Tuesday, September 27, 2005

sharing space

"I'm not living with you, we occupy the same cage, that's all!" - Elizabeth Taylor in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958)

Since we subscribed to digital cable, I've been addicted to Turner Classic Movies. I always suspected I was born in the wrong era and as of last Tuesday, I knew for sure.

I have a big ass, speak funny and am an absolute sucker for the tragic movies of the '40s and '50s.

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof was first screened in America in 1958 (in metrocolor! Google it yourself.) and was one of the most famous Liz Taylor movies of that time. During the making of this movie, she lost her husband (one of 8!) but her professionalism proved her one of the most resilient actresses of all time as she persevered and went on to give one of her most expressive performances. It was clear that her legacy as an actress did not just rely upon her classic beauty, but most of all, her charisma on and off camera.

The movie told of a fiesty, sexually frustrated wife of a drunkard dealing with his own demons, and forced to face those of his neurotic, dysfunctional Southern family as they prepare to face the death of the head of the family. Rivalries arise over issues such as not being able to bear children, inheritance and greed. The movie's narrative took place under 12 hours! It's amazing what a brilliant script writer can do.

Movies back then had central themes not unlike those of today, but they told tales in ways that struck a chord in many viewers. Usually, the themes would center on greed, envy and betrayal, and often played a large part in public commentary of society during that time. And the movies had very little background music, thus one would imagine much had to be inferred from dialogue. Interestingly enough, many scenes were also obviously shot in one take, meaning the actors really had to perform well. If you paid enough attention to the dialogue, you'd notice the clever use of euphemisms, metaphors and diplomatic spite; all articulated incredibly eloquently by the actors.

With the advent of new improved video software, an actor now doesn't need the screen charisma and performance skill once needed in 1950s Hollywood. An actor now becomes but a pawn in the director's control.

Last Friday, I watched Mildred Pierce (1945), a story of a divorcee who struggles to make ends meet to send her daughters to the best dance and music teachers. She sacrificed everything for her elder daughter, Vida, after the younger died of pneumonia. She gave her everything, a large house, a car, the best singing teachers. Only to have her betray her love, by disrespecting her, running away from home, and even having an affair with her own stepfather. Even after all that betrayal, Mildred tries to confess to a murder Vida committed, in an attempt to win her affections back, and save her daughter from a bleak future in prison.

See what I mean by tragedy?

It was a movie from 1945, meaning it was in BLACK AND WHITE. Black and white movies always make me feel uncomfortable. I need colour. Lots, please.

I just came back from networking night, and boy, is the future bleak. Ok not really. Perhaps it was particularly demoralising because most of the companies were in semiconductors, and the first question out of their mouths was always "Are you a engineering/physics major?"

I say f@$% engineering goddammit. Engineers will get jobs, trust me. You guys have nothing to worry about. I on the other hand, can either go into research (meaning, phd first), teaching (read: ohgawdno) or sales.

Sales. Well today I spoke to some people from L*real and they were not only goodlooking, they were the nicest bitches I met tonight. No, we don't care what your degree is. No, you don't have to have good grades, we really don't look at those. We just want enthusiastic people with attitude. Join us as a management associate and you not only learn a lot, rise fast, you also get really really really good free stuff.

Maybe there is hope. No need to buy my own makeup anymore!

Hello-cthulhu, #3.

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