Which brings us to the obligatory Ocular Candy, which, as you know, we post on these occasions in lieu of a piñata or Ann Coulter effigy.
Grauman's Chinese Theater is celebrating its 85th anniversary by screening a series of classic films, and offering tickets for 25 cents. On Monday I saw WINGS (1927), winner of the first Academy Award for Best Picture, and it stirred a series of random thoughts:
1. It was a decent restoration, although seemingly drawn from multiple prints and sources. It began with an overture, then dissolved through every iteration of Paramount Picture's stars-and-peak logo going back to the silent era, and I was surprised to see how subtle were the differences; unlike Universal, they never abandoned key, iconic design elements like the circling aeroplane, and happily -- unlike Warner Brothers -- never went through an ugly "mod" period, although the mid-Seventies Gulf and Western version came close.
2. During the aerial battle scenes it doesn't require a lip-reader to see that Richard Arlen was a bit of a potty-mouth.
3. Poor Buddy Rogers spends the first two-thirds of the film with the Heartbreak of Archie Andrews Hair, and the last with Sudden Onset Reed Richards Syndrome.
4. Men were much more in touch with their emotions in 1927; these guys never stop weeping.
5. Oddly, they trimmed the male nudity. (Really, Paramount? It's not like the racist caricatures in Birth of a Nation -- who was going to be offended by a two second shot of naked bums in an Army induction office?) However, the flash of Clara Bow's naked breasts (seen in a mirror) remains intact, along with a liberal dash of Second Act side-boob. But it's bespoke, 1920s boobage, which reminded me of something the Good Doctor said when suggesting s.z. and I consider Clint Eastwood's Changeling (2008) as sequel fodder. In a brief compendium of the film's failures, he singled out Angelina Jolie's unlikely Flapper, writing, "First of all, nature didn't start production on the Angelina Jolie version of female pulchritude until the 1970's, when Russ Meyer rolled out the first models."
I think Jayne Mansfield might dispute that, but like I said, he's not a man who quails before controversy, so please join me in wishing Dr. BDH a very happy birthday.