Derik Badman's Journal

2020-08-09 09:29

Nothing like being woken up in the middle of the night by server alerts and sitting in the dark looking at charts trying to figure out what happened.

Took a reread through The Sky is Blue with a Single Cloud by Kuniko Tsurita yesterday and I'm just going to say it's not working for me. There are interesting stories and elements to it, but most of it feels underdeveloped visually and narratively, which in many ways makes sense since a lot of the stories were done when she was very young, and then she died young.

I watched The Phantom Lady yesterday, an old Robert Siodmak noir from 1944, that I've watched before. It has a few plot holes about the actual crime/cover-up that never feel adequately explained to me, but it also has a lot going for it. Unusually for a noir, the real detective/investigator in those one is a woman (Ella Raines, who I quite like in this). She's the secretary of a man (who she of course is in love with) who is accused of murdering his wife. His only alibi is that he was out with a woman he met at a bar. She doesn't give her name, so all he knows is that she had a fancy hat. When the police interview different people no one claims to remember her being with him, but the secretary doesn't buy it, so she starts investigating herself to save the man. There's an excellent long scene where she stares down one the witnesses, a bartender, for a few days at his bar, and then trails him home to confront him. Later she dresses up as a "hep kitten" to try to question a drummer (the ever present Elisha Cook Jr) from the show the man was at when his wife was murdered. At one point the drummer takes her to this little back room where a few guys are wailing away on their instruments and the drummer joins them. At the end of a song all the other band members stop playing while he is just soloing away in a frenzy as he oggles her and she is dancing in front of him, eyes wild, egging him on. And he just keeps playing and playing until he almost passes out from exhaustion. Its just a intense visual of the erotic appeal at the time of a certain style of jazz that in so many of those old movies is all about danger and sex and youth. (You'd probably get a similar scene in a 90s movie at a rave.)

I started watching Chantal Akerman's La Captive this morning, on which I'll probably say more when I finish it, but early on the one character is in a sculpture museum and he passes these big stone hands, facing up, close together. There's a very similar sculpture at the end of The Phantom Lady, which was just a weird coincidence.