Meeting 5: Lured

Reel to Real Classics presents a screening and brief discussion of:
Lured  (1947)  Starring Lucille Ball | Directed by Douglas Sirk
November 30 (Thurs) 6:00 pm |Willis Library Forum/140

We’ll have popcorn and refreshments. RSVP or prior film knowledge not required.
Themes: Lucille Ball/women in film noir, bravery, & gender roles| #Noirvember

About the film: “In this sumptuous thriller by legendary filmmaker Douglas Sirk and featuring a bevy of classic stars of the silver screen, a serial killer is on the loose in London, luring young women into his web through ads placed in the personal column.”

(Lured intro from Kanopy)

dvd9551

I’ll start with relevant quote from Lucille Ball herself:
” I’m not funny. What I am is brave” (as quoted in Ball of Fire, pg 9)

Lucille Ball, who could play comedies, dramas, film noir and more, was being modest. There is a chance that even as a classic movie fan or I Love Lucy fan, it will surprise you to know that Lucille Ball has contributed, admirably I would say, to the world of suspense. Yes, I do mean Suspense the radio show, but not exclusively.

for an innocent man on the run such as in Dark Corner (see my Media Library blog guest post on Dark Corner, Laura and film noir if interested).

In Lured, she goes from taxi-dancer/dime-a-dance girl, to “female detective”/temporary uncover cop. WHAT?!! Could you imagine Lucy asking Ricky for permission for that gig in I Love Lucy? I don’t even think that would come up in the episode “Lucy Thinks Ricky is Trying to Murder Her”) The themes are dark, and Lucy has to contend with some real creeps in her pursuit to find her missing friend, but even without training, she holds her own.  Lucy accepts this dangerous endeavor, even acknowledging beforehand that she is understands this “female detective role’ is her as”bait.” Again, there is a romantic lead for her,  but she is not side-tracked by persistent playboy played by George Sanders, who is trying to do some luring of his own for personal reasons. Well, not when it interrupts mission anyways. There are role complications and twists to pay attention to as well.

Speaking of dark – Lured has a special treat for fans of horror, the film has some familiar faces by casting George Zucco and Boris Karloff. Karloff, well known for his Frankenstein’s monster role,  is heavily featured in the marketing (see DVD cover above)  despite his short screen time. Zucco’s role is far more significant to the overall plot.

Lucille Ball played, well, ball in the days of the studio system (Surely I’m not the first time someone made that pun, so don’t blame me).   She wanted to work, and she did, but she wasn’t often the lead.  There is a nice list of her over 80 movies with blurbs on the Luci Desi museum website spanning the period of 1933-1974.

Discussion examples for the film:

  • Do you have thoughts about gender or stereotypes in film noir?
  • How does Lucille’s characters compare to “femme fatales” or other women in film noir (past or present)?
  • What do you think of Lucille’s role in Lured? Is she brave? Foolish? Both?
  • What do you think about her collaboration with the police in Lured (and Dime a Dance if you’ve listened to that)?
  • Any other thoughts about the film (director, themes, roles and time in American cinema? (i.e. 1947 versus 2017)
  • Other thoughts or  film suggestions from and for the group?


(Old Time) Radio work

There is less written about her radio work, but here are two I recommend from the show Suspense that relate to the darker themes in films like Lured and Dark Corner. You can find episodes online to stream or download though podcast providers or the Internet Archive Suspense pages (See links s1 and s2). It’s worth exploring the series if you haven’t, but you can; also go straight to Lucille’s Ball’s page, where the picture is from, here: https://archive.org/details/LucilleBall

  1. Dime a Dance(1944) Internet Archive s1 mp3
    Definite similarities to Lured. She’s brave, she’s she’s got street-smarts, and again she is sort of bait for the police, but the story-line has significant differences.
  2. A Little Piece of Rope (1948)  (Internet Archive S2 mp3)
    Her “baby face” prevents her from getting work in Hollywood, so she uses this trait for a disturbing and dangerous con. Remembering a police gazette noting women dressed as an innocent school girls “entice and trap unwary gentleman”she plans to rob and potentially blackmail men she meets.  Her plan is to play offense not defense. This is a very dark tale and a suspense for sure.  
    –(Personal note: As librarian I have to admit I found it humorous that she pretends to be a good candidate for an apartment by dressing dowdy, and telling the landlord she is a librarian. Haha…Arg)

    It’s worth exploring the series if you haven’t, but you can; also go straight to Lucille’s Ball’s page, where the picture is from, here: https://archive.org/details/LucilleBall

LucilleProfileIntArchiveRadio
Final thoughts:
There is so much to love about Lucy. In addition to being a television pioneer; her performances in film and radio often have unique and surprising elements for their time and genre. Life and work wasn’t always easy for Lucille Ball, and her talent and contributions to in various entertainment mediums have seem to have gone relatively unrecognized. I think her accomplishments, despite her self deprecating quote, reveal that in addition to being talented, she was funny and brave.

Resources – UNT Libraries:

UNT Library Catalog has more resources for you to explore.
Advanced Search Tip:
Do an AUTHOR search for Ball, Lucille, 1911-1989 to find her work ( films &shows)
Do a SUBJECT search for Ball, Lucille, 1911-1989 to find items written about her
You can also explore the UNT Media Library collection for the genre Film noir
– Miss the screening? Check out Lured  (DVD 9551)  or stream it via Kanopy
  -If time permits, and there is interest,  we will attempt another podcast up again!

Lucille Ball’s quote about being brave was found in:
Kanfer, Stephan (2003) Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball, New York: Knoft, page 9.*original citation not provided

I hope you enjoy the post, and we hope to see you on November 30th!

Thanks,
~ Lilly


(Questions about the group or this screening? Please email: Lilly.Ramin@unt.edu)
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Meeting 4 The Immigrant

Reel to Real Classics is back! Our next screening & meetings will be:

April 26 at 5:00pm-6:00pm at Willis Library, room 340.
Topic: Charlie Chaplin’s The Immigrant (1917 silent, 26 minutes)

CC_The_Immigrant_1917

In April at UNT, a committee I am part of is planning several events for Global Citizens Month. This year, I volunteered for a library display post and a film event.  When I came across Charlie Chaplin’s 1917 silent film The Immigrant, I thought it might be a fitting selection. Steven agreed!  It’s interesting to consider the title and the meaning, then and now in 2017. Seriously, close your eyes and think of that word: immigrant. What does it make you think of? (Hey, hold that thought for the meeting!)

In this film Chaplin’s famous character, “The Tramp,”is an immigrant on a ship to the United States.  There are some intriguing themes that popped up when I was viewing this short film: class, charity and comedy. I mention these in the podcast as well. Even if you don’t agree these themes are significant, I hope you appreciate the alliteration 🙂

Regarding class, notice the scene where the immigrants on the boat, and Charlie gives the immigration officer a significant little kick (something which would get him in trouble later in light of views  about his personal politics). For charity, think of all the times money is used and donated to the characters. For the theme of comedy, notice how laughter and the physical comedy Chaplin uses makes “The Tramp” endearing,  and does not prevent the ability to deliver a message.  It is action, not voice (or words), that moves the story along.  Since viewers can only imagine “The Tramp’s” voice, this can increase identification for the viewers, including but not limited to, recent immigrants. The power of comedy made me think of a much later film, available at the Chilton Media library, DVD 6867), Sullivan’s Travels from Preston Sturges. There may be escapism in comedy, but “The Tramp” shows there is the potential for social commentary and a call for change.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts, or viewing them if you wish to express your thoughts through physical comedy, at our meeting!

Our first ever podcast:

Select resources consulted for discussion:

Benshoff, Harry M, and Sean Griffin. America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality at the Movies. , 2004. Print.( PN1995.9.M56 B46 2004 c.2  Willis Library
Kamin, Dan. Charlie Chaplin’s One-Man Show. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1991. Print. ( PN2287.C5 K34 1991,  Willis Library)
Robinson, David. Charlie Chaplin: The Art of Comedy. London: Thames and Hudson, 1996. Print.(personal copy)

Thanks for reading!
~ Lilly

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Meeting 3: Foreign Correspondent

For meeting 3,  we will be watching and discussing Foreign Correspondent directed by British director Alfred Hitchcock. Note themes such as the “American” abroad, the role of media in understanding  and shaping international relations,  and share any other thoughts on the film. We hope you enjoy it!

Join us in Willis 340 on Wednesday, November 16th  5pm – 7pm.

foreigncorrespondenttrailerstill
http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/138814/Foreign-Correspondent-Original-Trailer-.html
Turner Classic Movies – TCMDb entry for Foreign Correspondent (1940)
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Meeting 2: Nosferatu

nosferatushadow

This meeting we will be watching and discussing F. W. Murnau’s German Expressionist classic, Nosferatu. The film is based on Bram Stoker’s epistolary novel, Dracula. Both the novel and this film are deemed classics in their respective fields, but have also come under fire in readings that suggest the film and novel’s portrayal of foreigners is viewed through a xenophobic lens. Scary stuff!!

Join us in Willis 340 on Wednesday, October 26th 5pm – 7pm.

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Meeting 1: Rita and Gilda

Our first meeting will highlight Rita Hayworth, most notably of the film noir, Gilda. Rita Hayworth, born Margarita Carmen Cansino,*is a good person to discuss during “Hispanic Heritage Month” (Sept 15-Oct 15). Her name and look was altered to make her an ideal of the time –which often did not include embracing one’s heritage or expressing it within the medium of film. Join us as we discuss Rita, Gilda, and the cross-section between cultural identity and media image.It is recommended you watch the highlighted film Gilda, either in the library or at home,  but it is not required. The 45 minute screening will give us plenty to talk about!If you have questions about the group, I will also have a library table at the UNT Carnaval event (sponsored by The UNT Multicultural Center & UPC)  on September 20th, 11-1 in the Library Mall/Onstead Promenade.

Meeting 1 details:
Location: Room: 111C, Chilton Media Library
Time and date: 4:00pm | September 28, 2016
We will show: “Discovering Rita Hayworth” (45 minutes) then discuss
Featured film for recommended for discussion = Gilda (DVD 239 + 1 copy
Reserves page: RTRC 2016  at  Chilton Media LibraryOptional/also on reserves:100 years of the Latino image in Hollywood cinema : the bronze screen DVD 1445
GILDA
Gilda (re-issue trailer) from TCM.com
endoftrailorwordsgilda3
*Turner Classic Movies Bio of Rita Hayworth
~ includes images, film clips and trailers
OTHER SOURCES (If you want to learn more)

Hispanic Heritage Month Display: www.library.unt.edu/monthly-books
~ I collaborated with  User Interfaces and Access Services on this display which will be in Willis Sept 16-Oct 15th.
-The Media Library will also have a Hispanic Heritage Month display in their display case

  • ARTICLE: McLean, A. (1992). ‘I’m a Cansino’: Transformation, Ethnicity, AND Authenticity in the Construction of Rita Hayworth, American Love Goddess. Journal of Film and Video, 44(3/4), 8-26. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2068798
    ~ Accessible to all UNT students & staff with EUID & Password. It is a good overview of her transformation and career
  • PODCAST: You Must Remember This: Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles
    The podcast was created and is written, produced and narrated by Karina Longworth, and is currently edited by Henry Molofsky.  Part of the Panoply Network.
    ~ Includes the discrepancy between Rita and the image of “Gilda” or Rita as “Love Goddess.”
  • Please note ground rules for respectful discussion.
    Thanks for your interest! 🙂
    ~ Lilly (@lillylibrarian)
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