Archive for comedy

The Railrodder: Buster Keaton in Canada

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 11, 2013 by willontheinternet

(Another short article.)

This is the sort of thing that probably gets more attention now, in the age of the internet, then it did when it was released. It’s part film, part travelogue for Canada. And our tour guide is… Buster Keaton??!

therailrodder196505-1 Continue reading


I Walk Around Moscow

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 21, 2013 by willontheinternet

Apparently, Josef Stalin’s favorite movie was a 1930’s slapstick comedy film called Volga-Volga. And between 1930 and 1952 this man’s unfortunate taste in movies reigned over Russia with an iron fist. If you didn’t follow the censor’s demand for “social realism” (or its somewhat hypocritical weakness for colorful fantasy movies,) you might very well end up in the gulag.

It must have been a relief after he died… Repression was still there, of course (the first sex scene in a Russian film wasn’t until 1988) but there was still a huge renaissance in the late 50’s and early 60’s. One of the best films to come out of this was I Walk Around Moscow (Я шагаю по Москве).


Meet the bros

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Street Angel

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 23, 2012 by willontheinternet

I saw “Lincoln” yesterday, and hope to discuss it while it’s still in theaters. Today I’ll just say that it’s damn good, better then I thought it would be… Now, let’s talk about a movie from pre-communist China…

Street Angel (马路天使) is apparently famous in China, though this has not been confirmed by any of the Chinese people I mentioned it to… Probably it’s famous among the same kind of people who liked Dead End in the US.

Houses made from the finest cardboard

Those who live in cardboard houses… should start a revolution.

Like Dead End, the movie begins and ends in the slums, and has poverty as it’s central theme. Apparently it’s a ‘leftist’ movie, although I personally didn’t find it to be any more leftist then Dead End was. The fact that a revolution took place in China a decade later has nothing much to do with our heroes, who spend more time flirting and playing tricks then fighting to overthrow the bourgeois upper class. The characters are poor but optimistic, nothing like the ‘serious’ type of poor people we see in modern ‘important’ movies. In the 1930’s, poverty was more visible. Poor people on screen weren’t ‘tragic’ or ‘controversial’, they were just… well, poor. The male lead is laughable; a bad trumpet player, who also knows magic tricks. Continue reading