DGA Quarterly presents a collection of on-set photos of Howard Hawks, the master showing John Wayne how to throw a punch, Charles Coburn how to flirt, and Angie Dickinson…no, well, he’s just taking in Dickinson like the rest of us. (Click through for downloadable .pdf.) Also in the new issue, interviews with Robert Zemeckis on (surprise!) technology, Sofia Coppola on the differences between her style and her father’s, and James B. Harris on working with Stanley Kubrick; Richard Schickel praises the unflagging fecundity of Raoul Walsh; and Richard Donner takes you through the process of making you believe a man can fly, 1978-style.
The new issue of the regrettably annual Movie has arrived; grand news (courtesy of Film Studies for Free), since the academic journal manages to deal with theory without getting bogged down in jargon or floating off into airy pretentiousness. Must reads include Donna Kornhaber’s marvelous defense of A Countess from Hong Kong as not a masterpiece, exactly, but “a culmination of everything [Chaplin] had learnt since the turn to sound”; Adam O’Brien on movement and travel in The Last Detail; and Ian Garwood’s appreciation of Hoagy Carmichael’s savvier-than-you’d-expect sidekicks. Part of the journal’s mission is a reprint of articles Robin Wood wrote for the Times Educational Supplement; five are presented here, on four Altmans and a pair of Mizoguchis. .pdf warning.
Also just arrived, the new Experimental Conversations. Many have been taken with Fergus Daly’s call for a new cinephilia as “a way of experimenting with perception, thought and the self,” and thus resisting The System; how stirring you find it may depend on whether you’re already on its wavelength. Elsewhere Tony McKibbin does a terrific job laying out Two English Girls’s secret concern with “the damage of time,” and how Truffaut employs color to suspend that constant erosion; and the latest installments of two valuable ongoing projects: David Brancaleone’s survey of Cesare Zavattini’s scripts, here Amore in Citta; and an alphabetic rundown of avant-garde Thai filmmakers.
So many journals, so little time. I only discovered, via Adam Cook, the first issue of Cinema Comparat/ive Cinema too late to dig into it much. One piece I did read was filmmaker Pablo García Canga’s lovely tribute to Henri Langois, which celebrates the programmer’s expansive inspiration by recreating the connections forged by a day of Cinémathèque screenings from September ’68.
“Like Detour, the film exudes an air of rawness, its players and settings notably gruff and downtrodden, a relatively accurate reflection of the bargain-basement production.” Noah Isenberg discusses Ulmer’s late noir Murder Is My Beat. Also at Moving Image Source, Jon Gartenberg on the found-footage political films of Jean-Gabriel Périot.
Imogen Smith believes it is “finally fear, not greed, that causes tragedy” in Force of Evil.
Eric Hynes describes the graceful dances made by Malick’s women.
For David Wingrove, the 1945 Mexican melodrama Pepita Jiménez is a vehicle crafted to display the striking beauty of its star—not Rosita Díaz, but Ricardo Montalban.
Hollywood makes more than its fair share of stupid decisions, sure; but Super Mario Bros. still stands out a perfect storm of bad ideas. Karina Longworth tries to draw some lessons from the 20-year-old wreckage.
At Fandor, Shari Kizirian looks back at some of the many movies where—sardonically, tragically, in callously plot-driven fashion—the big one goes off.
James Ivory remembers his teacher and friend Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.
While The New Yorker’s Robert Mankoff offers some of his favorites from Roger Ebert’s weekly submissions to the magazine’s Cartoon Caption Contest, at least a few of which top his sole winning entry.
“It’s not often you see a Mexican in a suit.” Bonnie Radcliffe shows how costume design signifies who’s local and who’s an outsider in No Country for Old Men.
“I remember when the Los Angeles Film Critics gave me awards for best script, best director and best picture for Hope And Glory, which I’d written, directed and produced. I went up to collect the first award and said that I’d written a great script that was ruined by the director. Picking up the director award later, I said that I’d have directed a much better film if I didn’t have this awful producer on my back.” Little White Lies’s Matt Thrift conducts a wide-ranging interview (not that there’s any other kind) with John Boorman. Via Movie City News. Related: BFI’s gallery of a dozen posters for Boorman films, with notes by Michael Ciment.
“I’m not following you, I’m looking for you. There’s a big difference.” The Edit Room Floor presents some behind-the-scenes photos from The Conversation. Via Cinephilia and Beyond.
Massimo Carnevale’s sketches of film scenes combine a flair for capturing likenesses with the comic-book snap of bright colors and word balloons; throw in his facility for picking the right image to illustrate and they’re pretty irresistible. Another find spotted by Adam Cook.
Documentary filmmaker Les Blank, who chronicled pockets of American music and culture, gap-toothed women, garlic, and the Burden of Dreams of Werner Herzog making Fitzcarraldo, passed away in his home in Berkeley, California, after a struggle with bladder cancer. He was 77. Bruce Weber at The New York Times.
Spanish film director Bigas Luna, along with Pedro Almodovar, drove the post-Franco Spanish film industry into realms of sex and violence unseen up to that time through his “Iberian passion” trilogy Jamon Jamon (1992), Golden Balls (1993), and The Tit and the Moon (1994), films that explored sex, machismo, and obsession. He also launched the film careers of Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem. He died of cancer at age 67. Ronald Bergen remembers his career for The Guardian.
Annette Funicello died at the age of 70 due to complications related to multiple sclerosis, which she had been battling for almost 25 years. One of the original Mouseketeers, she leaped into a successful career as a singer and actress in a series of hugely-popular beach movies with Frankie Avalon, launched with the 1963 Beach Party. Douglas Martin at The New York Times.
American comedian and actor Jonathan Winters, a regular on TV variety and talk shows through the sixties and seventies and a profound influence Robin Williams, died at age 87. Along with his TV appearances, he co-starred in such films as It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad world and The Loved One. More at The New York Times.
Spanish actress and singer Sara Montiel, one of the biggest European stars of her era, passed away at the age of 85. In the U.S., she starred in Robert Aldrich’s Vera Cruz and Sam Fuller’s Run of the Arrow and was briefly married to director Anthony Mann, who directed her in Serenade. Most of the remembrances are from the European press, but here is a note from The Hollywood Reporter.
Screenwriter Mickey Rose, who collaborated with Woody Allen on his earliest screenplays (What’s Up, Tiger Lily?, Take the Money and Run, and Bananas) and went on to write for television, died this week at the age of 77. He’s remembered at The Los Angeles Times.
Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder opens a mere year after his previous film, Tree of Life, which is a record for the director who famously spends years between features. The introspective, ruminative drama is also the subject of the final film review that Roger Ebert filed before his death: “There will be many who find “To the Wonder” elusive and too effervescent. They’ll be dissatisfied by a film that would rather evoke than supply. I understand that, and I think Terrence Malick does, too. But here he has attempted to reach more deeply than that: to reach beneath the surface, and find the soul in need.” At the Egyptian Theatre.
“Cine Independiente: Discoveries From Argentina” presents five features from the new cinema of Argentina, curated by Jay Kuehner for Northwest Film Forum. A mixologist as well as a film critic, Kuehner hosts the opening night happy hour on Friday, April 12. Drinks are served at 6pm. The series plays through the weekend and a series pass is available.
Upstream Color is Shane Carruth’s long-awaited follow-up to Primer, and according to Everett Herald film critic Robert Horton, it’s just as challenging to sort through: “This film has a lush play of sound and music, and the visual scheme is fetching, even if it occasionally tips over into “Tree of Life”-style eye candy. As for understanding exactly what’s going on here, well, best of luck with that.”
Also opening this week: Trance from director Danny Boyle (“Down and dirty and faintly ridiculous, and also pretty fun to watch,” writes Herald film critic Robert Horton) (multiple theaters); 42, the biographical drama about Jackie Robinson (multiple theaters); the Quebecois comedy Starbuck (multiple theaters); Blancanieves, a Spanish reworking of Snow White as a silent movie in the world of bullfighting (I review it for Seattle Weekly) (The Uptown); the indie films The End of Love, directed by and starring Mark Webber (Grand Illusion) and Gimme the Loot (Varsity); the documentaries Girl Rising (Cinerama) and Band of Sisters (NWFF); and the horror movie spoof sequel Scary Movie 5 (multiple theaters).
For more alternative screenings, read At A Theater Near You roundup at The Seattle Times (Doug Knoop again fills in for Moira Macdonald).
The weekly links page is compiled and curated by Bruce Reid, with obituaries and Seattle Screens curated by Sean Axmaker, and other contributions from friends of Parallax View.