Sunday, July 29, 2007

Kicking Against the Pricks

I'm the very happy recipient of a DVD copy of Black Snake Moan. Not only do I like the movie, but there are extras, commentary by writer/director Craig Brewer, short commentaries on its making, another one on the blues, and one on Blind Lemon Jefferson's circa 1926 song, "The Black Snake Moan."

Black Snake Moan -- not to be confused with Russ Meyer's 1973 film Black Snake / Blacksnake! /aka The Duchess of Doom or Black Snake: The Whip, set in 1853 and filmed on Barbados. I have yet to catch this one, which supposedly has an anti-racist, anti-colonial subtext. A film that certainly does is Gillo Pontocorvo's Queimada / Burn! / The Mercenary (1969) starring Marlon Brando as "Sir Richard Walker," complete with outlandish English accent.

And not to be confused with the 1913 silent film, The Black Snake, either. Pictured just above is Marilyn Monroe posing for Richard Avedon as silent film star Theda Bara, whose birthday is today. Hot stuff.

Today's Rune: Growth.

Birthdays: Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville, Booth Tarkington, Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini, Theda Bara, William Powell, Mikis Theodorakis (Z soundtrack), Monica Calhoun.



Danny Tagalog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danny Tagalog said...

Oh man - do you have a copy of "Queimada / Burn! / The Mercenary (1969) starring Marlon Brando as "Sir Richard Walker"?

There is someone very close to me and the Tagalog clan known as "Richard Walker"!

All great movies that I will try and order soon...

Pythia3 said...

Wow, I love that photo of Marilyn! How exotic and erotic.
Do you know, I have yet to see, "Black Snake Moan." I was not sure if I wanted to see it - until now.
Growth . . . always good in hindsight. I hope it doesn't hurt today! It's too beautiful of a day for pain.
I think I need to unpack my Runes - but I'm scared!

Charles Gramlich said...

I don't intend to watch Black Snake Moan and I'm actually surprised so many folks of a "liberal" stance choose to see it. The ads, such as the picture shown here, are clearly demeaning to women and the whole things seems racist to me. How can a picture of a woman with a chain on her be anything but pornographic?

Johnny Yen said...

I had Charles' impression of the movie, but everybody I've talked to who actually saw it raved about it.

MacGuffin said...

I love the poster for Black Snake Moan... woderfully trashy.

Bubs said...

Great post title, great post. Russ Meyer, delta blues, sex heat and humidity...oh yeah.

I just found out that that "kicking against the pricks" line refers to a Bible verse. I thought it was just Nick Cave or Johnny Cash being profane.

Erik Donald France said...

Danny, my mistake -- it's Sir William Walker! Named after the guy who filibustered his way into Nicaragua. Movie now on DVD; I have an old VHS copy.

Pythia, it is wild, isn't it?

Charles and Johnny, it's a good (even corndog really) tale of redemption underneath, New Testament and New South. Christina Ricci knew what she was doing with this role.

MacG' yes indeed!

Bubs, all the way, man! Yeah, the bible verse is actually the other way around from how it sounds, if memory serves, which would fit Black Snake Moan. Johnny Cash and Nick Cave are still wicked, of course ;)

Charles Gramlich said...

I have to wonder, though, if people would be saying the same things about the movie if the male who tries to save the slut was shown as white and the person portraying the slut was black?

Erik Donald France said...

Charles, good point, but that would only be a variation on Slavery Times. It's the contemporary power reversal that makes it more interesting.