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  • Il pirata sono io!

    Il pirata sono io!

    Enjoyable, buoyant comedy and pirate adventure starring Erminio Macario. In 1795 a town plans to impress the visiting Viceroy by staging a pirate attack for locals to defeat, only to have actual pirate The Grim Reaper show up and lay wreck to their path to glory. It's mostly a candy store treat, but one's pleasure is moderated by an awful running joke at the expense of a fat woman. It's worth noting too that the film's pleasing escapist palette of pirate adventure romance tropes was almost certainly meant to encourage and resonate with Italian Fascist warmaking.

  • A Wild Hare

    A Wild Hare

    The archetypal Bugs-Elmer cartoon, and it shows. It's all here: "Be very very quiet, I'm hunting wabbits," "What's up, Doc?," "Guess who?," sexual roleplaying implications, and Elmer Fudd turning endearingly inconsolable when faced with the terrifying prospect of having successfully hunted a wabbit. As usual, the implied romantic desire they share in, their screwball tête-à-tête, is interesting insofar as it allows for homosexual and/or transsexual implications but is disturbing insofar as it plays off and reifies an analogy between hunting and dating. Elmer rhyming off female movie stars Bugs might be is the highlight.

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  • Something Good - Negro Kiss

    Something Good - Negro Kiss

    A 2018 addition to the National Film Registry, the earliest known moving picture depicting African-American sexual intimacy, in which a Black man and Black woman joyously kiss. Any Victorian-era film will be notable if it represents Blackness without racist caricature, but this 1898 document is far greater than just something not-bad. Although the Selig company catalogue describes this as a "burlesque" on 1896's popular The Kiss, any potential comic intentions on the part of the white camera-cranker are gloriously disallowed by the sincere affection of the performers. It is beautiful, so beautiful, and their love is contagious.

  • What Happened on Twenty-Third Street, New York City

    What Happened on Twenty-Third Street, New York City

    A woman's skirt shoots up when she walks under the gushing air of a sidewalk grate, fifty-four years before Marilyn's iconic performance in The Seven Year Itch. Only today have I learned the historical significance of this film's title. Why does it happen on Twenty-Third Street? The answer can be found by pairing this film with the 1903 actuality At the Foot of the Flatiron, in which pedestrians clutch their hats and skirts on a windy day on the corner…