Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mane Man

Bela ought to consider a shave
As he's Laughton's most hideous slave
He says "That is the law!"
As he raises his paw
Never taught how a kid should behave.

David Cairns with Surly Hack

Bela Lugosi plays the "Sayer of the Law" in the twisted Pre-Code horror classic, Island of the Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton; 1932).

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Island of Doctor Morose

From primitive beast I've made blokes
Shifting limbs, shearing fleece, life I coax
From these pets I dissect
I just get no respect
They're all dim-witted, greasy jamokes.

David Cairns

The first film adaptation of  H. G. Wells' novel The Island of Doctor Moreau, Island of Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton; 1932) stars Charles Laughton as Moreau, an obsessed scientist who conducts profane experiments in evolution, establishing himself as the self-styled demigod to a race of mutated, half-human beast-men.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Spinal Trap

Old Walter seems pitiless, mean
Spine faulty, he's bitter, all spleen
Poor Virginia Bruce,
Lives in sin, hits the juice
Better call heavy-hitter Joe Breen.

David Cairns

Virginia Bruce and Walter Huston as "Deadlegs" Flint in Kongo (William J. Cowen; 1932) .

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bring Me the Head of Lupe Velez


He rules with a fireworks display
Keeps 'em fooled as the jerks come to pray
By vengeance he's driven
Until then he won't give in
But cruelly, fate's quirks make him pay.

Surly Hack and David Cairns

Kongo (William J. Cowen; 1932): In the Kongo, embittered paraplegic "Deadlegs" Flint (Walter Huston) controls the natives by using cheap tricks that appear to be magical, assisted by his mistress Tula (Velez).

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Beast Muster

She's too fine--she's all wrong for your crew
Grab a vine--you belong in a zoo
You're too hairy, you see
Buy some Nair, climb a tree
Go and find Mrs. Kong for a screw. 

Richard Arlen protects Kathleen Burke in Island of the Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton; 1932).

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Verse of the Cat People

The fellow has only just met
This healthy and lonely brunette
She's a slinky hot item
But he thinks she might bite him
She'd be swell--but to own as a pet.  

Richard Arlen, and Kathleen Burke as Lota, the Panther Woman, in Island of the Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton; 1932).

Monday, April 25, 2016

Any Lust Requests?

Miss Dietrich is peddling her bod
A streetwalking, bed-hopping broad
Then when hired as a spy
She's a liar, quite sly
But gets beat by the dread firing squad.

David Cairns                 

Marlene Dietrich is given a last cigarette in Dishonored (Josef von Sternberg; 1931). Barry Norton is the young Lieutenant.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Cellmate of the Month

She stares at this mister-ish frau
Whose bearing seems twisted somehow
Then we fade out to black
But what's played on the track
Is "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now?"

 David Cairns

Barbara Stanwyck and Lillian Roth (top) are Ladies They Talk About (Howard Bretherton, William Keighley; 1933). From David Cairns: "It's all true! Stanwyck encounters the cigar-smoking butch women inmates in Ladies They Talk About, looks amazed, and then the Vitaphone Orchestra plays her out with a cheeky, familiar tune..."

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Raising the Barbara

Miss Baby Face started her climb
One man and one floor at a time.
A rising erection
Displayed the connection
Twixt her and the corporate slime.

Donald B. Benson

Baby Face (Alfred E. Green; 1933): Barbara Stanwyck and Theresa Harris look up at the "erection"of stone, steel and glass, the Gotham Trust building. Barbara seduces a clerk to get in on the ground floor of the bank, and uses sex to continue to rise from department to department, illustrated by the camera climbing a model of the skyscraper floor by floor.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Catherine Was Great

We're tempted by Sternberg's blonde starlet
An empress who yearns to be harlot
She's laid a battalion
And maybe a stallion
An attempt that has made her turn scarlet.

David Cairns

Josef von Sternberg's The Scarlet Empress (1934) does not show Catherine the Great (Marlene Dietrich) getting amorous in a stable, but the script throws in several teasing allusions to this apocryphal rumor.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Deleted Sins

Much too racy and slutty a whore
I get chased till my butt's out the door
I tormented and teased
Now the censor's displeased
I'm the face on the cutting room floor.

David Cairns

As Clark Gable and Tully Marshall look on, Jean Harlow kicks a drunk Donald Crisp out of bed: Red Dust (Victor Fleming; 1932).

Monday, April 18, 2016

Maximum Ernst

This frame lets us view them in bed
For shame! Since the wooers aren't wed
But what's shown isn't scandalous
Cuz he's known how to handle us
It's a game and he's two steps ahead.

Ernst Lubitsch directs the silhouettes of Herbert Marshall and Kay Francis in Trouble in Paradise (1932).

Friday, April 15, 2016

Alley of the Dolls

She came from that side of the tracks
Where dames makes the snidest of cracks 
Where in men they're degreed
So they tend to succeed
Unashamed to reside on their backs.

Barbara Stanwyck stands up to a shirtless Nat Pendleton: Baby Face (Alfred E. Green; 1933).