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Frank Tashlin

Isn't Romantic Comedy redundant?

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MikeBSG
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Frank Tashlin

Postby MikeBSG » December 1st, 2008, 9:30 am

I have mixed feelings about Frank Tashlin, who started out in animation and moved into live action comedies.

I like his cartoons for Warner Brothers, such as "An Unruly Hare." I love his children's book "The Bear Who Wasn't," which Chuck Jones made into a cartoon in the Sixties.

However, as a director of people, Tashlin often leaves me cold. I saw "The Girl Can't Help It" years ago and didn't really care for it.

This weekend, I watched "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" Apart from the attack on TV, which was very funny, I kept thinking "Billy Wilder would have done a better job with this." Indeed, the film's plot seemed oddly off center. Jayne Mansfield seemed to vanish from the film in the last half-hour, as did Tony Randall's niece, who had been so important in the earlier part of the film. Basically, I'd rather watch "The Seven Year Itch" or "The Apartment" any day of the year.

What's your take on Tashlin?

moviemagz
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Postby moviemagz » December 7th, 2008, 3:44 pm

I love the Jayne Mansfield Tashlins but I don't care much for his work with Jerry Lewis or Doris Day. SON OF PALEFACE with Bob Hope and Jane Russell is great.

I disagree about Wilder for ROCK HUNTER - I think Tashlin was perfect for this, Wilder would have been too venomous for this light satire.

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ken123
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Re: Frank Tashlin

Postby ken123 » November 23rd, 2009, 9:51 pm

To me Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter ? is very dated. When I first saw it in the 1960's I liked it, but as I said it doesn't hold up very well. :(

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JackFavell
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Re: Frank Tashlin

Postby JackFavell » November 24th, 2009, 10:10 am

I read The Bear That Wasn't when I was a kid and I just loved it, I don't know why. It must have been far over my head. I read it again a couple years ago and discovered a great satire of our society run amok with corporate greed and incompetence. It also is about how a lie repeated over and over again will eventually become what people believe, no matter how foolish the lie is. There is some hope in the end, since the lie doesn't stick.....the bear reverts to what he truly is.... not what others think he must be.

Frank Tashlin's movies never really live up to the man who wrote that book, as far as I am concerned. They do seem pretty dated and obvious, but who knows? Maybe they will come into fashion again at some point. I still can enjoy them for what they are.

MikeBSG
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Re: Frank Tashlin

Postby MikeBSG » December 12th, 2009, 9:08 am

Tashlin had two stints as a director of cartoons at Warners, from 1936-9 and 1943-6. What strikes me is how much his cartoons from 1943-6 are interested in sex. "Plane Daffy" has a real femme fatale, and "I've Got Plenty of Mutton" ends on a punchline that suggests the ending of "Some Like It Hot." Usually, Tex Avery, who created "Red," the flame-topped dancer, is seen as the classic cartoon director most interested in sex in cartoons, but Tashlin seems even more suggestive/knowing in his wartime catoons.

Has anyone ever read any of Tashlin's other children's books apart from "The Bear That Wasn't"?

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JackFavell
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Re: Frank Tashlin

Postby JackFavell » December 12th, 2009, 10:06 am

I didn't know he wrote any others.

MikeBSG
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Re: Frank Tashlin

Postby MikeBSG » December 16th, 2009, 9:20 am

He also wrote "The Possum That didn't," (1950) and "The World That Isn't" (1951). So I guess this was when Tashlin had left animation and was working as a screenwriter but had not yet become a director.

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JackFavell
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Re: Frank Tashlin

Postby JackFavell » December 16th, 2009, 10:48 am

Thanks, Mike! I might just see if I can find those...

kingrat
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Re: Frank Tashlin

Postby kingrat » December 16th, 2009, 3:47 pm

I saw most of SUSAN SLEPT HERE when it was on a couple of days ago. The kind of dumb, howlingly implausible comedy I usually don't like, but I kept watching. The good cast had something to do with that, and no doubt Tashlin's direction did too. Although the sexless sex comedies of the 1950s and early 1960s generally don't appeal to me, I'll probably check out more of his films.

kingrat
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Re: Frank Tashlin

Postby kingrat » November 4th, 2011, 7:24 pm

Hey, I should have posted my note about THE GIRL CAN'T HELP IT here instead of in the generic What Films . . .? This film (the first half, which is all I saw) is bizarre, creepy, and not really funny, but does have its own kind of interest. Creepy middle-aged men want to turn Jayne Mansfield into a sex symbol, but all she really wants to do is to get married and cook and clean for her husband. Jayne, who wore a bikini when she walked down Hollywood Boulevard with her pet ocelot, isn't the gal who could make this plausible. This gives the movie an additional layer of irony. For some reason, there are numerous musical acts--to attract a teenage audience? The sight gag with the milk bottles is witty, but goes on long enough for the densest member of the audience to catch on. I don't think I actually laughed at anything.

The color is artificial, which may be intentional. Several times a scarlet costume stands out against a metallic blue background. Everything in the movie seems dissociated from everything else.

What does anyone else think of this film?

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Rita Hayworth
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Re: Frank Tashlin

Postby Rita Hayworth » November 4th, 2011, 7:30 pm

Kingrat ... same here, you said perfectly! I did not care for it all. its one of those movies that you watch it once and that's it!

RedRiver
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Re: Frank Tashlin

Postby RedRiver » November 7th, 2011, 2:25 pm

Always willing to defend Jerry Lewis, I find enjoyable moments in THE GEISHA BOY, ROCKABYE BABY and the likes. Not the comedian's best work, nor the director's, but there are laughs, songs, harmless fun. I just watched two modern comedies. I'll stick with Lewis and Tashlin.

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Rita Hayworth
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Re: Frank Tashlin

Postby Rita Hayworth » November 7th, 2011, 3:42 pm

RedRiver wrote:Always willing to defend Jerry Lewis, I find enjoyable moments in THE GEISHA BOY, ROCKABYE BABY and the likes. Not the comedian's best work, nor the director's, but there are laughs, songs, harmless fun. I just watched two modern comedies. I'll stick with Lewis and Tashlin.


I take Jerry Lewis over Frank Tashlin any day. I do like Frank's work in animation and he was superb in that area; but I find his later works not so great (it was okay) and he doesn't have (in my opinion) the command presence that Jerry Lewis had. Jerry Lewis is by far more superior than Frank; because he has longevity as an actor and working with great talent. Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin is one excellent example of that. Of where I from, Frank Tashlin is not well known and my local television stations owners do not care for him. They prefer Lewis. Lewis is more marketable than Tashlin.

Many of my older generations do not care for Frank Tashlin at all (I'm speaking geographical, Pacific Northwest) and I did not heard of him until I went to California on Vacation back in the early 80's and tried my best to find out more about him. When, I did come back home ... my local library did not even carry one book that mentioned him; but has dozens and dozens of books on Jerry Lewis. The only library that has a book on Frank was the Seattle Public Library and I got his book via mail.

The problem with Frank ... I think that his agent and/or he did not make himself marketable ... I don't know that is true or not. But, that is the way I see it from my perspective.


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