Here are two unusual treasures to look for on Valentine’s Day.
First, Hear my Song is a zany outrageous Irish musical with a heart. It’s about a nightclub producer’s attempt to win the heart of his girl (and persuade a legendary Irish tenor to come out of retirement to perform). I saw this movie quite by accident. I received free passes with a friend, and we loved it to death; we couldn’t stop laughing. I totally forgot about this film until I came across a VHS version ten years later. I watched it excitedly and loved it even more. Every small moment is full of surprises and minor gags. Last time I noticed two gangsters doing a jig on the sidewalk. This time, it was an old man who after hearing a man woo a woman, mutters, “I would rather go to prison for three more years than fall in love again.” The wonderful part of the film is it was based on a true story about the Irish tenor Joseph Locke (“the women who makes women weep”). Adding to the movie’s great fun is the fact that the person who plays Joe Locke (Ned Beauty) actually sang the songs quite admirably. I am leaving out a great many plot points, but they involve taxes, teeth, Frank Cinatra and Mister X.
Oddly, although the film has quite a following, the DVD is still not out. VHS copies are available for about $2 or $3 plus shipping. I’ve already bought about 20 copies and give them out to all my friends.
Here’s a video performance showing the real Josef Locke in an old movie. Here’s a performance he did in his eighties . Here’s an audio of his song I’ll take you home again Kathleen. Here’s a fan’s appreciation site by Peter Lee.
Second treasure. Over the weekend I was watching a DVD of Maya Deren’s avante-garde film shorts. They were so-so/ interesting, but just by chance I watched an extra video included on the DVD by her husband Alexander Hammid. The movie, Private Life of a Cat is freely available for download on archive.org and I highly recommend you download the high resolution version. It’s a silent film about two cats who inhabit the family household. It’s a documentary, more of a study of how animals interact when left alone. What they do is unremarkable by itself but fascinating when you treat it as a serious subject of study. I confess that I know next to nothing about cats, so this was completely eye-opening to me. Sometimes it takes watching a movie to make us more aware of our surroundings.
Happy Valentine’s Day ….. suckers!