David Bordwell employs the opening reel of Rosales’s Sueño y silencio to examine the way films teach you to watch them, and in particular how art films often substitute mood and repetition for commercial cinema’s lockstep causality.
“His pencil mustache, slicked-back hair, and long, elegant nose gave him a distinguished profile not unlike Barrymore’s, and his perfect diction recalled Powell or Menjou. However, William excelled at playing heels whose polished appearance and smooth tones masked a cold heart or ruthless agenda.” The Movie Morlock’s Susan Doll praises Warren William, with emphasis on the pre-codes that let his nastiness rip.
The new issue of Acidemic Journal is out, with a mission statement of roping in discussions of Brecht, Godard, and Ed Wood. None of whom seem to have anything to do with Ethan Spigland’s fine look at Lewton and Robson’s Ghost Ship, and only the former gets namechecked in Peter K. Tyson’s dense consideration of Fassbinder’s view of marriage in the BRD trilogy. At least one of the highlights is all about Wood, though in fairness a reprint from a few years back: Chris Stengl’s dead-on “rediscovery” of Pauline Kael’s Plan 9 from Outer Space review.
“Henry, look at me! Look! You can’t see me or anyone as they are!” 22 years after its creation the X rating was retired and NC-17 took its place, to allow movies tackling adult themes a place in the mainstream without the market-damaging associations of pornography. Another 22 years along, Steven Zeitchik confirms, it hasn’t done a damned bit of good.
As the 40th anniversary of Watkin’s Edvard Munch approaches, Jonty Claypole looks back at the uncompromising career that led the peripatetic director to Norway, and the compromises that make this Watkin’s greatest film. Spotted by Adrian Martin.
“Sometimes you have to lose yourself before you can find anything.” Sheila O’Malley, with her typical transportive empathy, marvels at the terrifying simplicity behind the acting choices of Ned Beatty and (especially) Bill McKinney in Deliverance‘s most notorious scene.
With Fejos’s Lonesome forthcoming from Criterion, Jonathan Rosenbaum reprints his 1982 essay on the film.
Roland-François Lack admits his tendencies to ramble down sidepaths probably got the better of him when considering some intertextual links between Chabrol’s Les Bonnes Femmes and Becker’s Touchez pas au grisbi. Considering he tosses in a seemingly exhaustive survey of strip clubs featured in ’50s French cinema, no argument; but he’s as informative and engaging a tourist guide as ever.
In conversation with Cameron Crowe (that’s how you can tell it’s for Interview), Emma Stone offers her thoughts on instinct, improvisation, and the perfection of Billy Wilder. Her comments provide plenty more color and energy than the frosty ’80s-style photo shoot by Mikael Jansson.
“I remember trying to write at 1, 1:30 am, and just sort of falling asleep. And I think that was actually a good creative state for weird ideas. I shifted to a morning schedule once I had two kids, and I still found that if I slept badly I actually had better ideas.” Whit Stillman recalls the writing of Metropolitan, interviewed by The Awl’s Sharan Shetty. Link via Criterion.
“I was so mad when I finally saw Enter the Void! I was like, “That’s the thing to do!” Here it is: it’s a jackhammer to the middle of your forehead—your third eye.” David Fincher discusses his title sequences with Art of the Title’s Ian Albinson, and throws in some interesting thoughts on the “psychological stranglehold” of handheld cameras and the Zapruder film as the touchstone of modern moviemaking.
At Clothesonfilm, Neil Alcock salutes the meticulously varied costume designs of Rumble Fish.
“To relate, I must see: Cinema relates with the camera, but I am certain, I feel, that with you near me, I could give life to a human creature who, following hard and bitter experiences, finds peace at last and complete freedom from all selfishness.” Letters of Note presents Ingrid Bergman’s brief, fannish letter offering to work with Rossellini, and the director’s three fulsome replies, which require no particularly close parsing to suggest how things would turn out.
Revisit what compelled the director so, as Life commemorates Bergman’s birth and death (both falling on the 29th of August) with a selection of photos they ran of the actress over a quarter of a century.
Your computer monitor will be an insufficient substitute for the real thing in Adrian Curry’s latest Movie Poster of the Week, as some of the effect of René Péron’s colorfully dynamic Art Deco designs must certainly come from scale; double grandes and 4-panels (the latter reaching 94″ x 126″) predominate. But even so drastically reduced the magnificent images demand attention.
Video: Bob Cumbow passes along a brisk run through of Hammer films, put together by the studio for promotional purposes. The looming close-ups were there from the noir days, but things pick up immeasurably once fangs are added; and color, for the dripping red.
Steve Franken, prolific comic character actor on TV and (less so) in movies for decades, and as of late contributed his voice to a lot video games and animated shows. He appeared in The Party, The Missouri Breaks, Which Way To the Front, and as a cardinal in Angels & Demons, among others. Daneil E. Slotnik at 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.