This week’s mystery movie was the 1969 Columbia film “Model Shop,” with Anouk Aimee, Gary Lockwood, Alexandra Hay, Carol Cole, Tom Fielding, Severn Darden, Neil Elliot, Jacqueline Miller, Duke Hobbie, Anne Randall, Craig Littler, Hilarie Thompson, Jon Lawson, Jeanne Sorel and Jon Hill. Photography by Michel Hugo, production designer Kenneth A. Reid, edited by Walter Thompson, color by Perfect, costumes by Rita Riggs and Gene Ashman, assistant director Herbert Willis, set decoration by Antony Mondello, music editor Ralph Hall, assistant to the producer Richard Roth.
English dialogue by Jacques Demy and Adrien Joyce, sound by Les Fresholtz and Arthur Piantadosi, sound supervisor Charles J. Rice, makeup supervision Ben Lane, Anouk Aimee’s hair styled by Carrie White. Songs composed and performed by Spirit. Musical sound track produced by Lou Adler, music score conducted by Marty Paich, classical music by J.S. Bach, R. Schumann, Rimsky-Korsakov. Written, produced and directed by Jacques Demy.
“Model Shop” is available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Amazon.
“Model Shop” was one of the films the influenced Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in … Hollywood.”
Writing in the New York Times (Feb. 12, 1969), Vincent Canby (yes, we’re in the Canby era) said:
“The Model Shop,” Jacques Demy’s first American movie, looks and sounds like a film made by a sensitive tourist. The French director (“The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” “The Young Girls of Rochfort”) brings back Lola, the beautiful, emotionally dented leading character of his first movie, and transplants her from Nantes to Los Angeles.
Although Gary Lockwood and Anouk Aimee (the original Lola) are the stars of “The Model Shop,” they obviously aren’t as important to Demy as Los Angeles. Lockwood, a young, disoriented architect about to go to Vietnam, calls the city “pure poetry,” and Demy pictorially defines this in a series of loving, nightmarish explorations of that solid-state grid of boulevards, parking lots, two-story loft buildings, drugstores, supermarkets and beach houses.
Demy is almost right. In “The Model Shop” you don’t experience Los Angeles as often as you read it, on billboards and neon signs, in a freeze-dried vocabulary of words like Sale, Eat, Wash and Service. Even the dialogue has a linear quality. Speeches sound as if they had originally been long subtitles translating the original French.
This is only one of the reasons that nothing in “The Model Shop” quite connects with anything else. The screenplay by Demy … is as aimless and well-meaning as its characters…
Writing in the Los Angeles Times (March 19, 1969), Kevin Thomas said:
Demy has explored brief encounters in all his films but never before with such incisiveness and pertinence. In the model shop, a place of fantasy, he has found the perfect metaphor to link the relationship between Lockwood and Miss Aimee to its setting, the cityi of Los Angeles, a gritty foil for Demy’s lyricism. What better background could there be to express the transitory nature of love?
For Monday, we have two mystery gents. They (and I know this will be a surprise) do not approve of such goings-on.
Update: This is Neil Elliot, right.
For Tuesday, we have a mystery woman. What on earth is going on here?
Update: This is Jacqueline Mille.
Brain Trust roll call: Santos L. Halper — after a long absence (mystery movie).
For Wednesday, we have a somewhat mysterious gas station attendant.
Update: This is Fred Willard.
For Thursday, we have a mystery woman.
Update: This is Alexandra Hay.
Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie, and Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s mystery guests), Sue Slutzky (mystery movie, and Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s mystery guests), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie, and Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s mystery guests), Beachgal (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Benito (Wednesday’s mystery gas pump jockey), Tucson Barbara (mystery movie, and Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s mystery guests), Sylvia E. (mystery movie, and Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s mystery guests), L.C. (mystery movie and mystery cast) and Thom and Megan (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery gas pump jockey).
For Friday, we have our somewhat mysterious leading lady….
Update: This is Anouk Aimee.
… and also our somewhat mysterious leading man.
Update: This is Gary Lockwood.
Brain Trust roll call: Tucson Barbara (Thursday’s mystery woman), Mary Mallory (Thursday’s mystery woman), Sue Slutzky (Thursday’s mystery woman), Beachgal (Thursday’s mystery woman), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery woman), Thom and Megan (Thursday’s mystery woman) and Sylvia E. (Thursday’s mystery woman).