Today the blog remembers the widely known film director F. F. Arboplast, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 81 after a very brief struggle with RDS (Rapid Descent Syndrome). Arboplast, the creative force behind films like 1965's Over the River and Through the Spleen
and 1982's No Clams for Kermit
was of course most discussed for his unusual habit of beginning each of his movies with the final sentence of a conversation the audience was not privy to, as in 1977's Orangina at Midnight
, which opens with the featured couple, Klaus and Helgafred, in a restaurant completing a meal:
HELGAFRED: Well, I guess it all depends on the number of stab wounds you think is appropriate.
KLAUS: Right, right...so, moving on, let's talk about our marriage, darling.
Or in 1969's Rodeo Clown, Wander On
, which fades in on two businessmen concluding a meeting:
BUSINESSMAN 1: It must have been because of all the group sex.
BUSINESSMAN 2: One would assume so. Anyway, do you have the fourth quarter projections on you?
Another of Arboplast's famous quirks was his penchant for creating a wordless subplot in each of his films which involved a different young, unidentified Hispanic man trying to vain to locate an address by reading house numbers on a very long street. Critics have long theorized that this repeating subplot, which takes up a good ten minutes of every movie except Arboplast's 1994 swan song, The Unvarnished
, possesses a devastating symbolism, while others claim that the director merely liked seeing various lawns on the screen. Arboplast was also one of the first major filmmakers to shoot every scene with all of his characters surrounded by mosquito netting. Traumatized by reading about malaria on a Burger King placemat as a young boy, some say he overreacted and caused many a set designer profound headaches with his insistence on the netting, particularly in 1986’s A Loaf Shall Rise
, whose poignant final scene in the Sistine Chapel seemed tempered somewhat with its presence. No idiosyncrasy was greater, though, than Arboplast’s dedication to scoring the end credits to each of his films with the New York Mets’ fight song, regardless of the movie’s subject matter or tone. How many of us lingered in the theater after his haunting 1974 masterpiece about the barbarism of the first World War, Kiss No Other Knees But Mine
, as the lyrics soared through the speakers:
Meet the Mets, meet the Mets,
Step right up and greet the Mets.
Bring your kiddies, bring your wife,
Guaranteed to have the time of your life.
Because the Mets are really sockin' the ball,
Knockin' those home runs over the wall.
East side, West side, everybody's coming down,
To meet the M-E-T-S Mets,
Of New York town,
Of New York town!
The world of cinema salutes you, Mr. Arboplast---yet looks forward to the day when you are at long last tried in absentia for your many crimes against the people of Newfoundland!