MY FAVORITE MOVIE THREESOME BLOGATHON – Da Big Finish

Since the remainder of our blogathon entrants have now submitted their entries, we won’t give you a big song-and-dance — it’s time for

DaBigFinish

Day 2 was a no-show, but everyone rallied for the ‘thon’s final day. Click here if you want to read Day 1’s entries. For those below, click on the individual blog’s name to read the entry.

wifevssecretary

Anybody Got a Match? watches sparks fly between married couple Myrna Loy and Clark Gable, and Gable’s secretary Jean Harlow, in Wife vs. Secretary.

emile-angela-alfred

Anna Karina is torn between boyfriend Jean-Claude Brialy and platonic friend Jean-Paul Belmondo in Jean-Luc Godard’s meta-romance A Woman Is a Woman. (Don’t worry, Cinematic Scribblings will sort it all out for you.)

miss-firecracker-1989-mary-steenburgen-holly-hunter-tim-robbins-thomas-DH397X

The Dream Book Blog chronicles the fireworks between beauty-pageant contestant Holly Hunter and her cousins Mary Steenburgen and Tim Robbins in Miss Firecracker.

lebowski1

And last but hardly least, Moon in Gemini just dropped in to check on dude Jeff Bridges, enigmatic Steve Buscemi, and Vietnam vet John Goodman in the Coen Brothers’ cult classic The Big Lebowski.

We’d like to thank our enthusiastic blogathon entrants as well as the readers who followed this ‘thon over the weekend. We hope you enjoyed our little trio excursions and hope that all of your threesomes will be, er, thrillsomes!

968full-vicky-cristina-barcelona-screenshot

 

 

Advertisements

MY FAVORITE MOVIE THREESOME BLOGATHON – Day 1 Recap

A full 50% of our blogathon entrants have submitted their entrants already — proving that, for blogathons that slap the competition silly, you can’t beat the

Day1Recap

Click on the name of each individual blog to read their entry.

1

Pure Entertainment Preservation Society explains how Jane Wyman captures the attention of Three Guys Named Mike.

1.jpg

Tom Selleck, Ted Danson, and Steve Guttenberg recapture the hearts of moviegoers (and the girl who is their charge) in Three Men and a Little Lady, as reviewed by Realweegiemidget Reviews.

Bridget-Jones-portrait-large

ThoughtsAllSorts shows how the love triangle of an insecure publishing employee makes for fascinating reading in Bridget Jones’s Diary.

1

And finally, your faithful correspondent can’t resist applying pop psychology to the classic cartoon trio of Popeye, Olive Oyl, and Bluto.

We still have four blogathon entries to go, so keep us bookmarked. If our movie-trio blogathon was any edgier, we’d get arrested for it!

2914533svTIKMLR

 

 

Popeye, Olive Oyl, and Bluto: The ultimate love-hate relationship

BugsDaffyElmerFinalThe following is my entry in the My Favorite Movie Threesome Blogathon, being hosted at this blog from July 28-30, 2017. Click on the banner above to read bloggers’ tributes to real and fictional trios from throughout the history of cinema!

1

(The following is based on viewings of the original series of Popeye cartoons produced and directed by Max and Dave Fleischer from 1933 to 1942. If you have not treated yourself to these delightful animated films, allow me to introduce you to them by way of my tribute-website. Click here to visit my site filled with reviews of these groundbreaking cartoons.)

BlutoFreud

ABOVE: Bluto as Sigmund Freud??

Sometimes, a character’s psychological quirks are so conspicuous that you can’t help commenting on them, pretentious as it might sound. After multiple viewings of Popeye cartoons, I’d have to say that the psyches of Popeye & Co. are ripe for picking as well. And so…the doctor is in.
PopeyeHeadShot
Popeye

Popeye puts on a very elaborate facade to disguise a very damaged psyche. It is assumed that he got his nickname (and his condition) from a very violent brawl. Nevertheless, to have such a moniker as your only given name — he is never referred to in any other way, in the comic strips or the movies — is to have a major loss of identification and individuality.

Further, other than his belligerent father — who, at first, does not even want to be rescued from imprisonment on an island, much less reunited with his son — we know almost nothing about Popeye’s formative years. What of his mother? Was Popeye perhaps born illegitimately, and is that why he looks upon single mother Olive Oyl’s upbringing of baby Swee’Pea with nary a shrug? This man appears to have psychological scars he finds far too painful to be re-opened.

Popeye compensates for his multiple pains in the same way many men do — with his over-abundant machismo. He has built up his upper torso to the point that his muscles look abnormal. He also deludes himself into thinking that downing cans of raw spinach at pivotal moments make him stronger-than-average. While spinach does have well-known nutritional value, there is no evidence that instantly absorbing such spinach will provide abnormal musculature in just a matter of seconds. Therefore, we can conclude only that spinach serves as a placebo for Popeye — a way for him to swallow his internal pain when circumstances become too much for him.


Olive
Olive Oyl

Though this is never specifically stated in the cartoons, one surmises that Olive Oyl gave her heart to a man who was the love of her life, only to be deserted by him and left with his baby (Swee’Pea). It was after this heartbreak that Olive decided she would never again leave herself so vulnerable to one man’s machinations. Thus, she has two rivals for her affections (Popeye and Bluto), and she constantly wavers between the two of them in a classic example of passive-aggressiveness.

She also has difficulty maintaining a home and a job. In the early cartoons, she is seen living in a large (if not lavish) house, but later she is reduced to residing in a shabby apartment. In each cartoon that shows Olive at work, she is always at a job different from the previous ones (child caretaker, stenographer, scriptwriter, etc.). This, too, indicates the instability into which she was thrown when her erstwhile lover left her.

Lastly, even the only two men with whom she will associate often physically abuse her — each one pulling her by a separate arm, sometimes knocking her unconscious, getting her head used as a door knocker when Popeye calls on her, etc. Olive’s sweetness and outward cheer belie a case of extremely low self-esteem.


Bluto
Bluto

Simply and obviously, Bluto is the classic bully. He feels he can get what he wants only through loudness and brusqueness, and he has accomplished so little in life that he derives satisfaction only from tearing down other’s achievements.

Bluto is especially annoyed by Popeye, the one person in the world who stands up to him. Nearly all of Bluto’s encounters with Popeye end in a violent fight, usually lost by Bluto once Popeye downs his spinach. One would think that Bluto would eventually admit defeat and deal with his sense of rage, but he continues to fight Popeye every chance he gets.

This battle — both between Bluto and Popeye, and Bluto and himself — has gone on for so long that, as with Wile E. Coyote and his single-minded pursuit of the Road Runner — it is the fight itself that has become Bluto’s reason to live. In the few instances where Bluto and Popeye try to remain civil, the old pattern emerges and they come to blows all over again.

Most troubling of all is Bluto’s documented abuse of animals — horses, parrots, monkeys, etc. — which is a blatant symptom of psychotic behavior. In a way, it’s almost a relief that Bluto has Popeye to beat up, so that he doesn’t inflict his hostilities on others around him (though Olive receives her share of Bluto’s abuse too, as noted above).

Brutus
Sadly, Bluto’s rage and lack of self-reflection briefly resulted in his having a split personality, his other persona going by the name of Brutus. Fortunately, this lasted for only a brief period in the 1960’s.

*

In conclusion, my pseudo-psychological musings only prove how well-rounded and -thought-out these delightful characters are. I encourage you to seek them out, on YouTube and wherever you can find them.

The MY FAVORITE MOVIE THREESOME BLOGATHON is here!

StarWarsFinal

Welcome to our My Favorite Movie Threesome Blogathon. Join us for the next three days as bloggers pay tribute to their favorite cinematic trios, real and fictional!

If you are one of the contributing bloggers, please leave your blog name and the URL of your blogathon entry in the “Comments” section below, and we will link to it as soon as possible. If you are one of our kind readers, please bookmark us and keep checking back, as the list below will be updated regularly with links to the appropriate blogs. Enjoy!

Here is the listing of blogathon entries, in chronological order:

Movie Movie Blog Blog – Popeye, Olive Oyl, and Bluto

Anybody Got a Match? – Myrna Loy, Clark Gable, and Jean Harlow in Wife vs. Secretary (1936)

Pure Entertainment Preservation Society – the three Mikes in Three Guys Named Mike (1951)

Cinematic Scribblings – Anna Karina, Jean-Claude Brialy, and Jean-Paul Belmondo in A Woman Is a Woman (1961)

The Dream Book Blog – Holly Hunter, Mary Steenburgen, and Tim Robbins in Miss Firecracker (1989)

Realweegiemidget Reviews – Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Danson in Three Men and a Little Lady (1990)

Moon in Gemini – The Dude, Walter, and Donny in The Big Lebowski (1998)

Thoughtsallsorts – Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, and Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

Only one week until the MY FAVORITE MOVIE THREESOME BLOGATHON!

MarxBrothersFinal

Who is your favorite movie trio, either actual (such as a comedy team) or fictional (three movie characters who work together or are friends)? Blog about them in our My Favorite Movie Threesome Blogathon, coming in just one week! Click here for the blogathon rules.

Preston Sturges’ UNFAITHFULLY YOURS (1948) – A great symphony of a comedy

 

POSTER

(WARNING: Major spoilers abound!)

Though he directed a few more movies over the years, Unfaithfully Yours (1948) was the last great hurrah from one of Hollywood’s greatest comedy writer-directors, Preston Sturges. But Lawdy, what a way to go out.

The movie stars Rex Harrison in what might be seen as a kindler, gentler cousin of his egomaniacal diction professor in My Fair Lady (1964). Here, Harrison is Sir Alfred de Carter, a world-renowned symphony conductor who is still astoundingly infatuated with the woman he refers to as his “bride,” Daphne (charming Linda Darnell). The movie never declares how long or short of a time the Carters have been married, but judging from their passion level, one would guess they’re still in the honeymooning stage.

(The far more down-to-earth married couple, Alfred’s in-laws August and Barbara, are portrayed wonderfully by Rudy Vallee and Barbara Lawrence. Barbara gets all the great barbs off against her husband, who is only too happy to show his ignorance of them.)

One day, August accosts Alfred with the unfortunate news that he paid a detective to tail Daphne while Alfred was out of town. Alfred is so convinced of his wife’s fidelity that his reaction starts at outrage and goes haywire from there. Little by little, though, Alfred is given reason to think that Daphne might have needed some spying-on after all. At his concert that evening, Alfred conducts three pieces by Rossini, Tchaikovsky, and Wagner, and with each piece, Alfred imagines the stylish revenge he will extract upon Daphne for her presumed cheating.

From this sober-sounding scenario, Sturges — as he always did — goes all over the place, from sparkling dialogue to skittering slapstick to rich drenches of sentiment. And the melange has never worked better than it does here. Just for kicks, take three of the movie’s set-pieces (the first of which — SPOILER! — is shown below): Alfred’s achingly funny dressing-down of August for siccing a detective on Daphne, the first fantasy where Alfred hatches an elaborate murder scheme, and Alfred’s drunken attempt to carry out the scheme. Three scenes of completely different tones, and they all plausibly fit into the same movie. Now try to imagine any modern-day comedy-maker whose work would display the wit of any of those scenes.

The Criterion Collection DVD of the movie does it full justice. It includes a seemingly irrelevant but nonetheless enjoyable critique of Sturges’ work from Monty Python alumnus Terry Jones. And an interview with Sturges’ widow Sandy, as well as copies of voluminous memoes to Sturges from uncredited producer Darryl Zanuck, demonstrate why the movie was initially a colossal box-office failure. Zanuck hounded Sturges to the point that the gifted creator of (to name but two) The Palm Beach Story and The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek began doubting himself as a writer, resulting in the final humiliation of Zanuck cutting the film on his own. Then a timely scandal involving Rex Harrison forever killed the box-office chances of a black comedy starring Harrison as an ostensible woman-murderer.

Happily, Unfaithfully Yours, like Chaplin’s similarly dark Monsieur Verdoux, survived its prudish times and has become renowned as a great movie. Alfred’s take on Delius might be delirious (as professed by one of his fans, played by the great Sturges alumnus Edgar Kennedy)…but Sturges himself remains stupendous.

GUN CRAZY (1950) – Annie Laurie Starr, get your gun

guncrazycolor

(WARNING: Major spoilers abound!)

I enjoy hearing stories about how people met their spouses. It gives me a little insight into both the couple and the person who’s telling the story.

In Gun Crazy, Bart Tare (John Dall) meets his future wife, Annie Laurie Starr (Peggy Cummins), while he’s shooting at her head at a carnival.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. The movie begins with flashbacks of the young Bart, showing how interested he is in guns. He doesn’t want to kill anyone or anything with them. At the risk of sounding Freudian, in Bart’s view, a gun seems to be a piece of security in life — which Bart could certainly use, having been raised only by his sister.

Bart pays a price to society for his gun obsession and is then set free. On his first day of freedom, Bart and his old friends go to town to attend a carnival, where Bart sees Laurie performing as a sharpshooter. Sparks (and bullets) fly quickly between the two.

Through the usual film-noir machinations, Laurie is eventually as free and beholden to no one as Bart is. So she decides to make Bart beholden to her. She figures that, with their joint expertise with guns, they can get whatever they want in life. At first, Bart hesitates at getting that down-and-dirty, but when Laurie threatens to leave him, Bart caves.

From there, an ever-spiralling series of circumstances make it doubtful that Bart and Laurie will make it to their first wedding anniversary.

Even by noir standards, this is one of the most pervasive weird movies I’ve ever seen — and one of the most riveting. Its most fascinating aspect is how the movie’s POV nonchalantly observes this in-over-the-head couple going on an increasingly violent robbing and shooting spree. Cinema’s Production Code guaranteed that the couple would pay for their actions in the end — but that doesn’t mean that viewers don’t get some titillating and voyeuristic thrills along the way.

John Dall is strangely touching as Bart, depicting how Bart’s pacifism slowly gets swept away by this woman who’s giving him the romance he thought he’d never have (in more ways than one). And Peggy Cummins long ago entered film-noir history as the ultimate manipulative dame. She offers us Laurie at face value, with no reasons or apologies for her grubby, grabby behavior — and just like Bart, we get swept up in her quiet fury.

I’ve never owned a gun or even fired one, for the same reason that many people give: I fear that it would be too easy to give into its temptation as an easy answer to an otherwise low-key conflict. Gun Crazy takes that premise to its ultimate extension. If only Bart had been more obsessed with marbles or coin-collecting when he was young…