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Apr 22, 2022

This week's Special Subject takes a look at Sex, Satire, and American Culture in Frank Tashlin's Artists and Models (1955), starring Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Shirley MacLaine, and Dorothy Malone, and in Billy Wilder's Kiss Me, Stupid (1964), starring Dean Martin, Kim Novak, Ray Walston, and Felicia Farr. Tashlin uses comic books to portray American culture as a strangely sexless-yet-sex-obsessed idiot savant with an exuberantly violent imagination, while Wilder turns smut in a small town into an uncannily beatific examination of objectification and toxic masculinity in American popular culture. We also look at the way that Tashlin and Lewis turn signifiers of gender and sexuality into a richly indecipherable text that comments on the madness of heteronormativity and gender stereotypes. 

Further Reading:

Elise’s “Jerry Lewis and the Gender of Work.”

Elise’s “Billy Wilder and the 1930s Romantic Comedy”

Time Codes:

0h 01m 00s:    ARTISTS AND MODELS (1955) [dir. Frank Tashlin]

0h 45m 25s:    KISS ME, STUPID (1964) [dir. Billy Wilder]


* 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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