August 9th, 2004

cass groovy

Things I want to see, hear, or read

  • A television miniseries of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd starring Anthony Stewart Head and Lucy Lawless.

  • A K.D. Lang/Melissa Etheridge cover of "Total Eclipse of the Heart."

  • A good book about the passage of the Oxford Union's infamous 1933 resolution "that this House will under no circumstances fight for its King and Country." (If anybody knows of one, post a comment.)

  • A production of Harlan Ellison's screenplay for I, Robot.

Other suggestions welcome.

'twas Beauty killed the Beast.

Fay Wray, the 96-year-old star of KING KONG, died yesterday.

There are parts of KING KONG that seem dated today (such as the immortal line: "Some big hard-boiled egg gets a look at a pretty face, and bang -- he cracks up and goes sappy!"), but the film remains a classic adventure with great effects, some truly touching moments, and moments of real horror.

In the movie's biggest scare, Kong isn't even on the screen. He hasn't even appeared yet; the characters on on the boat making for Skull Island, and documentarian Carl Denham (played by Robert Armstrong) is shooting test footage of Wray's Ann Darrow. He starts harmlessly enough, telling Ann to look over there, turn her head a little more, there's something over there, she can't quite see it -- and then he relentlessly pushes her on, and on, telling her that what she sees is huge, and terrifying, and coming for her. Armstrong's delivery is fantastic, and Wray plays it perfectly, becoming more and more horrified -- but Armstrong tells her she can't scream, it's too horrible -- maybe if she didn't see it she could scream for help, maybe she'd have the faintest chance -- if she could just throw an arm over her eyes so she couldn't see -- and finally he shouts, "Scream, Ann! Scream for your life!"

And Wray screams.

If that scream does not make your blood run cold, then you have no soul.