Landmark cult film about the relationship between a long legged trapeze artist named Cleopatra and Hans, the dwarf she marries. Uncategorizable film is creepy and disturbing, but also touching and sweet. What makes this film so unique is director Tod Browning’s controversial step in casting real people with deformities as the so-called sideshow “freaks,” rather than using costumes and makeup. However it is these performers that come off as trusting and honorable, while two of the “normal” members of the circus are portrayed as the real monsters. Although certainly one of the most unusual films ever produced by a major Hollywood studio, the message of sympathy and acceptance is admirable. The well publicized revulsion with which audiences originally greeted this film seems unjustified. A fascinating movie that remains a curious oddity.
Archive for the Cult Category
Future society film about juvenile delinquency is adapted from the 1962 novel by Anthony Burgess. Stanley Kubrick’s meditation on the use of classical conditioning to prevent a violent free will purports to be an alleged satire, but it unwittingly revels in our main character’s sadistic nature at the same time. Malcolm McDowell is our anti-hero, Alex, an inhuman monster of a man. While his victims are dehumanized, we are oddly invited to feel pity when he gets his subsequent comeuppance. Although disturbing and still very potent today (A gang rape scene is especially difficult to watch) this technically impressive film is impossible to ignore. Despite being highly controversial when released, film still managed to receive 4 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture.