Location: Cheshire, Connecticut, United States

devilishly handsome, screamingly funny, overly modest

Friday, March 07, 2008


This week in my Western Cinema course we are studying Japanese "Westerns" (Directed by Kurasawa), which are actually Samurai movies which were later reinterpreted as Westerns. One of these is Yojimbo, later redone by Sergio Leone as one of his "spaghetti westerns". I originally saw Yojimbo over three decades ago, and the following is why it made an indelible impression.

In those days I was working my tail off as a young stockbroker in New Haven. For 3 or 4 nights a week I stayed at the office and made "cold calls" to attract clients (you could do that then because the public was actually being called by professionals rather than being bombarded by minimum-wage flunkies with no knowledge about the subject of their call, so a lot of people actually enjoyed being called). I quickly discovered however that dinner hour was a bad time to call, so that meant that on several week days I had to kill the hours from 5-7 PM. Since drinking was not an option (I had to stay somewhat sober to make calls), there was very little else to do at that hour in New Haven except go to the movies. The only theater open in the late afternoon was a little art theater which presented for my enjoyment risque European films and samples of a burgeoning art form...pornography (still relatively new to middle-class consumption).

I therefore became expert in several fascinating new (to me) sexual gymnastics and grew conversant with the new genre. I saw such classics as "Behind the Green Door" (Marilyn Chambers, the Ivory Soap girl, was magnificent) and the infamous "Deep Throat"(I've never seen so many men wearing raincoats, and in their laps yet). Then I saw an announcement that the following week the theater was playing "Yojimbo"

I assumed of course that this was some Japanese form of soft porn, complete with Geisha girls sinuously removing their obis. So in the theater I settled back in a semi-tumescent state, anticipating the imparting of fresh edification from my newly discovered movie genre.

But wait, here in this dark Western-style street was a dog trotting toward me with something in his mouth. Then, instead of being some sexual device of pleasurable enigmatic purpose, the object that the canine was carrying was.....a severed human hand. Now, the viewing of any severed body part is a shock to the system, but when one is expecting something prurient, it is downright mind-shattering.

After that experience, it took me several days before I could even think about sex. Trying to explain why to my wife was just too embarrassing. Now I can understand why women fake headaches. Of course whenever I see Yojimbo, all this comes back to me. Maybe the professor will let us see "Green Door" instead. (Marilyn really should have gotten an Oscar nomination. Hollywood politics, you know).



Blogger Mike Raciti said...

Leave the lube at home this time my friend.

2:46 PM  

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