MGM Takes on Science!

Not much to report. For the two people who read this blog, I realize that I don’t post very often, but I don’t want this to turn into an exercise in navel gazing. As it is, the darn thing has “musings” in the title, which is what the immortal Peggy Hill calls hers. I see another blogger has the same fear. The blogs I’m talking about are the ones where someone goes on and on like this:

  • I like soup. I think everyone does. Soup is pure comfort food. It’s great in the winter with a hunk of bread and maybe a salad. Who doesn’t like soup?

Not that I disagree with any of that, but there’s enough garbage out there without me adding to it.

So I had set the VCR to tape something and ended up with 75% of Madame Curie by accident. Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon star as the Curies and it’s all about their struggles to isolate and experiment with radium. You gotta love MGM movies. Everything and everyone is always so pretty. Even when Garson and Pidgeon are supposedly sweltering away doing laborious things to pitchblende (there’s a long montage where we see them suffering nobly as they have to extract away all the elements to isolate the radium), Greer Garson is still very much the movie star. There’s her character pretty much working 24/7 (apparently Henry Travers, who plays her father-in-law is minding the kids: little Margaret O’Brien and Gigi Perreau)) and yet she looks positively luminous. You can practically hear Louis B. Mayer demanding that they keep the grime and the dirt to a bare minimum.

This would be why MGM had little interest in film noir and wasn’t terribly successful at it when they tried.


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