Tuesday, May 22, 2012
The Most Depressing Film of All Time
In Pennies From Heaven, Steve Martin plays a failing sheet music salesman in the Depression who squanders a loan from I think his wife's family, leaves the wife for a grade school teacher, gets the teacher pregnant and then leaves her. She gets fired and winds up being a prostitute and Martin ultimately gets hung for the murder of a blind girl he didn't commit.
Throughout this, the cast breaks out into 1930s-era gay song and dance numbers.
Get it? It's contrast! Every character is miserable, but when they fantasize, they're happy! Catnip for film critics.
Can you imagine the executive meeting for this movie? At some point, someone asked, "Sounds good, but who's going to play the heartless bastard?" And then someone else had to say, "I know, let's get the funniest man in America!"
Meanwhile the marketing executive was gaping in horror. There would be no way he could sell this film, and when it flopped, he'd get canned.
In one painful scene, Steve Martin's wife is trying to get him to stay. "I'm wearing lipstick!" she offers. Martin says "So what."
"On my nipples!" She then takes off her top, she has lipstick on her nipples and Steve Martin gets aroused...because, obviously this is his fetish, and no decent man would have this fetish...and he had obviously asked her to do this, ..and ..and..the audience just squirms deeper into their seats.
I actually took a date to this movie. Afterward we decided it was best to break up because seeing each other again would just bring back painful memories of this film.