Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sympathy for the Devil

Mr Frost is a brilliant little mystery thriller with Jeff Goldblum as a serial killer that claims to be the Devil, a fact which got perfectly portrayed on the poster; we can see both the tempting charisma and his openly threatening nature reflected in his look. Kathy Baker plays the doctor that tries to heal him, to convince him that he’s only mortal, only a disturbed mind, nothing more. And as easily as Goldblum makes us believe in the Devil, is Baker grounding us in reality, keeping us from giving in too fast. It’s a must see movie that for some reason never gained the attention it deserved.

Although at least one must have taken a close look: Der große Bagarozy was a remake of sorts of Mr Frost, here Corinna Harfouch takes on the role played by Kathy Baker and der große Schweiger plays the Devil. The movie saw itself as a erotic drama, not a thriller, cutting away most of the original plot only leaving in the psycho-duel between psychiatrist and devil. But the encounters between them steal scene by scene from Mr Frost, adding nothing really new to it. Another image from the movie, that of the Devil being caught up in a tormenting love with Maria Callas, also looks like a direct quote, though in all fairness this was not a original thought to Mr Frost either, and in German folklore the Devil is often painted as being smitten with beauty, what better way to illustrate this than the perfection of Maria Callas’ voice?

Still, the poster was one of the more worthwhile erotic posters to hit the cinema showcases; there’s something compelling to it’s plain, in your face nature that makes it almost art.
Sitting between her legs is a poodle, and this is not just mere modesty, it’s a quote from Goethe’s Faust:
“This was the poodle's real core,”
It says there when Mephistopheles, who entered Faust’s room in the guise of a poodle, finally reveals his true self. That’s how the artist brought the Devil on the poster, and the probably unintentional message
“The Devil can be found between a woman’s legs”

The poster for Der große Bagarozy also reminded instantly of another highly erotic poster artwork: Show Girls; there is that same play on the soft rounded curves of a woman’s body which make us suspect that not only the director took a close look at a fellow colleagues work. But Show Girls was subtler in it’s use of the erotic, less in your face in it’s approach, a clever take on the dangerous curves ahead signs; dangerous curves indeed, it is easy to picture how Elizabeth Berkley might have endangered traffic when passing drivers admired that poster.

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