Saturday, May 06, 2006

Movie: West of Zanzibar (1928)

This film, one of several collaborations between Lon Chaney and director Tod Browning, features a twisted revenge plot that Park Chan-wook would love. Chaney plays ‘Dead-Legs,’ a crippled stage magician who sets himself up as ruler of a corner of darkest Africa. It’s all part of his plan to wreak vengeance on the man who destroyed his life, the centerpiece of which is the defilement of the man’s daughter. Don’t let anyone tell you that they didn’t get up to some serious mayhem in the silent picture days.

The big plot twist will surprise absolutely no one. But Chaney is riveting, and Browning is again able to capture the sense that something unholy is afoot in every frame.

The movie was remade a mere four years later as Kongo, with Walter Huston stepping into the Chaney role. Rosemarie saw it during a Pre-Code festival at the Film Forum in New York, and says it’s every bit as unhinged as the original. Turner Classic Movies was supposed to show Kongo earlier this week, but replaced it with a Richard Dix western. Not the shock I was anticipating.

TV: MLB Extra Innings

The main benefit of this service is that I get to Meet The Mets every game. (Everybody, sing along!) As a bonus, I’m now also able to enjoy the legendary Vin Scully as he calls games for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Harry Shearer has been doing his dead-on impersonation of Scully on The Simpsons for years. It’s great to hear the man himself.

All the baseball I’ve been watching this season does raise a few questions. Remember when relief pitchers would be driven out to the mound in a golf cart shaped liked a giant baseball wearing the team cap? Why don’t they do that anymore? And where did all those carts go? I can’t find any on eBay.