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Last night, Easter Eve, I watched movies by myself, Jan’s daughter visiting for part of Saturday / Sunday. I’m on a biblical movie kick: The Robe, The Story of Ruth, the Book of Esther … this, that, and the other gospel … Mid-Esther I was ODing on low budget Old Testament, everything seemed to have the same stage set, the same cast, you know, the court of Xerxes in your back yard, what I let bubble up my list seemed a nice bit of entertainment dreck, Eraser. Ponder the cast and you may see what I mean, whether or not you recall Eraser:
Vanessa L. Williams
Is my point making itself so far?
One female in the mix, does that help?
I go just a bit further:
But just the first tier should suffice: they’re all, at least the males, character actors.
Assemble such a cast, mix in somebody who can handle a camera, paint a set, cut and splice film, read a light meter … The movie makes itself!
I watched Eraser last night and my jaw dropped. So great! James Caan as the fool-everybody patriot-villain: breaker-of-trusts.
James Coburn: half a century of male posing.
Well, who better to pose with than Arnold Schwarzenegger? He practically invented male posing! Take Hollywood, add Arnold … Hollywood taught Reagan how to pose … but then Arnold taught Hollywood how to be Hollywood!
Arnold is more Arnold after half a century of memorizing every millimeter of his jaw, his cheek, his buttock, his biceps … despite that ghastly non-English! Don’t try to fake it, he can’t learn, just accept it, the one glaring fault, too absurd to fake.
In the mid-1970s I was peddling Gail Bruce serigraphs around the US, inventing her. I placed one in a gallery on Bleeker Street, A Clean Well-Lighted Place, run by a nice queer. Clean is right, straight lines. Not only was the Gail Bruce soon framed in the window, soon retailed and missing from the window, but a life-size grayscale pic of Arnold stood in your way if you entered.
It was one of those Arnold pix we’ve each seen a million times, black and white … How many of those did A Clean Well-Lighted Place sell each and every day? In Greenwich Village? with that homosexual-tolerant population base? I bet it almost covered the nut: the rest (almost) would be gravy.
I know how many of that particular Gail Bruce A Clean Well-Lighted Place sold because they only came from me. When A Clean Well-Lighted Place’s sales slowed down I sold them to a competitor over on Sixth Avenue: we saturated that neighborhood (and Chicago, and LA … Fishermans Warf …
So I knew Arnold from those days, 1975. And I would have been ready to hail him as The Terminator any time around then. Fine. Still, I didn’t expect that he would have gotten quite so under my skin as last night’s viewing proved.
But there’s something else I gotta say first, related, I guess, in a half-perverted way:
Vanessa Williams is I guess her own icon, of sorts, but till last hight, I never saw her! I guess I was reacting against her being shoved up our nose: like I’ve never bought a single issue of Playboy, I’ve never bought a single issue of National Inquirer …
My loss! What a beautiful girl! What great color.
No, I’m not punning. Never mind Arnold, or Caan, or Coburn: put Vanessa in a room with a minimally competent cinematographic crew and you’ll have something memorable.
One or two moments in the film were a little vulgar, but what they hay.
Making Your Nut
2016 04 06 Above I speculated that the gallery A Clean Well-Lighted Place may have sold enough copies of that one Arnold Schwarzenegger poster to cover its expenses: rent, power … Payroll was just the one guy so in a pinch he could skip his own salary. The consideration I neglected to mention was that the gallery was also a frame shop: like most galleries. Framing is priced such that a a shop which does its own framing can practically give the art work away and still make out like a bandit. If the painting is valued in the millions you can practically give away the frame no matter how much gold gilt and fancy tooling the frame displays. But if you have a good deal with the frame manufacturer, you can practically give the art work away.
When I was in college I could buy a poster of a Cézanne or a Picasso at a buck each. By 1975 $1 had became $5 or $10. Say the Arnold muscle picture retailed to $10. Say your paid $5 for it wholesale. Not too many businesses can run for $5 a day. But don’t forget the frame! Even the cheapest extruded aluminum frmae molding is going to retail at a buck a foot: Arnold nearly life sized: that’s going to come to $60: or $100. Lots of businesses can get by on a gross income of $100 a day. $10 for the pic? one that sells? You’re grossing $100, $110 a day, easy. Anything else you sell is gravy.
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