Consecutive sleepovers with two friends of Daughter, which means odd sounds from upstairs: an anvil dropping; the screams of someone being drawn and quartered; long silence punctuated by gales of laughter. The last one can be explained by the stuttering Netflix video; they’re drinking bandwidth from three phones.
I’m half-watching a movie that looks to be good, but it’s 2 1/2 hours long, and I feel compelled to write something or do something for the first half hour BECAUSE IT’S 149 MINUTES LONG. The older I get the more I believe there isn’t any movie that needs to be that long. Unless it’s, say, “The Longest Day,” which A) warns you and B) has subject matter that ought not be compressed for the sake of moving keisters in and out of the theater. Perhaps it’s the medium in which I work; at the newspaper we cut cut cut down as hard as possible lest a video stretch beyond 3 minutes.
Because people twitch after a minute. They look at the scrubber and think “there are two minutes left that will keep me from watching the other minute of a three minute movie.” They know there’s not an explosion because you would have led with that, or at least a part of it. So what are we doing here? C’mon. There have been nine 12 second-GIFs uploaded on my twitter account since I started with this thing. MOVE IT.
I suppose it’s a good sign that movies are 2 hours and 30 minutes long. There’s hope.
This much mulch.
And more. Thirty bags in all. Five were dumped on the steps to go on the front of the hill; ten were set aside for filling in blank spots; five were assigned to fill in the planting area at the bottom of the hill; ten were placed along the boulevard to go around the hostas. They filled half the boulevard. So I have to go back for more. Fifty total for the weekend. FIFTY BAGS. Good thing they were having a sale. Did I mention we got two evergreens? Because my wife moved the plants from the front to the back and that left a gap. Since they didn’t go in her car, I had to remove 20 bags and drive back and get the evergreens, and bring them up the steps, which is like doing the lambada with a porcupine.
The only known film noir about the 50-foot woman?
It’s one of those “documentary” noirs. A voice-over tells us what the Authorities are doing to stop a public menace - in this case, it’s smallpox, of all things. A woman comes into the country with the pox, and she’s also smuggling jewels so we get some seedy criminals and bad husbands and loose women and various bit-part actors. About that, who cares. It’s the inadvertent documentary we’re here for today. She alights in New York:
Penn Station, with the lighting set on Portentious. A little inadvertent documentary before she sets off to Kill New York.
Some things never change. They just get covered with advertising.
Leaving the vermin and smoke of Penn Station, we head to the Flophouse District:
Good thing there's lots of restaurants in the neighborhood:
The Teuben Tavern? Add an S to the front and you get a location. 47th and Broadway, according to this blog about Lost New York.
Anyway. The woman is carrying typhus, and causes a massive public health scare. The government wants to vaccinate everyone. Part of the public reacts as expected:
The more things change, etc. Anyway, it's not just about finding a woman who might spread a disease; she's mixed up with shady crooks, so we get to spend some time in the Underworld, such as it is. If Whit Bissell is one of your bad guys, it's not the baddest collection of lowlifes you'll find.
It doesn't venture out of the studio or backlot very much, but when it does, you have moments of old New York that could come from a master photographer of the era:
The ending takes place in the Gritty Streets of Manhattan, where the crowds and the black-beetle cars have converged to watch the police track the last people who had contact with the infected woman:
Here she is, not very well, out on a ledge, and - HEY. WAIT.
That's not New York.
That's LA. Sure enough: look at picture above, and you see COZY THEATER. 320 Broadway. Which makes this shabby scene below something of a surprise.
You're looking at one of the most famous buildings in movies. The view below shows the old Cozy building, which was cut down to three stories.
Should be a plaque: DECKERD SLEPT HERE.
That's it for today! See you tomorrow.