Monday, July 2, 2007

Rat Pack Art Criticism

I recently made the wonderful little discovery of this song from a 1955 Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis movie titled Artists and Models:

You can trace the mystery
Of ancient history
Through art of artists and their models
You can comb through the Rome colosseum
And the rear of your nearest museum
There's the Mona Lisa,
Tower of Pisa
A cowhand's daughter out in Texas
And there's modern art to see
That makes you wonder
What the heck it’s meant to be
On the streets of Murmark
There's a fancy kind of art
That is strictly for the tourists from the sticks
And those wise Greenwich guys
Really open up your eyes
Painting portraits of their pretty little chicks
So to each creator and imitator
Who daubs and dabbles with the brushes
To the guys that draw their bunnies
Or the Sunday morning funnies
And brighten up the world today
And to every girl that poses
To every
Grandma Moses
We like to tip the old beret

Martin plays a struggling comic book artist and Lewis plays a children’s book writer obsessed with comic books. The movie also stars Shirley MacLaine as Bessie Sparrowbush, a model for a comic book heroine called Bat Lady. The director Frank Tashlin wrote comics himself in the 1940s and apparently includes plenty of comic-related gags as well as some social commentary about the censorship issues of the 1950s surrounding the The Seduction of the Innocent controversy and resulting Comics Code. Pop Art also gets the treatment. (Some great stills from the movie are here.)

I’m not usually a Martin-Lewis fan, but this looks like one to check out, at least once Netflix starts carrying it.

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