Desert Island Movie#1
There is a game I used to enjoy playing by myself that I’d like to share with you although I haven’t played it in a long, long time. Maybe it’s because I’m older and have less imagination than I had before. But anyway, here goes.
It’s the old “Desert Island” thing. They used to play it with books way back then when reading was a more popular pastime. The question was; “If you were stranded on a desert island forever and ever which 10 books would you want to have with you?”…Now the same question substituting the word movies for the word books. This question is not as easy as it sounds if you’re going to play the game seriously because it requires that you review in your mind all the movies that you’ve seen then narrow the list down for a variety of reasons. And none of these reasons can have anything to do with critical acclaim, awards won or the film’s designation as a classic or a piece of cinematic shit. It only has to do with you and how you emotionally, more than intellectually react to the film in question. But let us not completely discount the intellectual aspect because that counts for something too. Just don’t give it too much weight.
It’s been so long since I’ve played this game that I’m finding it difficult to get started again. But I’ll take a stab at it.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawks-1953).
To my rational mind this is a stupid, somewhat harmless musical expertly made but without the grace notes and sublime pleasures of an MGM-Freed Unit creation. But the women! Oh my God, the women, the women, the women. By that I mean Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell. Russell and Monroe, Monroe and Russell and Russell and Monroe. Were there ever two more beautiful, sexy and seemingly available women presented so lavishly, so lovingly and so abundantly on the screen? To my eyes and mind no, never. Over the years when asked about this film I always describe it as the most heterosexual musical I’ve ever seen. And that it has the healthy potency of a good strip show. Every time I look at this film I fantasize and dream, dream and fantasize about so many possibilities that it makes my head spin. And when it comes to the ladies who would I choose If I had to? In my mind it’s always a photo finish with Russell winning by a very slim margin. But then I look at the “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” number and I’m not so sure anymore. But then Russell’s court room spoof of the same number stops me in my tracks and I’m confused once again. Another knockout moment is the “When Love goes Wrong” number. I think of those two kids with the women and how close they were to magic and didn’t, couldn’t realize it. I didn’t when I first saw the film so why should they? In fact when I think about it I was about the same age as they were. But then as the years went by the film keeps coming back and taking me in its arms. Or am I the one who’s doing the embracing? Either way we have each other and will never let go.
So there you have it, the first of my desert island movies. There will be nine more as the weeks go by. But play along with me. Send me a list of your desert island ten. Why should I have all the fun?