The rain was pounding down hard on the City of Beans, the kind of rain that can almost scrub the filth off the streets . . . but not quite. My partner and I were sitting in our office, staring at our agency name backwards on the glass door: sevitceteD; ekiM, xaM when suddenly . . . SHE clopped in. Another damn pony. Ponies are nothing but trouble; we both remembered our deceased third partner, Bumpy O’Toole, gone to that great glue factory in the sky. This one was definitely trouble; fancy bridle with silver chasings, the best high-heeled horseshoes . . . but you could still sense that there was blood on those hooves . . .
Yes, in this week’s episode of our “Monochrome” series, we’re walking the dark, sullen streets of one of the classics of Film Noir, “The Maltese Falcon.” All the usual suspects are here: Bogey, Peter Lorre, Sidney Greenstreet, Mary Astor, and they’re all looking for . . . wait, I know this . . . some sort of statue . . . of a . . . chicken? Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s a chicken statue. From . . . I want to say, Cleveland? Well, tune in and find out the fate of the Cleveland Chicken . . . that doesn’t sound right . . . The Des Moines Duck? The Albanian Albatross? Tune in, it’ll come to me.
Poll question: Who is your favorite cinematic detective?
Thanks for joining us here in the land of light and shadow, our series on black-and-white movies called “Monochrome.” I mean, the series is called “Monochrome,” the movies all have their own titles. I think. Maybe there’s a movie called “Monochrome” and I just forgot . . . it seems like I forget so many things these days. I should stay home, not be with other people . . . it could make the madness worse. Who said I was mad? Was it you? Was it me? Whose judgement can I trust? WHAT’S HAPPENING TO ME? Why am I trying to gaslight myself?! Hey, ever wondered where the term “gaslighting somebody” came from? Well, tough, because you’re going to find out anyway! It originated with this week’s movie, George Cukor’s tense psychological thriller “Gaslight” with Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer and (somewhat inexplicably) Joseph Cotton again, no doubt while he was awaiting his nomination for the Manchurian Candidate. So, join us and see which one of us is slowly going mad (spoiler: it’s totally Mike. Mike is completely insane. The tiny people who live in my dental floss container explained it all to me).
Poll question: what movie is your favorite just in terms of costume or wardrobe? What movie makes the wardrobe practically a character on its own?
Hello there, young ‘uns! Us folk here at Max, Mike; Movies got us a brand spanking new series, by cracky! And this time we’re doing PROPER movies, GOOD movies, made the RIGHT way, the way they USED TO MAKE ‘EM before all this new-fangled nonsense showed up. Yup, just like everyone secretly wants but no one will admit, we’re doing a whole series on black-and-white movies! Technicolor, Eastmancolor, Ansco Color . . . phooey! In our day, we only had black, white, and grey and we LIKED it like that! And you’re gonna see why, as we start off with that classic “The Third Man,” starring Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles. And they do it all without using that whole fancy chunk of the visible light spectrum you kids think is the bee’s knees. But don’t think we’re just old fogeys who aren’t up on the latest gimcracks and gizmos! These movies are TALKIES! That’s right, pretty much all of them have actual sound . . . not that we needed that in my day; if you wanted to watch a movie at home, you had to hire a professional pipe organ player to hitch his rig to a team of oxen, haul it over to your house, knock down the back wall, and play while you watched the movie. And we LIKED it like that! So tune in and see what movies are supposed to be like when you don’t need to use the cones in your eyes, by gum!
Poll question: what is your favorite black-and-white movie? When does color just not matter because black-and-white is all you need?