Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I've decided to name my new column "Expectorating." "Why?" You might ask. It started out that I wanted to name the new column something that had to do with expectations and what each of these gems of films promised as I came closer to them. The first term that popped in to my head was "Expectations", but upon writing it I felt more akin to a crystal-piled New Age convention. It turns out that there aren't that many words in the dictionary that "expectation" is a part of, so when I stumbled up expectorate, I was excited to say the least. Expectorate, sounds like expectation, looks like expectation, it certainly must have something to do with expectations.

Alex and are I driving somewhere and I'm proudly running through my new column's name and she turns to me and says, "Expectorate means to spit." There is a slight debate about what the term might mean, and then, as usual, I turn out to be completely clueless.

But guess what? I'm keeping it. I love the idea that expectorate means to expel, to spit, to get something not just off your chest, but out of your chest. I'm an opinionated chap on occasion and if this little ditty of a column seems to be a symbolic form of hacking up phlegm, I don't mind that.

Thus, get out your hankies, it's expectoration time.

The Film: The Scarlet Empress (109)
The Director: Josef von Sternberg. An Austrian-American with an enormous, oft times over-the-top personality that was once threatened to be thrown off a pier by Robert Mitchum. Had a long tempestuous relationship with 20s and 30s star Marlene Dietrich.

The Synopsis: A mighty bit of 30s period piece featuring a lavishly dressed Marlene Dietrich, thousands of extras and I'm quite sure of 104 minutes of nappy time for No-No.

My Prior Experience: I've heard the name many many times and am pretty sure I've seen at least a part of The Blue Angel, but aside from that, I'm a dedicated newcomer to this whole Austrian-American period piece.

My Expectation: I'm expecting a nap. Seriously, his biography describes the public's response to his film as "inert." Inert sounds like a pleasant slumber. The clothes are supposed to be amazing, so I'm sure my Criterion Companion will need to wipe the drool from her mouth on more than a few occasions.


Criterion Counsel: Not even a peek yet. The DVD looks pretty though. Was busy yesterday catching up on, well, new, positively riveting bits of noir and sci-fi. Sorry, Austrian period piece, just not cutting it.

No comments: