Saturday, July 3, 2010
The Ugly Truth About The Enchanted Cottage
Open Letter to the Makers of The Enchanted Cottage:
Although your movie has been hailed as a romantic classic by some, it has some very serious flaws which gravely undermine its effectiveness.
Yours is the "tragic" tale of an Ugly Spinster who falls in love with an Ugly Soldier who's been disfigured by war.
Fine. I like that. I like Ugly. I like the idea that two Ugly people will find each other, make Ugly Love, have Ugly Children, make Ugly goo-goo eyes, and come to believe that their Ugliness is, in fact, Beauty.
Great idea. Old idea. So bring on the Ugliness.
Problem is, you didn't. You fucked up. You screwed the pooch.
Lots of reasons, but Vanity is the big one. You got scared. You opted to protect your actors and spare audiences True Ugliness because you were a bunch of fucking pussies.
Well, damn you all to an Ugly hell!
Dorothy McGuire, who plays the Ugly Spinster, is not ugly. You give her a crappy hair-do, light her in an unflattering way, and smudge black around her eyes. Big deal! Do you think we're blind? She's not Ugly. Far from it.
Then there's Robert Young. Je-sus Christ. He's a handsome chap, that's for sure. And it's fine that he's introduced as a handsome chap with a fine dame on his arm and ambition in his eyes. He's lit like a leading man and he behaves in that confident, Leading Man way. Fine. No problems there.
It's in the next development where you fuck up like a pedophile at a child care center.
Young returns from the war. He checks into the Enchanted Cottage of the title and sulks about. He hides his face, which we know is scarred, and he talks about wanting to die and wanting to be left alone because he's so horrible and he's lost the use of his tennis hand. His dame has left him, too, because he's so damn Ugly now, and he refuses to let his own mother see him because, shit!, he's probably scarier than John Merrick, the Elephant Man, with his Ugly mug.
Great. Love it! What a tragic fellow Young has become. Our sympathies are with him.
They are... until we see him.
Crikey, what a fucking whining pussy-boy. That so-called Ugly scar he's complaining about is more like a thin line drawn with an eyebrow pencil. The bloke's eye is slightly off, sure, but it's no big deal if you squint a bit or don't focus on it exclusively while listening to him lament his sorry state.
Because the producers decided to de-Uglify the Ugliness, they destroy any sympathy we have for Young. Now he's a handsome bloke with a small scar complaining about how Ugly he is.
Well, pal, there are a lot of men out there in the audience not even 10% as good looking as the Ugly version of you. So pull your fuckin head in and stop complaining like a little girl. You're like Howard Hughes screaming about the price of milk.
Why the producers of this fraud didn't go the whole hog and give Young the full Quasimodo treatment is beyond me. THAT would have been my kind of movie, and it would have been a much better movie than the half-ass thing it is now.
In this nonsense, we're supposed to feel that McGuire is some kind of saint for accepting Young and his Revolting Ugliness. Yeah, she's a saint for agreeing to shack up with a handsome leading man with a pencil line down his face. Please, canonize this charitable bitch right now.
Guys, if you want to make a movie about Beauty and Ugliness and its relative relationship, at least have some faith. It's like you didn't have enough faith in the conceit that an Ugly Woman would really fall for an Ugly Man, so you cut the hands off your make-up man and emplyed an eye pencil to do your job.
Of course, it's the cottage that's really responsible for the "magic" that occurs here, so there was no reason to not depict your actors as Godawfully Hideous freaks that only Todd Browning would love. Having that contrast was so important, but you went for the stinking middle ground instead.
Shame on you.
Enchanted Cottage? More like Cottage of Pussies.