Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Here's (above) a trailer for "Mildred Pierce", a terrific melodrama about a waitress (Joan Crawford)who works her fingers to the bone to give her daughter a highbrow education, then is rejected by the daughter as low class. I posted this trailer before but didn't bother to comment on how intelligently it was constructed. The clip deserves better so here's a fuller treatment. Let's see....
We open with a fanfare which accompanies this lettering:
Warner Bros. invites you to witness the first scene of a motion picture the world will TALK ABOUT...
BAM! BAM! (gunshots)
A gutshot man collapses and utters the word..."Mildred!"
Announcer: "Mildred! A name gasped in the night! The one last word of a dying man...but one word that tells a thousand stories of a woman who left her mark on every man she met!" [I love over-the-top narration like this!]
Boyfriend #1: "Mildred has more to offer a man with a glance than most women give in a lifetime!"
Boyfriend #2: " Mildred knew what she wanted and wasn't too particular how she got it!"
Boyfriend #3: "Mildred? Loving her was like shaking hands with the devil!"
Lettering: It's JOAN CRAWFORD...In her most Daringly Different portrayal (her robe slips revealing her bikini)..."MILDRED PIERCE!" [The music seemed to want the trailer to end here but it continues]
Lettering (CONT): The INTIMATE AFFAIRS of a WOMAN...who REFUSED to LIVE BY THE RULES...she tried to KISS OFF A CRIME!
Mildred: "You make me feel...I don't know...warm!
Boyfriend #1: "And wanted. AND WANTED!!!" [He whips her around behind him so we can't see her and plants a big, rubber plunger kiss on her!]
Lettering; She Bought a LOVE...she could NEVER OWN!
Mildred walks in and finds her daughter passionately making out with her (Mildred's) boyfriend, now her husband.
Mildred: (Gasp!) "How long has this been going on?"
Daughter: "Monty is going to divorce you and marry me, and there's nothing you can do about it! You think that because you made a little money and got a fancy hairdo that you can make yourself a lady! Well you can't! You'll never be anything but a common..." [The dialogue cuts off.]
Lettering sweeps across the screen: The OUTSPOKEN STORY of an INDISCREET WOMAN! Joan Crawford...Zachary Scott...in "MILDRED PIERCE!"
Not everybody likes the choppy dialogue, strange syntax and the odd capitalization you find in trailers. I love it myself. I love how the momentum in a trailer is carried at different times by music, narration, dialogue and lettering. It's so smart and so intuitive. I love wipes and the kind of lettering that starts fuzzy and sharpens to crystal clarity. Why did we ever stop making trailers like this?
Posted by Eddie Fitzgerald at 7:06 PM