Tradutor / Translator / Traductor / Übersetzer / Traduttore / Traducteur / 翻訳者 / переводчик

quarta-feira, 23 de maio de 2018

Nunca é Tarde para amar / Follow Me, Boys (1966)

Está provado que os anos 60 foram a Era de Ouro dos filmes live-action na Disney. “Mary Poppins” (1964) pode ter sido o mais bem-sucedido deles, inclusive no Oscar, e é também aquele que as pessoas se lembram com mais carinho. Mas houve muito, muito mais filmes live-action, e eles eram veículos ideais para dois tipos de atores: os experientes e simpáticos, e os novatos talentosos.

It is proved that the 1960s were the Golden Age of Disney live-action films. “Mary Poppins” (1964) may have been the most successful from the batch, even Oscar-wise, and also the one people remember with more fondness. But there were many, many more live-action movies, and they were ideal vehicles for two kinds of performers: experienced and sympathetic ones, and talented newcomers.
Em “Nunca é Tarde para Amar” (1966), a performance mais simpática é do protagonista Fred MacMurray, mas temos também Vera Miles, Lillian Gish e Charlie Ruggle. E o novato talentoso era um menino de 15 anos que havia acabado de ser contratado pela Disney. Seu nome era Kurt Russell.

In “Follow Me, Boys” (1966), the most prominent sympathetic performance is lead Fred MacMurray, but we also have Vera Miles, Lillian Gish and Charlie Ruggles in the cast. And the talented newcomer was a 15-year-old boy who had just been hired by Disney. His name was Kurt Russell.
Lemuel ‘Lem’ Siddons (MacMurray) quer ser advogado. Mas há uma grande distância entre o que queremos ser e o que devemos ser. Enquanto ele não vai para a faculdade, Lem tem outros empregos. Quando o conhecemos, ele é saxofonista de uma banda, mas ele logo muda de emprego quando chega à cidadezinha de Hickory. Lem decide ficar por lá e trabalhar como vendedor. E então ele consegue um segundo emprego, como chefe de escoteiros voluntário.

Lemuel ‘Lem’ Siddons (MacMurray) wants to be a lawyer. But there is a great distance between what we want to be and what we are supposed to be. While he can’t go to college, Lem has some odd jobs. When we meet him, he is playing saxophone in a band, but he quickly change jobs when he arrives in Hickory, a very small town. Lem decides to settle down and work as a sales clerk. And then he gets a second job, as a volunteer scoutmaster.
O dono da loja é John Everett Hughes (Charlie Ruggles). A ideia de criar uma tropa de escoteiros é dada em uma reunião local como forma de tirar os meninos das ruas. Muitos garotos gostam da ideia e se juntam à tropa – exceto o garoto mais problemático da cidade, Whitey (Kurt Russell). Ah, e há também a adorável Vida Downey (Vera Miles) e seu namorado ambicioso, Ralph (Elliott Reid), que quer confiscar a propriedade da idosa Hetty Seibert (Lillian Gish). Hetty empresta a propriedade para que os escoteiros tenham onde se reunir.

The store’s owner is John Everett Hughes (Charlie Ruggles). The idea of creating a boy scouts troop was given in a local reunion as a way to taking the boys off the streets. Many boys like the idea and join the Boy Scouts troop – except the local troublemaker, Whitey (Kurt Russell). Oh, there is also lovely Vida Downey (Vera Miles) and her ambitious beau, Ralph (Elliott Reid), who wants to take a land property from elder Hetty Seibert (Lillian Gish). Hetty lets the Boy Scouts reunite in her property.
O filme começa em 1930 – há inclusive um cinema anunciando um filme de Carole Lombard, com quem Fred MacMurray trabalhou no começo da carreira. Mais tarde, o tempo salta para 1944 e há uma sub-trama de guerra – alternando entre comédia e um pouquinho de drama. Em uma manobra clássica da Disney, descobrimos que Whitey, o problemático, é na verdade um bom menino, e ele recebe muita ajuda de Lem.

The film starts in 1930 – there is even a theater marquee announcing a movie with Carole Lombard, with whom Fred MacMurray had worked early in his career. Later on, the film jumps to 1944 and there is a war subplot – that alternates between fun and a little drama. In a classic Disney maneuver, we find out that Whitey, the troublemaker, is actually a sweet boy, and he receives a lot of love and help from Lem.
Como dito anteriormente, Kurt Russell tinha 15 anos quando “Nunca é Tarde para Amar” foi filmado. Ele fez mais 9 filmes para a Disney nos 10 anos seguintes. Russell, MacMurray e a jovem estrela Hayley Mills eram provavelmente os mais bem-sucedidos atores nos filmes live-action da Disney nos anos 60. Sem dúvida, Russell se deu melhor que Mills com o passar do tempo – e ele continua trabalhando sem parar!

As said before, Kurt Russell was 15 when “Follow Me, Boys” was shot. He went on to make 9 more movies for Disney in the following 10 years. Russell, MacMurray and young star Hayley Mills were arguably the three biggest and most successful players in live-action Disney films in the 1960s. Without a doubt, Russell fared better than Mills as he grew up – and he continues working steadily!
“Nunca é Tarde para Amar” apresentou uma canção, com o mesmo título do filme, que é uma deliciosa música chiclete – e ela foi escrita pelos irmãos Sherman, responsáveis pelas canções de “Mary Poppins”. O filme foi também o último a estrear antes da morte de Walt Disney – ele faleceu duas semanas após a estreia.

“Follow Me, Boys” presented a song, with the same title as the movie, that is a pleasant earworm – and the song was written by the Sherman brothers, also responsible for the songs in “Mary Poppins”. It was also the last film released before Walt Disney’s death – he passed away two weeks after the premiere.
“Nunca é Tarde para Amar” é um filme para a família, e certamente agrada a todos os membros de uma família. Fred MacMurray tem carisma e também tinha experiência como escoteiro... bem, ao menos quando ele era criança. Com um elenco misturando talentos jovens e experientes, “Nunca é Tarde para Amar” é uma graça – e provavelmente te deixará com vontade de ser escoteiro!

“Follow Me, Boys” is a family film, and is certain to please all members of a family. Fred MacMurray has charisma and also had experience as a Boy Scout… well, as a child, at least. With a cast mixing young and experienced talents, “Follow Me, Boys” is a delight – and it’ll probably leave you wanting to be a Scout!

This is my contribution to the Kurt Russell blogathon, hosted by Gill at Real Weegie Midget Reviews.

domingo, 20 de maio de 2018

Laurel & Hardy


Em 13 de março de 1927, um curta-metragem chamado “Duck Soup” estreou e mudou as carreiras de Stan Laurel e Oliver Hardy para sempre. Ambos já eram comediantes estabelecidos, embora algo desiludidos, mas estavam prestes a se tornar não apenas ídolos do público, mas lendas do cinema.

On March 13th, 1927, a short film called “Duck Soup” was released and it changed the careers of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy forever. Both were already established comedians, yet a little sour with their little success, but they were about to become not only movie idols, but also film legends.
Ollie antes de Stan / Hardy before Laurel

Norvell Hardy nasceu na Georgia em 1892. Em 1913, já usando o nome Oliver, que era o primeiro nome do seu pai, Hardy entrou no cinema por trás das câmeras. Primeiro, ele abriu sua própria sala de cinema - Hardy foi o mais jovem gerente de sala de cinema nos Estados Unidos!
Mudando-se para a Florida, para os estúdios Lubin, Hardy se tornou responsável por varias coisas, como objetos de cena e iluminação. Ele apareceu em seu primeiro filme em 1914.

De 1914 a 1926, Hardy fez centenas de filmes, geralmente como coadjuvante e quase sempre como valentão, vilão ou personagem muito nervoso.
Norvell Hardy was born in Georgia in 1892. In 1913, already using the name Oliver, that was his father’s first name, Hardy entered the movie business behind the cameras. First, he opened his own movie theater - Hardy was the youngest movie theater manager in the United States!
Moving to the Lubin studio in Florida, Hardy became responsible for several things, like props and lighting. He appeared in his first film in 1914.
From 1914 until 1926, Hardy made hundreds of films, often as a supporting character and usually as a bully, villain or really nervous character.

Stan antes de Ollie / Laurel before Hardy

Arthur Stanley Jefferson nasceu em Lancashire, Inglaterra, em 1890. Ele veio de uma família do teatro, foi uma criança tímida, fez sua estreia nos palcos quando tinha quase 16 anos e, aos 19, foi contratado pela companhia de Fred Karno como substituto de um cara chamado Charles Chaplin.
Em 1912 a companhia fez um tour pelos EUA, e Stan decidiu ficar por lá - Chaplin só migraria para os EUA dois anos depois. Stan trabalhou no teatro por cinco anos, e em 1917 fez sua primeira aparição no cinema.

Stan normalmente era “escada” para as piadas de outros comediantes - como Larry Semon - e em seus filmes de meados dos anos 1920 já é possível vê-lo interpretando personagens ingênuos.
Arthur Stanley Jefferson was born in Lancashire, England, in 1890. He came from a theater family, was a shy kid, made his stage debut when he was about to turn 16 and, at 19, was employed by Fred Karno’s company as an understudy for a little fella called Charles Chaplin.
In 1912 the company toured the US, and Stan decided to stay - Chaplin would only migrate to the US two years later. Stan worked in theater the five following years, and in 1917 he made his first film appearance.
Stan often played second fiddle to other comedians - such as Larry Semon - and in films from the mid-1920s it’s already possible to see him playing naïve characters.


O primeiro encontro: The Lucky Dog (1921) / The first meeting: The Lucky Dog (1921)

Algumas coisas são questão de timing, não de ocasião. Por exemplo: no primeiro filme juntos, “The Lucky Dog” (1921): Oliver Hardy roubou, espancou e ameaçou Stan Laurel com uma arma. Neste filme. “Stanley Laurel” era um homem que havia sido recém-despejado de uma hospedaria, e encontrava um vira-lata que o ajudava a conquistar uma jovem rica. “Babe Hardy” era um ladrão.
“The Lucky Dog” foi filmado alguns anos antes, provavelmente em 191. Podemos afirmar isso por causa da maquiagem nos olhos de Stan - tendência chamada de “kohl eyes” - algo que ele usava apenas nos seus primeiros filmes na década de 1910.
O segundo filme deles foi “45 Minutes From Hollywood” (1926), mas eles não tinham cenas juntos.
 
Some things are a matter of timing, not chance. For instance: in their first screen appearance together, in “The Lucky Dog” (1921), Oliver Hardy robbed, punched and threatened Stan Laurel with a gun. In this film, “Stanley Laurel” was a man who had just been expelled from a boarding house, and found a stray dog that helped him conquer a young heiress. “Babe Hardy” was a thief.
“The Lucky Dog” was shot a few years earlier, probably in 1919. We can say that because of Stan’s strong eye makeup- “kohl eyes” -, something he used only in his earlier movies of the 1910s.
Their second film was “45 Minutes From Hollywood” (1926), but they didn’t appear in scenes together.

A dupla e o legado / The duo and the legacy 

Em 1926, tanto Laurel quanto Hardy foram contratados por Hal Roach - Laurel como roteirista, Hardy como coadjuvante. Normalmente se diz que quem sugeriu que eles formassem uma dupla foi Leo McCarey, então funcionário de Hal Roach. Roach preferia dizer que foi ele mesmo que juntos os extremos para fazer rir. Não importa quem foi. A parceria funcionou. E como!

In 1926, both Laurel and Hardy were hired by Hal Roach - Laurel as a screenwriter, Hardy as a supporting player. It’s often said that their pairing was suggested by Leo McCarey, then a Hal Roach employee. Roach preferred to say it was him that brought the extremes together for laughs. No matter who did it, the partnership worked. And how!

Laurel e Hardy fizeram tanto curtas quanto longas-metragens, tanto filmes mudos quanto filmes falados, e trabalharam em vários estúdios, como o de Roach, MGM e Fox. “Caixa de Música” (1932), feito nos estúdios de Roach e distribuído pela MGM, é um curta-metragem maravilhoso dirigido por James Parrott - irmão de Charley Chase - com gags diversas, variadas e fugindo do óbvio. “Caixa de Música” ganhou o primeiríssimo Oscar de Melhor Curta-metragem.

Laurel and Hardy did both short and feature films, both silents and talkies, and worked in several studios, like Roach’s, MGM and Fox. “The Music Box” (1932), made at Hal Roach studios and distributed by MGM, is a superior short film directed by James Parrott - Charley Chase’s brother - with several varied, not so obvious, gags. “The Music Box” went to win the first ever Oscar for Best Short Film.
No cinema eles amavam comédia física e slapstick, e também experimentaram com trocadilhos e humor verbal nos longas-metragens. As histórias de Laurel e Hardy se expandiram para outros meios, como histórias em quadrinhos e, mais tarde, desenhos animados - aliás, Walt Disney gostava muito deles. Eles também eram favoritos nas redes de televisão e nas reprises, e em alguns lugares ainda é possível encontrar filmes deles sendo exibidos. Desta maneira, muitas gerações cresceram com Laurel e Hardy.

In movies they loved physical comedy and slapstick, and also experimented with puns and verbal humor in feature films. Laurel and Hardy’s stories expanded to other media, such as comic books and, later, cartoons- by the way, Walt Disney liked them very much. They were also favorites for reruns on television and syndication, and in some places they are exhibited until today. This way, many generations grew up with Laurel and Hardy.
Laurel and Hardy cartoon from the 1960s
Mas há muitos de nós que não os conhecemos como “Stan e Ollie”. Aqui no Brasil a duplo foi batizada de “O Gordo e o Magro”, o mesmo nome dos países que falam espanhol (“El Gordo y El Flaco”). Na Alemanha, eles eram “Dick und Doof” (“o Gordo e o Bobo”) e em Portugal, “Bucha e Estica”.

But there are many of us who don’t know them as “Stan and Ollie”. Here in Brazil the duo was baptized as “O Gordo e o Magro”, the same as it was in Spanish-speaking countries (“El Gordo y El Flaco”). In Germany, they were “Dick und Doof” (“Fat and Dumb”) and in Portugal they were “Bucha e Estica” (slangs for someone fat and someone slim).

Brazilian cartoonist Angelo France transformed Timon and Pumbaa in Laurel and Hardy 

Não importa como você os chama, você não pode negar que eles eram uma grande dupla. Não importa onde você vá, lá você vai encontrar lembrancinhas, estátuas e muitas, muitas pessoas que têm doces memórias envolvendo Laurel e Hardy.

No matter how you call then, you can’t deny they were a great duo. No matter where you go, you can find memorabilia, statues and many, many people with tender memories involving Laurel e Hardy.
Disney artist Hank Porter drew Laurel, Hardy and the Three Little Pigs in the early 1930s

This is my contribution to the Dynamic Duos in Classic Film blogathon, hosted by Aurora and Annmarie at Once upon a Screen and Classic Movie Hub.

sexta-feira, 18 de maio de 2018

The Hollywood Revue of 1929

O que era moda em 1929? E o que era novidade? Para responder a ambas as perguntas, você apenas tem de assistir a “Hollywood Revue”, de 1929, que foi de fato o primeiro grande musical da MGM. O filme traz todas as grandes estrelas que tinham contrato com o estúdio – exceto Greta Garbo, Ramon Novarro e Lon Chaney, que prezavam muito pela privacidade – e ele apresenta sequências em two-strip Technicolor, efeitos especiais de encolhimento e muita música e dança.

What was in vogue in 1929? And what was brand new? To answer both these questions, you just have to watch “The Hollywood Revue of 1929”, truly MGM’s first ever extravaganza. The film brings all the big stars under contract with the studio – except Greta Garbo, Ramon Novarro and Lon Chaney, who were very worried with privacy – and it also presents sequences in two-strip Technicolor, downsizing special effects and a lot of singing and dancing.
“Hollywood Revue” é vaudeville filmado para a tela do cinema – e completo com um pequeno intervalo entre os atos. E deveria ser assim mesmo: os shows do chamado “teatro de revista” não tinham uma história única, mas sim apresentavam diversas atrações. Em um palco gigantesco e impressionante, os mestres de cerimônia Conrad Nagel e Jack Benny – representando, respectivamente, o mundo do cinema e o mundo do teatro – apresentam vários números, alguns cheios de piadas, mas a maioria musical. É como se a MGM quisesse dizer: “nossas maiores estrelas conseguem cantar, dançar e falar!”

“The Hollywood Revue of 1929” is vaudeville on the screen – complete with intermission. And of course it is this way: a “revue” is a theatrical show without a plot, presenting several attractions. In a huge, impressive stage, masters of ceremonies Conrad Nagel and Jack Benny – representing, respectively, the movie world and the theater world – present several numbers, some of them full of jokes, but the majority is all about music. It's like MGM wanted to say: “our greatest stars CAN SING, CAN DANCE AND CAN TALK!”
Joan Crawford
Não podemos negar que o tempo não foi bom com o filme, e muitas das piadas hoje não têm graça. Entretanto, Marie Dressler, Polly Moran e Bessie Love formam um trio divertido, e o Gordo e o Magro estão engraçados como sempre ao interpretarem dois mágicos atrapalhados – sendo que o Magro não fala uma palavra! Quem também não fala nada é Buster Keaton, que substitui Carla Laemmle – que usava um provocante biquíni de duas peças – como a filha dançarina de Poseidon, deus dos mares.

We can't deny that time hasn't been kind to the film, and many of the jokes fall flat nowadays. However, Marie Dressler, Polly Moran and Bessie Love make a funny trio, and Laurel and Hardy are they usual selves as two clumsy magicians – even though Laurel doesn't say a word! Another one who doesn't say a word is Buster Keaton, who replaces Carla Laemmle – who was in a risky two-piece swimsuit – as the dancing daughter of Poseidon, the god of the sea.
Joan Crawford é fofa cantando e dançando “Gotta Feeling for You”. Joan é melhor dançarina que cantora, e é óbvio que ela não canta e dança ao mesmo tempo, porque, mesmo havendo a música, seus lábios não se mexem. Não há nada de extraordinário no número de Joan, mas quando as dezenas de dançarinos se juntam no palco, tudo fica melhor: o trabalho de coreografia com o grupo é maravilhoso, e os dançarinos comumente chamam mais atenção que as músicas e os cantores.

Joan Crawford is cute singing and dancing “Gotta Feeling for You”. Joan is a better dancer than singer, and it’s obvious that she is not singing and dancing at the same time, because her mouth does not move, even though the song goes on. There is nothing extraordinary in Joan's number, but when the dozens of dancers join any number, things get much better: the chorus is very well-coordinated and choreographed, and they often distract us from the music and the singers.
Mas o que é aquilo no número “Lon Chaney is Gonna Get You If You Don’t Watch Out?” E uma coreografia ao estilo de Busby Berkeley! Este é um momento interessante, provavelmente influenciado pela Broadway, que é onde Berkeley trabalhava na época. É também uma coincidência curiosa, considerando que Busby Berkeley trabalhou na MGM na década de 1940.

But what is that in the number “Lon Chaney is Gonna Get You If You Don’t Watch Out”? It is a Busby Berkeley-style choreography! It's an interesting bit, much probably coming from Broadway, where Berkeley worked at the time, and a curious coincidence, considering that Berkeley worked at MGM in the 1940s.
Regular Broadway
Berkeley Broadway
O popular cantor de vaudeville Charles King diz ao galã de cinema Conrad Nagel que “hoje, você precisa fazer amor com palavras e música”. Charles menciona uma música que ele interpretara em “Melodia da Broadway” (1929) chamada “You Were Meant For Me”. Para a surpresa de todos, e em especial de Charles, Nagel senta em um piano e interpreta lindamente a música para Anita Page. Mas era tudo um truque, nunca revelado durante o filme: na verdade, era o próprio Charles King que dublou Conrad Nagel na cena! Com ou sem dublagem, Nagel sobreviveu à chegada do cinema falado e teve uma longa carreira como coadjuvante no cinema e na televisão até 1967.

Popular vaudeville singer Charles King says movie star Conrad Nagel that “today, you've got to make love with words and music”. Charles mentions a song he interpreted in “Broadway Melody” (1929) called “You Were Meant For Me”. For everybody’s surprise, and especially Charles’, Nagel sits in a piano and sings the song beautifully to Anita Page. But it all was a trick, not revealed in the movie: actually, it was King himself who dubbed Conrad Nagel’s singing voice! With or without dubbing, Nagel survived the talkie revolution, and had a long career as a supporting player on film and TV until 1967.
E se falamos sobre a transição do cinema mudo para o falado, precisamos mencionar a surpreendente e inteligente sequência de Romeu e Julieta. Filmada em two-strip Technicolor, suas estrelas são John Gilbert e Norma Shearer. A voz de Gilbert é boa, e esta pequena sequência já é suficiente para nos mostrar que a história sobre “a voz de taquara rachada” que é usada para justificar o fracasso de Gilbert no cinema falado é uma falácia. A sequência, já interessante, se torna ainda mais legal quando o diretor da cena, interpretado por Lionel Barrymore, diz aos atores para modernizar as falas, e eles refazem a cena da sacada de Romeu e Julieta usando gírias dos anos 1920.

If we're talking about the silent-to-talkie transition, we must mention the impressive and clever Romeo and Juliet sequence. Shot in two-strip Technicolor, it stars John Gilbert and Norma Shearer. Gilbert's voice is fine, and this simple sequence is enough to show us that the “funny voice story” that is used to justify his short career in talkies is a myth. The already cool sequence becomes even nicer when the scene's director, played by Lionel Barrymore, tells them to modernize the dialogue, and they redo the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet with 1920's slang.
A MGM foi o primeiro estúdio a apresentar uma revista como esta, cheia de estrelas, e a fórmula foi rapidamente copiada por outros estúdios. A Warner Brothers foi o estúdio seguinte, fazendo “A Parada das Maravilhas / The Show of Shows”, filmado quase totalmente em two-strip Technicolor. Depois veio a Fox, com “Dias Felizes”, e então a Paramount com “Paramount em Grande Gala / Paramount on Parade” (1930). A Fox também fez as revistas menores “Fox Movietone Follies” em 1929 (antes da MGM, este filme foi perdido) e em 1930 (o filme sobrevive).

MGM was the first studio to present an all-star revue, and the formula was quickly copied by other studios. Warner Brothers followed with “Show of Shows”, almost fully shot in two-strip Technicolor. The next studio to make a revue was Fox, with “Happy Days”, followed by Paramount with “Paramount on Parade”, from 1930. Fox did also the smaller revues “Fox Movietone Follies” in 1929 (before “Hollywood Revue of 1919”, this film is now lost) and 1930 (still extant).
Se você não gosta de musicais, não chegue perto de “Hollywood Revue”. Quer dizer, se você não suporta um musical com uma história, você é capaz de se imaginar vendo um musical SEM uma história? Caso contrário, se você ama musicais, história do cinema ou se você é um historiador amador e curioso, “The Hollywood Revue of 1929” é um documento interessante – na falta de termos melhores. Afinal, se não é por causa das coisas estranhas que você encontra no processo, por que você estuda história?

If you don’t like musicals, don’t go near “The Hollywood Revue of 1929”. I mean, if you can’t stand a musical with a plot, can you imagine yourself sitting through a musical WITHOUT a plot? On the contrary, if you love musicals, film history or if you are a curious history buff, “The Hollywood Revue of 1929” is an interesting document – for lack of better terms. Because, if not for the weird things you find along the way, why do you study history?

This is my contribution to The MGM Musical Magic Blogathon, hosted by Annette at Hometowns to Hollywood.

terça-feira, 15 de maio de 2018

“Cantando na Chuva” é o melhor remédio / “Singin’ in the Rain” is the best medicine

Quando você está para baixo, e não vê saída para sua situação, o que você faz? Você busca conforto. O conforto pode ser encontrado nas coisas simples da vida, como uma comida gostosa ou, nosso assunto de hoje, um filme animador. Há filmes que lhe deixam alegre quando você está triste, lhe dá forças quando você está para baixo, lhe faz sorrir em meio ao sofrimento. O filme que faz tudo isso comigo é “Cantando na Chuva” (1952). É sempre ótimo vê-lo!

When you’re blue and you don’t know where to go to, what do you do? You seek comfort. That’s the origin of terms like ‘comfort food’ or, our subject today, ‘comfort movie’. It’s that movie that brings you joy when you’re sad, puts you up when you’re down, makes you smile in the middle of sorrow. My comfort movie is “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952). And what a glorious feeling it is to watch it in times of need!
Deixe-me dizer por que “Cantando na Chuva” é o melhor remédio:

Let me tell you why “Singin’ in the Rain” is the best medicine:
É um musical maravilhoso: Eu sei que não é todo mundo que ama musicais – eu já fui uma dessas pessoas tristes que odiavam musicais, dá para acreditar? Mas então eu percebi que os musicais são o gênero cinematográfico mais mágico que existe. Nós suspendemos nossas crenças quando assistimos a musicais. Não nos importamos se os personagens começam a cantar e dançar, do nada, no meio da rua. Os musicais são como sonhos – e quem não deseja que a vida seja, vez ou outra, como um sonho?

It is a wonderful musical: I know that not everybody loves musicals – I was once one of those poor, sad musical-haters, can you believe? But then I saw that the musicals are the most magical genre. We suspend belief when we watch musicals. We don't care if the characters start singing and dancing, out of nowhere, in the middle of the street. Musicals are like dreams – and don't you wish that life was also like a dream sometimes? 
Ensina que você pode fazer algo inesquecível com ‘coisas velhas’: Esta é uma lição para nós, que escrevemos sobre cinema clássico. Nós estamos escrevendo críticas de filmes que estrearam há 60 anos – ou antes disso. Mas nós não precisamos fazer sempre a mesma coisa. Podemos criar algo muito bacana com o material antigo que temos. Apenas duas músicas de “Cantando na Chuva” eram novas, e haviam sido criadas para o filme: ‘Moses Supposes’ e ‘Broadway Rhythm Ballet’. Todas as demais eram canções antigas, incluindo a que dá título ao filme. A mesma coisa com os objetos usados em cena: o carro de Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) havia pertencido a Andy Hardy, e a mobília da casa de Don já havia aparecido em “A Carne e o Diabo” (1926). E mesmo assim, Betty Comden e Adolph Green criaram um filme único, icônico, inesquecível com todo esse material ‘reciclado’!

It teaches you that you can do something remarkable with ‘old material’: This is a lesson for us, classic film bloggers. We’re reviewing movies released 60 years ago – or earlier. We’re writing about dead idols. But we don’t have to do the same thing always. We can create something very cool with the old material we have. Only two songs from “Singin’ in the Rain” were new, created by the movie: ‘Moses Supposes’ and ‘Broadway Rhythm Ballet’. All the others were old songs, including the title song. The same happened to the props: Kathy Selden's (Debbie Reynolds) car was Andy Hardy's and Don's furniture had already appeared in “Flesh and the Devil” (1926). And yet Betty Comden and Adolph Green created a unique, iconic, remarkable movie with all this 'recycled' content!
Ensina como reagir às mudanças: Esta é provavelmente a principal razão por eu ter escolhido “Cantando na Chuva” como o filme que me faz sentir melhor. Todo mundo é, de algum modo, resistente às mudanças – e elas me incomodam MUITO. Entretanto, mudanças são as únicas certezas na vida. O filme mostra a mudança do cinema mudo para o falado, e como isso impactou toda uma indústria e muitas pessoas. E Hollywood não acabou com a chegada dos filmes falados – ela resistiu. Don Lockwood e Cosmo Brown sobreviveram à mudança. E nós certamente podemos sobreviver às mudanças nas nossas vidas, com coragem, resiliência, flexibilidade e um pouco de sorte – e sem uma voz terrível.

It teaches you how to react to changes: This is probably my number 1 reason to choose “Singin’ in the Rain” as my comfort movie. Everybody is, at some degree, afraid of changes – and I’m VERY afraid of them. But changes are the only certain thing in life. The film shows the change from silent movies to talkies, and how it impacted the whole industry and many lives. And Hollywood didn’t end when talkies came – it persevered. Don Lockwood and Cosmo Brown survived the change. And we certainly can survive changes in our lives, with courage, resilience, flexibility and a little luck – and by not having a funny voice.
Ensina a fazer tudo de novo, se necessário: É hora de uma pequena história dos bastidores. Donald O’Connor, que interpreta Cosmo Brown, fumava muito, e viu que o número “Make ‘Em Laugh” era um grande desafio, pois necessitava de muita comédia física. Ele ensaiou e, depois de gravar o número com perfeição, percebeu que estava com dificuldades para respirar. Donald ficou uma semana acamado, e durante este período o negativo original de “Make ‘Em Laugh” foi danificado. Donald O’Connor então voltou ao estúdio e gravou o número novamente. Viu? Às vezes, a segunda vez sai ainda melhor que a primeira!

It teaches you to do things again, if necessary: Time for a little backstage story. Donald O'Connor, who plays Cosmo Brown, was a heavy smoker, and saw a huge physical challenge in the number “Make 'Em Laugh”, that demanded a lot of physical comedy. He rehearsed and, after shooting the number perfectly, collapsed with problems to breath. O'Connor stayed in bed rest for a week, and during that time the original footage of “Make 'Em Laugh” was damaged. Donald O'Connor then came back and shot the number all over again. See? Sometimes the second time is the charm!
Ensina a esperar e não se desesperar: Quando Don, Kathy e Cosmo saíram do cinema, o futuro não parecia brilhante, mas na manhã seguinte o sol surgiu e tudo mudou. Eles poderiam ter desistido quando parecia não haver nada mais a fazer, mas em poucas horas eles pensaram, refletiram, encontraram uma solução e tudo voltou a estar bem. O tempo cura, e nos dá boas ideias e insights.

It teaches you to wait and not freak out: When Don, Kathy and Cosmo left the movie show, the future wasn't bright, but came the dawn the show goes on and everything changed. They could have given up when there seemed to be no way out, but in a few hours they brainstormed a solution and were well again. Time heals, gives us good ideas and insights.
Ensina a não levar tudo a sério: Quando Don Lockwood e Cosmo Brown têm uma aula com um professor de oratória, eles fazem uma farra, tirando com a cara do professor. É uma sequência muito divertida, e uma chance para ambos, Gene Kelly e Donald O’Connor, mostrarem suas habilidades no sapateado. Mesmo se você não consegue repetir a coreografia de ‘Moses Supposes’, o número ensina que você não deve levar tudo a sério, e que precisa rir de suas obrigações, tarefas e até de si mesmo de vez em quando. Obviamente, você não precisa começar a dançar no meio de uma aula chata – pensar em outra coisa já é suficiente.

It teaches you to not take everything so seriously: When Don Lockwood and Cosmo Brown attend a class with a speech coach, they wreck havoc, mocking the ridiculous coach. It’s a very funny sequence, and a chance for both Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor to showcase their tap-dancing skills. Even if you can’t repeat the choreography from ‘Moses Supposes’, the number teaches you to not take everything so seriously, and laugh at your obligations, chores and even yourself every now and then. Of course, you don’t have to start dancing in the middle of a boring class – daydreaming is more than enough to take everything less seriously.
Aproxima as famílias: Minha mãe não é uma grande fã de cinema clássico. Mesmo assim, quando eu a convidei para ver “Cantando na Chuva” comigo no primeiro final de semana de 2016, ela aceitou – talvez por causa da pipoca de caramelo que eu ia fazer. De qualquer modo, ela viu o filme comigo, não cochilou e GOSTOU verdadeiramente de “Cantando na Chuva”. Um pequeno passo para mim, mas um imenso passo para minha mãe enquanto cinéfila em formação!

It brings families together: My mother isn’t the biggest classic film fan. However, when I invited her to watch “Singin’ in the Rain” with me on the first weekend of 2016, she accepted – because of the caramel popcorn I promised, maybe? Anyway, she watched the movie with me, didn’t fall asleep and actually LIKED it. A small step for me, but a huge step for my mom as a budding cinephile!


Happy National Classic Movie Day!

This is my contribution to The Classic Comfort Movie Blogathon, hosted by Rick from Classic Film and TV Café.


sábado, 5 de maio de 2018

O Homem Miraculoso / The Miracle Man (1919)

TRADUÇÃO EM PORTUGUÊS EM BREVE!

The Miracle Man” is a lost film. No, no copies of it have been found so far. No, I haven’t found some reels in my attic – the most exciting thing I’ve found recently in my attic was a spider. And how come I am writing about it? One of the Commandments of Film Criticism, a list created by me, is “you shall not analyze a film you haven’t watched”. Am I disobeying my own rule?
No. Because I’m not writing an analysis or a critical review of “The Miracle Man”. I’m actually making a reconstruction of this treasured lost film – it’s a detective’s work or, more precisely, an archaeological work. Considered that I flirted with being both a detective and an archaeologist when I was younger, this is not only a huge responsibility but also a dream coming true.

But WHY “The Miracle Man”, when all silent film fans know that the Holy Grail of lost film is another Lon Chaney flick, “London After Midnight” (1927)? Well, I chose “The Miracle Man” for personal reasons. I first heard of it – and of Lon Chaney – when I watched Chaney’s curious biopic “Man of a Thousand Faces”, made in 1957 and starring my favorite actor, James Cagney. Cagney’s recreation of a scene from “The Miracle Man” impressed me beyond words. And then a love for Chaney was born.


The Historical Sources

You might be asking: “how the hell will she reconstruct a lost movie?”. I’ll answer: through Brazilian film magazines. We, Brazilians, usually joke that this country knows no limits. Well, Brazilian film magazines knew no limits either: from the silent era onwards, until the 1950s, when most of them were extinct, these magazines published the whole plot of a film, together with stills. No criticism, no analysis: only spoilers. The magazines, however, were written in an archaic Portuguese – because the Portuguese language went through many changes in the past century.

The magazine
And thank God for those spoilers! I can only reconstruct the film because of them! I used here, to reconstruct the movie, the magazine “A Scene Muda”, that brought the story as adapted from the novel by Frank L. Packard to the screen. The whole story was published in six numbers in 1921 (numbers 12 to 18), and most images in this article are from the magazine. 

The Story – part 1 – The Swindlers

The Miracle Man” is set in a picturesque New York neighborhood – a place where children are poor and malnourished, yet money flows in nearby cabarets where the bourgeois has fun. At night, the darkness is almost total – only the cabarets offer some light to the sad streets. Looks like “The Penalty” (1920), another Chaney film.
One night, a policeman stops the traffic, and everybody looks at what may be causing the trouble: a horrid shapeless creature, with angry eyes and a face that shows, more than humanity, suffering. He walks with his elbows in the ground, his back protected by a leather piece, and his face turned upwards. He is The Frog and, yes, it is Lon Chaney at the screen.

Chaney
Many people look at him, some curious, some disgusted, some full of pity. A few of those people put coins in his deformed hand. He can’t say no. An older couple gives The Frog some money and enters a cabaret, an ugly building with a bar, a restaurant and some boarding rooms to rent. There they find all kinds of people: Chinese immigrants, prostitutes with exaggerated make-up, gamblers and drunkards. The woman is horrified with what she sees, while the man seems to be used to that sighting.

A girl is harassed by a drunken man, and goes far from him. She sits with a first-timer, a young man that was the first to give money to The Frog. The young man doesn’t want anything with the girl, and when she goes back to the place she was, the man attacks her – he wanted her to take money away from the silly young man. The young man enters the fight and saves the woman. The old woman, Mrs Higgins, is ecstatic with the action. The young man and the old woman give money to the girl to go away from that life. The young man introduces himself as Tom Burke (Thomas Meighan).
The girl, now with a good amount of money, gets out of the cabaret and in again, after helping a drunken woman. The girl is Rose (Betty Compson), and she goes to the second floor and enters a big room. A few moments later the crippled man enters. With a few movements, he puts all his members back in their place. The Frog is not really crippled: he is a swindler and his name is Jimmy. Lon Chaney has just surprised us. Then, the man who was harassing Rose enters the room and asks how much she had made that night. The man is Harry (J.M. Dumont) and he pretends to have tuberculosis to earn money from donations.
The gang
A man enters pretending he is from the police. It’s Tom Burke, also part of the scheme. After him enters the Japanese man (Kisaburô Kurihara) who guides the bourgeois to the cabaret, wanting his share of the money. Rose only presents a little of it, and the Japanese man gets angry, but Tom dissuades him of fighting. He goes out. Tom announces that he’ll use all the money in a new scheme, to what Jimmy protests, wanting his share. Tom orders all to give away the money, and they do.

Tom’s scheme is based on a newspaper article he found, about a deaf and blind man who can cure any illness. Tom tells that his plan is to go see the man in the village he lives in and pretend he was cured. Then Rose and Harry would go after him to help the story spread through newspaper, and at last Jimmy would do his contortionist trick and they would start managing the blind man’s cures – for a big price, obviously.


The Story – part 2 – The Miracle

Tom hit the road and, near the village of Needley, started pretending he was suffering from vertigo. Tom got out of his car and was quickly surrounded by peasants. He asked for a doctor. They said there was no doctor there, but he could see the Patriarch (Joseph J. Dowling). Tom is taken to him by peasant Hiram Higgins (F.A. Turner). The Patriarch, a strong old man in his seventies, was already waiting for them in front of his house. Tom felt some strange feeling when he got near the Patriarch.

Tom and Rose
The Patriarch walked to Tom and put his hand over Tom’s head, what impressed Tom very much. The Patriarch then left and Tom, saying he was cured, started talking with Higgins again. After Higgins offered him a place to stay, Tom saw Higgins’ daughter, Ruth (Lucille Hutton), with a little boy who walked with crutches (Frankie Lee). Tom learned that the little boy was the local teacher’s son, and his father didn’t want the boy to see the Patriarch because he didn’t believe in his curative powers.

Rose arrives at Needley two days later, wearing simple clothes and not using any make-up. With a few fake documents, she was going to impersonate the Patriarch’s niece, who left Needley as a child and never returned.
Tom and Rose in Needley
Jimmy and Harry followed, and traveled calling all the attention they could. In the train, Jimmy kept saying that he was going to see a miracle man who would cure him of his deformities, which called the attention of the other passengers, including siblings Richard (Lawson Butt) and Claire King (Elinor Fair). They were rich, and Claire suffered with a paralysis and needed a wheelchair to go anywhere. Listening to Jimmy, they decided to see the miraculous man, too.
At the same time, Tom tried to send the boy with crutches away to not spoil the whole miracle show, however the boy’s father once again refused, saying his son had an incurable disease and wasn’t going anywhere.

On the big day, a crowd followed Jimmy and Claire to the Patriarch’s house. Jimmy had convinced many of the train passengers to follow him and watch the miracle – including two journalists. Jimmy was covered in sweat and was making an extra hard effort to walk, with his elbows, on the irregular soil. He moved like a reptile on the ground.

When they arrived, the Patriarch started walking towards them. Everybody seemed skeptical – everybody but Claire, who started smiling with hope when she saw the Patriarch. In the front line, the boy with crutches observed.
Jimmy nears the Patriarch
Jimmy started shaking when he got near the Patriarch. It was show time. With his face pale, Jimmy seemed to suffer while doing his gymnastics, and put his members on the right place, one by one. He stood up and touched the Patriarch.

Silence. Everybody was impressed. An old woman passed out. The happiest of all people was the little boy with crutches, who then realized he could be cured, too. The little boy ran to the Patriarch, excited, and as he ran his legs got stronger, he left the crutches, and suddenly he was walking freely. The little boy hugged the Patriarch, moved. This is the scene we have extant,and it’s beautiful!

Everybody is speechless, but Tom, Rose, Harry and Jimmy are speechless. Tom feels he just committed sacrilege with his trick. Soon Claire King got up from her chair, in a suave and delicate way, and started walking, too.
Claire and the boy hug the Patriarch

The Story – Part 3 – The Business

Tom believes that both the “miracles” were a matter of suggestion – maybe a disease of the mind prevented Claire and the boy from walking? Anyway, Tom talks to the journalists, saying that he, too, was cured by the miracle man. Tom shows them the Patriarch’s house, and there he informs that he wants to create an economical fund to help poor sick people travel to Needley to see the Patriarch.

Everybody likes the idea and contributes. Tom writes a big check and Richard writes one twice as big. Rich men from Needley give money, and even the little boy gives a few coins to the fund. Rose is there, helping the Patriarch to sit in his usual chair to rest.

The three crooks
When everybody left, Rose hugged and kissed Tom. He told her to get out. Then she lit a cigarette, something Tom also criticized. Rose sat in corner, feeling upset.

The newspapers talked about Jimmy’s cure, the most impressive of the three that happened that day, and people started peregrinating towards Needley. All those people were rich, and after their cure – or the cure of their relatives – they gave a lot of money and expensive jewels for Tom’s fund. Tom, of course, kept everything and didn’t help any poor sick person.

Tom took care of the business while the others had fun. Jimmy started helping an old lonely woman who lived next door to the Patriarch. She said her only son would be Jimmy’s age if he hadn’t died. As Jimmy helped her with daily activities, she offered to pay him. He refused and said that, because she lost her son and Jimmy didn’t have a mother, he’d consider her as his mother. The old lady cried of happiness.
Jimmy and his new mother

Harry was at first upset with the lack of action in Needley, but he fell in love with Ruth Higgins and accepted a job at her father’s farm, to Tom’s surprise. Harry worked hard and, one day, decided to be totally honest with Hiram Higgins and tell him what he felt about Ruth. Mr. Higgins agreed with the relationship, and Harry and Ruth got engaged.
Harry and the Patriarch
The day before Harry got engaged Rose refused a pearl necklace from Tom, preferring to sew the Patriarch’s coat. Rose was also being courted by Richard King, but Tom didn’t pay attention to that, because he was worried only with his profit. That’s why Tom didn’t accept Richard’s invitation for a boat ride, but Rose did. When Jimmy said that Richard liked Rose, Tom punched him, and Jimmy fell. Jimmy, however, decided not to fight further, and left. When he passed near the Patriarch, Jimmy prayed for him to convert Tom and turn him into a good man.

Richard’s boat got stuck in sand, and couldn’t leave the place until the following morning. To save Rose’s reputation, Richard was willing to swim to the shore, but Rose stopped him, because he wasn’t a good swimmer and could die. They hugged, but Richard resisted the urge to kiss her. In his house, Tom was crazy with jealousy, and willing to kill Rose and Richard when they came back.
Rose and Richard

The Story – Part 4 – Conclusion

When they saw Rose arriving the next morning, Jimmy and Harry told her to be careful. With her conscience clean, Rose entered the house. Tom had given up his violent plan. Tom started being sarcastic, and Rose started defending Richard. Tom got more and more nervous, and when he put his hands up to hurt Rose, the Patriarch entered the room and put both his hands over Tom’s shoulders.

Tom put his hands down and, putting his head over one of the Patriarch’s hands, started crying. Harry and Jimmy entered the house, speechless. Tom was sorry, and decided to end the fund and leave Needley. Tom said he would keep the jewels, and the other three could share the money. Jimmy was the first one to refuse, saying he preferred to remain poor with his beloved new mother.

Harry refused, too, saying his fiancée wouldn’t accept the money, because they lived a simple life. Jimmy and Harry left. Tom stayed with Rose, and asked her what she would say if Richard asked her to marry him. Tom wanted to kill Richard and go away with Rose. Rose answered Tom: “you’ll know”.
Harry's change
Richard arrived as Tom left. Tom shook his rival’s hand, in a fake act of politeness. Richard and Rose started walking through the fields, and he proposed. She said she couldn’t marry him, and told him the truth about her life. Richard asked if Rose still loved Tom. She said yes.

Richard left, met Tom, said goodbye and told him to go on with the fund for poor sick people. Tom felt extremely ashamed and went back to the Patriarch’s house. He opened a case full of jewels and started crying. He was alone and ashamed of his villainy. He wanted to be like his friends, who changed and became simple, good people in that village.
Tom and Rose
Rose touched his shoulders. She had a pious look, and remembered him he still had a salvation. She said he isn’t an evil man, and she trusted him to run the fund, just like Richard said. A few minutes later, they went downstairs holding hands. The Patriarch, Jimmy and Harry were there. The Patriarch touched Tom’s and Rose’s hands and died.

The Patriarch’s dog licked its owner’s hand. All the people cried in the room. Very moved, Jimmy said they owned everything to the old man, and they could go on with his work if they were good people, because the Patriarch’s key for being a miracle man was having good thoughts.


Influences

The Miracle Man” premiered in Brazil in 1921. In the beginning of the following year, it was voted as the second best film shown in the country in 1921 by the readers of the magazine “Para Todos”, after only “Male and Female”, a DeMille-Swanson picture.“The Miracle Man” had such an impact that, in some 1924 numbers of the same magazine, it is still cited as an example of a great film yet to be matched.


The film was remade in 1932, with Sylvia Sidney, Chester Morris and Hobart Bosworth as the Patriarch. In the 1957 biopic “Man of a Thousand Faces”, the scene in which Jimmy is cured by the Patriarch is seen been shot, and it curiously is more moving in the 1957 recreation, probably because it shows Cagney in close-up, while the original scene was in a long shot – and the highlight in the 1919 movie was the little boy being cured, not Chaney.

Director George Loane Tucker made only one more film after “The Miracle Man”, and passed away in 1921. When this happened, the magazine Cinearte called him “the greatest director after Griffith”. “The Miracle Man” was a turning point in the careers of both Betty Compson and Lon Chaney, who then became big stars. Thomas Meighan was already popular – and, according to one publication, wasn’t able to cry on camera, so the director let him starve and not sleep until for two days he managed to do the scene and cry out of exhaustion.  
We can know the exact plot of “The Miracle Man”, but a lot is still lost: the expressions, the energy put in the performances, the special effects and camera angles. All of those could only be analyzed and enjoyed if the film is found. They say an image is worth a thousand words. This is, by far, my biggest post here, but still not enough to fully recreate the experience of watching “The Miracle Man”. Let’s hope for a copy to appear – after all, miracles do happen in the silent film world.

This is my contribution to the Lon Chaney blogathon, hosted by Ruth and Maddy at Silver Screenings and Maddy loves her classic films.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...