The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for week of August 17

The only links page that matters… except for all the others.

Seattle screenings and cinema events are surveyed at Parallax View here.

The sickly green nail polish in ‘Cabaret’

The latest Reverse Shot symposium asks their writers to praise a striking instance of color (not the entire film’s palette) from favorite movies. More will be added as they come in, but the first entries (Michael Koresky on sickly green nail polish in Cabaret; Damon Smith on the complexion of Frenzy‘s villain; Genevieve Yue on Safe‘s ponderously black couch) set a high bar for others to follow.

The new Alphaville, devoted to the use of sound in film, offers several fine articles that, while academic in bent, avoid abstruseness. Michael D. Dwyer has some interesting thoughts on the use of ’50s rock in Reagan-era teen films (though I had to triple-check before believing he’d skipped Back to the Future‘s loopy Chuck Berry moment); Aaron Hunter analyses Hal Ashby’s skillful use of trans-diegetic music; and Nessa Johnston praises the uniqueness of Primer‘s low-rent sound design among science-fiction movies.

Sight & Sound’s critics poll is now online, with each individual list and title searchable. So you can hunt down who actually voted for, I don’t know, Dolemite, and tip your hat for someone sticking to his guns. One interesting tidbit passed along without comment: neither Bresson’s nor Rivette’s Joan of Arc film got a vote, but every other version seems to have. Yes, every other version.

“Maybe the most bracingly masochistic comedy possible. Take ten parts pure unrequited love, let fester in heart for two decades, then shatter. The laughs may have a strange aftertaste.” The director’s poll will be put up by Sight & Sound next week; Kim Morgan offers a sneak peek, with commentary, at Guy Maddin’s selections. Not all of which are summarized so, let’s say idiosyncratically, as Letter from an Unknown Woman.

For Michael Sragow, part of Jaws‘s “unassuming greatness” is that it plays like Preston Sturges.

“You found a job. I found a job. You made a friend. I made a friend. You have a normal life. I have a normal life. You won’t be left behind. I won’t be left behind.” Criterion posts to their website the marvelous essays, nearly as humane and perceptive as their subjects, Kent Jones has written for the release of the Dardennes’ La promesse and Rosetta.

The New York Times rounds up eight makers of and writers about film—including Brenda Chapman, Cathy Schulman, and Martha Coolidge—to ponder the question of what women can do to gain influence in Hollywood. The universal, if dispiriting, diagnosis: nothing, till more get hired.

“Fighting depletes him, but he has to stand up for himself and for what he believes in, and if this means his health will suffer, so be it. This is the main quality, among several attractive others, that made him such a treasured star.” Dan Callahan on the unique integrity of Robert Donat.

Reviewing both versions of Imitation of Life, Marilyn Ferdinand finds each tripping up on the prejudices of their time: Stahl’s on race, and Sirk’s too hemmed in by gender expectations.

“Every now and then, a person comes along, has a different view of the world than does the usual person. It doesn’t make them crazy.” Francis Coppola and composer Stewart Copeland look back to the making of Rumble Fish for the Guardian’s Jack Watkins.

Clothes on Film’s Chris Laverty interviews Pixar’s Claudia Chung about designing and building costumes for computer animated films.

“You couldn’t enter your own life, but you could become someone else. You were a killer, a priest, a fisherman, a sportswriter, a judge, a newspaperman. You were it in an instant.” A loving, intimate letter to the late Spencer Tracy read by Katherine Hepburn, at Letters of Note.

The Chicago Reader’s Miles Rayner talks to some electronic musicians about the continuing influence of John Carpenter, composer. Via Movie City News.

“Do you know, if you rip off the fronts of houses, you’d find swine?” The BFI presents a selection of photos capturing Hitchcock, always imperturbable and often akimbo, surveying his sets, from Blackmail to Frenzy. Spotted by Criterion’s link roundup.

Life unearths a gallery of unpublished Robert Redford shots, taken in 1969 as the mustachioed young actor flitted between his Utah home and New York offices.

Video:  At Fandor, Kevin B. Lee offers Andrew Sarris’s praise of Buster Keaton, excerpted from You Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet, in concert with the footage that set him (and everyone) to such raptures.

Video:  “I hope she fries / I’m free if that bitch dies / I better help her out.” Joss Whedon takes to YouTube to defend his little-movie-that-could The Avengers (down to less that 500 screens!) from the upcoming indie assault of Mike Birbiglia’s Sleepwalk with Me.

Carlos Rambaldi and friend

Obituary

Carlos Rambaldi, special effects artist and designer of some of the most iconic modern movie creatures. He designed E.T., the chest-bursting Alien of Alien, and the more childlike aliens of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and helped create the animatronic ape for John Guillerman’s 1977 King Kong, but before that was busy in the Italian film industry, helping created props and effects on such films as Mario Bava’s Planet of the Vampires and Twitch of the Death Nerve, Dario Argento’s Deep Red, and the Andy Warhol-produced Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula. Daniel Slotnik at The New York Times.

Al Freeman Jr., who starred in Lamont Johnson’s landmark TV movie My Sweet Charlie and played Elijah Muhammad on Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, died at the age of 78. His career that spanned decades, he appeared in movies, on TV (he won a Daytime Emmy for his role on One Life to Live), and on Broadway, and taught at Howard University. Tambay A. Obenson remembers his career and legacy at Indiewire.

The weekly links page is compiled and curated by Bruce Reid, with obituaries curated by Sean Axmaker and other contributions from friends of Parallax View.