Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Love Is For The Very Young
TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN several of the main characters sit down in a Cinecittà screening room to see a film made by legendary filmmaker Walter Kruger (Edward G. Robinson) and starring the recently arrived Jack Andrus (Kirk Douglas), a washed-up movie star who’s been flown in to Rome by his old director to help out on a troubled project. What they’re viewing is never named but the scenes we see are from THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL made a decade before also for MGM, also starring Douglas and also directed by Minnelli who is clearly engaging in a game of mirrors by using clips from this particular film, one that is extended through how both movies are themselves about the movies, the various array of mirrors that exists within them and whatever state the people working in that industry find themselves at that point in time. Released in 1952 in glorious black & white THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL is the one that seems to have been officially sanctioned by the world as a classic but 1962’s TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN is the one I find myself continually drawn to, almost feverishly so. Self-Styled Siren throw something heavy at me, keeps me at some kind of distance aware of how perfectly in place everything is, how calculated every single gesture and emotion seems to be impeccably rehearsed well ahead of time. But regardless the full power of the film is so engrossing and so entertaining even if it all is in a trashy, faux-prestige nature it’s the sort of film that sticks in the brain enough in a CASABLANCA sort of way with scenes, performances, moments, lines, glances, that make me feel like I’ve seen the whole thing 25 times even though I know that I haven’t. But even if THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL is more sumptuous than nutritious it still plays as the sort of rich, juicy meal that could only be prepared by MGM back in the day with all the best filmmaking talents and facilities in the world at their disposal. So I guess it is a classic. Nothing wrong with that, not at all.