Karnavalnaya Noch (1956, USSR, Ryazanov)
I had no idea that in the Soviet Union in 1956 you could make a musical about how the spirit of youth will triumph over the habits of old, stupid men still stuck in the Stalin era. But they did. They really did. Watched it all. It’s basically a Soviet The Band Wagon. I’m now officially a fan of mid-50s Soviet cinema. I wonder how long they got away with doing things like this. The satire here is almost subversive.
War and Peace (1956, USA)
This sort of movie is made for people who don’t want it to be known that they don’t know what the great classic novels they haven’t read are all about. Well, I haven’t read War and Peace, but, although I’m not proud of this, I’m certainly not going to cheat by watching it. Watched: 5 minutes.
Bus Stop (1956, USA)
This is one of those charming comedies where, by changing just a few lines and the way they’re spoken, you end up with the disturbing tale of a retarded backwater rapist who kidnaps and forcibly marries a weak-willed bimbo. Watched it before, and again now. It’s a strange movie, even if you don’t see it as a rape tragedy. Both the main characters are annoyingly stupid, but for some odd reason the movie itself isn’t. It seems to be showing us what you’re left with when you take away all the dishonest pleasantries of courting: An ugly, pathetic war of the sexes. In other words, we’re better off being hypocrites.