Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I guess today *is* Ash Wednesday

Would you believe I only noticed today that TCM's schedule for the morning and afternoon of religious-themed movies corresponds with Ash Wednesday, the start of the the pre-Easter Lenten season, what with all those movies about Catholic clergy, ending with a film about the ultimate Christian of them all: The Greatest Story Ever Told at 4:15 PM. FXM is getting in on the action too. Esther and the King at 10:30 AM is biblical although I don't know that it's necessarily germane to Ash Wednesday. But that's followed at 12:20 PM by The Song of Bernadette, the story of Bernadette or Lourdes who claimed to see the Virgin Mary in a grotto in the Pyrenees Mountains. (You'll actually find her at your local Walmart next to Elvis Presley.)

Yesterday was Mardi Gras, and noting that today is Ash Wednesday, I also started thinking this morning of films with scenes involving the pre-Lenten celebrations. There is actually a movie called Mardi Gras, one of those Fox musical comedies from the late 1950s and early 1960s when Fox was trying to showcase one young pop/rock singer or another. Here it's Pat Boone; Fabian would show up in some of the other movies. I haven't seen it, in part because FXM hasn't taken it out of their vaults since I don't know when, and partly because I'm not interested in those Pat Boone or Fabian movies all that much.

As for other Mardi Gras movies, there's also Carneval in Brazil, which immediately made me think of Black Orpheus, telling the story of Orpheus and Eurydice set against the backdrop of Carneval. A movie that's lovely to look at, and a pretty good story too. Edgar G. Ulmer's low-budget Her Sister's Secret, which showed up on TCM when they had a night of Edgar Ulmer movies including a documentary about him, starts off at Mardi Gras with a soldier falling in love with a woman and geting her pregnant, only to return from the war unable to find the woman.

IMDb lists a couple of studio movies from before the war that supposedly have Mardi Gras scenes, but I can't remember the extent to which the Mardi Gras shows up. I think I've only seen the end of the Wheeler and Woolsey comedy Dixiana, since their early movies tended to have two-strip Technicolor finales and I'm always interested in seeing two-strip Technicolor more than I am in watching 90 minutes of creaky musical comedy. Bed of Roses is listed as having a Mardi Gras scene. I know it's set in New Orleans at least in part; I can't recall whether it actually shows the Mardi Gras. And then there's the Bob Hope comedy Louisiana Purchase.

For a less timely celebration, you could watch the Christmas party and New Years Eve celebrations in The Apartment, at 8:00 PM this evening on TCM. With the weather we're having, however, I think I'd rather see a 4th of July celebration.

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