Bandage Man! Bandage Man!

Bandage Man! Bandage Man!


GRIMES: “This may not be a subsubsubgenre yet, but it’s something to unroll around a few more titles.

I never cared a fig for mummy movies. Whether it’s ‘Imoutta(s)tep’ or ‘Ramdisease the XXXII’, you always pretty well know what’s ‘under wraps’—just a  dead guy walkin’ around too slowly with a lot of rot about to fall off. Other than not wanting to catch whatever killed them thousands of years ago or whatever other nasties they’ve acquired since, they’re not much of a threat. Or even interesting. Sure, Boris!! But, all told, I’d much prefer seeing a ‘Bandage Man’.

And, no, I’m not talking about actual  unfortunates in or out of a hospital. Or when Johnny Got His Gun (1971). (Though I do like to catch the suicidal German in the latter part of The Young Lions (1958) over ever seeing that film as a whole). And, yes, Claude Rains did a great ‘maddy’ as the Invisible Man, but you already know from the ‘opening’ what he’s hiding underneath —a whole lotta nuttin’. ‘Wearing nothing but a smile’…HAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

There’s that thoroughly bound up witness, (Dimmesdale trial?), in the Monty Python sketch. The one with the tufted clump of hair sticking out. But, he hasn’t got much free to get around with.

No, give me one with a lounging jacket, (Claude probably was the template for them all), sipping throo a straw or trying to eat his cornflakes. Just using it as a disguise, or pulling the old switcheroo as in the early parts of Thunderball (1965) is good for a start. Something about not being quite sure what’s under there. Would they be radically crazy looking or mild and blase’? Or all the variations between… They could be your friend or someone to be wary of.

The so-called Negative Man in The Doom Patrol comics is much more interesting as his ‘Bandage Man’ self, even only standing around or on the ground in inert ‘mode’, (the ultimate ‘minute man’), waiting for his little-defined inner electric self to ‘get the job done’. And how come the poor sap never got to take his wraps off after the plane crash? He must look pretty ‘off’ under there.

Ed Wood’s crudishly earnest but enjoyable Jailbait (1954) with its odd & funny trick ending is a prime example of where any pleasure lies in such characters.

But, my favorite, (and favorite Humphrey Bogart picture), is the undersung Dark Passage (1947). Not only is it full of unusual characters, engrossing acting & story angles, and a romance that doesn’t overwhelm the film or have room to grow sappy–Bogart’s character gets plastic surgery and ‘winds up’ a ‘Bandage Man’, in pajamas and drinking throo a glass straw.

That would be my last word, hereon, but for the hospital ‘prime cut’ of John Frankenheimer’s Seconds (1966), which, tho the main character is trapped in a more serious vein and is only briefly shown to be ‘bandaged’ as such, the movie is essential viewing. Beyond-morose John Randolph is drawn into an insanely ‘reasonable’ and well-financed reassembly line–coerced, finagled and blackmailed into accepting a ‘new life’ throo painful surgeries and resituation. Ignore the awkward, inevitably faltering attempts to ‘live’ as Rock Hudson, chiefly illustrated throo a party that goes badly and concentrate on the major ‘bookends’ of how Randolph is gradually drawn in. And kept in. Especially watch for Jeff Corey’s and Will Geer’s scenes, as well as the lead’s, and the emotionally sickening conclusion. Don’t even get me started on ‘head’ movies, or on the Mexican wrestlers. (Chiefly cuz I’m on the threshhold of seeing more than just a few of the latter, and , besides, their appeal doesn’t need me to crow about it).

For those that still crave a mummy movie, Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) is well worth a look.” — RG (May 19, 2009).

+ “Another brief but sort of amusing Bandage Man turn may be found in the first 7 to 10 minutes of the exceedingly creepy (even without makeup) Sidney Toler’s ‘Charlie Chan’, in The Shanghai Cobra (1945). The ‘character’ does little but hunch over, smoke, and pretend to cadge another light (ironically a burn victim) for a cigarette so he can deliberately drop over backwards off a fake dinghy. But, ‘Van Horn’, spoken of by Chan in a short flashback, does have a few lines and is sort of instrumental to the plot, (as these things go). One wrapped ‘thumbs up’.”  — RG (July 28, 2009).

++ “A young Ford Rainey gets really steamed–by a locomotive!! Left behind, fully wrapped, (and short-lived), by Jimmy Cagney’s pathological gangster in White Heat (1949).” — RG (September 23, 2009).

+++ “Still on my ‘to view’ list: from Japan, The Face of Another (1966) — what looks to be the ‘definitive’ Bandage Man opus !” — RG (May 18, 2015)

“Surprise! TCM showed this one last night. Most of the first fifty minutes were pleasurably (if not disturbingly) spent with the fellow of tidy wrappings himself, probably the record for a Bandage Man filmic walkabout. Tho, from then on, whatever their necessity or aesthetic, the creators chose to fall upon the same device as many an ineffectual Mission Impossible episode of subsequent years: namely trying to pass off the actor’s own face as a new made mask. But I guess it served their various points. Anyhow, fine compositions and a patient tempo overall (mostly beyond American film companies then or today).” –RG (Sept 14, 2015)

{Bandaged Women take heart ! I will add a piece about all of you as soon as I ever have enuff examples gathered !!} –rg 5/18/’015

{Photo strip created by Ryan H.}

<Grimey Recommendations

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