May 12, 2023
For our MGM 1943 episode, we look at two films that are highly representative of the Mayer ethos, The Human Comedy (directed by Clarence Brown), a portrait of WWII-era American small-town life infused with the beatific sensibility of William Saroyan (who provided the story), with Mickey Rooney in a coming-of-age story that's equal parts Andy Hardy and David Lynch; and the children's classic Lassie Come Home (directed by Fred M. Wilcox), which we compare to Mizoguchi's Sansho the Bailiff as a sold-into-slavery story but find wanting in its social analysis despite its Communist screenwriter. We try to tease the strangeness out of the sentiment—which doesn’t really take much doing.
0h 00m 45s: THE HUMAN COMEDY [Dir. Clarence Brown]
0h 43m 59s: LASSIE COME HOME [Dir. Fred M. Wilcox]
Studio Film Capsules provided by The MGM Story John Douglas Eames
Additional studio information from: The Hollywood Story by Joel W. Finler
* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s
* Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)
* Read Elise’s latest film piece on Preston Sturges, Unfaithfully Yours, and the Narrative role of comedic scapegoating.
* Check out Dave’s new Robert Benchley blog – an attempt to annotate and reflect upon as many of the master humorist’s 2000+ pieces as he can locate – Benchley Data: A Wayward Annotation Project!
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