Seminal Image #156:
4 from Max Ophuls

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The Reckless Moment (1949)

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Le Plaisir (Pleasure; 1952)

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Madame de . . . (1953)

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Lola Montès (1955)

Relevant Quote #57

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"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious - the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science."
-- Albert Einstein

(This is an image I found a few hours ago of an empty street outside the Rivoli Theater in New York at the time Ophuls' "Letter from an Unknown Woman", one of the most beautiful films ever made in this country, opened in April, 1948. I've been feeling extremely depressed today, I'll confess, but seeing this has relieved it slightly. And I don't know why. I thought I'd share it with you all nevertheless)

The Art of Cinema #48

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Machine Gun Kelly
(Roger Corman; 1958)

Seminal Image #155

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The Kid from Spain
(Leo McCarey, Busby Berkeley; 1932)

This Week's Hopper #4

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Gas (1939)

(many thanks to Jim King for this rather bleak image)

March 31, 1878

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Jack Johnson, the first . . . possibly the greatest . . . African-American Heavyweight champion in the Professional Boxing racket, was born on this day in 1878, in Galveston, Texas. His extraordinary, prodigious achievements in the ring were matched only by his unapolgetic shenanigans outside of it for outraging White people, who spent the better part of his adult life seeking vengeance in the name of their own mediocrity.

Here are five images and one hideous postscript:

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Johnson and so-called 'Great White Hope' James J. Jeffries square off in Las Vegas on July 4, 1910; a bout that determined for White America who its Daddy was.
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A Sunday Supplement illustration of the Vegas bout.
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Two years to the day after winning the championship, when no one else would get in the ring with him, Johnson faced off with a middleweight, 'Fireman' Jim Flynn, again in Vegas; destroying him in a beating of such ferocity that the cops elected to intervene on behalf of the loser and stop the match.
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A year later, Johnson was indicted by a Grand Jury for violating a federal statute by having conjugal relations with his then-wife in a state not his own. The persecuted pugilist, upon his conviction, jumped bail and fled to Europe where his life slowly fell apart.
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In return for losing his title to Jess Willard in Havana in 1915, Jack Johnson was admitted back into the United States, where he resumed the status of a (ahem) free man. He died in 1946.
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Postscript: In one last kick in the groin, Jack Johnson's life was memorialized in a 2004 documentary by one of White mediocrity's key cultural figures, here pictured doing what he does best.

Sex Education #25

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Brigitte Bardot, in a plain brown wrapper.

I cannot tell a lie. This isn't the first Bardot image to grace this series. She was, in fact, its inaugural subject. But this photo is too aggresively yummy to warrant exclusion; and anyway, something tells me guys who visit these shores won't complain too strenuously for my (deliberate) oversight.

They Were Collaborators #38

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A 1924 Portrait of Luis Buñuel by Salvador Dali

Seminal Image #154

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Fireworks
(Kenneth Anger; 1947)

Prodotti #7


Amaro Gambarotta (1928)

I've read that this is an ad for a tuxedo maker. I'm not sure why they're implying that their tuxedos will make your right knee disappear...that man does not look happy with his clothing. However a little Googling reveals that Amaro Gambarotta is actually a brand of booze, which makes the whole "legless" thing a bit more plausible.

The Golden Age of Prurience #8

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Crime Does Not Pay (July, 1968)

Seminal Image #153

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Not Wanted
(Ida Lupino, Elmer Clifton; 1949)

The Roots of Pop Art #2

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Confessions of the Lovelorn (#52; August, 1954)

This Week's Weegee #8

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Selling the Silents #10


From the 1927 Paramount release book
(Dir. Clarence Badger, starring Bebe Daniels.)
"From the Ritz Theatre N.Y. stage comedy success. Direct from Paris.
"A snappy French farcical romance better than 'Miss Bluebeard.'"

Seminal Image #152

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Nianchan
(My Second Brother)
(Shohei Imamura; 1959)

Subversive Art #1:
Disneyland Memorial Orgy
(by Wally Wood)


One of the great flourishes in satiric art, illustrator Wally Wood's poster, Disneyland Memorial Orgy, was in fact a work conceived and commissioned by veteran radical Paul Krassner for his venerable underground newspaper The Realist. In those days, The Realist was operating as something of a New Yorker for the barricades, with an emphasis on cultural satire (their contributors in this period included the likes of Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce), and Wood's twilighted vision of a chaotic memorial bacchanal for Uncle Walt within the shadow of the Magic Kingdom, which was published anonymously in The Realist's May, 1967 issue, remains an essential part of that paper's legacy; a strangely powerful work of cultural subversion, rendered as artfully as it was gleefully.

In a later account, Krassner detailed his initial thinking behind the work:

"After Walt Disney died, I somehow expected Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and the rest of the gang to attend his funeral, with Goofy delivering the eulogy and the Seven Dwarves serving as pallbearers. Disney's death occurred a few months after Time magazine's famous 'Is God Dead?' cover, and I realized that Disney had served as God to that whole stable of imaginary beings who were now mourning in a state of suspended animation.

"Disney had been their creator, and had repressed their baser instincts, but now with his departure, they could finally shed their cumulative inhibitions and participate together in an unspeakable Roman binge, to signify the crumbling of an empire.

"I contacted Wally Wood, who had illustrated my first article for Mad, and he unleashed their collective libido, demystifying an entire genre in the process. I told Wally my idea, without being specific. In a few months, he presented me with the artwork, unsigned. I paid him $100. The Disneyland Memorial Orgy was a Realist center spread that became our most infamous poster."

Oddly enough, the Powers-That-Were at Disney elected not to sue. Perhaps they were still reeling and recovering from their founder's passing within the last year, or perhaps they simply didn't want to give Krassner and his paper the publicity which would have certainly follwed such an action; whatever the case, they let the image stand unchallenged. That is, until an inspired bootlegger a few years after the fact began creating and marketing Black Light posters utilizng Wood's masterwork. Only then did Disney seek redress in the courts for what they characterized as wanton theft and a cruel debasement of their cherished animated iconography. In a dramatically limp denoument, the parties eventually reached an out of court settlement.

Wally Wood appears to have gotten away with his part in the burlesque scot-free, and these days Paul Krassner's selling reproductions of the poster on his website (The Realist folded a few years ago after a long and honorable run on the so-called underground publishing wheel). It is our hope here at If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger . . . that a new generation of subversives will find such succor as there is to be had in images like this and will go on to feed the tributary of cultural dissent by producing their own.

Seminal Image #151

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Elephant
(Gus Van Sant; 2003)

El Cine Del Oro #5


Fantasia Ranchera
(Juan Jose Segura, 1947)

I'm not sure what the hell is going on in this poster...what is she
chewing on? Maybe some mysteries are better left unanswered.

This Week's Sargent #4

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Mrs. Joshua Montgomery Sears (1899)

The Roots of Pop Art #1

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Keen Detective Funnies (vol. 2, #12; December, 1939)

Sometime back in the 1970s, Andy Warhol was asked by an interviewer why it was that artists such as he and James Rosenquist and Roy Lichtenstein all seemed to arrive at a remarkably similar aesthetic quite independently of one another. In one of the few answers of substance he ever gave to a questioner about his art, Warhol replied, "I think it's because we all read a lot of Comic Books when we were kids".

If that doesn't clue you in to the nature of this series, then you're definitely looking at the wrong blog.

Seminal Image #150

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La Chinoise
(Jean-Luc Godard; 1967)

Relevant Quote #56

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Calling All Boys (vol. 2, #14; November, 1947)

"Moral self-infatuation has its own corruptions, after all. With time, almost every other principle acquired an ironic echo, a sort of cackling aftermath."
-- Renata Adler

The Golden Age of Prurience #7

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Foto-rama (June, 1957)

Eve Meyer, the diaphanous young lovely on the cover of the Myron Fass smut rag pictured above, earned her small but not insignificant place in American culture as the wife, business partner and earliest muse to one of this country's more original cinematic voices, the late twisted genius Russ Meyer.

When Legends Gather #20

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Andre Breton, Diego Rivera and Leon Trotsky

Seminal Image #149:
The Easter Sunday Edition

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Il Vangelo secondo Matteo
(The Gospel According to St. Matthew)
(Pier Paolo Pasolini; 1964)

Adventures in American Filmmaking #24:
The Easter Sunday Edition

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Today's Adventure: A Crew Under the Direction of George Stevens
Supervises the Construction of Sets for "The Greatest Story Ever Told"
in . . . Glen Canyon, Arizona. (1963)

Sex Education #24b:
The Easter Sunday Edition

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Frigid Hare
(Chuck Jones; 1948)

All right, it's more Bugs in drag . . . there's actually a whole webpage devoted to these images, folks, so this doesn't reflect any pathology of mine . . . but this one's a little less disturbing on this tranquil Easter Sunday than the impending rape image that Stephen posted (at least that's what it looks like. Eek!).

They Were Collaborators #37:
The Easter Sunday Edition


The Petries

Sex Education #24a:
The Easter Sunday Edition


A Corny Concerto
(Bob Clampett, 1943)

Okay, it was either this or an image of Barbara Hershey in The Last Temptation of Christ. I stand by my decision.

Seminal Image #148:
The Easter Sunday Edition

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The King of Kings
(Cecil B. DeMille; 1927)

And while we're at it, here's a Relevant Quote where DeMille expresses his admiration for the Son of God's machismo in terms that might have turned the head of . . . well . . . John Wayne:


"All my life, I've wondered how many have been turned away from Christianity by the effeminate, sanctimonious, machine made Christ of Sunday school books. The Christ was actually a man with a body hard enough to withstand 40 days of fasting and long journeys on foot and nights of sleepless prayer, a man with a mind razor sharp, whose ranging thoughts measured the kingdoms of the world against the lilies in the field, a man who had compassion for sinners, and unleashed His anger and biting scorn only on the hyprocities who made a travesty of His father's temple. There could well have been a note of admiration in the voice of Pilate when he said of Him: 'Behold the Man!'."
-- Cecil B. DeMille

The Cool Hall of Fame #9

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Tom Wolfe

They Were Collaborators #36


Jack Benny and Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards
(Hollywood Revue of 1929, 1929)

Seminal Image #147

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This Sporting Life
(Lindsay Anderson; 1963)

Relevant Quote #55

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"Who hears music feels his solitude peopled at once."
-- Robert Browning

The Art of Cinema #47

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The Lineup
(Don Siegel; 1958)

The Golden Age of Prurience #6

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Confidential (September, 1956)

Seminal Image #146

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Naniwa erejî
(Osaka Elegy) (Kenji Mizoguchi; 1936)

When Legends Gather #19

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Humphrey Bogart, Bing Crosby, Lauren Bacall and an Unnamed Kangaroo

They Were Collaborators #35

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Tennessee Williams and Elia Kazan