Non-time travel films (#SFWApro)

falconTHE MALTESE FALCON (1941) is a classic adaptation of Dashell Hammet’s novel in which Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) takes on a case for worried client Mary Astor, then gets drawn into the quest for a mysterious black bird statue (you can see me holding a copy to your left, though I didn’t get the hardboiled sneer I was trying for). This embroils him with the sinister Fat Man (Sidney Greenstreet), foppish Peter Lorre and petulant “gunsel” (a yiddish word for gay, not slang for a gunman) Elisha Cook Jr. Stylish and memorable, though not up to The Big Sleep in my or TYG’s opinion. “The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.”

Reading Peter Stanfield on Hollywood Westerns inspired me to Netflix some Gene Autry, though I’m not sure SIOUX CITY SUE (1946) is representative of his output, as it’s more Hollywood parody than straight singing-cowboy stuff. The story involves a pretty talent scout recruiting rancher Autry to sing in a cowboy movie, without mentioning that he’s playing the voice of a cartoon donkey. And while Stanfield argues the women in Autry films were often stronger than in A-list productions, the female lead here is pretty stock (she only finds redemption by becoming a farm cook and housekeeper). That said, the Hollywood aspects made this more palatable than I find many B-movie Westerns and Autry really does have a good voice—the title song is surprisingly  hummable. “He said to tell you that molasses is flowing all over the place and beef is in the soup.”

POKEMON 4EVER (2001) actually does have a very slight time-travel aspect, as one of the protagonists is a boy displaced from 40 years in the past by a time-bending Pokemon. Despite a related ending twist, this is mostly a straight Pokemon tale as the boy and his companion become targets of an evil Pokemon hunter, with Ash and his friends trying to save them. “The friendly Pokemon you knew is gone forever!”

THE FRAME (2014) is a metafictional exercise in which a stressed out Latina EMT discovers the star of her favorite TV show about a Latino criminal trying to go straight is actually a Real Person—and that she, in turn, is the star of his favorite show (I thought this might be a parallel world setup, but no). The two mundane lives aren’t quite interesting enough to hold me (which in fairness may reflect my taste in TV) and another problem is why only one of them is fictional (if the woman is real, why does she show up on the guy’s TV?). “It’s a dark show—they’re not going to give the audience a happy ending.”

1 Comment

Filed under Movies, Now and Then We Time Travel

One response to “Non-time travel films (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: Reviews of things that aren’t time travel (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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