Monday, 27 June 2011

The Green Mile (5 Stars)


Let me state for the record that I'm not a fan of Stephen King's books. I discovered Clive Barker first and didn't read a single Stephen King novel until I'd read all of Barker's books. In comparison they seemed very lightweight and unsatisfying. It was like a man who's used to steak eating his first slice of tinned ham. I would go as far as to say that I don't understand why King is more popular than Barker. Maybe it's for that very reason. King's style is light, easy reading, whereas Barker is heavy and "classical" in his approach.

Stephen King has certainly made an impression on cinema. He is the author who holds the record for the most of his books (and short stories) having been filmed. A recent issue of Empire magazine listed about 50 of his films. I wish I hadn't thrown it away, I was too diligent in my cleaning up. His stories certainly make good films. "Carrie" and "The Shining" are icons of film history. "The Green Mile" rates just as highly, in my opinion. Three hours long and never boring for a single minute.

I expect most of my readers have already seen the film, so I'll keep my review brief. It's a departure from King's older horror stories, although it has a supernatural element. It's a prison drama set in the Depression era. The 1930's? Tom Hanks plays the head of a prison's death row. He has an unusual inmate, a simple minded man, and he immediately begins to doubt he's guilty of the crime that he has been accused of. All the characters in this film, the good guys and the bad guys, are rich believable characters, like broad strokes in a painting.

There's one small point that I consider an anachronism. Percy is shown reading an erotic comic about someone called "Miss Lotta Leadpipe". Comics like this didn't exist in the 1930's. The first comics featuring female domination were printed in the late 1940's, the most popular artists being Gene Bilbrew and Eric Stanton. I have no explanation why female domination as an artform appeared at this particular point in history; it would make a good subject for a doctoral thesis.

But sorry for that, I'm always picking on minor matters. Call me pedantic if you must. The truth is that this is a great film, one of the best I've ever seen. If you've never seen it, please watch it, you won't be disappointed.

9 comments:

  1. Actually 8 pagers or Tijuana bibles were printed as early as the 1920s.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tijuana_bibles

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment. Maybe I didn't express myself clearly enough. Erotic comics existed very early on, but as far as I know comics that involved female domination were not printed until after World War Two. In fact, female domination was also absent from other media such as films and literature, despite a variation of female domination being present in the 19th Century book "Venus in furs". If you know otherwise please correct me.

      Delete
  2. Miss Lotta Leadpipe, 1932

    http://www.horntip.com/html/books_&_MSS/1930s/1932ca_mae_west_in_the_hip_flipper_(PB)/index.htm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. That page isn't intelligible to me, and the PDF file is corrupt, but I'll contact the webmaster and ask for details. I'll leave another comment here when I get a reply.

      Delete
    2. I never got a reply from the webmaster, but I've found scans of the Mae West comic online. The comic contains no reference to Lotta Leadpipe. Since the webpage you cited is obviously erroneous, I have still seen no proof that the comic existed as early as 1932. I have, however, discovered drawings by a Belgian artist named Luc Lafnet, aka Jim Black, dated 1931. This is the only example of pre-war femdom cartoons I have been able to discover so far.

      Delete
  3. "It was like a man who's used to steak eating his first slice of tinned ham." - Ouch

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment, Alex. I know my criticism of Stephen King might seem very harsh, but let me explain what I mean. If you've read books by Stephen King and Clive Barker you'll understand immediately. When a character in one of King's books enters a room he writes something like, "X walked into the room. It was dimly lit and poorly furnished". If someone enters a room in one of Barker's books he writes two pages describing the room. And then, in Anne Rice's books if someone enters a room she writes five or more pages describing every detail of the room. Which is best? That's a matter of opinion, but I personally prefer long descriptions. And that's why I made the comparison with steak and fast food.

      If you have any more questions, leave a comment here. I get an email when anyone comments in my blog.

      Delete
  4. "The Green Mile" was just on, and I was curious about the comic. Library reference under the link on this page.

    http://exhibitions.cul.columbia.edu/exhibits/show/comics/gender/tijuana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know that so called Tijuana Bibles have existed for a long time, for hundreds of years. My contention is that comics featuring female domination (or female aggression) didn't exist until after the Second World War. The comic that Percy is looking at in the film seems to be a domination comic. I know that Mae West's image was used with the name Lotta Leadpipe, but I have not yet been able to confirm that these comics featured female domination in any form.

      Delete

Tick the box "Notify me" to receive notification of replies.