Car Trouble

Today is my birthday, so it seemed fitting to post something from the year of my birth, 1964. Yes, 1964 had the New York World’s Fair, Mary Poppins, LBJ’s landslide election, and the arrival of the Beatles at JFK. But more importantly, Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte was released. This was a follow-up to the hugely successful Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. Bette Davis plays an aged southern debutante who is nuts. Olivia de Havilland is her kind and gentle cousin who has come to care for her. After de Havilland throws the back-woods maid, Agnes Moorehead, down the stairs. It becomes clear she’s not so gentle.

Charlotte is great to watch if you need tips on life. If the maid is to annoying, shove her down the stairs. If you are driving and your passenger won’t stop yammering, pull over and smack them senseless. I won’t ruin the rest of the film, but there are many other great suggestions including how to use an ax properly, what to do with heavy planters on the balcony, and how to dress after driving a relative insane.

 

Very pretty pretty pretty

Warning or congratulations: There is some nudity above.

The first movie we see as a child leaves an indelible mark. Many of my friends cite the following: The Sound of Music, Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, even the bizarre Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The first movie recall seeing was Barbarella at a theater on Van Ness in San Francisco. I am convinced the typographic strip scene for the titles began my love for typography. It’s interesting that Barbarella was made in 1968, the same year 2001: A Space Odyssey. 2001 is a hard-edged technologically driven vision of the future. Barbarella is soft and sexual. They share a connection to psychedelia. The final scenes of 2001, and most of Barbarella are clearly about an altered mind experience. While I love 2001, Jane Fonda’s fur lined spaceship is ingrained on my soul. If I had a spaceship and needed to spend months in space, I’d much rather have her groovy carpeted van version with the sexually ambiguous computer, over the pristine Discovery One and Hal (wait he’s sexually ambiguous also).