Posted in: by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Contributors, Links

The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for week of August 2

Hollywood, a viper’s nest of competitors each hard scrapping for the top of the heap, has nevertheless managed to work in marvelous concert when their interests are mutual. One such extended period of cooperation has come under more scrutiny of late: the deferential attitude shown to Nazi Germany throughout the 1930s, when the country might have been descending into madness but was still first and foremost a market for films. The Hollywood Reporter offers an excerpt from Ben Urwand’s new book on the subject, The Collaboration, describing some of the projects cancelled or bowdlerized by the team of studio heads, Will Hays, and Georg Gyssling, the Los Angeles-based German consul to the United States. The Reporter also provides some dissent from Urwand’s portrait (“slanderous and ahistorical”) from Thomas Doherty, author of this year’s earlier book on the subject, Hollywood and Hitler.

Indian cinema’s been around for longer than 100 years, of course; but as Pamela Hutchinson explains in her look at the nation’s earliest filmmakers, the 1913 premiere of Dadasaheb Phalke’s religious feature Raja Harishchandra has been selected as the industry’s symbolic starting point. Which, officially if however inaccurately, makes this the centennial year for one of the world’s great movie industries. Hutchinson’s is one of a clutch of articles the Guardian has posted to celebrate. Elsewhere, Rachel Dwyer and Rahul Verma offer their top ten lists of Hindi movies and soundtracks, respectively; Nosheen Iqbal interviews the actor Irrfan Kahn (“I always object to the word Bollywood…. Because that industry has its own technique, its own way of making films that has nothing to do with aping Hollywood.”); and novelist Amit Chaudhuri describes how his disdain towards Boll… uh, populist Hindi cinema was eradicated by the discovery (“just as Bollywood seemed to become all gloss and syrup”) of the remarkable films of Vishal Bharadwaj, among others.

Among the highlights in the new DGA Quarterly are Alfonso Cuarón explaining how, for good or bad, each of his previous films has been a learning experience, including the long period it took him and Emmanuel Lubezki to figure out how to stage the scenes in Gravity that depend upon its absence (“I said to Chivo, ‘We can do this very quickly. There are only two characters, so we’ll finish fast.’ That was four-and-a-half years ago.”); Noah Baumbach explaining his love for Jules and Jim to Rob Feld; John Badham breaking down his best action sequence, the dance contest from Saturday Night Fever; and a gallery of Harold Michelson’s vivid, energetic storyboards for the Red Sea sequence in The Ten Commandments.

Gathering together all previous attempts, supplemented with a new interview with Jan Harlan, Nick Wrigley collates a “master list” of all the films Stanley Kubrick’s on the record as admiring. The composite picture doesn’t really do much to solve the mysteries of Kubrick (though it’s more compelling and idiosyncratic than the list of recommended viewing from Spike Lee); but then neither does the revelation that Woody Allen was the director’s first choice for the role that went to Tom Cruise.

“All you need is a camera and a great story.” Roger Corman offers some favorites of his own, selecting his top ten Criterions, the maverick director and gadfly producer unfortunately very much wearing his Prestigious-Distributor-of -Foreign-Films hat to do so.

Also at Criterion, Peter Cowie continues his Flashback series of encounters with cinema greats recalling what a terrifically frank, witty, and deliberately provocative correspondent Louise Brooks was in old age.

Lauren Bacall in ‘To Have and Have Not’

“He once threatened to fire Carole Lombard if she acted—which is a strange kind of threat to make to an actor, when you stop to think about it. But this was Hawks’ peculiar genius—his films sparkled with a rare kind of energy because they felt alive in ways few other films did.” The way Hawks applied his genius to make an actor out of discovery Lauren Bacall is related in suitably punchy fashion by David Kalat.

“What church do you belong to?” “I…. I enjoy all faiths, I don’t belong to one church in particular. I like them all. I like everything.” Jack Welch writes beautifully of the spiritual urgency in Paul Thomas Anderson’s movies, and the evolution he’s made from the “mysterious, perhaps providential cosmic order envisioned in Boogie Nights and especially Magnolia, and the shift in focus to individual, traumatized psyches in the later films.” Via David Hudson.

The mounting outrage over Russia’s new homophobic legislation hasn’t yet taken full account of how horribly the country’s film industry has been affected.’s Daniel Walber offers the hardly shocking news that none of this has been good for Side by Side, Russia’s only LBGT film festival; while Vadim Rizov offers more background, and the dispiriting news that Putin supporter Nikita Mikhalkov is busy drafting an “ethics code” for filmmakers to follow. Via Movie City News.

Also at a more inspiring career twilight can be found in the recent, self-financed, shot-on-video films of Francis Coppola, which as Jake Cole aptly describes, “burst with adventurous, form-bending compositions and esoterically intimate stories that add postmodern touches to the director’s modernist style.”

Darren Hughes’s close reading of mise en scène in Wellman’s Frisco Jenny and Midnight Mary makes the case for the former as a daring work of art, “subjective filmmaking taken to a logical and vivid extreme,” and the latter as disappointingly conventional.

Breaking news from the Onion: Fucking Loser at Movie All by Himself.

“[L]ater on, Sylvester Stallone said to me that he was there that day. He was an extra. And he said to me, ‘I don’t admit that I was an extra in many pictures, but I admit that I was an extra in M*A*S*H.’ I thought that was sort of touching. But I told Bob Altman, and he said, ‘No! I do not accept that! I do not accept that Sylvester Stallone was an extra in my movie!’” Elliot Gould’s way with an anecdote—displayed again and again in a career-overview sitdown with Will Harris—has the same perceptive compassion and just-off-the-beat charm as his best performances.

“When you get an Academy Award nomination, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will work for the rest of your life but at least you are in the club with your feet in the door—if Gene Hackman and Peter O’Toole and Donald Sutherland are working, I get the offer.” James Cromwell comes off nicely perched between pragmatic old pro and still fiery idealist in an audience Q&A session transcribed by moderator Peter Sobczynski.

Mark Wahlberg? Emile Hirsch? Please. At Grantland, Mark Lisanti breaks down the real stars of the new trailer for Lone Survivor: those wonderful beards, each with their own story to tell.

Criterion offers a small but charming portrait gallery of famous directors as children. And while saying the child is father to the man has always been a bit of an overstatement, it’s also true that Fassbinder looks raring to raise hell even as a toddler.

Adrian Curry spotlights the powerful poster designs—somehow both rigorously geometric and pained expressionistic screams—of Polish artist Andrzej Bertrandt.

Eileen Brennan


Eileen Brennan, who played major supporting roles in The Last Picture Show, The Sting, Murder By Death and The Cheap Detective and earned an Academy Award nomination for Private Benjamin, passed away this week at the age of 80. Mike Barnes reminds us of her rich career at The Hollywood Reporter.

Denys de La Patellière directed some of the biggest stars in French cinema of the 1950s and 1960s, among them Danielle Darrieux and Jean Moreau in The Wages of Sin (1956), Lino Ventura and Hardy Kruger in Taxi for Tobruk (1961, on DVD and Blu-ray in the U.S.), and Jean Gabin in six films, among them Du Rififi a Paname (1966) co-starring George Raft. He died at the age of 92. More from Ronald Bergan at The Guardian.

Tim Lucas alerts us of the death of French actor Michel Lemoine, who starred in films directed by Mario Bava, Antonio Margheriti, and Jess Franco, among many other European genre films. Via Video Watchblog.

Seattle Screens

Visit the film review pages at The Seattle TimesSeattle Weekly, and The Stranger for more releases.

View complete screening schedules through IMDbMSNYahoo, or Fandango, pick the interface of your choice.

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.