You know what's the worst thing about blogging? When you think of something really cool and profound to write down on the blog and then, when you finally get to your computer and are determined to write it down where it can be shared with the rest of the world for all eternity, you can't remember what exactly it was you were going to say. I hate that. I had all kinds of things to write down last night, and this afternoon too, but I didn't. And now they are lost. Shit.
Well, today we began the "Stanley Kubrick Film Festival" at our house with the black comedies and Lolita and Dr. Strangelove; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb - which incidentally is one of the greatest film titles of all time. Lolita is a disturbingly funny film. The basic plot is that James Mason plays professor Humbert Humbert, who falls in love with young Lolita, the daughter of the women who he is staying with, and then marries the woman (Shelley Winters) so that he can be close to Lolita. Insanity ensues, including the charmingly creepy Clare Quilty, played to perfection by the inequitable Peter Sellers. It's surprisingly funny, full of innuendo and sharp satire (such as the summer camp for young girls named "Camp Climax"). However, the disturbing element of the film is to realize that you've essentially spent two and half hours watching a film about a man who could be described as a pedophile. I know, I know. Lolita is probably closer to 16 or 17, so it's not unthinkably monstrous, and young Sue Lyon is very good looking, I admit, but it is really creepy anyhow. I guess it's better to look at the film as a study of sexual obsession and the lengths that some people will go to pursue, and hide, their obsessions. Again, a disturbingly hilarious film.
Perhaps its actually something about the "Black Comedy" (and no, I don't mean "African-American Comedy") but often they are strangely funny but about things that one normally shouldn't laugh about. Like Dr. Strangelove. It's a film about nuclear war. And the end of the world. And we laugh. A lot. It's really a brilliant film. And if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. It shows how absurd mankind's desire for self-destruction really is. I'm currently reading Ronald Wright's A Brief History of Progress, which was the subject of this year's CBC Massey Lecture series, and it has some things that Dr. Strangelove echoes. I'm sure I'll get into Wright's book a little more in another post sometime, as I'm almost done reading it (an easy read, and well worth it if you have the time). Also, George C. Scott is almost as funny as Peter Sellers is in this film. His character is so over the top and I still can't get over his fear that if they allow the "Ruskies" to live that they might create a "mineshaft gap" in the aftermath of a Doomsday Device where the survivors must live underground. The term "mineshaft gap" is just so funny on so many levels. I love it.