Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Kill Bill and Miltonic Allusion: Grease

I continue to tell people that Kill Bill's debts to other films are totally intentional and interesting. Tarantino alludes to film history like John Milton alludes to poetic history. Because he wants to stake a big claim in the genre he is working in.

FROM GREASE

(from 1:00-1:10)

This is the song Grease Lightning from the musical Grease. Grease is a musical about a summer fling between a nice girl and a cool guy and whether than fling can translate into the rigid world of high school cliques in the 1950s.

About a minute in you will hear John Travolta call the car "a really Pussy Wagon." Thurman's car that she gets from buck is the prominently labeled Pussy Wagon.

Though the allusion here is slight I still think it worth talking about. For one thing Tarantino is obviously a huge John Travolta fan, and successfully revived his career for a minute in Pulp Fiction. Second, Tarantino is on record saying that people who do not like violence in movies are the same people who do not like dance sequences in movies. The musical is how he justifies his love of violence in purely aesthetic terms, just something very "cinematic," as he says. He is not making a social commentary. He is making a fun movie, a work of art, an aesthetic thing. So I think the allusion to Grease is actually kind of important given the orgy of violence that is about to follow.

4 comments:

eamonn said...

Just out of interest is this building up to a book or thesis?

Not that this isn't interesting but I miss your posts about comics. I wonder what you think about the complete DC re-boot that's coming?

Any chance of you appearing on CGS again?

Geoff Klock said...

Theoretically this is building toward some kind of homemade Youtube style documentary, but that is going to require a computer with more processing power than the one I have, I just discovered.

The DC reboot? Hey DC, how about you put strong writers and artists together on books for story length stretches. If you do that you can put any damn number you want on the cover.

Here is the problem with comics and my returning to CGS. I don't really read comics anymore. I tried to get back into comics last week, and I will not say what trades I got, but they did not convince me to return. If anything, the confirmed that they did the right thing. Casanova will get be back so maybe I can talk about that. X-Men First Class was great and I want to talk about that, so maybe I can do that too.

Sorry if that is disappointing!

James said...

Potential Casanova and First Class is great news, but there is nothing disappointing about the KB series, GK.
-JW

swords said...
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