Thursday, June 20, 2013

Catching Up: Erik Beck Versus The Mythical Monkey

A while back after I wrote my thumbs-up review of the 1929 version of The Taming of the Shrew, starring Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, Erik Beck (of the Boston Becks) left a comment noting that he was working on an essay naming Shrew the worst movie of the 1929-30 Oscar season.

He was very polite about it—"we can disagree on films and still be friends," he wrote, "or as much as you can be friends with someone whose real name you don’t know and who lives 400 miles away"— and since he and I are the greatest alternate Oscar bloggers on the planet (well, anyway, named Erik Beck and Mythical Monkey), I offered to link to his review and to mine then let you, the readers, make up your own minds.

In a nutshell:

EB: "In 1928-29, Mary Pickford and Sam Taylor teamed up to make the worst film of the year, Coquette, which, sadly, won Pickford an Oscar. In 29-30, they added Pickford’s (by-now-estranged) husband, Douglas Fairbanks into the mix and made a film that was nearly as bad and ended up being a major nail in the coffin to the careers of both stars."

Read the full review here.

MM: "In little over an hour, Pickford and Fairbanks reduce Shakespeare to a Laurel and Hardy comedy—and I mean that as the sincerest of compliments. Sometimes we get so caught up in the iambic pentameter that we forget that Shakespeare was writing for the masses. He had a fondness for lowbrow humor and I think the Bard would have approved of the slapstick and irreverent staging."

Read the full review here.

The film is available for streaming from various sources, can be purchased on DVD and is even floating around on YouTube (although you didn't hear that from me). Have a look, come back and vote in the poll on the right-hand side of the blog.
Next in the Catching Up series: "The Singular Case of Roy J. Pomeroy's Missing Oscar"


Erik Beck said...

"Erik Beck vs. The Mythical Monkey"

I think my wife was watching that on Sci-Fi the other night.

Uncle Tom said...

Taming of the Shrew - the feel-good comedy of 1929.

I'm waiting for someone to quote Rodney Dangerfield by the way