout way I guess I owe my existence to Errol Flynn.

As a child I was very close to my grandmother, but she hardly discussed handsome actors with my eight year-old self, so these bits of information come to me from my mum.

I've recently been on a Alan Ladd binge, and don't you know, I learn he was one of my grandmother's favourite actors. I wonder what kind of discussions we would have had if she was still alive. I'd ask her if she liked This Gun for Hire as much as I did, whether she preferred Ladd in his Western or noir roles.

In any case, it seems I am genetically predisposed in these matters. I was pondering these thoughts as I made this GIF (which turned out to be WAY too big for Tumblr) of a scrumptious Ladd from his uncredited cameo in the Bob Hope vehicle My Favourite Brunette:


(Well now I know who my favourite blonde is.)
tilly_stratford: (Astaire: Wry smile)
I've spent the last hour trying to figure out which movie a half-forgotten scene came from. So frustrating.

Leslie Howard and the female lead are going to elope. It's a period picture, so they figure her elaborate gown is impractical in the eloping scheme of things, and he starts to undress her. But under the gown is an underskirt, and then another, and then another and another, and the underskirts just go on and on and on (I can perfectly hear his incredulous cry; "Another one?!"), and people are knocking on the door as Howard grows increasingly desperate and the pile of underskirts grows improbably high. It's hilarious.

I thought I'd found it in a 1933 movie called Berkeley Square. Leslie Howard in period costume, check. But then it wasn't.

But that's alright, because Berkeley Square was very memroable on its own: It's about a guy obsessed with history who travels back in time to the Civil War era (Howard plays an American, the oddness just goes on). At first I was less than charmed by the movie because I thought the main character was really unsympathetic (during a minuet he mumbles "Back where I come from people dance like the nig-" and then he checks himself), but then I came to realize the movie agrees with me. All the people from his own time finds him insufferable and creepy, and the Civil War folks find him scary and creepy.

It was a very odd movie. It was remade in 1951 as a Tyrone Power vehicle titled The House in the Square, or: I'll Never Forget You. Might have to give that a watch some day.

ETA: I found out what movie that scene was from! I had the correct year, anyway: The 1933 film Secrets, with Mary Pickford. Even found the first part of the scene on YouTube.
tilly_stratford: (Bogie)
This is a fairly old internet bloggy thing, but I haven't done it so I'm bringing it back out of the internet depths.

The rules are malleable, so here's my take: Twenty actors I will watch in anything, whose names inevitably give me that little jolt of delight when I spot them in the opening credits.

They're not the greatest actors of all time, some of them are more like guilty pleasures of mine, yet not all of them are great delicious hunks. I just love them. Also because it's their acting I love, I've chosen to present them through screenshots where they're in-character, rather than in beautiful promo shots - some from movies I love dearly, some from trash, but they all feature at least one memorable performance.

And because just naming twenty was so hard, I decided to not include actors I mostly known from television (which means no Patrick Troughton, DeForest Kelley, Michael K. Williams, etc.).

Some beyond obvious, some new additions )

Haha, fooled you! Couldn't keep it under twenty-five. You probably wouldn't have noticed if I didn't tell you though.

As for the actors who very nearly made it: They were Hugh Jackman, Lee Marvin, Joseph Cotten, Knut Risan, Hiroyuki Sanada, Dirk Bogarde, Kevin Kline, Raymond Massey, Bruce Willis, James Macavoy and Christopher Lee. Then of course are the ones that I love dearly but I honestly can't say I'll watch in anything - Buster Keaton's talkie sex comedies, any Bing Crosby Technicolour venture...


I plan to do the Twenty Actresses challenges some day, and I've been toying around with some kind of favourite supporting actors list. Meanwhile I've just recieved my very own PVR, and I've already have a massive movie backlist to get through thanks to TCM. Time to get watching!
tilly_stratford: (Fops with canes are teh sex)
I went to the movies and saw Les Misérables with my mum.

I've mentioned it before, I'm a recovering Les Mis obsessive (both book and musical). So when friends who've never cared one jot about musicals suddenly got obsessive about this one movie I was puzzled. Was it because the performances in it were so mind blowing, or just because the musical is so darn good?

This gon' get wordy )

So when the DVD comes, yeah I guess I'll have to splurge on it, even if there were elements that annoyed me to hell and back. In the meantime, mum has said we need to watch "the real one" (the tenth anniversary concert, you can't beat that Dream Cast) soon, and trying to remember the names of the ABC students made me realize it's high-time I reread the book (How many times have it been now? I stopped counting after the fourth read-through).
tilly_stratford: (Fops with canes are teh sex)
Son of Fury is a silly little 1942 movie that is not the sequel to a movie named "Fury". It's got the gorgeous Tyrone Power wearing nothing but an immodest pair of shorts and still every iota of my attention was spent on George Sanders playing the villain. No one can eat grapes like George Sanders. Or purr at Tyrone Power, "Take off your coat, and your education will begin." (I almost died.)


It's not even a good, multi-layered villain or anything. Straight-up cardboard villain. And again, I don't find George Sanders physically attractive. Tyrone Power, on the other hand, was one tasty dish.

I am finding an unattractive man sexy. This confuses me. (Finding a dead actor sexy, of course, happens several days a week).

I'm looking forward to watching Sanders on the big screen at the Hitchcock festival. Rebecca I believe. Something about jumping out a window.
tilly_stratford: (Bogie)
I couldn't access LJ on New Year's Eve to post my 2012 movie list, and then I subsequently forgot. But here it is, an actual internet page dedicated to it this time:

MOVIES 2012

That's 189 movies, not counting the rewatches. That's more than previous years', probably because I haven't had a very good year and among the multitude of reasons why I love movies, escapism ranks pretty highly.

There have been, as usual, some recurring names and themes among the movies I've seen. Some intended (Spencer Tracy, George Sanders, Bollywood, Busby Berkeley, Herbert Marshall) and some surprises (William Bendix sure popped up a lot somehow!).

My absolute favourite movie this year was a romantic comedy from 1932, Trouble in Paradise. Usually romantic comedies and love triangles are not my thing, but the story of a gentleman thief living in sin with a female confidence trickster (they first meet when they try to scam each other, thinking each other rich) who then falls in love with his next mark is just so absolutely delightful and I'm in love with all the characters. It's so wonderfully, elegantly risqué as well, without being crude.

Anyway, it was fun fiddling about with the HTML and posters for this year's list. I used Imgur to host the images, which means the poster images will eventually break - but it works for now.
tilly_stratford: (Holmes: Curious collection)
I'd be lying if I didn't say I was kind of disappointed. So much padding, and still I feel I know next to nothing about any of the of the dwarves besides "Thorin wants to reclaim the hall of his ancestors" and "Kili is sexy beyond all reason and it's making me uncomfortable". I'm kind of hoping for a Director's Cut that isn't super long but rather super short - just the essentials. Besides the comedy is really hit-and-miss as well (not even my love for both Sylvester McCoy and book!Radagast tipped the scales in the movie's favour).

But then I'd also be lying if I didn't admit I was thrilled about returning to Middle Earth anyway - Rivendell in particular. I really liked how they retained the stoic elves from LotR rather than the gaily singing ones from the book. I had no idea I'd become this attached to Hugo Weaving playing Elrond.

So yeah, this time next year I'll be standing a line once again, come what may.

And here's the character poster for Kili the Unreasonably Sexy Dwarf.


What the hell is going on here.
tilly_stratford: (Default)
You might know that Donald Duck is big business in Norway. There's the hugely successful weekly comic release Donald Duck & Co. (which I and absolutely all my friends used to read slavishly as kids), and lately I've noticed another magazine in the shelves, the bimonthly Donald Ekstra. The former I stopped reading when I reached the age of twelve or so, and the latter I've now began reading at the age of twenty-five. Hah.

It's partly a nostalgia thing - Donald Ekstra reprints the best Duckverse stories I remember from my childhood: Those by Don Rosa. And even when the stories are unfamiliar they're likely to hit me right in the nostalgia as well. Like 'The Three Caballeros Ride Again' - I can't remember having read it when it was new but I sure as hell remember The Three Caballeros (Donald, the Brazilian parrot José Carioca and the Mexican rooster Panchito) from the 1940 Disney films.

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I've spent the day rewatching the movies (Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros and Blame It on the Samba). They're just as surreal as I remember them. Whoever joked about them representing Donald Duck's "lost weekend" were right. There's partying, women, and, uh, substance abuse perhaps? (That last one made a lasting impression on me as a child for some reason.)

Rewatching them as an adult I understand more about the politics that went into them (trying to improve relations with South America), but I'm still impressed with 1940s Disney going overseas to hire talent - even the voice actors are Brazilian and Mexican, instead of North Americans doing bad accents.

Huh, to think I'd mostly forgotten about all this!

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