The Silver Emulsion Podcast: Ep. 25 – Chungking Express

Episode 25! This episode I’m talkin’ about Wong Kar-Wai’s Chungking Express!

Also on the show:

  • Sammo Hung’s Winners and Sinners
  • Hal Roach’s The Devil’s Brother starring Laurel and Hardy
  • Luigi Bazzoni’s Man, Pride and Vengeance
Music Notes

Intro:

  • Metallica – Enter Sandman

Incidentals:

  • Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited (Take 7, False Start)
    • The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 12 (iTunes, Amazon)

Outro:

  • Pat Boone – Enter Sandman

If you’ve got feedback, throw it into the comments below or email it to me via the contact page! I’ll include it in a future show!

The podcast is embedded directly below this, or you can go directly to Podbean (or use their app) to listen. If you want to subscribe, paste http://silveremulsion.podbean.com/feed/ into whatever reader you’re using, such as iTunes.

Block-Heads (1938)

Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Patricia Ellis, Minna Gombell, Billy Gilbert, James Finlayson

Directed by John G. Blystone

Expectations: Not as treasured as Way Out West, but I remember loving this one as well in my youth.


For their next feature after Way Out West, Laurel and Hardy went contemporary. Block-Heads opens during World War I, as the tanks laboriously roll by and the soldiers march into certain death. Soon we focus down on a trench teeming with men, where Stan and Ollie prepare for war. But it’s not in the cards for Stan, as he is told decisively by his commanding officer to guard his post until told to do otherwise. Well, Ollie and the rest of the boys run out of the trench and Stan hangs back for the next twenty years. Yeah, he’s a block-head alright!

Block-Heads is an interestingly plotted film because unlike Way Out West which is pretty straightforward, Block-Heads tells a few different concurrent storylines and then has them all collide. In a way, it’s like the writers had a lot of leftover ideas and decided to throw them together, but that sounds like a unfair slight to a film that’s full of great gags and ideas. Anyway, what I’m getting at is that Block-Heads might start as a war-based comedy, but it quickly transitions to the home front, revealing itself to be more of a domestic, relationship comedy. Along the way to the domestic comedy, though, is a lot of “trying to get from point a to point b”, and that’s what makes up most of the runtime of Block-Heads.

Continue reading Block-Heads (1938) →

Way Out West (1937)

Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Sharon Lynn, James Finlayson, Rosina Lawrence, Stanley Fields, Vivien Oakland, The Avalon Boys, Chill Wills

Directed by James W. Horne

Expectations: One of my most treasured films as a child. Let’s see how it holds up.


As expected, I still love this movie unconditionally. Growing up we didn’t have cable TV most of the time, so our small VHS collection was always getting played and re-played. Way Out West was one of the first tapes we owned and it quickly became one of the most watched as well, with good reason. Even though it was a colorized version, the power of the duo’s comedy shone through, and later when I knew it was originally black and white I’d turn down the color and watch it as intended. The film was released on April 16, 1937, just recently celebrating its 75th birthday, but not a shred of the humor or the charm has worn off of this gem. Clearly, there’s some nostalgia associated with the movie for me, so your mileage may vary if you’ve never seen it, but for me this is truly one of the best classic comedy films of all time.

Stan and Ollie play a couple of guys entrusted to bring a deed for a gold mine to a resident of Brushwood Gulch. Things go wrong in only ways that Laurel and Hardy can manage, and that’s where Way Out West is best. My favorite scene has always been the chase scene inside of James Finlayson’s bedroom, as Laurel, Hardy, Finlayson and Sharon Lynn all fight and scramble over each other to acquire the deed. It’s hilarious and still managed to have me in stitches even though I’ve seen it a multitude of times. There’s even a small bit of wirework in one small moment that raises the level of incredulity and hysterics to new heights.

Continue reading Way Out West (1937) →

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