Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #176

Clark: “Okay, are you ready to do this scene?”

Jean: “I think so. But can I say that you really look a lot hotter here than you will in that Gone with the Wind mess you’ll make in a few years?”

Clark: “Of course you can say that. I love myself. Why would I not want to hear about my hotness?”

Jean: “I love myself, too! Isn’t it swell?”

Clark: “It’s the greatest. I’m my own best friend.”

Jean: “Well, peroxide is my best friend. But my ego is right behind it.”

Victor Fleming: “Okay, folks. We’re trying to shoot a love scene here, not a session with your therapist. We get it. You both make Narcissus look like an amateur. Now, can we have a little whoopee?”

Clark: “Is somebody else talking? I thought it was only you and I on the call list for today.”

Jean, sighing: “It’s that wretched man standing over there. The one with the megaphone and the attitude. I don’t know why he keeps showing up all the time.”

Victor: “I keep showing up because I’m the director on this movie.”

Clark: “The director? What the hell is that?”

Jean: “I’m not sure. I see that word a lot in the credits for my movies, but it’s in the boring part where you’re just wanting the words to quit showing up so you can watch the damn movie.”

Victor: “You can’t make a picture without a director. I’m the one that tells everyone what to do so we have a decent film and not a home movie.”

Clark: “I think he’s lying.”

Jean: “Of course he is. Everyone knows that the stars make the movie. People don’t buy tickets to a movie because of the director. That absurdity won’t happen until the French get all snooty about movie-making and start calling directors ‘auteurs’ and calling actors ‘cattle’.”

Clark: “God, the French. They are so annoying. I’m about to make a movie with someone called Claudette Colby Cheese. I’m sure she’ll be insufferable. It Happened with Spite will probably be the worst movie, ever.”

Victor: “Actually, it will be Alfred Hitchcock who will say that actors are cattle. And right now, I fully understand that point of view.”

Clark: “Alfred who?”

Jean: “He’s lying again. It’s the fake media!”

Clark: “We don’t have to listen to him.”

Jean: “I never have.”

Louis B. Mayer, head of MGM, the production company trying to make this movie, suddenly stormed on the set in a fit of colic rage, which is how he approached life in general.

Clark: “Louis, my man! How’s it going, buddy?”

Jean: “Don’t you look sharp today!”

Louis: “Oh, knock it off with the ass-kissing. Here’s the deal. We’re behind schedule, over budget, and I have an ulcer that is preventing me from swilling the Scotch that I so desperately wish was in my blood system right now. You are going to listen to this man over there… what’s his name?… Victor something. You are going to listen to Victor and do everything he says or I am going to make it my life goal to cast you in Shirley Temple movies for the rest of your lives. Got it?”

Clark: “Couldn’t be more clear.”

Jean: “You look sharp today!”

Louis then turned and stomped off the sound stage, firing everyone he encountered on the way back to his office, including several people who didn’t even work for the studio and a child starlet then known as Frances Ethel Gumm. Frances paused for a moment of reflection after this unexpected outburst, and she decided that perhaps it was time she changed her name to something more soothing to people with ulcers and unfocused anger.

Victor: “Well, then. Do we understand the situation now?”

Clark: “Apparently we don’t have a choice in the matter.”

Jean: “Whatever Big Daddy wants, Big Daddy gets.”

Victor: “Good. Now, let’s start the scene over. This is still a pre-code movie, so we can get away with racy. And… action!”

Clark: “My neon-headed lover, I want to spin you round, right round, like a gramophone, baby.”

Jean: “Is that a script I feel in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?”


16 replies »

  1. You spin me right round, baby, right round, like a record baby. Loved that song,still do. Remember dancing to that with a fine looking man who gave great back massages. Hmmm, those were the days.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, there’s something to be said for a healthy ego. In moderation, of course.
    You make several lovely points here. Much like my favorite part of the Oscars where they show a clip without sound effects or music, just to show how much they add to film, or what a cinematographer does, or the difference in lighting. And that’s when we all realize, “oh, so actors are actually the *least* important part of movies!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, perhaps I wouldn’t go so far as “least” (good chemistry can carry an insipid story, and there are certain actors who can mesmerize me to the extent that I don’t even notice anything else on the screen), but they are not the ones “making” the movie. Now, in case you haven’t seen this one, “Red Dust” is a pretty good film. A bit creaky now, but these two had the chemistry that can carry, which is probably why they made so many movies together despite her passing at the age of 26…

      Liked by 1 person

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