The Home of the Creative Mind

Welcome to PooBahSpiel, the online voice and home of the creative mind of Mark Monlux, Illustrator Extraordinaire. Prepare yourself for an endless regaling of art directly from the hand of this stellar artist. And brace yourself against his mighty wind of pontification. Updates are kinda weekly and show daily sketches, current projects, and other really nifty stuff.

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Comic Critic Reviews "To Have and Have Not"

To Have and Have Not was Lauren Bacall’s film debut and her talent was immediately recognizable. The chemistry between her and Humphrey Bogart was obvious. In the original script, Dolores Moran’s role was larger, with her and Bogart’s characters’ relationship having more depth. But everyone involved in the production immediately sensed the magic in Bogart and Bacall’s interplay. The script underwent revisions to take advantage of this. The novel was written by Ernest Hemingway. William Faulkner worked on the script, but a large part of the dialog was improvised by the actors themselves. Bogart was still riding high from the unexpected success of Casablanca. Audiences turned out to watch him continue to portray a tough character who plays low and cool, ruled by his own code. They were not disappointed; To Have and Have Not carried those same themes. But audiences were also rewarded with the performances of two actors falling in love on set. The studio would quickly parley this success into three additional movies featuring the entrancing duo, The Big Sleep, Dark Passage, and Key Largo. Bacall and Bogart did start an affair during the making of To Have and Have Not. Bogart, who was in an unhappy marriage, would divorce his wife and marry Bacall, who was twenty years his junior. They remained married until Bogart’s death from cancer in 1957. At his funeral, Bacall laid a whistle on Bogart’s coffin in homage to her famous quote from the movie, “You know how to whistle, don’t you? You just put your lips together and blow.”

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Comic Critic Reviews "Gentleman's Agreement"

I had a much easier time watching Gentleman’s Agreement when I was the same age as the boy in the movie. What I heard in the film were social instructions. They weren’t new. They were reaffirming what my parents taught me. But it was the first time I was seeing insidious examples of bigotry as well as obvious ones. The scenes I watched of Gregory Peck explaining the world and how his son should behave struck a strong chord in me. I remember thinking, “He explained that just right.” I found my recent viewing of Gentleman’s Agreement more difficult to watch. The viewpoint I’m associating with now is that of the adults, how the characters were reacting, their experience of recognizing their own actions, their casual privilege. And while I don’t recall seeing any obvious ethnic characters or extras, I can understand why: Gentleman’s Agreement focused on anti-Semitism to reveal the mindset behind bigotry. It’s just how I saw it as a kid, as an instruction manual to recognize and react with true, brave humanity. I found Gentleman’s Agreement difficult to watch now because you can easily replace Jew with Muslim to see the battlefield of bigotry is still here so many decades later. Exchange the word Jew with Muslim, Hispanic, Black or any other They instead of We.  It’s terrifying and saddening, and it makes Gentleman’s Agreement as relevant today as in 1947.
Winner of three Academy Awards, including Best Picture.