Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Show Notes: "The Heart of Darkness"

At first, horror film actor Boris Karloff seems a strange choice to play Joseph Conrad's infamous "Mister Kurtz".
The part has generally falls to serious method practioners, notably John Malkovich and of course Marlon Brando by way of Apocalypse Now.
In another sense though, he is a perfect choice, his accent suggests debauched plumminess, and as a noted horror player he gets the sheer strangeness of the setting.
We ought to think of Karloff, like John Barrymore or Charles Laughton as a sort of artistic bridge from the English Classical Acting Tradition over to the Internal Rigors of the Method.
This is a process accelerated by the particular needs of sound film acting wherein voice is added to movement and there mere tone inflection and ferocity can divert, stop or speed up the action.
The method could never prosper in silent cinema...once films began to talk and once TV came in the need for intensity and intimacy became paramount.
Karloff isn't a method player but he is sufficiently intimate with his own emotions to deploy them to advantage in an intimacy-driven acting enviroment like a live television production.

Tonight's show is a happy artistic accident.
Boris Karloff had bought himself out of his contract at Universal in 1940 because he was unhappy with the shoddiness of the writing for his signature horror parts. He puttered around Hollywood for several years as a independent and then counterintuitively made his way to New York where he had several successes on Broadway (notably as Captain Hook in Peter Pan) and was readily availble for guest appearances on radio.
When TV came in, he was one of the few famous Hollywood actors unencumbered by a Studio Contract which would've otherwise restricted his ability to appear in that upstart medium.
Which is why all through out the 1950's Karloff turns up in things like Schlitz Playhouse, Lux Video Theater and tonight's Playhouse 90 Production of the "Heart of Darkness". He also hosted several anthology TV shows and appeared on shows like "Route 66".
TV was the re-making of Boris Karloff, his films where all sold to television in the mid 1950's so his old parts were suddenly widely distributed. His TV work demonstrated that his current acting skills were as sharp as ever, soon enough the phone was ringing again and the Prodigal Monster returned to Tinseltown bidding on something akin to his 3rd Comeback.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Pick of the Week...

Well, any time Mickey Rooney comes to Arlingtion, that is a signal to make tracks to the Regent Theater at top speed.
I'd just like to cordially invite Mr. Rooney to get up a bit early on Saturday to sample the delicious variety of fried dough available at Arlington's Town Day.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Our Next Event:

Boris Karloff as Mister Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s

Co-starring Roddy McDowell and in her television debut, Eartha Kitt!

Armed with the best of intentions Mister Kurtz has journeyed into the depths of the Belgian Congo, only to become a Tyrant & a monster.
Now Young Marlowe (Roddy McDowall) is sent off to learn the secret of Kurtz’s madness and bring him back to Civilization.
Channel Zero is proud to Present this rare television adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s famed Novella.
Celebrating Boris Karloff’s legacy as a journeyman actor in the Golden Age of Television this is a video event not to be missed!
See Boris Karloff as the 20th Century’s Most Sublime and Elusive Literary Monster!Wednesday September 28th @ 7:30pm
Movies on a Menu 148 Mass Ave Arlington Ma.
Just a few doors down Dagg’s Deli in East Arlington
On the #77 & 79 Bus Route
Tyrant? Man or Monster? You be the Judge!

We live, as we dream - alone."
Joseph Conrad

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Farewell to a Great American

A man of Stern Incorruptible Morals,
A Friend to the Republic
A Patriot...

Goodbye "Little Buddy"

Ah but as Hegel's proverbial "Owl of Minerva" flyeth by, all that comes to mind of the original "Gilligan's Island" is the show's unabashed sentimentality. Gilligan's idiocy is never punished by the other cataways (unlike modern type program like "Survivor" et al wherein Gilligan class simplicity is coded as weakness to be crushed or exploited)and the group's loyalty to one another is firmly established.
Otherwise, "Gilligan's Island" is one of the last stops in the imperial twilight of vaudeville knockabout comedy. The comedy of reliable bits and routines, pratfalls and spritzer-set ups would stagger on until the "Carol Burnett Show" gave it a proper Viking Funeral. It would however, never be as sure of itself as it was when Bob Denver was plunging out of palm trees and Jim Backus was camping it up.

Friday, September 02, 2005

No pick of the week....

too much disaster out there.
However, Fats Domino has been found alive....apparently his advanced age has not inhibited his ability to float.

Meanwhile yez kin donate some money real easy-like to the victims here.