Some selected images from Jeanne Eagels (George Sidney, 1957):
Yeah, I finally bit the bullet last night and watched the damn thing (the new DVD, that is, from the new Kim Novak collection from Sony) in all its glory on my 13-inch backup TV. Quite a whacked-out picture, surely; certain portions of it had me spinning my wheels, speculating as to whether Sidney was in fact some diabolical hybrid of Douglas Sirk and Ed Wood. A subject for further research to be sure, although I don't know if I have the intestinal fortitude to go back to those late '30s "Our Gang" shorts, in which all the kids have by now reached middle age, or something. Anyway. Eagels is cited by the Surrealist critic and filmmaker Ado Kyrou as one of those "sublime melodramas in which the most unbridled sense of the baroque remains senseless for those unable to read between the images." Also on his lists are a couple of Sirks (Written on the Wind and Imitation of Life), which means maybe I'm on to something; the "admirable" Minnelli film which gives this blog its name; and, um, Jack Webb's Pete Kelly's Blues. Watching this again also reminded me of how, way back in the day, when I'd get into a political argument with my friend and then colleague Ed Hulse (whose book on Lone Pine in the movies you should definitely own), and he would have my back to the wall on some issue or other, the only thing I would have left would be to exclaim, "I don't need you! I don't need anybody! I'm Jeanne Eagels!" Which would crack him up to the extent that he would at least stop attacking me, sob.
Anyhow, as you may have noticed, I'm kind of queer for Novak. No, wait, that came out wrong. How about, I've ever been of the considered opinion that she can do no wrong. (My mom tells me that even as a very small child I "liked" her, but I've never asked for Mater to give me any more specific example of how said like was manifested.) I feel about her pretty much as that MacMahonist nut felt about Charlton Heston, that her mere presence in any film was enough to create beauty. And there, above, she is. How can one disagree, I wonder. Some things are just, you know, cinematically sound. Novak was always one of them.
UPDATE: "This photo needs a proper 'lol' caption," notes commenter Dizzy, but his link doesn't work. No matter, I found it, and decided that in this case simpler is better.