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Archive for the ‘author Tony D’Ambra’ Category

Yasujirô Ozu's resting place

The gravestone at Yasujirô Ozu's resting place
is of large black granite with the only inscription
the Japanese character for void

by Tony D’Ambra

“A little girl is returning from the beach, at dusk, with her mother. She is crying for no reason at all, because she would have liked to continue playing. She moves off into the distance. She has already turned the corner of the street, and do not our lives dissolve into the evening as quickly as this grief of childhood?”
– Patrick Modiano, Missing Person (2004 Prix Goncourt)

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by Tony d’Ambra

I would rather smell the way boys smell–
Oh those schoolboys the way their legs flap under the desks in study hall
That odour rising roses and ammonia
And way their dicks droop like lilacs
Or the way they smell that forbidden acrid smell

– Patti Smith, ‘Piss Factory’, 1974

 
Me? Looking like a scattered student
I follow exuberant girls through the green chestnuts:
They know I’m there, and turn towards me
Laughing, eyes brimming with indiscretion.
I don’t say a word: I just stare at the flesh
 
Of their white necks framed by tresses:
I follow the curve of their shoulders down
Their divine backs, hidden by bodices and flimsy finery.
 
Soon I’m ogling their boots and socks …
Burning with fever, yearning for flesh.
They think I’m silly. They whisper to each other …
-And I feel kisses blossom on my lips … 

– Arthur Rimbaud, ‘TO MUSIC: Railway square, Charleville’, 1870

 I hated high school.  Stupid regimentation and oppressive teachers.  Corporal punishment from self-righteous frauds.  Six cuts of the cane across the hand you didn’t write with.  Basher  would sneak up behind you in class and hit you hard on the head with the attendance book.  Heinrich  the crypto-fascist enforcer of discipline loved to shout and humiliate.  “Attention! At ease!”  We sotto voce: “Fuck you, Jack”. Prefects in blazers for black shirts.

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by Tony d’Ambra

The pre-coder The Dentist is about as close as Hollywood ever got to Dada. W. C. Fields wrote and starred in this late Mack Sennett talkie about a dentist who would rather be creating havoc on the golf-course than torturing his hapless patients.  Running at just over 20 minutes you get good value with a lot more than a laugh a minute.

No ifs and buts, Fields was a misanthrope and a misogynist.  Cruel, base, and egotistical, he lays brutal sway over all and sundry, family or stranger, friend or foe.

Liker most dentists of the period, his surgery is part of his home. We find him at breakfast being served by his adult daughter.  No wife in sight.  We get standard gags about his lost glasses being on his head and the morning paper hidden under his arse.  Fields’ side-winder voice delivery hooking you every time. (more…)

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by Tony d’Ambra

“Gone are my blues
and gone are my tears
I’ve got good news
to shout in your ears
The long lost dollar has come
back to the fold
With silver you can turn
your dreams to gold

We’re in the money
We’re in the money
We’ve got a lot of what it takes
to get along!
We’re in the money
The sky is sunny
Old man depression you are through
You done us wrong!”

Ginger Rogers cute as a button hits the screen in medium close-up straight after the opening credits. She ain’t glamorous but she overflows with an effervescent charm that has you reeling as she bounces into ‘We’re In the Money’, one of the most ironic and catchy songs ever recorded on celluloid. The girl next door has rhythm!  After the camera moves away to a cheeky cavalcade of chorus girls greeting the audience in close-up, Ginger returns to set-off Busby Berkeley doing his thing abetted by the brilliant music of Al Dubin and Harry Warren. And what a thing! You just want to grab one of those bikini-ed babes and start dancing – big 1993 ‘coins’ simultaneously hide and focus attention on their ‘assets’.  The girls are rehearsing a number for a new Broadway show, but before they finish the Sheriff has raided the theater and confiscated all the girls’ accoutrements.  The producer has run out of dough and the girls are out of a job. Old man depression still has some life in him yet. (more…)

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I’ve never met you, yet never doubt, dear;
I can’t forget you, I’ve thought you out, dear.
I know your profile and I know the way you kiss,
just the things I miss on a night like this.
If dreams are made of imagination
I’m not afraid of my own creation.
With all my heart, my heart is here for you to take.
Why should I quake? I’m not awake.
Isn’t it romantic?
Music in the night
 
 
by Tony d’Ambra
 

Love Me Tonight, is an enchanting romantic musical comedy, which has you enthralled from the opening scenes of a Paris suburb greeting a bright new day where the syncopated sounds of a waking humanity build to a musical overture that encapsulates not only the charm of the story to follow, but also the antagonisms of city and country, of modest circumstances and fabulous wealth, and of social barriers conquered by love, to the insouciant finale where the girl on horse-back chases the departing lover who is on a train steaming out of her life.  Maurice Chevalier is in his element as a debonair tailor from Paris who falls in love with Jeanette McDonald a charming young princess. The jubilant musical score by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart features such memorable songs as the amorous “Isn’t It Romantic?” and the saucy serenade “Mimi.” Spontaneous musicality with a rare grace and joi-de-vivre, transport the audience to a higher place of movement and abandon.  On the way we are distracted by the risqué antics of Myrna Loy as a randy cousine, and the  endearing farce of older men up-staged by gorgeous young femmes.

Film writer Mark Cousins chose the following words from Arthur Koestler to preface his book ‘The Story of Film’: “The measure of an artist’s originality, put in its simplest terms, is the extent to which his selective emphasis deviates from the conventional norm and establishes new standards of relevance. All great innovations which inaugurate a new era, movement or school, consist in sudden shifts of a previously neglected aspect of experience, some blacked out range of the existential spectrum. The decisive turning points in the history of every art form… uncover what has already been there; they are ‘revolutionary’, that is destructive and constructive, they compel us to revalue our values and impose new sets of rules on the eternal game.” [1] (more…)

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