The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of January 27

“Men, and the occasional group of women, are consistently on the move in The Red and the White, and are just as frequently prevented a full and complete escape. Such a teasing freedom is part of the film’s caustically cruel wargame, and it is indicative of Jancsó’s stance on the futility and specious systematization of wartime methodology.” Jeremy Carr runs the gambit in his two articles for Mubi, praising the high-art antiwar formalism of Jancsó’s The Red and the White on the one hand, and the genre stylings of Jack Hill’s Spider Baby and Pit Stop on the other. (“On the surface, Spider Baby and Pit Stop appear to situate themselves comfortably within their rudimentary genre zones, primarily through keynote visuals. Spider Baby has its house of horrors infested with cobwebs, creepy critters, skeletons, shadow play, and the always menacing proliferation of taxidermy, while Pit Stop is a gearhead’s delight, with motor part close-ups and dynamic images of spinning tires, tightly-gripped steering wheels, and junkyard montages. But then, these films become something else. The people begin to matter, the eccentric stories become engaging, and the situations, though alien to the average audience, become so fully realized they achieve widespread application.”)

“This is the greatest yarn in journalism since Livingstone discovered Stanley.” “It’s the other way around.” “Oh, well, don’t get technical at a time like this.” David Bordwell gets highly, and entertainingly, technical on His Girl Friday, breaking down the behind-the-scenes matter of where the title comes from and the onscreen brilliance of Hawks’s deep focus and selective editing continuity.

‘Caged’

“Roger Corman may have proved it was possible to merge any vaguely feminine noun with “Caged” or “Chained” and be halfway to a grindhouse bonanza, but the women in prison subgenre (WIP to those so invested as to require the abbreviation) wasn’t always the vanguard in exploitation cinema. At first it was a strain of melodrama that detailed the plight of young women straying from the righteous path (read: falling for the wrong men). As often as not, the heroine was rehabilitated in stir and released into the arms of a better prospect—sometimes even the crusader who put her away.” Steven Mears traces the genre’s shift from melodramatic redemption to something darker and more crushing comparing Bretherton and Keighley’s Ladies They Talk About and Cromwell’s Caged.

“7.45. One man pulls me out into outer lobby, says he doesn’t want to make a scene but asks for money back. He says, ‘Be a gentleman.’ I say, ‘Look, you know you were going to see some­thing strange, unusual, daring, that lasted six hours.’ I turn to walk back to lobby. Lobby full, one red-faced guy, very agitated, says I have 30 seconds to give him his money back or he’ll run into theatre and start a ‘lynch riot.’, ‘We’ll all come out here and lynch you, buddy!!’ Nobody stopped him when 30 seconds were up; he ran back toward screen. In fact, the guy who had said he didn’t want to make a scene now said, ‘Come on, I’ll go with you!!’” Having programmed a screening of Warhol’s Sleep, Sabzian offers some preliminary texts for the audience, including appreciations from Jonas Mekas and Thom Andersen, and an account from Mike Getz, manager of the theater that gave the film’s Los Angeles premiere. Via David Hudson.

‘Sleep’

“When Philip and I first started working together he seemed surprised that I was a musician. We would sit at his piano together and discuss the themes for my film The Thin Blue Line. I remember telling him, ‘The trouble with your music is that it’s not repetitive enough.’ He looked at me without smiling and said, ‘That’s a new one.’” NPR is celebrating Philip Glass’s 80th birthday with reminiscences from admirers and collaborators. All are worth reading, though it’s of course Errol Morris’s brief salute that interests us here.

“So what can movies do? Nothing. Salvador was a powerful movie, but my god it didn’t mean one iota, it didn’t turn one eyeball. We were doing horrible things in Central America, supporting the Contras and the Death Squads. So here we are in a situation where we have no sense of reality. And you want to talk about violence? I mean how much violence has the United States visited on the rest of the world? It’s just gigantic and disproportionate to the guilt we feel.” Oliver Stone talks movie violence with Brad Evans.

‘Heaven and Earth’

“Yes, it’s like a cold case without a body, without a verdict, without a car chase or a sex scene. And because of the perfectionism of Oliver, who wants to produce the facts as best as he can for the audience, it takes quite a lot of time for the film to build up. So there’s only so much time left in the end to actually show the audience where Ed [Snowden] is now. But Oliver would argue, as the extraordinary method-driven monster that he is—he’s a mixture of a wacky guy who smokes dope but also has this incredible, almost autistic attention to detail—that people would just point a finger. And so he wanted to try and get as much as he could in there, because he knew that the studios were going to hit him anywhere. So he needed quite a large amount of factual material throughout the film, and it’s a lot about two shots and going back and forth between characters speaking.” And in a nice bit of timing, Yonca Talu talks with cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle about working with Stone—as well as trying to film dancers in Slumdog Millionaire and pornographic sex in Antichrist.

Obituary

Mary Tyler Moore made her name play Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show in the 1960s and became a TV icon for The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the 1970s, two shows that ended their runs while they were still at the height of their popularity. She won two Emmy Awards for Dick Van Dyke and four for Mary Tyler Moore, a series that set a record with 30 Emmy wins over its seven season run. Moore’s first major TV role was almost anonymous—she was the switchboard operator on Richard Diamond, Private Eye, and only her legs and hands were seen onscreen—but she was a busy guest star on such shows as Johnny Staccato, 77 Sunset Strip, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Bachelor Father, Hawaiian Eye, and Thriller before she donned the Capri pants as Laura Petri. On the big screen she starred in X-15 (1961), Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967), Change of Habit (1969), earned an Oscar nomination for her performance as a cold, brittle mother in Ordinary People (1981), Six Weeks (1982), Just Between Friends (1986), and Flirting With Disaster (1996). She won a Tony Award for her performance in the Broadway revival of Whose Life Is It, Anyway? in 1980 and reunited with Dick Van Dyke for a PBS production of The Gin Game (2003). She was also one of the most important television producers in the 1970s through her company MTM Enterprises, which she formed with her husband Grant Tinker. In addition to The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-offs (Rhoda, Phyllis, Lou Grant), the company produced (among other shows) The Bob Newhart Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, Hill Street Blues, and St. Elsewhere. She passed away at the age of 80, after years of declining health. Virginia Heffernan for The New York Times.

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.