Movie Diary 4/27/2022

Children of Men (Alfonso Cuaron, 2006). Here’s our subject for Scarecrow Academy on Saturday April 30: a dystopian parable transformed by the fluid style of Cuaron and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. Join us for this conversation about “Science Fiction and the Director” via Zoom at 2 pm Pacific Time.

This Day and Age (Cecil B. DeMille, 1933). Certifiably crazy film about the Youth of Today that also rebukes romantic portraits of gangsters. Charles Bickford plays a local mobster (he works for a faceless Capone-like figure known as “The Little Fellow”), guilty of murdering a Jewish tailor. The local high-school kids, led by Richard Cromwell, organize to gather evidence to nail Bickford after “the system” fails to convict him, a plot that ends up in a wild kangaroo court staged on an amazingly energetic scale. There’s a henchman (Bradley Page) whose creepy intense stare is focused on one of the teen girls (Judith Allen); as he says when he gets her alone, “I like my olives green.” DeMille, or somebody, had seen some Eisenstein and Lang; one of the slow overlap-dissolves has a row of tap-dancing feet lingering on top of the image of a boy dying in an ally, another has a rat’s face being slowly replaced by a close-up of Bickford.

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