Sunday, January 07, 2018

Woody Allen rode on the romantic lead created by and for Humphrey Bogart.  They both crossed beyond the lead but they rode it first, Mr. Bogart through Maltese Falcon, Casablanca and To Have and Have Not, the last of those going so far as to provide him with a wife.  Woody Allen with Play It Again Sam into Sleeper, Love and Death and Annie Hall, then they went overboard into their own reality, with Manhattan and Stardust Memories for Mr. Allen, and Treasure of Sierra Madre and In a Lonely Place for Mr. Bogart. 
Mr. Bogart was rather reasonable in his depiction of the romantic lead gone wrong, susceptible to suspicion, when his female lead, the director's wife, Gloria Graham, takes the bait (offered by the outside world). 
Mr. Bogart seems to have his ego well within his control to portray these roles so completely. 
I'm longing for the romantic lead movie role that allows for the actor to embody an identity worthy or capable of receiving an audience transference.  This transference is the relatability of the movie star, that he or she can sustain the identity transference of the viewer.  Indeed this would happen when I was younger as I became Jack Nicholson in Chinatown sustaining the romantic lead in a movie land.  Mr Nicholson, with director and scriptwriter, provided a substitute identity, the way Bogart does for Woody Allen in Mr. Allen's own script, establishing himself, Mr. Allen, as the romantic lead. 
I'm realizing we mentioned the Quentin Tarrantino romance inspired by Play It Again Sam (True Romance, which provides a lead of great appeal but lacking in substance.  I don't know why I say that with conviction (Christian Slater is ok).  I'm trying to imagine the roles that have substance in a Tarrantino movie.  I feel like everyone is following the acting of Robin and the Seven Hoods, which is also quite a grim and gruesome movie of knuckleheads.  And his True Romance uses Elvis Presley as the Bogart figure.   Elvis is also somewhat lightweight in comparison to his viewer -- forgive me for suggesting this since I know Elvis's own movies can be amazing.  (I think of Jailhouse Rock, Blue Hawaii and Viva Las Vegas).  But who gets the audience identity transference?  Could James Bond get it as portrayed by whomever, ie, Daniel Craig?  When I first saw the newer Casino Royale I was somehow affected by the youthful appearance of the male and female leads, as if they weren't going to put up with the 1960's typecasting, but they had to.  Meanwhile, the 1970's movie with Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway (Chinatown) offers them only a moment before they plummet to the movie's end.
Oh remember where both Mr Allen and Mr. Bogart came from.  Mr. Allen was the nebish behind the scenes author and Mr. Bogart was the gangster, but they were destined for Romantic Lead!  It looks like Mr. Allen wrote the lead for himself.   Mr. Bogart was an egoless actor intent on working, acting, good thing since he only lived 57 years.  John Huston gave him an identical Maltese Falcon script (it had been filmed in the 1930's) with a built in private eye, Sam Spade.  Casablanca was the script that would teach scriptwriters how to activate the ticking bomb (ruining movies by exposing the formula?).   To Have and to Have Not had a director and his wife provide an offscreen model of how the on screen actors could interact... Oh Howard Hawks, the same director, gave Humphrey Bogart a Philip Marlow role.  That's the movie, The Big Sleep, with two versions, the one before realization of the appeal of Bacall, and afterward. 
Create a romantic lead.  Is La La Land romantic?  Maira is suggesting Punch Drunk Love, while I consider Daniel Day Lewis... he can sustain this kind of audience identity transference, but he doesn't care and his main director PT Anderson, is looking to create something new, something that distances us even as our fascination grows.   Robert Downey Jr. could do it with Guy Richie in the Sherlock Holmes private eye... private eyes are everything, like their counterparts, secret agents.   perhaps the most we get from the quirky personality, the loner with paranoia is Humphrey Bogart, the loner with obsessive compulsion is Robert Downey. 
I need someone to speak to me because I need guidance.   Am I really on my own... well, we're on our own together...