Archive for category: Essays

All About Gregory: Two by Gregory Ratoff

23 August, 2015 (09:28) | by Sean Axmaker, Essays | By: Sean Axmaker

Who was Gregory Ratoff and why isn’t he better known? A Hollywood fixture on screen, behind the camera, and in Los Angeles society for more than thirty years during the heyday of the Hollywood culture factory, this stocky, stout Russian émigré made his screen debut in the David O. Selznick production Symphony of Six Million […]

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Weddings, Etc., in Blood: ‘The Ceremony’

25 July, 2015 (10:31) | by Ken Eisler, Essays | By: Movietone News contributor

[Originally published in Movietone News 38, January 1975] Maybe, against all available evidence, there really does exist a viable culture of young film heads here in Vancouver. But I doubt it. Subtract El Topo, Siddhartha, Zachariah, the Brothers Marx—big draws like that—and what’ve you got left? An empty auditorium, that’s what. When University of British […]

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Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie)

8 July, 2015 (07:49) | by Richard T. Jameson, Essays | By: Richard T. Jameson

[Originally published in Movietone News 39, February 1975] “Sometimes dreams are really…” One way or another, all the really big guys make movies about themselves making movies. Luis Buñuel may be caught most conspicuously doing so at the beginning of his career, in Un Chien andalou, and at what must be temporarily accounted the end […]

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Belle de jour

6 July, 2015 (03:55) | by Kathleen Murphy, Essays | By: Kathleen Murphy

[Originally published in Movietone News 39, February 1975] Belle de jour is a circular film, curving its way surely and urbanely through fantasy, memory, and whatever reality one can distill from Buñuel’s surrealist solution. Probably the first bone of contention among critics of the film is how much reality, how much fantasy, and where each […]

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Viridiana

30 June, 2015 (15:37) | by Peter Hogue, Essays | By: Peter Hogue

[Originally published in Movietone News 39, February 1975] Buñuel doesn’t try very hard to allay suspicions that the visible fetishistic oddments so abundant in his films are simply the byproducts of any number of peculiar fantasies and “private” obsessions in which the director is indulging himself to the exclusion of almost everyone else. But however […]

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Tristana

30 June, 2015 (08:55) | by David Willingham, Essays | By: David Willingham

[Originally published in Movietone News 39, February 1975] The camera trucks slowly left, unobtrusively, almost cautiously, as if to move out of Tristana’s way as she and Saturna approach the group of boys. It cranes above the soccer skirmish to view the scene from a dominating remove, observing the ritual conflict—a game like any other, […]

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Subida al cielo (Mexican Busride)

24 June, 2015 (15:46) | by Peter Hogue, Essays | By: Peter Hogue

[Originally published in Movietone News 39, February 1975] Even though it may initially seem one of the least impressive of Buñuel’s works, Subida al cielo (American title: Mexican Busride) is more than a footnote to his career. The story itself is simple and obvious enough. Oliviero, a young man in a relatively primitive village which […]

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Un Chien andalou, L’Age d’or, Las Hurdes, Los olvidados

23 June, 2015 (10:57) | by RC Dale, Essays | By: Movietone News contributor

[Originally published in Movietone News 39, February 1975] Paris, 1929: the height of the surrealist and the Dada boom. Two young Spaniards decide to submit a film to the reigning lions of the movement, who had their doubts about the viability of cinema to their poetics. Others had already worked in the vein—notably Jean Epstein […]

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Buñuel scenes

22 June, 2015 (11:57) | by Ken Eisler, Essays | By: Movietone News contributor

By Carlos Fuentes, selected and translated by Ken Eisler [Originally published in Movietone News 39, February 1975] In Mexico …Buñuel is of medium height, round-shouldered, powerful (an amateur boxer, military service in Spain; he also enjoys disguising himself as Guardia Civil, but with Garcia Lorca he used to disguise himself as a nun, both of […]

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Orson Welles Has a Daughter Named Rebecca

25 May, 2015 (05:40) | Alfred Hitchcock, by Robert C. Cumbow, Essays, Orson Welles | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in Movietone News 38, January 1975] What do Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940) and Welles’s Citizen Kane (1941) have in common? Quite a lot, it seems to me. And yet, in all my reading on film, I have run across only one brief speculation on the subject: Andrew Sarris’s, in the context of his rebuttals […]

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Meet the Seattle Techie Who Pulls the Strings Behind Stephen Tobolowsky

13 May, 2015 (08:26) | by Sean Axmaker, Essays | By: Sean Axmaker

You may know him as Sandy Ryerson on Glee or Stu Beggs on Californication or Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day—the overly ingratiating insurance salesman Bill Murray punches. Face come to mind now? Bing! But thanks to his popular podcast and subsequent PRI radio show The Tobolowsky Files, Stephen Tobolowsky has become almost as well-known a […]

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How It Is

11 May, 2015 (04:32) | by Peter Hogue, Essays, Film Reviews, Howard Hawks | By: Peter Hogue

[Originally published in Movietone News 40, April 1975] Only Angels Have Wings is one of Hawks’s “male adventurer” films, but it is also one of his comedies—and is perhaps best understood as such. It’s comedy in the sense that it has its share of wisecracks and a hint of slapstick—but also, and more importantly, in […]

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Mr. Arkadin

7 May, 2015 (17:11) | by Richard T. Jameson, Essays, Orson Welles | By: Richard T. Jameson

[This is a program note written for “The Cinema of Orson Welles,” the Autumn 1971 film series of the University of Washington Office of Lectures & Concerts, and distributed at the November 9, 1971, showing of the film.] Mr. Arkadin is another of Welles’s European productions. The soundtrack is consequently erratic, and this, plus the […]

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The Trial

6 May, 2015 (19:02) | by Sean Axmaker, Essays, Orson Welles | By: Sean Axmaker

“[I]t’s my own picture, unspoiled in the cutting or anything else…. The producers were heroic and got it made, and there isn’t anything I had to compromise—except no sets, and I was happy with the other solution, as it turned out, even though I was kind of in love with all the work I’d done. […]

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Orson Welles goes ‘Around the World’

6 May, 2015 (08:26) | by Sean Axmaker, Essays, Orson Welles, Television | By: Editor

When handed the raw materials from an unfinished documentary about Elmyr de Hory, an art forger whose life was being written up by biographer Clifford Irving, Orson Welles took the opportunity to make something far beyond the concept of the traditional documentary. F for Fake has been called the Orson Welles’ first essay film, a […]

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