Friday, August 10, 2007


Back in Macau.

Want to add some film noir to your life? Just get over here to the former Portugese enclave and you'll get all the grit, characters, glam, crime, and typhoons you can bear.

Someone on eBay is selling this movie ad, but I own a copy of it, too, so I don't feel too bad about cutting and pasting his photo here in my blog.

For one hot nightclub scene, producer Howard Hughes had a solid gold dress made for Jane Russell, whose boobs were strong enough to hold up under its significant tonnage and drag!

This is a great little movie, directed by two different filmmakers. Josef von Sternberg directed the mesmerizing dock scenes, which rate amongst the best chase sequences shot in b&w. Mitchum and Sternberg clashed like a strict schoolteacher and a charismatic class clown. But what really ended the German director's stint on this project was his going over schedule and over budget. Scenes of banter and other hot interactions between the two stars were shot incredibly poorly by a studio hack who seemed to just leave the camera running ten feet away. Perhaps he was just entranced by the chemistry of Mitchum and Russell and forgot to yell, "cut." Because even the lacklustre cinematography and awful lighting, such a contrast with von Sternberg's sequences, cannot douse the flames of the two ne'er-do-wells who find themselves washed ashore in the rat-infested docks of postwar Macau.

Here I sit, typing away on the 22nd floor of Macau's most posh hotel, while my husband thrashes out "Cinnamon Girl" on his new Martin, while a typhoon rages away outside. Sunset was a noir-ish affair with a strange glow emanating from behind dark clouds, Penha Church backlit like something out of a horror flick.

We'll be going out on the town in just a little while.


Don said...

I envy you both.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Don. Always nice to read your little comments and notes, but YOU lead a pretty amazing road life, too. Lake Garda, Chicago, Shanghai...

A little after I wrote that entry about Macau and Macao, my husband and I went out to dinner at a pretty darn good steakery with some work buddies. Then just the two of us tried our luck with places to dance.

We passed two bars with Filipina acts that were frankly ho-hum, and we'd heard that there was an excellent Filipino house band at the Grand Emperor Hotel. So we went there, but the only night club, said a sheepish front desk clerk, was "for men," which means MAYbe you get to see a pole dance before you choose your hooker by indicating the number on her ill-fitting ball gown.

We went across the street to the AIA Building, where, on the second floor, the "High Energy Band" was playing at D2 Disco. At 11:30, the place was near empty and the sound of the drummer so overamplified that we chose to sit in a banquette. To be continued

Anonymous said...

Part 2:

We were immediately kicked out of the banquette because that prime piece of Asian real estate was reserved for the owner.

Okay, we said to the waiter, let's sit downstairs. And we took stools at a postage stamp sized table decorated with the logo of Johnny Walker.

I got a whisky and soda, my husband got a vodka neat. And I stuffed my ears with paper napkins just to ensure a few more good years of listening pleasure. The band was doing a funky chill set, and they launched into "Smooth Operator" so we danced in this little corner area with more empty banquette seating.

The band were clearly nuts over the fact that someone actually danced to their music, and they hollered over to "the couple in the corner" with praises. We yelled back to play something faster, but, judging by the slow number that followed, they were under contract by the Russian mafia to stick with Chill.

They got around to a merengue, so we did a little sleepwalking to that, too.

Break time. Yawwwwwwn. A group of Filipinas came into the club and were promptly seated at one of the same postage stamp tables, the banquette rooms all standing as creepily empty as Yucatan caves. Now, the club could have made the day, made the whole MONTH for these hardworking gals by just letting them sit in one of the VIP rooms, but this corner of clubland was not into spreading goodwill.

Second set's only change was that the two mulatto frontwomen of the band actually starting singing. but it was to be a set of all TLC slow beats... we simply couldn't hack it.

Judging by the break music, the disco numbers the club was going to play after the band left the stage were all going to be non-DJ premix classic disco. Yarrrgh.

We left. At least we weren't charged the cover. But that was our big night on the town.