my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   Hollywood Babylon
Director:   Van Gulder
Year:   1972
Genre:   Sexploitation
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   05.03.06

Other Movies Seen By This Director (0)

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
05.03.06Weird Wednesday After the movie ended, Lars turned to me and said "52 movies a year; it's not easy." Such is his apology for tonight's Weird Wednesday film. The funny thing is I got a kick out of it.

The movie is adapted from Kenneth Anger's book which apparently details all of Old Hollywood's scandals and dirty little secrets in explicit detail (i have to read this book now). Apparently, Anger sued after this movie was made and tried to get all the prints burned. Thankfully, one print spent 30 years in this place and that and finally ended up in the projector spooling out for tonight's modest crowd to see.

So... a lot of people walked out of this one. I think a lot of that had to do with Lars' underselling the movie in his intro... But granted, the movie is made up entirely of grainy archival footage from silent films or badly shot orgy scenes with early-70s softcore actors. Neither looks particularly good and the sex is not very hot at all. What saves this film is the voice over narration. I really hope he's reading passages directly out of the book because there is some great imagery there... phrases like "sloshing bucket of sin", "of equine dimensions" and "smelled of human urine and donkey dung" fill this movie's soundtrack. The whole entire text reads like a salacious supermarket tabloid backdated to the 1920s. In fact, sometimes whatever the narrator's talking about would drift away from the meaningless sex on the screen... he'd be talking about the moral decline of society or going on with a whole treatise on film history and meanwhile you're staring at one girl sucking on another girl's nipple. And then there are the newsreel footage going on and on in between scandalous vignettes, giving us the context of world wars, LA history and the comedic superstars of the day.

Maybe it's just that I'm a film history nut, but I really got a kick out of this stuff. You get to see a Fatty Arbuckle "type" naked and hear everyone groan, then see him use a bottle on a nympho and kill her (no blood). You get to see a Charlie Chaplin "type" fall in love with a little girl and knock her up, then insist on never doing it "the old-fashioned way" again. Then he tries to teach her some oral techniques and she refuses to learn so we get the treat of seeing extended shots of an actor that in no way looks like Charlie Chaplin moaning and groaning and eventually finishing his business with another girl while the first one watches and learns. "Learning is the most important part." Marion Davies, Marlene Dietrich and Josef von Sternberg, Rudolph Valentino, Erich von Stroheim, Clara Bow, and several other stars of the silver screen all get exceptionally sordid recreations of their darkest desires... It's all so seedy and grimy... I don't know what to say other than I got a kick out of it.

Afterward, we all watched in a group as they brought out all of Quentin's prints to be delivered back to their home. There ended up being like 37 containers (we didn't see Dion Brothers though... he must've kept that one in his hands at all times) laying out all in a row in the lobby. I got a pic with my phone but it sucks... so that sucks. It was cool to see them all though... memories of a week-long fest sitting there all together. whew.
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