Monday, May 07, 2007

The Grasshopper

"Today's child sheds no tears, has no regrets, knows no tomorrows. Today's child is Christine."

Last night I finally got a chance to see one of my cinematic Great White Whales; The Grasshopper, from 1970, with Jacqueline Bisset as Christine, a beautiful 19-year-old (from British Columbia!) who heads down to Los Angeles for love but who winds up a burned out Las Vegas prostitute at age 22.

It's like a clueless Hollywood version of Midnight Cowboy (Midnight Cowgirl?), with amazing dialogue written by Jerry (Smile) Belson and the one and only Garry Marshall (which may explain why practically every man in the film talks like Garry Marshall) that tries desperately to be "with-it", documentary footage that almost seems like the filmmakers were denied permits to film their own movie (several Vegas showgirl numbers are covered from afar and at bad angles that must have been deliberately so), and bursts of montage, several of them breathtaking. The storytelling towards the end mirrors the unraveling state of the protagonist's mind, rendered in dissolves and blackouts that increase in intensity with every bad decision she takes. By the end, when she hijacks a biplane and forces the pilot to write obscenities in the sky, you almost have to pinch yourself that you haven't fallen asleep and are now having a nightmare about the movie.

The resemblance to Verhoeven's Showgirls is uncanny, right down to a shocking rape sequence that comes out of nowhere and is guaranteed to bring the most rollicking room to a sickened hush.

So Warner Brothers, how come a movie featuring a young Jacqueline Bisset in various states of undress, written by the director of Pretty Woman, isn't on DVD yet, not even as a curiosity piece? You own the rights.

I'd buy one!

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