“Beat it you little creep—I mean, hurry home, son.” Adrian Schober’s excellent article on how The Trouble with Harry’s young Arnie Rogers simultaneously embodies and differs from Wordsworth’s idealized child of nature displays how Hitchcock was both Romantic and ironist. From death in the countryside, other highlights in the new Senses of Cinema tackle death in the city—Philippe Met’s survey of Abel Ferrara’s New York—and almost literally captured on camera, as Blaine Allan tracks the changes between three versions of Wenders and Ray’s Lightning over Water. Also, Martin Stollery writes up the latest inductee to the journal’s Great Directors series, Nouri Bouzid.
“The real music in the film is not Lupino’s singing but her dialogue. The lines aren’t really so brilliant, as you realize if you try to quote them, but the quick, casual way she tosses them off creates the impression of someone so sharp, so with-it, that she can’t help herself.” Looking back at the three films in which Ida Lupino plays a torch singer—The Man I Love, Road House, and Private Hell 36—Imogen Smith finds each having their strengths but ultimately too constricted by commercial considerations to be worthy of the magnificent voice at their center. Also at the Chiseler, Dan Callahan surveys one his most beloved filmographies, the works of Jacques Demy (“miracle drugs that insist on beauty and music and the fun of living by your wits while also hinting at darker rivers of feeling underneath”), with particular attention paid to the late, hard-edged wonder Une chambre en ville.
Lola continues to roll out their content. In this wave, Sam Roggen demonstrates how masters like Preminger, Ray, and Mann rose to the challenge of directing audience attention in the vast expanse of the CinemaScope frame; Burke Hilsabeck finds a scene in Tashlin’s Artists and Models engaged in interesting debate with Clement Greenberg’s notions of kitsch and the avant-garde; and Amelie Hastie sees the rhythms of pain and serenity in The Thin Red Line, Whale Rider, and Winter’s Bone “[enacting] a spectatorship based…on a model of compassion.”
The new issue of Peephole, admits editor Whitney Monaghan, is a gathering of enraptured descriptions of “cinephiliac moments,” “those seemingly unimportant, fleeting details that we, the cinephiles, become fixated on.” If you agree that the charm of such fixations lies in their boundless range, there’s something charmingly apt about the two standouts being Victor Bruno’s love for a transcendent play of light in Ford’s She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Matthew Sini’s appreciation of the ”attentive verisimilitude” dedicated to the CGI-rendered penis of Watchmen’s Dr. Manhattan. Via David Hudson.
“For my part, if I’m shown, in a movie, the same people I can meet at a cafe, I don’t see why I wouldn’t go to the cafe instead of the movie. It’s more comfortable and I can drink there.” A short but pungent lament for the passing of cinema’s primitive age, and the diminished era of “masterpieces” and “reason” that followed, written by Renoir in 1948, newly translated by Ted Fendt.
Chuck Stephens salutes Glenn Anders, a tragically underused actor who was good (and weird) enough to stand out in even such a baroque, blink-and-you’ll-miss-something-amazing masterpiece as The Lady from Shanghai (“Just tell ‘em you’re taking a little tarrrrr-get practice.”)
Susan Doll charts the unfairly shortened career arc of Kay Francis, from model to movie star to victim of an embittered fight with a short-sighted, vengeful studio.
“This restraint is not simply a matter of Becker being content to let images and story tell his tale instead of the script: rather, the entire tone of the film is displaced in the direction of pleasure, even as the plot speaks of need.” Another fine appreciation of Becker’s Antoine et Antoinette, from Dan Sallitt.
Peter Cowie’s latest installment of his Flashback series recalls three meetings spread over 35 years with the ever-youthful Andrzej Wajda.
Justin Ridgeway considers the seismic changes that unfolded between the bookends of Marker’s Le Joli Mai and Far from Vietnam (which Marker instigated and edited), and how well he captured the mood both when the storms were brewing and after everything blew over. Via John Wyver. Related: Chrismarker.org presents the fine introduction by Raymond Bellour for the Pompidou Center’s new exhibition Planète Marker.
“Un-k…un-k…. There’s no name on it.” “There’s no name here either.” Ben Radatz praises the invaluable contribution to the Man with No Name trilogy made by title designer Iginio Lardani.
Letters of Note offers both the brief missive producer Si Litvinoff sent to entice John Schlesinger to direct A Clockwork Orange, and (even briefer but more fascinating) the petition fired off to Terry Southern when David Hemmings was apparently selected for the lead over Mick Jagger; a protest signed by, among others, Christian Marquand, Donald Cammell’s brother David, and John, Paul, George, and Ringo.
“There are a lot of people who think the only true subject of documentary films are unpleasant things and nasty people, but it’s just as important to show people who are intelligent, sensitive, and responsible.” Frederick Wiseman, interviewed by Daniel Kasman, describes the making of his most recent film At Berkeley, and the advantages and disadvantages of the digital age, including (as many have pointed out) archiving.
“I have a massive chip on my shoulder…. When you fall into something at age 11 and get paid incredible amounts of money for your entire teenage years for doing a job anyone would want, there is a part of you that thinks everybody is just saying, ‘He got there because he fell into it; he’s not really an actor.’” In Susan Dominus’s profile, Daniel Radcliffe teeters between the rare figure exposed to childhood fame who came through ego and sanity intact, and a mild yet anxious young man so overeager to please it suggests there were at least a few scars along the way.
“My sense was that the 2011 reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes was hitting slightly different marks [than the original series], especially issues around the ethics of bioengineering, and a warning against exploitation whether on class or race lines is still apposite. The Tim Burton take in 2001 seemed rather more in the line of a tribute than a piece with something to say about its own times except ‘we’re running low on ideas.’” In a three-part interview, Henry Jenkins talks with James Chapman and Nicholas J. Cull, authors of Projecting Tomorrow: Science Fiction and Popular Film, about the movie genre’s contentious relationship with the literary genre, cinema’s usage of H. G. Wells, and the, let’s say, curious employment of racial stereotypes in the Star Wars series. Another item spotted by John Wyver.
Criterion presents a lovely gallery of images from MOMA’s current exhibit dedicated to Dante Ferretti, with both his original designs and the striking cinematic sets they became. Nick Pinkerton has more (words, that is; unfortunately he provides only one further example of Ferretti’s marvelous draftsmanship) at Artforum.
Bestselling author Tom Clancy, whose novels were made into the movies The Hunt for Red October (1990), Patriot Games (1992), Clear and Present Danger (1994), and The Sum of All Fears (2002), has passed away at the age of 66. Alec Baldwin and others remember the author at The Daily News.
Italian actor Giuliano Gemma, who starred in the spaghetti westerns A Pistol for Ringo (1964), Blood for a Silver Dollar (1965), and Day of Anger (1967) and won the Donatello award for Best Actor for Desert of Tartars (1976), was killed in a car accident this week. He was 75. Thanks to David Hudson for the tip.
Mario Montez, the drag queen icon of the sixties underground cinema in the films of Jack Smith (Flaming Creatures, 1963), Andy Warhol (Harlot, 1965), Ron Rice, and others, died of a stroke last week as his Florida home. J. Hoberman plays tribute at Artinfo.
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.