November 27, 2012 § 2 Comments
You might remember my post on three odd news stories that, to this blogger, had the ring of Grimm to them: a woman who wished for children and instead collected over 500 cats, a man who had a fight with his wife about soup and then became lost in the frozen woods for three months, and a girl who was promised in marriage to a man only to be shut away and replaced by a false bride who, together with the groom, tortured the young woman for years. For links, see my original post here.
All of these are real, contemporary stories, and all are perfect ammunition to use against those who claim that we no longer live in the world of “fairy tales.” What, exactly, do these folks believe fairy tales are? It doesn’t take much—certainly not an entire feudal caste system, as some have suggested—for someone to embody an archetype. Shit, brides do it all the time. Cinderella gowns! Fairy tale weddings! And if you pay attention, it isn’t just the ones tossing “Cinderella” around as an adjective who are unwittingly playing what could very well be parts in some of our darkest tales. Let’s stick to our Cinderella theme, shall we, and take a look at the news. « Read the rest of this entry »
May 28, 2012 § 1 Comment
Because writing doesn’t exactly pay the bills, I work in a toy store.
“My daughter wants to have a Cinderella themed birthday party, what do you suggest?”
Assuming that a pile of lentils and a severed toe aren’t what she’s after, I suggest the toy brooms we sell.
It would be funny, I say. You know, Cinderella. She cleans, and is rewarded with cake.
The woman stares blankly.
“I thought maybe you’d have headbands?”
Headbands? I think. Then I get it. THAT Cinderella. You know, the one who wears a headband. No other one exists.
I liked my idea better, but hey, it’s not my world. « Read the rest of this entry »
April 9, 2012 § 1 Comment
A quick fix for your Monday:
Two of my favorite things (fairy tales and Christina Hendricks’s miraculous frontside) met briefly last night, before I conked out (really, AMC? Mad Men isn’t on until 10? I am getting old), and there was much rejoicing.
Creating a pitch to sell women’s shoes, Stan and Ginsberg mention using a Cinderella theme, which gets shot down as too cliche.
Don: “Sleeping Beauty? Snow White? Nothing worked?”
Stan: “They’re more about necrophilia than shoes.”
Right on, Stan.
And Ginsberg gets it too : later in the episode, the three men are selling the non-fairy-tale pitch they came up with to the client, but Ginsberg jumps in and steals it like the merry tramp he is, by tempting the client with the notion of “Cinderella” being “too dark” for them. He describes her running down a dark stone alleyway in her one fabulous shoe, being pursued by a strange man (in keeping with the violent Richard Speck theme of the episode). Finally she stops, turns, and there he is–handsome, and holding her other shoe.
“She wants to be caught,” Ginsberg says. “See? Too dark.”
The clients, of course, switch from Don’s pitch to Ginsberg’s, because who can resist the darkness of fairy tales? This episode was, after two weeks of duds, completely fabulous, reminding viewers of the dark, far-reaching violence that colors the way women were regarded and treated in the 1960’s… and have been in stories for centuries.
March 19, 2012 § 2 Comments
Cinderella in the Silent Film Era
I finally watched Hugo last night. It was as fabulous as I had hoped, even in the slightly forced but inevitable orphan-child-finds-a-family scenes. And of course, I could see what the reviewers out there had been talking about–that Scorsese had essentially crafted a love letter to the early days of film, when imagination could be sparked by a clever film cut, or an elaborate tableau. Being familiar with the book, I had been aware that the biography of George Melies, the pioneer of early film, featured largely in the film, and I was pleased to find that most of the film’s claims about Melies are actually true. He did, in fact, give up making films, and did, after all, work in near poverty in a toy shop in the Montparnasse station before being “re-discovered” by several researchers and journalists interested in his work. While no biographies I can find make any mention of a scrappy orphan boy being the key to Melies’s reemergence into public life, and Melies actually lived with his granddaughter (Madeline), and not a goddaughter (the fictitious Isabelle), the essence of Melies’s withdrawal from and eventual return to the world of filmaking in the early 20th Century remains as magical as a fairy tale, and as real as one could hope.
Also, it got me thinking.
What with the spate of fairy tale offerings due out from the major film houses this year, I’ve been hearing–or rather, reading, thanks to WordPress’s genius “terms people have used to find your site” tool–one question repeated often:
Why the new obsession with fairy tale films?
Now, why anyone would type that in as a search an expect a “well, Davey, here’s what you need to know” answer to pop up immediately is beyond me, but with that said…
Well, Davey (or whatever your name is), here’s what you need to know: « Read the rest of this entry »