Mad Men at the Movies: Long Weekend

 Posted by on June 4, 2010 at 6:40 am  Film, Season 1
Jun 042010
 

Last year, Nathaniel of The Film Experience ran an outstanding series called Mad Men at the Movies. We are honored to re-run that series here (with his permission of course). You might find some out-of-date comments here because these were written a year ago.

1.10 “The Long Weekend”
Sterling (John Slattery) proposes a public date with Joanie (Christina Hendricks) since his wife Mona will be out of town for Labor Day weekend. Sterling proposes dinner, naked. Joanie isn’t playing this particular conversational foreplay game. Her frustration with their affair is starting to show.
Roger and Joan: Long Weekend

Joanie: How about a movie? Have you seen The Apartment?
Sterling: I went last week with Mona and Margaret.
Joanie: I hear Shirley Maclaine is good.
Sterling: Oh please, a white elevator operator? And a girl at that? I want to work at that place!
Joanie: [turning on him] Oh, I bet you do. The way those men treated that poor girl, handing her around like a tray of canapes. She tried to commit suicide.
Sterling: So you saw it, huh?

At this point he realizes the conversation isn’t strictly about the movie. Sterling tries to smooth things over.

Sterling: Oh, Red, that’s not how it is. Look, It was crude. That’s the way pictures are now. Did you see that ridiculous Psycho? Hollywood isn’t happy unless things are extreme.
Joanie: It didn’t seem that extreme to me.
Sterling: Are we actually going to get into a fight over a movie? You know Mona had a dream once where I hit the dog with the car. She was mad at me all day. And I never hit the dog. We don’t even have a dog.

Later in the same episode we see that Joanie, who never intended to spend the weekend with her boss/lover, has also completely soured on seeing a movie. She makes plans with her best friend Carol (Kate Norby) instead.
Joan and Carol: Long Weekend

Carol: All I want to do is sit in the movies and cry.
Joanie: No movies. Let’s look for some actual bachelors, empty their wallets.

Since Shirley Maclaine has already been name-checked, you should know that we’ve moved on from the emotional volatility of The Apartment and we’re now entering the subdued internal terror of The Children’s Hour (1961). Carol is not so interested in the bachelors if you know what I mean.

Both Psycho and The Apartment, two “extreme” movies, premiered in the same week in NYC in June of 1960. They both became sensations, ending the year comfortably in the box office top ten. It makes total sense that people would still be talking about them in early September. Once upon a time movies were not “over” after opening weekend. They played for months and there was no such thing as DVDs. Opening weekend was the beginning of the discussion, not the end. [*wipes nostalgic tear for bygone eras away]. Months later both films were in play at the Oscars too, with The Apartment the night’s big winner, taking home Picture, Director, Screenplay, Art Direction (it beat Psycho in this category, what???) and Editing. It’s also worth noting that Shirley Maclaine, so suicidal on screen in the early 6os, also had reason to cry offscreen. She lost the Oscar many initially thought she’d win to “the slut of all time” Elizabeth Taylor in BUtterfield 8, when Taylor was suddenly hospitalized.
Posters: Psycho & The Apartment

Ever had an argument about Psycho or The Apartment?

Ever had an argument about a movie that wasn’t really an argument about the movie?

Arguments in disguise. I can tell you that I have dreamed about a movie when I hadn’t seen the movie. The picture was The Silence of the Lambs which starred in three (!) of my dreams before I ever saw it. How mental is that? I guess my subconscious isn’t happy unless things are… extreme.

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  14 Responses to “Mad Men at the Movies: Long Weekend”

  1. Jackie, remember that Roger had two heart attacks in quick succession. Joan knew the chances of him surviving another were slim (something even Roger admits to). She's a realist. She found a far younger man she thought could support her. But the best laid plans…

  2. And then later in the episode, Joan plays elevator girl to Bert.
    I don’t quite get Joan though- she didn’t want Roger to leave Mona for her when he offered, yet she only ended their affair after his heart attack.
    Did she just take the “out” that presented itself? I can see where she couldn’t exactly dump him and expect to keep her job.

    Perhaps her feelings for him clashed with her desire to be the one in control of the affair? Or maybe she knew Roger too well- “When a man marries his mistress it creates a job opportunity. – James Goldsmith

  3. I think she took Coop's advice and decided not to waster her youth on age. I thought the elevator thing with him at the end of the ep was a nice touch. SHe obviously identified heavily with Miss Kubelick…

  4. The Los Angeles Times, June 4, 2010

    Retro-style wedding dresses for the 'Mad Men'-loving bride

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/alltherage/2010/0

  5. I believe the other movie reference in that episode was Midnight Lace — the story of a woman being terrorized by her husband. Foreshadowing for Joanie, perhaps?

  6. Did Roger actually offer to leave Mona for Joan? I remembered him saying that their affair had made it possible for him to hold his marriage together, but I don't recall his offering to leave her. Maybe it was some body-language thing that escaped my aspie eyes?

    It is true, though, that in those days, before bypass surgeries and angioplasties and stents and widespread use of anticoagulant drugs, it was rare to survive two heart attacks for as long as Roger has. Especially with him continuing to smoke like a forest fire, drive himself like a super-type-A at work, etc. (About the only thing he's cut out is the screwing around; maybe he thinks that's bad luck.) Probably the reason his luck has held out for so long is that it's hard to imagine the show without Slattery in it.

  7. Hullaballoo, you're right, Nathaniel left out Midnight Lace.

    Meowser, I don't think you saw that in a particularly aspie way. In fact, part of Joan's seething fury at Jane stems from how good she is at doing exactly what Joan said in the first episode was the real goal — landing a husband and not having to work — and what Joan herself had failed to do.

    Roger didn't want to leave Mona for Joan, he wanted to "keep" Joan, and Joan didn't want to live in a birdcage.

    OTOH, while you're right about the fourth-wall reason that Roger is still alive, it's also true he hasn't been driving himself at all since Sterling Coo was bought; they even left him off the org chart. He's been hanging around doing nothing. (Except shagging the young wife, which can't help the heart condition.)

  8. They're discussing this episode at the Guardian this week. Take a look – it's very intelligent commentary.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/tvandradio

  9. On a different movie topic … was just perusing the Turner Classic Movie schedule for June, and HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS… is airing on June 29 @ 8pm (EST).

  10. "On a different movie topic … was just perusing the Turner Classic Movie schedule for June, and HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS… is airing on June 29 @ 8pm (EST)."

    L-O-V-E the movie! Tom and Lorenzo do a thing called "Musical Monday" where they hilariously comment on musicals and they did this one too. Several screencaps and videos:

    http://projectrungay.blogspot.com/2009/06/musical

  11. OTOH, while you’re right about the fourth-wall reason that Roger is still alive, it’s also true he hasn’t been driving himself at all since Sterling Coo was bought; they even left him off the org chart. He’s been hanging around doing nothing. (Except shagging the young wife, which can’t help the heart condition.)

    Hm. I thought the reason Roger got left off the org chart was because the person who drew it up was in London and didn't see how involved Roger still was with the company.

    In S3, we still saw him chewing out Pete over Admiral and complaining about all the "handjobs" he was going to have to give to save the account. He had enough authority to fire Sal. And he was the first account person Don and Bert went to, because he was in charge of their biggest client (who, as we saw from the Sal incident, requires endless ass-kissing and caretaking in order to prevent them from leaving).

    He might have had his duties somewhat reduced with Lane's hiring (or maybe not, since Roger in Shut the Door claimed he had no idea what Lane actually did), but I would say he's still pretty driven. He probably still undergoes a lot more daily stress than his cardiologist would like, and not all of it is from Jane (though she doesn't help).

  12. This NYTimes.com OpEd piece seems "tailor-made" for a modern-day Joan …

    Dressed to Distract

    By Maureen Dowd

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/06/opinion/06dowd….

  13. Ever had an argument about a movie that wasn’t really an argument about the movie?

    I have.

    I first saw "The Apartment" the best way possible: as part of a capacity crowd at the Castro Theater in SF. And I was on a platonic date with a fellow movie buff.

    I was having an affair at the time. Movie Date knew this, thanks to the fairly yappy friends with whom I was staying then. It was a very uncomfortable experience, on that level.

    So Fran (me) and Mr. Baxter (Movie Date) go to a restaurant around the corner (Orphan Andy's! I will always love you!), to talk about the movie afterward, because as movie buffs this is what we do. The conversation quickly devolves.

    I end up describing the movie as hard, an era's cold assessment of itself and what it was doing wrong. He calls it dark satire. I say a suicide attempt makes it pitch-black, and not in a good way.

    Movie Date finally asks me what I was in the mood for. Escapism, I tell him. And then there's this long pause, and the busy diner suddenly isn't busy enough.

    I'm really sorry about that, he says at length. It was the one time in my entire experience of this guy when he was anything close to terse.

    More than a decade later, I now really like "The Apartment". But I can see exactly why someone like Roger would have called it "crude", why Joan would have reacted the way she did. It's a real button-pusher, movie-wise. :)

    (BTW: brenda and hull, great catches. I wouldn't have thought of either one.)

  14. "The way those men treated that poor girl, handing her around like a tray of canapes."

    I'm still interested in the fact that Joan, in her anger, gets the plot of the movie wrong. Shirley M's character is not "passed around" — she has an affair with one executive.

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