Sunday, December 03, 2006

It's Frankie (Tashlin)!

The Looney Tunes Golden Collections include a lot of Frank Tashlin (a documentary on vol. 3, and a full disc of his cartoons on vol. 4), but they aren't able to include many clips from his live-action movies, since his best live-action movies are owned by Paramount or Fox. So as a Tashlin maniac, I thought I'd randomly link to one of the great Tashlin scenes: Julie London's cameo appearance singing "Cry Me a River" in The Girl Can't Help It.

The set-up of the scene is that the talent agent played by Tom Ewell used to be in love with Ms. London; he lost her when she became successful, and now he's haunted by her every time he listens to her big hit. The odd thing about the scene is that Tashlin plays it both funny and straight: it's an over-the-top parody of a certain kind of movie melodrama (it takes a standard device -- having a character's lost love appear as a ghostly memory -- and keeps it going so long that it becomes absurd), but Ewell is being directed to play the character's pain and sadness as quite real, and you do sort of feel for him by the end of the scene.

Also, while I linked to this a few months ago, I figured I should put it up again for those who missed it the last time around: the ultimate Tashlin scene -- combining music, fetishism, parody and old-movie references (to Lubitsch's "Beyond the Blue Horizon" number in Monte Carlo) -- "A Day in the Country" from Hollywood or Bust.

A number in which, as Jenny Lerew once remarked, the women all look like "Elvgren pinups come to life."

Update: I forgot to mention, with regard to the scene from The Girl Can't Help It, that this is a perfect example of Tashlin importing animated cartoon gags into his live-action filmmaking. The overriding joke here is a very standard cartoon joke: no matter where one character goes, the other character is always there. It's like a cartoon except that the role of Daffy Duck is played by Julie London.


Brent McKee said...

Definitely a different look for Julie London for those of us who only remember her from her role as Dixie McCall on Emergency.

Anonymous said...

What do you think the odds are this sequence inspired Bert I. Gordon to make TORMENTED 4 years later?