Saturday, March 14, 2009

Taking Back the Exclamation

Some bad movies are so memorable I am sure that I have seen them even though I have, even after I finally see them for the first time. Case in point is Boom (alternately known as Boom! which I finally saw last night). It confirms a long-standing theory I have had that back in the late 1960s, there was a movement within the studios to save a big budget movie in trouble by adding an exclamation point to the title. Cases in point: Star! (1968), Hello, Dolly! (1969) and Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) I think the main reason that last one failed is the stacatto nature of the punctuation that should have been a crescendo of tora. Tora! TORA!!!!!

I've not seen any back story on it, but apparently Boom (as it is credited in the opening titles and some early posters must have gained the exclamation point after test screening. Some marketing genius must have recognized that no one would pay to see a movie called Boom, but they would come in droves to see one called Boom!

Boom sort of reminds me of Eckhardt Tolle's The Power of Now. Tolle says that the book was written so that you could pick it up and read any two pages out of sequence and gain something from those few paragraphs. I think the same is true of Boom, and it's really hard to watch more than five minutes of it at a time. For example, the six or seven minutes of the Asian themed dinner party with Liz Noël Coward as the Witch of Capri is a brilliant, free-standing short play, and it's unfortunate with all that comes before and after it. Liz is offended that Coward sees her Kabuki gown and asks if they are having Chinese food, but she has no problems having sitar players provide the incongruent musical mood for the evening.

Boom is a sort of non-linear movie and probably makes more sense viewed in separate, short sittings and in no particular sequence. It also is sort of like tofu or eggplant in that it could be paired with just about anything -- the Mediterranean villa works nicely with the one in Contempt, the script is a shadow of Night of the Iguana, and like Bunny Lake Is Missing, it has Coward playing a witty old perv.

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14 Comments:

At 7:23 PM, Blogger Joe said...

Love that poster. I think I will skip this movie, however.

Considering whether to watch The Night Porter tonight or a recent Danish release called Reprise. Or to just waste the entire evening on the internet.

 
At 11:41 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Joe - Well, the movie is worth it for the dinner scene with Coward but little else.

 
At 10:31 AM, Blogger Salty Miss Jill said...

Sounds like 'Boom!' might be one of those visually appeaking to have on the TV with the sound off (and music playing) at a party.
I'm with Joe. Love the posters!

 
At 11:27 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Jill - The villa and costumes are worth it alone.

 
At 7:05 PM, Blogger ArtSparker said...

I like that hat...looks like it would hurt, though.

 
At 7:12 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Susan - She ends up taking it off midway through the dinner party.

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger rich bachelor said...

The contrast between the two posters is noteworthy, too:
First one -AAAHHH! Tsunami of Liz n' Dick!
Second one -aaahhh...My cloak of many pseudo-psychedelic paperback book covers.

And: this thing is by Tennessee Williams, and I've never heard of it. Strange.

 
At 11:57 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Rich - I think this late 1960s movie is a variation on that familiar phrase - If you saw "Boom!" when it was released and remember it, you didn't actually see it.

 
At 5:52 PM, Blogger Bryce Digdug said...

Yes the hat looks painful, for anyone who comes near. Noel again after his brilliant performance in "Bunny Lake is Missing" also with Keir Dullea (sp?) and Sir Lawrence. Won't give away any of the dialog.

Don't forget, Tennessee also wrote Cairo, Shanghai, Bombay!

 
At 5:59 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Bryce - "Boom! Bunny Lake Is Missing" is a good double feature marquee listing.

 
At 7:50 AM, Blogger Steve said...

How is it that I have never heard of this movie??? I'm going to rent it immediately.

 
At 8:10 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Steve - Don't blame me!

 
At 9:10 AM, OpenID fancynotions said...

Oh, thank you for posting a photo of that headdress! It was my favorite part of that movie. Well, that and all the shrieking.I saw this here in Hollywood in a double feature with "Secret Ceremony." So much shrieking...

 
At 9:40 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Fancy - "Secret Ceremony"! SHRIEK!!!!

 

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