I bought a new printer, and this time I cut to the moment of Printer Hate almost immediately: the cords, it turns out, are threaded through ports in the side, instead of going into the back. Was not apparent in the store. Seems a rather odd design decision.

“So, where are most people going to put this thing? On the desk? With the cords hanging out the back, as usual?”

“That’s what research shows. But the boys down in Consumer Relations have come up with something new, since studies show it’s really not feasible to show up at customer’s homes or offices and punch them in the Adam’s Apple. We’re going to make them put the cords in here, and here, and here, so it looks unappealing from almost every angle.”

“Bravo! Bonuses all around.”

I looked at a dozen or so, and they ranged from flimsy junk to towering ugly piles of black plastic that wouldn’t fit in the spot where the printer has to go. I ended up with a Brother, since it’s the one brand that hasn’t failed in a year so far. It also looked reasonably good and was reasonably priced and it had a fax, which is good for those moments when you have to communicate with someone who’s stuck in the 20th century. But:

It fits the space, but barely. The aforementioned cord situation is miserable - unless i turn it around, so the control panel faces away. But: it has wifi, so I think: put it in the unheated porch which is sorta-kinda my wife’s office, except A) it isn’t, because it’s unheated and bone-cold half the year, and B) she’s a kitchen-table-iPad after-hours worker now. So i could put it there and communicate with it, wirelessly.

Except you know how that goes. You know. You send a document to the printer. You hear nothing. You get up and walk over to the next room and make sure it’s on. Wifi light is blinking red, because the tech has an attention span that makes Dory from “Finding Nemo” look like the fargin’ Sphinx, and it can’t remember networks, or forgets it was connected, or gets all confused because there’s a box for the city’s wifi system down the block and it keeps saying things and making it lose its place!!!! And then you have to enter your password on a printer touchscreen, which ought to be a field-sobriety test, and then you go back and send the document again and wait for the sullen complaining sound of plastic crap feeding a piece of paper into the machine, and the sudden shocked kadunk! as the print heads swing into place, and then silence, because it jammed.

Back to the room. Clear it. Turn on and turn off, to blank the doc it was working on - OH no, right, that resets the network connection. Reenter password. Of course the control panel doesn’t show you the password, because there might be an invisible hacker standing behind you. It shows DOTS. This was a system put in place to make IT people feel superior and useful; at work, for example, you enter your password, and it’s wrong, and you do it again, and it’s wrong - you can’t tell what you’re doing because of the DOTS, and then the third time you’re locked out.

Then I realized I’d rarely use the control panel at all, and the temperature of the ink would probably make the print heads or the ink fail, so I put it back in the desk on the drawer while Mahler was making up with Alma and deciding that he would live forever through his music and he didn’t have a heart infection at all!

Yes, Ken Russell’s “Mahler.” I think I saw it in college, when it made the Art House Circuit, and as a young man at the peak of Mahlerism I was really looking forward to it. Thought it would be an actual biography of a great genius. Well:

Hated it. Hated it for wasting an opportunity: the actor who played Mahler looked like him, or at least you thought he did; i suppose he could have played Harold Lloyd as well.

It being a Ken Russell film, there’s got to be Nazis:

Yes, that's the image that Mahler fans were keen to see. Anyway, I hate my printer.


Noiir-wise, it’s not exactly a title that gives you that frisson of danger and mystery:

It’s an all-American street, as we see:

Ah for the days when a company could name itself thus without rolled eyes, “All-American Dairy Corporation” does sound like a rater large entity, but if it has polite uniformed representatives distributing bovine lactation with good cheer, the CORPORATION angle doesn’t sound so impersonal.

It’s a newspaper movie, which I always enjoy, if only to see how they get it wrong. Odd choice or a nameplate:

Was that necessary? Was that added for verisimilitudinousness? Well, no matter; we zoom up to the office of the Editor, who’s the skipper from “Gilligan’s Isle."

So you think. It’s his dad. Alan Hale the First. His office appears to contain about 50 percent of the newspaper’s total floor space, but the rest of the offices have tremendous lettering:

That’s our hero, Wayne Morris. Bluff cheerful chesty guy:

And war hero. After a stint as a sunny can-do kid in some movies, he went to WW2, flew 57 missions, shot down seven planes, and was a bona-fide ace. When he got back he did TV, a film with Kubrick, this and that - and then his ticker checked out on him while he was a guest of honor on an aircraft carrier. Age: 45.

Since our man’s a newspaperman, he’s a drinker. He’s shown here reacting to his demotion from managing editor to lovelorn columnist, a life-event that requires nine martinis to overcome.

This earns the scorn of his girlfriend, who has the classic forties look: two-by-four across the shoulders, hair up, high hat.

Janis Page, who's all snappy Girl Friday here. She ditched Hollywood a few years after this film, and found success on Broadway and TV. She was even Lou Grant's ex-girlfriend for an episode.

Anyway. The plot? Who cares. Crusading newspaperman is on the trail of a murder, and that takes him to dark, dangerous places - like an apartment building managed by the quintessential Oh It’s That Guy, Charles Lane:

Here’s where it gets interesting. The bad guys try to run down the girlfriend.

It has to be the backlot. There’s an Apollo theater in LA, but it’s not that one. Scenes like this make we want to go back and study every old Warner Brothers movie to find the place. But just as this is a 20s street scene, the storefront where the girlfriend ends up sprawled is high 40s:

The angled awning with the needless-but-modern holes: given the budget for the movie, that had to be a holdover from something else, and I’ll bet if I watched every movie Warner made in 1949, I’d find it.

There has to be a bad girl:

Barbara Bates, who had one of those Cautionary Hollywood Lives. Won a round-trip train ticket to Hollywood in a beauty contest. Worked her way up from ingenue to minor-supporting player in bigger movies, or larger roles in smaller ones. Noted for a brief appearance at the end of "All About Eve." And then, according to IMDB:

She became a victim of extreme mood shifts, insecurity, ill health and chronic depression to the point of being taken off two important movies during filming. By 1954, she was washed up in Hollywood. She tried to salvage her career in England and was picked up by the Rank Organization for a time but her films were mediocre and she proved too emotionally unreliable to continue.

Moved back home to Dener, worked as a secretary and a dental assistant. Took the pipe in her mother's garage twenty yeaes after this film was made, age 44.

Finally, a short uncredited performance by a young woman who comes in to unburden her troubles to our hero in his guise as a lovelorn columnist.

She’s absolutely charming, and quite a looker. Around the time this movie was made she had the misfortune of firing up some hemp with Robert Mitchum, and she got caught up in the bust that made headlines. Mitchum, of course, weathered the scandal well. Very well.

She never made another movie.

By the way, it's sold as a minor lost Noir movie.

It's a comedy. There are some who'd say no, it's a Comedy-Noir, but that's like saying a movie is a Silent Musical.


That's it for today; Matchbooks, of course, it being Monday, and the usual stuff elsewhere. See you around.









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