' ' Cinema Romantico: Ray of Light

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Ray of Light

This is old news by now, I know, in the context of Internet Time. But this blog is on Internet-Aleutian Time, so here we are. Last week Lady Gaga, Her Gaganess, posted a photo to Instagram of her and Adam Driver on the Italian Alps set of Ridley Scott’s forthcoming film “House of Gucci.”  And though Gaga plays Patrizia Reggiani, who was sentenced to 29 years in prison for plotting the murder of her husband, Maurizio Gucci (Driver), the Internet swooned over the innate allure of what Variety’s Rebecca Rubin deemed their “après-ski chic” and the memes predictably went wild. Many compared Driver’s cable knit sweater to the one Chris Evans sported in “Knives Out”, some superimposed the image over the background of the planet Hoth, Daniel Nolen saw similarities to Barbara Streisand and Robert Redford in “The Way We Were” while another pleaded for an 80s heist movie in which our pictorial subjects pilfered an alpine resort. The latter two felt more right to me even if I was thinking of a different era. 

Early in the Pandemic My Beautiful, Perspicacious Wife and I re-watched the original “Pink Panther” (1963). It’s a strange movie, in its way, famously conceived as a vehicle for David Niven playing a jewel thief known as the Phantom until director Blake Edwards that a supporting Peter Sellers was essentially stealing the film in his role as bumbling Inspector Jacques Closeau and transformed that part into something like a co-lead. That means half the movie is slapstick comedy, half the movie is relaxed caper comedy. If it doesn’t quite work, it also sort of does, as Closeau’s comical sincerity suggests someone trying to maintain order even as he fails to realize the gentry surrounding him are really running the show. And though we turned to “The Pink Panther” specifically for Sellers, I found myself more drawn to the other storyline, the love triangle with Niven and Robert Wagner and Capucine. In fact, Capucine briefly sports a cossack hat, as does Cardinale, not unlike Gaga’s and that’s what I thought of when I saw that photo.

Vogue’s Lilah Ramzi saw this back in January without even knowing she saw it, literally deeming “The Pink Panther” the “Ultimate in Après Ski Style.” Belated air high five, Lilah. She cites a song and dance sequence featuring Fran Jeffries who sings for the camera while the actors in the movie watch, breaking the fourth wall to underline the movie for the sheer entertainment it is and transforming the background into a virtual fashion show. Of course, if you have Gaga in the lead role then you don’t have to hire a singer too; Gaga is Jeffries and Capucine and Cardinale. And she will be Audrey Hepburn, too, from the beginning of “Charade.” She will be all of them mixed in a crystal spritz glass. It will not be “The Way We Were” and it will not be an 80s heist movie. No, no, no, no, no. It will not be a heist movie at all. We do not want a heist even if something is being stolen; we want a caper. It will be a caper film set on and around the slopes of Cortina d’Ampezzo. We’ll keep Driver, of course, but we will add Monica Bellucci too, duh, and set it against the backdrop of the 1956 Winter Olympics, obviously, and figure out the rest later.

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