Even she doesn't know it yet, but she's a danger junkie.
The Noir City Film Festival in San Francisco closes tonight. We couldn't be there, living as we do across the ocean, but like last year we screened some of the films at home and that has been a treat. We said at the end of last year's group of write-ups that we probably wouldn't do it again, and that turned out to be a lie. Next year we definitely won't do it. It's fun, but makes the website almost like actual work, which isn't what this is about at all. It isn't you, Noir City, it's us.
Tonight's final entries on the festival slate are Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, which we've discussed below, and the film for which see two promo posters above—Victoria. The hook here is the movie is shot by director Sebastian Schipper and cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen in one take—not many takes digitally spliced, but a single analog take about two hours and fifteen minutes long, beginning in the wee Berlin hours and extending into dawn. Schipper has said in interviews that he had three chances to get it right, and the finished film the is the result of the third effort.
It tells the story of Spanish millennial Victoria (Laia Costa), whose lonely existence is changed when she meets local boy Sonne (Frederick Lau) and his three friends during a night at a disco. Sonne seems like a nice enough guy, and Victoria leaves with him and his buds for a sojourn along streets and a rooftop that ends with the two agreeing to meet again. It's at that point one of the friends get sick from all the booze he's ingested, and Sonne desperately asks Victoria to drive the remaining trio somewhere. Why? Because wherever they're going there are supposed to four of them and three will not do. Uh oh. Where are the boys going? To commit an armed robbery.
Victoria doesn't know this at first. It becomes clear soon enough, but only after she's in too deep and stuck as a getaway driver. Of course, the audience knows she's in trouble long before that. If there's a flaw with the movie it's merely that Victoria doesn't seem lonely, reckless, or clueless enough to get herself into this mess. But maybe that's a function of the movie's nature. We can't know her in two hours, filmed in real
time,with no structural concessions for subplots, flashbacks, or any of the standard expository digressions. We have to take her at face value, and accept her as revealed to us. If you do, then the blossoming of her inner danger junkie is logical and seamless. Victoria is really an astounding achievement, and not just because of the single take. Schipper is almost twenty years older than the cast he directs, but he's made a generational landmark of a film.
The dinosaurs aren't the only ones with small brains.
1960s and 1970s lost world movies like When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth are fun, but just lately they're also a reminder that—despite all geological, biological, paleontological and, for that matter, just plain logical proof to the contrary—a lot of people actually believe humans co-existed with dinosaurs. Well, this movie is for them, and as a bonus everyone in it is white, which of course we know was the case in the prehistoric past. But does homogeneity bring harmony to the planet? No, because Victoria Vetri is a ravishing blonde whose differences from the brunette tribe she encounters initially make her a perfect sacrifice candidate, and later a potential mate for one of the men. This annoys the hell out of the brunette women, and thence sparks fly and deeper troubles develop.
In its own way When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth is better than the more famous One Million Years B.C. , and in her own way Victoria Vetri is better than the more famous Raquel Welch. That may sound a bit crazy, but in terms of quality note that the two films have very similar scores on IMDB—5.8 versus 5.2—and in terms of lead actresses Vetri gets naked whereas Welch does not. Is it okay to say that? Well, we're a bit caveman-like ourselves, so blame it on our primitive brains. Anyway, both movies are fun, if scientifically preposterous, but When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth is cheaper, which makes it funnier, and in turn means it's a perfect popcorn and beer flick. Watch it and laugh. It premiered in England in October 1970 and rampaged across Japan today in 1971. I am called Sanna. I come from across the great sea and represent a new evolutionary stage in personal grooming.
You fake blonde bitch. You better get your eyes off my man before I yank them out of your head and eat them on a cracker.
Shit. I really wanted to make friends with everyone. Sometimes being astoundingly beautiful is really hard.
So Tara, where's your girlfriend? Oh well, doesn't matter. Tara sounds a little like a girl’s name. And Ayak sounds like a boy’s name. Maybe you two should swap names. Is your cave near here?
Just to warn you, Sanna, kissing and foreplay don’t exist yet, so you're just gonna have to figure out some way to get your lady parts ready for this.
Oh, and I don't have a bed. Do you have those where you’re from? They’re really expensive here. I’m thinking of maybe buying a futon instead.
Hah hah, something about that golden muff of yours just makes me smile. I don't even know why...
Maybe this isn’t the time or place to mention it, but I’ve been seeing the blonde. We’re maybe gonna buy a condo. I want my engagement bone back.
Blonde bitch stole my man! Her hair is that color because of evil magic! She thinks brunettes are violent and stupid! Brothers and sisters, we must sacrifice her!
And fuck you, Tara! What kind of name is that for a caveman anyway? Sounds like a girl’s name! And I’m keeping my engagement bone. I earned this!
I think this crazy chick really intends to see us dead, Sanna. I should have broken up with her that time she tried to stab me in the groin with a sharpened wolf's femur. We better run.
Okay, you’re right—I owned a secret raft so I could enjoy a little discreet entertaining on the side. Sue me. It’s helping us get away, right? Anyway, since I met you I don’t need other women.
Why do I have this horrible feeling he’s telling me a lie men will use even 10,000 years from now?
But just Imogen the possibilities.
With the above, we’ve now given about as much exposure to a terrible film as can be excused. The photo shows British actress Imogen Hassall from When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, and the shot was made during that epic’s filming in the Canary Islands in 1969. Some may remember the movie premiering in late 1970 in England and 1971 elsewhere, but it languished in the studio vaults for a while. Actually, the entire shoot was a circus. Here’s co-star Victoria Vetri, speaking to journalist Joe Vannicola about filming the movie on Fuerteventura: “Two weeks after we were there the director left his wife. He was sleeping with the script supervisor. It was like you could have made a movie within a movie. Everybody was screwing around. People were skinny dipping, drinking sangria instead of tea at four in the afternoon, getting drunk [constantly], and it was like party time. Three or four in the morning they’d say, ‘You have to be up at six for a sunrise shoot? Let's stay up all night!’ [snip] Of course, having [me] around didn't help because I was the first one to drop a loincloth. And all the girls between shots were getting a tan. After a while it didn’t faze anybody. When you’re all sitting around half naked it doesn’t matter.” So the above photo may actually be the overdressed Hassall. We approve in any case.
Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum?
We’re at the penultimate page of the Goodtime Weekly Calendar of 1963, and as promised last week here’s a great shot from Ron Vogel of an unidentified model getting her groove on. This just cries out to be repurposed as a 12-inch cover or some kind of concert poster, don’t you think? The image actually brings up lots of humorous possibilities, and we were contemplating something along these lines for a subhead: She’s not the only one who loves beating something between her legs. But then we decided that was just too much. We have some class here.
Among the quips this week is one from a person named Barbette. We had no idea who that was, so off to the interwebs we went for an answer. Turns out Barbette was a famous trapeze performer and female impersonator. He was born Vander Clyde Broadway, and in his aerial act performed in full drag only to reveal himself as a man at the end. As his fame grew he worked all over the U.S. and Europe, selling out storied venues like the Casino de Paris, Moulin Rouge, and the Folies Bergère.
His renown extended beyond the realm of performance. He was photographed by Man Ray, cast in Jean Cocteau’s experimental film Le sang d'un poete, was the subject of Cocteau’s essay Le numéro Barbette, and choreographed aerial scenes for Hollywood movies. It’s also possible he was the inspiration for Reinhold Schünzel’s musical comedy film Viktor und Viktoria, which was remade as Victor Victoria by Blake Edwards. Quite a legacy. We aren’t sure if his quip is particularly insightful, but even Barbette had his off days.
Feb 24: “A college girl who eloped put the heart before the course.”—G.S. Kaufman
Feb 25: “Women think about love more than men; that’s because men think more about women.”—Barbette
Feb 26: A woman’s strength is her weakness. She fights by yielding and conquers by falling.
Feb 27: :One group of people who live on love are the owners of drive-in theaters.”—Jack Herbert
Feb 28: “For every man there’s a woman; but the chances are one may get the wrong number.”—He-who Who-he
Mar 1: “Alimony: The high cost of guessing wrong.”—Quin Ryan
Mar 2: Every girl should have a husband, not necessarily her own—Hollywood Code
Former Playboy centerfold gets nine years in prison for shooting her husband.
Actress and former Playboy model Victoria Vetri, aka Victoria Rathgeb, aka Angela Dorian pleaded no contest to attempted voluntary manslaughter earlier this week and was sentenced to nine years in prison. Last October Vetri was arrested after shooting her husband in the chest during an argument, and since then has been in custody, unable to produce the million-plus dollars needed to make bail. Vetri claims her husband, Bruce Rathgeb, precipitated the shooting by slapping her in the face. Rathgeb, of course, says no slap was involved and his wife is simply a verbally abusive lunatic who was constantly accusing him of cheating. Vetri could have gotten life in prison if convicted of attempted murder, the original charge, so being offered a chance to accept the lesser offense of attempted manslaughter represents a victory—though a Pyrrhic one, without doubt. We’ll close the door on Miss Vetri with a shot of her in 1967, when she was a young centerfold calling herself Angela Dorian and could never have imagined, we’re pretty sure, what life had in store for her.
Former model and actress Victoria Vetri shoots her husband.
1966 Playboy Playmate of the Year, former b-movie star and Pulp Intl. favorite Victoria Vetri, aka Angela Dorian, was arrested for attempted murder yesterday after shooting her husband Bruce Rathgeb in the chest. The husband survived, and Vetri/Dorian is free on bail. Details are still sketchy, but we’d say Vetri has a significant legal problem. We can hear it now:
Prosecutor: “Ms. Vetri, will you kindly look at exhibit C and tell the jury what you’re holding in your hands in the photo?”
Vetri: *mutters unintelligibly*
Prosecutor: “I’m sorry, can you speak up please? I don’t believe the jury heard you. I ask again Ms. Vetri, or is it Mrs. Rathgeb? Frankly, I’m not sure what to call you. What's in your hands in the photo?
Vetri: It’s a publicity photo. It isn’t re—
Prosecutor: If it pleases the Court, instruct the witness to answer the question.
Judge: Answer the question lady.
Vetri: “Um, it’s a prop spea—“
Prosecutor: “A SPEAR! Ladies and gentlemen of the jury! A spear! A! Spear! Used for stabbing, cutting, and inflicting grievous bodily harm. This is a woman who has used deadly weapons before, indeed, who is comfortable with such weapons in her hands. We submit that the defendant is a violent maniac who takes pleasure in killing. State rests.”
It’s called dancing, silly. It’s fun! I just invented it, and in the future women will judge men entirely by whether they’re willing to take lessons in it.
We found some film stills from the 1970 caveman epic When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, and thought they’d be a good share for today. The movie starred Magda Konopka, Victoria Vetri, Imogen Hassall, and a cast of loinclothed others, and even though it has worse science than what you’d find in a Kentucky creationism museum, we’ll buy the idea of prehistoric women in fur bikinis any day when they look like this group. More stills below. They all beg for captions, but we're short of time, so you'll have to write your own.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1914—RMS Empress Sinks
Canadian Pacific Steamships' 570 foot ocean liner Empress of Ireland is struck amidships by a Norwegian coal freighter and sinks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with the loss of 1,024 lives. Submerged in 130 feet of water, the ship is so easily accessible to treasure hunters who removed valuables and bodies from the wreck that the Canadian government finally passes a law in 1998 restricting access.
1937—Chamberlain Becomes Prime Minister
Arthur Neville Chamberlain, who is known today mainly for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938 which conceded the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany and was supposed to appease Adolf Hitler's imperial ambitions, becomes prime minister of Great Britain. At the time Chamberlain is the second oldest man, at age sixty-eight, to ascend to the office. Three years later he would give way to Winston Churchill.
1930—Chrysler Building Opens
In New York City, after a mere eighteen months of construction, the Chrysler Building opens to the public. At 1,046 feet, 319 meters, it is the tallest building in the world at the time, but more significantly, William Van Alen's design is a landmark in art deco that is celebrated to this day as an example of skyscraper architecture at its most elegant.
1969—Jeffrey Hunter Dies
American actor Jeffrey Hunter dies of a cerebral hemorrhage after falling down a flight of stairs and sustaining a skull fracture, a mishap precipitated by his suffering a stroke seconds earlier. Hunter played many roles, including Jesus in the 1961 film King of Kings, but is perhaps best known for portraying Captain Christopher Pike in the original Star Trek pilot episode "The Cage".
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