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Mar 18, 2022

MGM, 1939: the beginning of an era, as the Freed Unit gets started with the first Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland musical, Babes in Arms (directed by Busby Berkeley), and the end of an era, with Tod Browning's last film, the supernaturally tinged locked room mystery and bid for B-seriesdom, Miracles for Sale. Reflecting on the role of the blackface number in Babes in Arms prompts us to take a deep dive into the relationship of race to the concept of "American entertainment," and then at the end of the episode we return to problematic racial representations in classical Hollywood cinema, in the very different context of feminist film theory and psychoanalysis, in response to a listener email about our series on the Sternberg-Dietrich films. 


Time Codes:

0h 01m 00s:                BABES IN ARMS [dir. Busby Berkeley]

0h 46m 09s:                MIRACLES FOR SALE [dir. Tod Browning]

1h 02m 30s:                Listener Mail with Dylan



Studio Film Capsules provided The MGM Story by 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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