The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for week of July 6
The only links page that matters… except for all the others.
The new issue of the multilingual journal La Furia Umana has arrived, with sections devoted to Leo McCarey, Paul Vecchiali, Jean-Claude Rousseau, and José Luis Guerín. Those fluent in more tongues than I, or better able to sort out the jumbled babble of computer translations, will likely have their own list of favorites; but among the English highlights are Ted Fendt’s tracing McCarey’s theme of marital deception to his Charley Chase two-reelers (“he had more or less already made The Awful Truth many times by 1937”); Daniel Kasman arguing for Once Upon a Honeymoon, with its daring, incompatible mix of romantic gameplaying and real-world horrors, as “potentially the most uncomfortable film the studio era ever produced”; Dmitry Martov on the auditory wonders of Guerín’s In the City of Sylvia; and Jessica Felrice’s lovely appreciation (“There is struggle that pushes through this otherwise melancholic and pensive film.”) of the director’s Train of Shadows.
“It’s somehow…modest…and personal, intimate…and there’s something that I can’t quite put my finger on…that somehow connects it perfectly to an ineffable component of the Right Stuff.” Philip Kaufman, ever astute in his musical selections, fills in The Atlantic’s Andrew Cohen on his use of “The Red River Valley” in his HBO film Hemingway & Gellhorn, and explains how he’d first thought of using the song years earlier to underscore John Glenn.
Gimmick, economic necessity, or aesthetic choice, making a silent film in the sound era is part of a long tradition, as Fandor’s Michael Atkinson demonstrates by offering a dozen films (some in fairness shoehorned in) that predate The Artist in going wordless.
“You Nexus, huh? I design your eyes.” “Chew, if only you could see what I’ve seen with your eyes.” In honor of the movie’s 30th anniversary, Tom Shone posts an excerpt from his book Blockbuster on the making and commercial unmaking of Blade Runner.
The director’s reputation had kept him away, but a BFI screening and subsequent Blu-ray release finally got Ben Haggar to take the plunge and watch some Andy Milligan; Nightbirds he finds unhealthy, if almost avant-garde at times, but The Body Beneath‘s luridness proves utterly charming, and often beautiful (and, yes, as often ridiculous).
“You know, I never really liked Sean.” The internet is hardly short of excellent pieces written on Jonathan Glazer’s hypnotically mournful Birth; Norm Buckley knows that even as he adds to the list, expanding on those who’ve discussed the film before him and passing along a really excellent analysis of the opening score by his composer friend Tim Jones. Via Matt Seitz.
Indiewire’s Matt Singer asks 30 of his fellow critics to select the auteur they feel is most underrated and overlooked. Which is broad enough to get responses ranging from Naruse to Reichardt to Rob Zombie. The eternal question of such lists, If Everybody Says Raoul Walsh is Underrated, How Underrated Can He Be, Really?, is prompted this time by R. Emmet Sweeney.
Pixar’s webpage for Brave projectionists, detailing the technical specifications for a proper showing, offers an interesting look at the way the job’s changed (separate pages for 35mm and digital projection seem written in different languages), and reveals, for those wary of digital’s ravenous swallowing up of every screen, the vaguely unsettling factoid that the program to download the film file onto your server is called Ingest. Spotted by Movie City News.
“Let yourself go and relive what you thought were uncomfortable years! They were far worse and way more fun than you remember!” Also via Movie City News, Guy Maddin’s po-faced third-person retrospective of his films, first published in 2001 and now updated to include his subsequent releases, for the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.
“That’s a very nice rendering, Dave. I think you’ve improved a great deal.” Gavin Rothery presents a fine series of behind-the-scenes photos from 2001, in glorious black and white. Noted by Criterion.
An intriguing photo shoot from 1957 has Richard Avedon dressing up Marilyn Monroe as such notable predecessors as Theda Bara and Clara Bow. Found at the Retronaut, but going back to their source, a post at Wicked Halo, offers the bonus image of Monroe and Marlene Dietrich standing side-by-side.
As Adrian Curry points out, however high the regard of Polish movie posters from the ’50s and ’60s, most western fans mingle them all together as part of a single movement, failing to distinguish and credit the individual artists responsible. After viewing Curry’s selection of the colorful, vividly handwrought designs of Waldemar Swierzy, at least one of the genre’s masters should stand out in the future.
Now for some Real Estate listings. Here’s one to bust out on movie trivia night: What director once owned the only detached garage in Manhattan? Sidney Lumet, whose Upper East Side brownstone, recently on the market, is described by Raymond De Fellita. A nice place, you’re thinking, but Old Hollywood glamour is more your style? Steve Vaughan notes that Colleen Moore’s Bel-Air mansion, site of some of the town’s legendary debauches, recently sold, and provides some interesting then & now photos. (This item via The Bioscope.) If that’s out of your price range and insufficiently exotic, and if you don’t mind hard-scrabble living on dirt floors and the sight of exposed supports, maybe you can join the squatters currently occupying Tatooine.
Andy Griffith, comedian and actor, died at the age of 86. The star of the long-running TV shows The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock, he was best known for his small screen work but he launched his screen career with arguably his greatest performance, as the charming drifter turned mercenary entertainer Larry “Lonsesome” Rhodes in A Face in the Crowd. More from Dennis McLellan at the Los Angeles Times. Turner Classic Movies will pay tribute with four of Griffith’s best on July 18: A Face in the Crowd, No Time For Sergeants, Hearts of the West, and Onionhead.
Stephen Dwoskin, the New York born experimental filmmaker who settled in England in the 1960s, passed away in London on June 28 at the age of 73. David Hudson notes his passing with a collection of remembrances at Fandor, and you can visit his website here.
I missed noting the passing of Richard Lynch, a character actor whose scarred face led to a career dominated by villain roles in hundreds of low-budget and direct-to-disc pictures (The Sword and the Sorcerer, Invasion U.S.A.) and genre TV shows (the original Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek: The Next Generation). He died last month of a heart attack at the age of 72. Phil Dyess-Nugent revisits his career at The A.V. Club.
Also Victor Spinetti, the British character actor whose 50-year career includes memorable appearances in A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, died in June at the age of 82. Michael Coveney at The Guardian.
The weekly links page is compiled and curated by Bruce Reid in collaboration with the editor of and contributors to Parallax View.