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Summer Movies

photo: rue de nevers, highlander pub

A very quiet pub in the Quartier Latin.

Here and at the Hôtel de Ville

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 23. August 2004:– Last week's prediction here of no heat waves this August proved correct but not much else. There were instead several torrential downpours which soaked a lot of innocent people. These were loosely attributed to the tail–end of the devastating hurricane 'Bonnie,' which crossed the Atlantic from Florida.

No such meteorological excitementphoto: public housing for pigeons is expected this week. In contrast, we seem to be looking at some blah days to come, starting tomorrow when it will be cloudy in the morning and maybe a tiny bit sunny in the afternoon.

There will also be modest breezes so the sky may be a bit more chaotic than outlined here. Tonight's TV–weather news expects that the high temperature will be something like 23 degrees.

Public housing for pigeons.

There may be sunny periods on Wednesday when the breezes continue but the element to watch for will be a low high of 19 degrees. The same type of weather has been forecast for Thursday, with another slight fall–off in temperature, to 18 degrees.

This is not normal for August but I can remember it happening before often enough to have my sweaters not packed away too deeply. 'People say' that we can expect better weather in September, but I am never sure that 'people' can remember anything from one year to another.

Café Life

"Moi Jane! Toi Tarzan?"

On Sunday evening the French–German cultural channel Arte showed a double–feature many would give up their popcorn for. It started off right after the TV–news with 'Tarzan, l'Homme–Singe,' and I couldn't stop viewing until after Johnny Weissmuller murdered some kind of African doe for breakfast and then had to swing through the trees to escape the lion that was aiming to rip the booty away.

It must have been a different world when the movie was made in 1932. There were the white hunters in Africa searching for the hidden ivory cache, their harassed bearers and the old adventurer's plucky daughter, who turned up with six steamer trunks.

To show what a good shot she was, she blew away a flunky's hat – at a range of about four metres – andphoto: place furstemberg then the frightened bearers stepped out of the bushes, obviously thankful to be alive. But this was only a sort of prologue to set the stage for the deep jungle. Sample campsite dialogue:–

"Chinka tchinko? Quando?" followed by, "Ce sont les Ubangas!"

As you may have guessed, Jane is the heroine's name and she promptly falls off a cliff. But she's tied by rope to one of the white hunters, unlike a hapless bearer who plunges 650 feet to the valley floor. A minute later they are on top of the plateau, and hear "AW eii AH Awwwww" for the first time.

Next the party has to cross a lake and it's full of man–eating hippos. They build rafts and the hippos attack, and they lose another bearer to random crocodiles. On the other side, as they are walking along in the jungle there's a sudden sprinkle of zebras. The next shot shows a gaggle of monkeys gamboling around up in the tree tops.

At this very moment a man up in a tree is spied, but the ivory hunters are attacked by locals and one is shot while one of the bearers gets an arrow through his neck. In the confusion Jane is snatched away and whisked up to the tree tops by this white muscleman. She comes face to face with a frisky monkey. Then a cheetah begins an attack on the tree and muscles wrestles with it until he plunges his bowieknife into it. I am not making this up.

Zip, zap, zoom, and muscles is back up on his penthouse perch, where he drags Jane into his tree cabin made of bamboo. She screams. He is kind of rough with her, but after pawing her a bit, he goes outside and falls asleep on a branch.

Next morning the actual 'me Jane, you Tarzan' dialogue goes like this:–

"Jane," pointing to herself. "Et vous?" pointing at the muscle guy. It goes back and forth about eight times. "Jane. Et vous?" Muscles doesn't 'get it' at first. "Jane. Et vous?" Finally the bulb lights up and we have "Jane." "Tarzan." "Jane." "Tarzan." "Jane." "Tarzan," and so on until Tarzan points to his stomach and asks, "Una?" It's Jane's turn not to 'get it' and Tarzan repeats "Una?" several times while pointing at his open mouth.

Then the ivory hunters show up and shoot Tarzan's best friend, who is an actor dressed like an ape. Jane keeps Tarzan from being blown away and he grieves for his late pal, assisted by his number one monkey. They are pretty sad.

If I was a movie reviewer I would have watched the whole thing, and seen the second film, made in 1939, which also starred Maureen O'Sullivan and Johnny Weissmuller. It might have been called something like 'Son of Tarzan' but the French title was 'Tarzan Trouve un Fils.'

This theme evening was in aid of Paris' bid for the Olympics in 2012, and not because there is too little about the Olympics on TV these days. Johnny Weissmuller's tie–in goes back to the 1924 Olympics which were held in Paris. He wo three gold medals here, but none for acting. photo: pont neuf


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