Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Panic in the Streets (1950)

Panic in the Streets (1950)

“By stripping it of its
dialogue and mood
music, he transformed
its banality into an
oneiric mystery”
—Adams Sitney,
Visionary Film: The
American Avant-Garde

Joseph Cornell’s first collage film—
Often called his masterpiece was
“Rose Hobart” (1936).

He edited “East of Borneo” (1931)—
A jungle melodrama by removing
The plot almost entirely & reducing
It from 1 hour 20 minutes down
To 20 minutes without sound.

He kept only interstitial shots—
A loaded glance, a glass being
Lifted, palm trees swaying in
The wind, slowing it down to
Silent speed, playing a Brazilian
Music record as the soundtrack.

I did the same with Elia Kazan’s—
Panic in the Streets (1950), turning
The noir film into underworld ballet.
Smoldering passions that once
Never drove the film—slip into the
Fragmented Big Easy waterfront
Dream with Jack Palance as Blackie
& Tommy Cook as Vince Poldi the
Young hoodlum punk in love.

Sometimes in the barren wastes—
Of talking films a passage occurs
To remind one again of the love—
The profound & suggestive power
Of the silent film to evoke an ideal
World of male beauty, to release
Unsuspected floods of images from
The gaze of a boy’s countenance
In the prison of straight silver light.

Such film allows for profane poetry—
The mute gaze of a boy for a man
Which is profoundly overwhelming
Because unlike speech, a glance can
Descend down deep into gay sublime.

Always momentary, fleeting—
Beyond the grasp of most viewers,
The look Vince Poldi has for Blackie—
Tommy Cook for sexy Jack Palance.

A brief minor overlooked scene—
In a bar with Blackie & Jeanette,
Dramatizing the gay cineaste’s
Eagerness & distance from what
Is attracting him, stripping away
The glaze of interiority, a queer
Theater of desire, intermittent
Rupture momentarily jarring
But ever so jizzy-suggestive.

There’s the exotic hoodlum lust—
Blackie, haunting & intriguing
To Vince the gangster kid whose
Lana Turner-esque bouffant of
Hair flaunts his femininity, feeling
Drawn to the elusive, dark, cruel
And mysterious eyes of Blackie.

Jack Palance cultivates & rewards
This homosexual hero worshiping—
Enamoring Vince so knowingly &
Suggestively—using his sexy moll
Girlfriend Jeannette who’s all over
Him in the barroom scene to hint—
At a sexy three-way at his place…

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