Friday, March 19, 2010

A quibble regarding Lola Montes with regard to Sarah Palin

as perpended by Andrew Sarris, in his last notice of Lola Montes:
In his own cultivated way, Ophüls (1902-1957) proved to be something of a prophet.. . .
As the ever menacing Sarah Palin proves once again that mere mediocrity is no obstacle to gaining a frightening degree of power, the Ophüls vision is timelier than ever. As I watch Ms. Palin in fearful rapport with hordes of hockey moms, I am reminded not so much of Lola Montès herself as of the larger numbers of celebrity-worshippers with proudly limited intellects in our own time threatening to plunge us irrevocably into the abyss.

Sarris, who called Lola Montes the greatest film of all time, does Montes a small disservice here, I think. The issue is not the mediocrity of the character, but the ingenious professional Barnum-esque machine that employs a legendary "liberated woman" for its own mercenary purposes. The film seems to have been misread by many reviewers. For example, one suggests that the circus is staging her memories. Clearly it is staging some idiotic USian scandal sheet notion of what her memories *must be.*

Lola : Ludwig I :: Wagner : Ludwig II (for discussion)

Ophuls' machine is Hollywood, of course. And the magic box of TV, and now the magic manicals of corporate media whatever the form. The object is always the same: take whatever breathes most of life, control it, present it, for a price. Succès de scandale is sacred fire -- Murdoch hopefully will extinguish it by using Palin for TV banalities.

Update: By the way, the film was remastered in 2008:

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