Saturday, September 8, 2012

Shameless Saturday Camp Explosion: Mrs. Hart Asks a Question

Since we missed her birthday last Monday, I thought it might be nice to spend this week's SSCE in the always good company of dear Mrs. Moss Hart, née dear Miss Kitty Carlisle (well, actually née dear Miss Catherine Conn, but that's another story altogether).  We meet here here during her too-short stint in Hollywood, as one of the leads of 1934's Murder at the Vanities.

She's in an interrogative mood.  "Why am I puzzled?" she trills repeatedly, and one could argue that what should have been bewildering her isn't the not-all-that-mysterious origin and destination of show girls (Podunk and oblivion, mostly, respectively) as what's going with those sleeve/train/pompom things that have been attached to her Harlowische white bias-cut satin gown.  At one point it looks she's going to start using them as poi balls in a kind of tribute avant la lettre to Miss Dolores DeLago; pity she didn't, as it really could have classed things up... 

While the number does give a rather good idea of what a staged number at Broadway Vanities might have been like (complete with one of the oddest pieces of choreography I've ever seen at 3:13, right after, heaven help us, the lasso demonstration), I'm afraid the whole thing just kind of peters out, as if at some point all involved decided it was just easier to get on with telling the film's (too complicated, on the whole) story.  As the showgirl turntables go by, see who you can spy as one of the glorified stenographers, snapping gum as if she were born to it (I think she was).

Still, it's all great fun while it lasts.  And doesn't she have terrific diction?


  1. Miss Lucille Ball as part of an Art Deco tableau is incomprehensible enough, but why would Miss Carlisle be "using them as poi balls in a kind of tribute avant la lettre to..." Me?! Jx

    1. Now, darling, you know you sport, among other things, an extra "R" - I meant, of course, your enchanting near-namesake and her little specialty act.

      What you get up to with balls is none of my business. Although I wouldn't mind a peek at those Polaroids, as it were...

  2. wasn't that what moss was drawn to....kitty's dicktion?

  3. Kitty was a good old New Orleanian gal...
    um...much like myself.
    That's just how we tawk down here.