Other Movies Seen By This Director (1)
- The Walker
|08.30.13||Netflix|| George C. Scott's innocent daughter goes missing during a church trip to California and shows up in a stag film so he has to leave Grand Rapids and tour the sleaze of LA in search of her.|
Man oh man... so for whatever reason I find the sordid grime of 70s NYC and 42nd Street and all that very captivating. I doubt I'd actually like to be there but as seen through the lens of a camera I really love it. In that vein this movie really hit a home run for me which kind of made me feel dirty and question my tastes a little bit. Schrader has no problem at all with not only visiting but straight up wallowing in all of it. Seedy hotels, peep booths, adult book stores, massage joints, pimp bars, porno sets, etc. etc. It's a total descent into depravity for George C. Scott and I have to say he's a trooper. His wardrobe shifts throughout the film as he more or less goes undercover so we get to see him wearing these "swinger" clothes and for one scene he has a wig and fake mustache that makes him look too much like Tom Savini.
The plot is pretty loose and the ending is kind of expected and anti-climactic but something about the tone and certainly the level of (I guess) authenticity with the locations was really great and has stuck with me.
As I self-evaluate a bit, I hope the charm of this sleaze is not a buried perv streak in me like I was a peeper or prowler in a previous life but instead more of an anthropological artifact of pre-AIDS American subculture. I feel like there was a relatively short window where sex and sleaze really thrust forward before morality and risk of death whipped it back to what I grew up with. For me in high school and after, every town had a XXX bookstore and a strip club and every mom & pop store had a porno section which it probably thrived on but that was it. Everything was very repressed and to an underage kid access to any of those places was some sort of taboo xanadu. I feel like once everyone got Internet all that changed because it's hard to NOT find porn these days and pre-70s I feel like it was National Geogrpahics and Betty Page pinups and occasional 8mm reels and stuff like that. But from - I dunno - 75 to 85 it was open season. I remember as a small kid riding in the backseat of my parents car in the valley seeing the Pussycat theater and my eye being attracted to the glitz of neon and the caricature above the marquee. I don't think I could read any of the titles so I just thought it was another theater like Mann's Chinese or whatever. Similarly when I see movies like this or shots from Times Square at that time... all the little marquee bulbs and black lettering on yellow backdrops, peep booths, all nude revues and all that... it's right out there. Fascinating. I mean, they all probably had the same stigma as I felt with the discreetly-titled bookstores of my puberty but surely they had to be harder to ignore. In any case, I feel like that's pretty much gone today. Now it's Hooters for business lunches or The Yellow Rose for strip bars or the occasional bookstore if you're gay and horny enough to play STD roulette. A different time to be sure.
But you know... all that's from my perspective. I'm sure I'm wrong about most of it. In any case though, I find it interesting to see George C. Scott flipping through an erotic novel at a book store filled with print material rather than video tapes, dvds, or blu-rays. Very seedy still, but in a fuzzy nostalgic way.