Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rose Hobart

This is what happened to Joseph Cornell: He got his hands on a print of East of Borneo (1931) and became so obsessed with its star that he began chopping away everything which wasn't a beauty shot of Rose Hobart. Left with about 15 minutes of footage, he added several pieces of an eclipse documentary, tinted everything, silenced the sound from both originals, added two Brazilian songs, then projected the work at silent movie speed.

What he accomplished is nothing less than the directorial ravishing of a screen star; and a seriously erotic capturing of her lust. The gaze that masters the movie is Rose Hobart's gleaming blue eyes, a gaze that can change atmospheres, eyes that seem to swim in sperm ~ she's always in a trance state of sexual longing, or perhaps remembering some great fuck. Her looks and body movement suggest nights of quiet landscapes, breasts between the moon, of love and wetness from night 'til dawn.

She is surrounded by pools of sucking water, volcanoes flowing lava, moonlight and rain clouds, bunches of bananas, torches, melting crème inside a cool chalice, erect palm trees, the wick of a flame in swollen close-up. And lots of men: natives, Poobahs, and the very lucky Charles Bickford.

And the ravishment at the center: Hobart's panther-like walk, over it a glaze of passion, promising a woman who would lash around her lover like a storm. Her sleek slenderness. Her beautiful neck, arms, shoulders, and back. Skin that photographs like flesh.

The beauty and lust of a woman immortalized. And Cornell's perfect proof that millions of people in the world will never meet each other.