Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Grouchos!

Best Supporting Actor - 1970.

It's true - Burt Young should've won Best Supporting Actor.

Now I know what you're thinking: Rocky, right? "Hey, Paulie!" and all that?

Actually... no. No - not Burt Young as Paulie.

Not even Burt Young as Burt Young! But now I'm getting ahead of myself.

Sites across the internet - as well as the various pop culture publications and/or other entertainment-related magazines that once ruled newsstands in that era wherein big print media was still the undisputed king - have long conjectured as to any surprise 'snubs' and/or outright omissions which are made whenever the Academy awards its chosen recipients.

This is not one of those films. While I suppose that I like it well enough myself, this really isn't some hidden gem - no lost treasure here, simply waiting for the chance to be rediscovered by a more receptive and appreciative audience...

In fact, there's no real reason to believe that the Academy even saw 1970's Carnival of Blood. And I don't just mean during the year of its original release!

No - I mean that it's likely that they never saw Carnival of Blood AT ALL.

And who could really blame them? What little information exists online about this film - i.e. its IMDb entry - is threadbare; and its wiki? Completely nonexistent.

You know how they added all those fake film scratches, emulsion bubbles and excess 'dirt' to the virtual negative of Rodriguez and Tarentino's Grindhouse to make it look more period-accurate and authentic?

Yeah - apparently every still-existing print of Carnival of Blood pretty much looks just like that.

So what, if anything, makes it worth recommending? Well, it is an interesting artifact from a time and place that I myself will never get to experience first-hand - i.e. the Coney Island amusements at their former absolute height. Similarly, the haunting refrain of the film's theme is one melody that's likely to stay with you for an eternity: "Carousels of my mind - of my mind..."

Also, if you're able to suspend your disbelief regarding an ordinary person having access to technology that even today still doesn't exist (you'll know it when you see it), then it actually makes for a halfway-decent little murder mystery!

And then there's John Harris - sorry, Burt Young - in the role of Gimpy. Say what you will about any other aspect of this film - literally anything at all! - but Young's performance alone is enough to make Carnival of Blood worth watching.

Seriously, the man elevates the otherwise-lowly character of Gimpy to such an extent that he actually becomes a legitimate work of cinematic art! And for that, Burt Young more than earns the Groucho for Best Supporting Actor of 1970.

No comments:

Post a Comment