Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Film #14: Advise and Consent

I have to comment on the Elliot Spitzer prostitution scandal. I once respected Spitzer, mainly for calling radio stations out on taking payola for playing tons of bad songs over the past decade or so. With that, I was just glad to get an explanation for the unexplainable and some measure of vengeance for "Who Let The Dogs Out?" or whatever. But then, he started acting like an asshole, telling people he'd "steamroller" right over them. What an arrogant prick. Plus, he hypocritically went on a self-righteous rampage and threw a bunch of hookers in jail. Hey, just leave all them girls alone; we all know prostitution should be legal. As the fabled oldest profession, isn't it finally time to take the stigma off of it and in the process, make the inevitability of love-for-pay safer and more accessible?

We all need sex, and some people--guys and gals alike--just don't have the chutzpah to get it for free, so they just cut right to the chase and go pay for it. I don't see anything wrong with that. I mean, you can buy everything else in the world, so why not a little genital relief? This is America, right? Call me a filthy pig, but there you have it. But I gotta say this: couldn't have Spitzer nailed down a nicer-looking girl to boff? Look, "Kristen" (real name: Ashley DuPre) is fine--hot body and everything. But Spitzer's wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, is an absolute knock-out. I mean, a knock...out! AND smart AND successful AND supportive AND much more than this guy deserves. So, good riddance to him. Who wants a guv with poor judgment and mediocre taste (of course, to be fair, the girls on the Emperor VIP site from which "Kristen" hailed, had their faces blurred out, so that could explain that). All of this is so, so sad, but it is what it is.

With that, and former N.J. governor McGrevey's confessions over threesomes, and that right-wing senator guy who was caught looking for the glory hole in an airport bathroom, and newly-minted confessions of infidelity from just-sworn-in New York Governor David Paterson AND his wife (there ya go, ladies!), it seems time to reexamine Otto Preminger's 1962 Washington sleazefest Advise and Consent. Adorned with a huge cast of veteran actors, the show finds Preminger once again in sex-scandal mode (so many of his movies feature this, from the salty rape-related trial involving sexy Lee Remick in Anatomy of a Murder, to Maggie McNamara as a demonstrative virgin in The Moon is Blue--the first American film to have the words "virgin" and "pregnant" in its dialogue, to the incestuous longings of Keir Dullea for sister Carol Lynley in Bunny Lake is Missing).

Here, Henry Fonda lends his always-ultra-clear moral stance to his role as a stand-up Secretary of State nominee whose approval by the Senate is held up by a fiercely partisan battle. When the objecting party starts digging for dirt on their enemies, they commence to rattling the closeted skeletons of Communism and--gasp!--homosexuality in the pasts of those they hate, resulting in lots of misery and public service bloodletting, and all for naught. This turns this movie from what could have been a stodgy parade of politicos into a chess-like series of moves and dodges. George Grizzard, the picture of alpha-male corruption, is the chief dirty-tricker, while Charles Laughton is the bombastic senior senator who talks a good game while never saying much, which is certainly a talent one needs to reach the top in Washington. SPOILER ALERT: The hapless Don Murray is the target--he has one scene in what must be the first appearance of a gay bar in movie history. IT'S OKAY, YOU CAN READ THIS: Fast-paced, and adapted from the classic best-seller by Allen Drury, the film sports a distinguished supporting cast including Peter Lawford, Gene Tierney, Franchot Tone, Walter Pidgeon, Lew Ayres and Burgess Meredith. Check Advise and Consent out, and see how all things political have remained the same lo! all these many years. Now, I'm gonna go find me a prostitute...(kidding! Geeez!!!)

1 comment:

Joe said...

Hey Dean,
nice segue from spitzer sleaze to movie magic. Also dug the 2001 defense (Arthur C. Clarke, alas) and the Ed Wood review. Ed Wood is the feel good movie of the century for us misguided misfits.
watched one of the DVDs. very interesting.