Tonight, TCM has been showing a marathon a Mamie Van Doren films. I just sat through The Beat Generation, a 1959 film where Mamie is among the many women to fall victim to a crazed beatnik known as the Aspirin Kid.
Now, to be honest, The Beat Generation is not a very good film. In fact, it’s probably one of the most anti-female movies that I’ve ever seen. Watching it, I found myself very happy that I was not alive during the 50s.
However, it did remind me of the far superior High School Confidential, another film that featured a bunch of faux Beatniks and Mamie Van Doren in a supporting role. Released in 1958 and directed by Jack Arnold, High School Confidential is a lot of fun.
And that brings us to tonight’s scene that I love. In the scene below, “beatnik” poetess Philippa Fallon recites a poem while secret drug dealer Jackie Coogan plays the piano. I love this scene because it’s just so typical of the way that exploitation films from the 50s tended to portray the beat generation.
I have to admit that whenever I see one of these old films that attempted to cluelessly portray (and mock) the beatniks of the 50s, I’m reminded of the similarly clueless way that bloggers are portrayed in most current films and Aaron Sorkin-penned television series.