Good genre-blended cheese, bad genre-blended cheese.

I love movies, that blend multiple genres. I get even more interested if one of those genres is a musical. Still, the more chances you take the more you risk ending  up with something like the genuinely godawful trailer for an insane looking mishmash called “El Dorado” over at Bloody Disgusting, which in this instance is way more disgusting in an aesthetic sense than it is bloody in a literal sense.

It’s so bad in an non-entertaining way and kind of depressing way that I can’t bring myself to inflict it on you here, despite a cast that seems to promise something genuinely unusual. That includes the final appearance of David Carradine, who surely deserved better — but then deserving better in late career films is certainly following in the footsteps of his legendary dad. Still, you can heck out the horror-musical Blues Brother tribute or whatever it is over at Mr. Disgusting’s place if you’re in the mood for a cinematic train wreck, and we all have that impulse.

Instead, I am presenting a couple of minutes sheer insanity that is actually entertaining. Ladies and gentlemen, if you think you’ve seen everything in grindhouse-era movie madness, see this and be amazed and amused. The great Bernie Casey IS “Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde.” (NSFW in a red-bandy, partial frontal nudity kind of a way.)

You’ve got to wonder what Robert Louis Stevenson would have made of that.

  

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The lost art of opening credits: “El Dorado”

As I wrote exactly one month back, I quietly long for a return to traditional opening credits where you learn who made the movie before it actually starts.

Below is a classic example of just how much a credit sequence can do to take you to set up the mood for what is to come. In this case, Nelson Riddle’s tuneful but slightly corny title song of Howard Hawks’ “El Dorado” (which I recently reviewed for Bullz-Eye) is matched with some nicely evocative western paintings by Olaf Wieghorst that promise a rip-roaring, slightly poetic, tale of good guys fighting bad guys. If this doesn’t get you in the mood to “ride, boldly ride,” well, then you just haven’t got any cowboy in you.

  

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“Maybe I’ve just gone gay all over a sudden!”

With “Brüno” #1 at the U.S. box office, it may be time to mention that probably the first use of the word “gay” in a mainstream American film to denote something other than happiness came from an unlikely source. Director Howard Hawks is best known for films celebrating traditional masculine values, populated by tough, lovable guys and emotionally strong, super sexy women. (My DVD review of “El Dorado” starring John Wayne and Robert Mitchum covers a late example.) Epitome of movie guyness that he was, Hawks nevertheless had no problem playing with sexuality/gender roles just a bit in the 1938 screwball romantic comedy classic, “Bringing Up Baby“.

Fifteen years later, making the iconic Marilyn Monroe musical, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” Hawks, who had never made a musical, decided to have famed choreographer Jack Cole direct all the musical sequences. As far as I can tell, he was delighted to let Cole really gay it up in this famed scene featuring the ultra-hot brunette Jane Russell, who was an even bigger sex symbol at the time than Monroe and received top billing. It was a reasonably safe move because, in those very pre-gay liberation days, homosexual innuendo flew right by most audience members. Besides, with Russell around, few straight males of the time were going to notice much of anything else.

  

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