Some marvelous audio finds from Cinephilia and Beyond. First, courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, Alfred Hitchcock and Ernest Lehman work out the bishop’s kidnapping from Family Plot, the screenwriter cautious to fit the scene in to the movie as a whole, the director with the cathedral already constructed in his mind’s eye delighting in the possibility of “so many angles on this—so many shots.” (A transcript is also available.)
But it’s the website of Tony Macklin that’s the real treasure trove. Macklin, former editor of Film Heritage magazine, has been posting the (crudely captured, fair warning) recordings of his interviews here; the most recently posted, up just this week, is a dandy 1973 chat with Andrew Sarris; previous subjects include Altman, Eastwood, Peckinpah, Poitier, Sylbert, Head…. Just look; there’ll be somebody you’re dying to hear talk.
Matthew Spektor’s stint as a director of literary acquisitions (i.e., the guy who read and recommended books), starting with Coppola and DeVito, taught him that Hollywood does actually know what they’re doing; and what they’re doing is tossing the middle class on the scrap heap.
“Post-modernism before the fact—trash-mashing the ghastly with the frivolous, history and horror trumped by consumer products, the grim and the soothing, the high and the low together, sleeping in one Procrustean bed.” At This Long Century Mark Rappaport has a typically allusive, thought-provoking essay on the stills from Children of Paradise that beguiled him as a youngster, and the magazine he found them in: a 1945 issue of Life juxtaposing grim stories of the surrender of Germany with slick, bouncy adverts.
“Who is Pierre Etaix?” The question posed repeatedly at the end of the director’s documentary feature Land of Milk and Honey is answered exquisitely by David Cairns. Also at Criterion, a collection of Etaix’s sketches that reminds how multivalent his genius is.
Imogen Smith revels in the melodramatic (and actorly) pleasures of Lewis Allen’s So Evil My Love, wherein “theft, forgery, blackmail, murder, sickness, alcoholism, adultery, and betrayals that have no name corrode this world from the inside, like a drug that numbs as it kills.”
“Look closely, sir, you’ll find the key back in your pocket. May we see it please? What’s that, sir? Did I used to be a magician, sir? I’m still working on it. As for the key, it was not symbolic of anything; this isn’t that kind of movie.” The new documentary on Ricky Jay prompts Fernando F. Croce to a brief survey of movie magicians, and the moviemakers hiding behind those magician’s masks.
Fredrik Gustafsson defends Bazin favorite William Wyler, recalling some sterling moments of performance (and deep-focus photography) that would stand out as singular triumphs in many another auteur’s oeuvre.
Coalescing some of his earlier essays, Roland-François Lack posts a marvelous examination of Paris, real and imagined, as seen in Becker’s Touchez pas au grisbi, Dassin’s Du rififi chez les homes, and Melville’s Bob le flambeur.
JW McCormack wittily proves the impossibility of filming Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 by claiming it’s covertly already been done, the novel’s five sections seen filtered through the last half-dozen films (including Hitchcock, Zero Dark Thirty, and Night Across the Street) McCormack’s happened to have seen.
Since everything is better with graphs, Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan charts out the evidence that as male romantic leads keep getting older and older, their female costars (at best) stay the same age. Via Lindy West, who offers her own inimitable gloss on the phenomenon.
Natalie Morris shows off some of the exhibits from the BFI’s career retrospective of John Boorman—including the one memento the director claimed after Lee Marvin’s death, the stylish brogues in which he stomped down the infinity of an LAX terminal.
“In the last six months I’ve gone back to six different screenplays and started working on them and I stopped. I dropped them. This is something quite unheard of for me, but no film for me is worth being made now.” So how did The Globe and Mail’s Geoff Pevere snare the scoop that Abbas Kiarostami’s current state of mind (“I hope it’s temporary,” he assures) has him giving up on cinema? Apparently by being the first one to ask.
“It’s the first time one of my movies had had a happy ending. It was odd to see people smiling as they were coming out of the cinema. It was a new thing for me. I only see people who have been punished.” Alternatively, Bernardo Bertolucci found making his latest film, Me and You, rejuvenating, as he explains to Little White Lies’s David Jenkins. Via Movie City News.
“The entire dilemma of filmmaking has changed. It used to be how you get the money to make the film. Now it’s how do you get anybody to see it?” Before introducing a Toronto screening of Taxi Driver (and clips from The Canyons), Paul Schrader answered a few questions from NOW’s Norman Wilner. Highlights of the evening itself are presented by Filmmaker’s Allan Tong. Both show an old hand who’s convinced in a way few of his peers yet are that everything he called movies and movie making is dead and buried, and it’s high time to be moving on.
You’d of course expect Paul Verhoeven to have a more jovially cynical take on crowdsourcing; and indeed he does, explaining to The Hollywood Reporter’s Jordan Zakarin the limitations of having his latest movie, Tricked, written by online submissions. (And how delighted he is the Total Recall remake bombed.)
Reiner Riedler’s photographs of movie reels capture the attractiveness of film qua film, the backlit spirals variously dark and gleaming as burnished wood or glowing from within like artificial suns. Via Adam Cook. (More shot via the artist’s agency here.)
Brandon Schaefer salutes graphic designer Bob Gill, whose publication of rejected poster designs (including the notorious “Bullshit” one sheet he suggested for …And Justice For All) offers a rare opportunity to compare some more daring submissions with the ads that actually ran.
A delightful potpourri of onset photos at everyday_i_show.
Video: The Academy of Art University has posted to YouTube videos of sculptor Lawrence Noble describing the creative process behind statues he made to Lucasfilm’s commission, including renderings of Darth Vader, Yoda, and, for a change of pace, Eadweard Muybridge. Via Stephen Herbert.
Actor Allan Arbus is still best known for his recurring role as psychiatrist Sidney Freedman on the TV series M*A*S*H, but he starred in two films for Robert Downey Sr., Putney Swope (1969) and Greaser’s Palace (1972) and played a villain in the Blaxploitation classic Coffy (1973), among his many movie and TV roles. Before he started acting, he was a profession photographer and ran a studio with his first wife, Diane Arbus. Allan Arbus was 95 when he passed away of a heart attack. Rebecca Trounson at Los Angeles Times.
American musician Richie Havens did not have a particularly close relationship with the movies, but his appearance as the first act at Woodstock and in the subsequent film Woodstock brought him fame and his signature song from that performance, “Freedom,” was used memorably by Quentin Tarantino in Django Unchained. He died of a heart attack at age 72. Derek Schofield at The Guardian.
Alfredo Guevara Valdés created the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry, or Icaic, under Fidel Castro and presided over the state-run film industry for decade, not simply funding films and encouraging young filmmakers to create socially-engaged work, but also creating mobile cinemas to take the films to the people outside the cities. He passed away at age 87. Victoria Burnett at New York Times.
The weekly links page is compiled and curated by Bruce Reid, with obituariescurated by Sean Axmaker, and other contributions from friends of Parallax View.