Last night I finally saw Whit Stillman’s third movie, The Last Days of Disco , and it was more brilliant than I expected. The dialog in Stillman films all has the same complex, intelligent tone and one of my favorite conversations was this one on the movie Lady and the Tramp :
Josh Neff: There is something depressing about it, and it’s not really about dogs. Except for some superficial bow-wow stuff at the start, the dogs all represent human types, which is where it gets into real trouble. Lady, the ostensible protagonist, is a fluffy blond Cocker Spaniel with absolutely nothing on her brain. She’s great-looking, butlet’s be honestincredibly insipid. Tramp, the love interest, is a smarmy braggart of the most obnoxious kindan oily jailbird out for a piece of tail, or . . . whatever he can get.
Charlotte Pingress: Oh, come on.
Josh Neff: No, he’s a self-confessed chicken thief, and all-around sleazeball. What’s the function of a film of this kind? Essentially as a primer on love and marriage directed at very young people, imprinting on their little psyches the idea that smooth-talking delinquents recently escaped from the local pound are a good match for nice girls from sheltered homes. When in ten years the icky human version of Tramp shows up around the house, their hormones will be racing and no one will understand why. Films like this program women to adore jerks.
Brilliant. If you can get your hands on a copy, which is difficult because the VHS and DVD are out of print, I highly recommend it.
Also, Sillman’s Metropolitan can now be seen for free in its entirety online at hulu.com . It looks like they have a bunch of other good free movies and shorts, so you might want to check it out.