« May 2005 | Main | July 2005 »

June 24, 2005

Broadway Danny Rose

Someone who had never seen Broadway Danny Rose (Woody Allen, 1984) might be excused for thinking that the two people in this picture are romantically linked. That's what's so funny about the scene from which it is taken. Tina Vitale (Mia Farrow) and Danny Rose (Mr Allen) aren't linked, they're tied up together. Danny, who books singers and performers, has just remembered the rope trick that Shandar, one of his old acts, used to do. The trick to breaking free of the rope, Danny recalls, is to wriggle. So here he and Tina are, wriggling, chest to chest, gyrating for all the world like lovers who have somehow forgotten to take their clothes off.

Tina and Danny are not particularly friendly, much less taken with each other. Tina has already betrayed Danny, even without knowing him, and Danny (who doesn't know about the betrayal yet) thinks that Tina is Bad News. He'd prefer to have nothing to do with her, but, as a favor to his biggest act, a sentimental singer named Lou Canova (Nick Apollo Forte), he has undertaken to secure Tina's presence at the Waldorf, where Lou is going to have the chance to make a big comeback, that evening. Tina doesn't want to go because she's tired of being the woman with whom Lou is two-timing his wife.

Continue reading about Broadway Danny Rose at Portico.

Posted by pourover at 08:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 09, 2005

The Solid Gold Cadillac


Only one thing has changed about American corporations has changed since The Solid Gold Cadillac was released in 1956. Blue-bloods with old world charm no longer have easy access to directors' seats. I don't know that the change has been for the better, since the old-school WASPs have been replaced greedy sociopaths obsessed with quarterly earnings (or with any figure that can plausibly be presented as such). Otherwise, things are the same. Directors, who have the power to hire and fire management, or at least to fight about doing so, are elected in theory by shareholders but in practice by proxies. If you are a shareholder, you can, of course, attend the firm's obligatory annual meeting, but chances are that this will be a great and seemingly unnecessary inconvenience. So you tick off the delegation of your vote to a guy at the company, and votes your proxy. The guy is just probably pals with the CEO, and is likely to vote for the CEO's cronies. Very, very rarely, your ballot may offer you a choice of delegates, but Delaware law has been honed to make this extremely unusual. Thus the directors of most corporations are elected without anybody's paying much attention.

The Solid Gold Cadillac is a delightful fantasy that tweaks the proxy system to delightful effect. When Laura Partridge (Judy Holliday) inherits ten shares of International Projects, Ltd, she shows up at the annual meeting and gums up the proceedings with questions fiscal and parliamentary. A complete novice, she quickly learns that the directors are steamrolling the proceedings, and that the annual meeting is anything but an expression of democracy. She becomes so annoying that the head of the company, John T Blessington (John Williams in a bad-guy role), hires Laura and puts her in charge of small-shareholder relations. Blessington and his merry band of raptors, Alfred Metcalf (Ray Collins), Warren Gillie (Ralph Dumke), and Clifford Snell (Fred Clark) don't mean for their new executive to do anything, of course, and Amelia Shotgraven (Neva Patterson), Laura's secretary, is given instructions to see that Laura's desk stays clear. Needless to say, Blessington's bright idea backfires.

Continue reading about The Solid Gold Cadillac at Portico.

Posted by pourover at 05:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack