Play-By-Play: Hungry Like The Wolf by Duran Duran

August 2, 2008 at 12:36 am 7 comments

I honestly love the song- let’s get that out of the way right now. The video, however, is an atrocity upon mankind.

Evidence after the jump.

The video was made during Duran Duran’s “We have a lot of money, so let’s travel to exotic locations” phase, so naturally it takes place in vacation hot-spot Sri Lanka. This is actually a great choice of set, because it provides the band with loads of brown-skinned people to marvel at their dazzling white sportcoats and blond hair. It’s pretty condescending in its portrayal of the locals- the first shots feature a snake charmer, a boy pushing around a rubber tire for entertainment, and an old woman begging for food.

How quaint!

Soon enough, though, John Taylor rushes in with his trademark bandanna and conspicuously hairless chest.

He seems vaguely perplexed, as if he’s forgotten something. John? Honey? It’s a shirt. You forgot to put on a shirt.

The camera views into a crowded restaurant, where we’re treated to our first view of Simon Le Bon, singing indignantly at a waiter. He looks like a pouty, water-retaining version of Indiana Jones.

Simon is visibly distressed. The waiter wasn’t able to distinguish his meal order from his hackneyed lyrics, and so failed to bring his dinner in a timely manner. Simon isn’t happy about this.

He unfairly takes it out on the table, who was really just an innocent bystander.

Back on the street, the band members run around and look moody. We can only assume they’re moody because their instruments got caught up in customs at the airport, so there’s not much for them to do in this video.

A couple members of the band attempt to offer autographs to the locals, most of whom decline, bemused.

We also catch our first glimpse of Simon’s “prey” at this point, although she quickly collapses backward offscreen for no apparent reason. Is she overcome with lust for the hunky lead singer? Has she contracted beri-beri? We may never know.

Soon, Simon- wait, holy shit! Did you see that page-turn transition?

I guess they got the special effects team from Reading Rainbow to do this video. They’re really going all out!

By the way, let’s take a moment again to thank the Sri Lankan locals, for their willingness to be exploited. If not for them, Mr. Le Bon would be too busy rowing to be able to perch seductively on the bow of this canoe:

And he would surely have died of thirst if not for this selfless little boy,

who carried that water-soaked rag all the way from the river, which is about twenty feet to his right.

That little bit of hydration gave Simon the strength to continue the next chorus with an emotional force yet unseen.

The heat must be getting to him, though, because for some reason he’s decided to direct his words at an elephant.

But, hey, the elephant seems kind of into it, so who are we to judge?

Even though it’s still broad daylight here, the rest of the band is at nighttime party outdoors, drinking cocktails around some flaming barrels. I guess this is what director Russell Mulcahy would refer to as “poverty chic”. Simon, meanwhile, is defying all known laws of physics by attempting to hula hoop underwater.

In an extraordinary attempt to top this, he emerges from the water with his perfectly-coiffed hair completely dry!

Honestly, this shot doesn’t really scream “Wolf” to me. I guess “Hungry Like The Crocodile” had too many syllables.

We get another glimpse of the exotic-looking object of Simon’s desire. Is she a woman? Is she a leopard? Who can tell?!

Apparently 1982 was a big year for equating women with jungle cats, because just a few months later, Hall and Oates would do the same thing with their hit “Maneater“. It wasn’t until 1984 that Madonna would subvert this clichĂ©, equating a male with a male lion. And you wonder why she was so controversial.

After some more running around in the jungle and these barrel-illuminated cocktail parties, Le Bon finally encounters his girl, in what must be one of the most erotically-charged scenes ever captured on film.

In fact, the director found this game of “Bite Off The Other Person’s Nose” so moving, that they used the freeze frame in the video. Twice.

The two grapple on the forest floor for a while, and the nameless leopard girl quickly flips him onto his back.

In a brilliant piece of Eisentein-esque montage, the editor deftly equates Simon Le Bon to the table he so carelessly overturned in the beginning of the video.

Is this some kind of carpentry-related karma? Is Le Bon going to suffer the same fate he’s bestowed upon every piece of furniture he’s ever encountered? I really hope that’s what this is foreshadowing. Every water ring he’s left on an end table, every time he’s discreetly farted into a couch cushion. He may run through the jungle aided by helpful natives, but he can’t hide.

Bearing scars from his battle (ie., a few streaks of poorly applied greasepaint), Le Bon ends up back in the café, ferociously reminding us that he is, indeed, on the hunt.

He’s after you.

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Entry filed under: Aspect Fellatio, Betty. Tags: , .

Sufjan Stevens A Very Googly Vacation

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Miranda  |  August 2, 2008 at 1:28 am

    Bravo!

    Reply
  • 2. seph  |  August 2, 2008 at 3:39 am

    Oh dear Lord, I remember this video.

    Unsubtle 80’s man-videos are a highly underappreciated genre, IMO.

    Reply
  • 3. Joe  |  August 2, 2008 at 9:53 am

    You’re definitely out of your mind. Thanks for bringing this to my attention – this is one for the ages! I don’t know where you got the idea – maybe this is the kind of brainwashing they gave you at NYU that videos DON’T have to be like this. As far as I’m concerned, more videos should follow this example!

    Reply
  • 4. parkrangerolivia  |  August 2, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Joe, go screw an impoverished native. With a bandana.

    (PS- if you liked this one, then you’ll DEFINITELY like duran duran’s Girls on Film video. You’ll thank me later.)

    Reply
  • 5. Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah  |  August 2, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    I LOVE THIS.

    But as a former Durany I must advise you that the guy in the bandana is John Taylor, not NIck Rhodes.

    God I love John Taylor.

    Reply
  • 6. alisaurus  |  August 2, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Betty where was this post when we actually had to turn in essays about music videos??! You should’ve handed in a PowerPoint.

    Reply
  • 7. Joe  |  August 3, 2008 at 1:20 am

    Parkrangerolivia, I will, gladly! Impoverished natives are abundant where I live, and I used to do it on a biweekly basis! As for Girls on Film Betty had already introduced me to it – perfection. Well, almost: The shots of the band playing break my amazing video rule #1: never show the band playing. Also, every second spent on that is a second without GIRLS

    Reply

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