Saturday, May 3, 2008

Unintentionally funny

I was watching TCM's broadcast of Marnie today, and found myself laughing quite a bit. The movie isn's supposed to be funny of course, but Tippi Hedren's characterization is even more over the top than I remembered it being. Who every thought rape, murder, and kleptomania could be so funny? There's the sexual revolution for you....

Marnie isn't the only movie that's funny without intending to be, of course. There are a lot of B-movies that are so bad they're worth laughing at, but that isn't really fair to the B-movies, which can't be as polished with their more limited budgets. I could go on about movies like Reefer Madness or 20 Million Miles to Earth, but many times, I actually enjoy the charms of the B movie, even when its flaws aren't due to the low budget.

Besides, there are also "serious" movies that end up being unintentionally funny. Right near the top of that list might be Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann's look at Hollywood and the drugs culture of the 1960s. It's full of ludicrous moments, although my favorite might be Susan Hayward's singing a particularly bad Dory Previn song about planting a tree, all the while standing in front of a ghastly giant mobile sculpture.

Speaking of Susan Hayward, she was also in I Want to Live!, with its unintentionally humorous portrayal of capital punishment.

More deaths which elicit laughter from me, although I'm sure that's not what the production crew had in mind, occur in Gregory Peck's The Omen. One of the characters gets decapitated, and you can see it coming a mile away (indeed, the character himself realizes that he's been marked for death, specifically by decapitation, although he doesn't know the exact moment it's going to come). It's supposed to be horrifying, but knowing that it's coming, it's more worthy of a cheer for the inventiveness of the writers.

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