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

The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of September 11

The 1979 Coney Island of ‘The Warriors’

“Now for that group out there that had such a hard time getting home, sorry about that. I guess the only thing we can do is play you a song.” Jackson Connor looks back at the making of The Warriors—ragged night shoots filled with harassment and shakedowns from local gangs—and catches up with the cast 36 years later—including Thomas Waites, who figures if he’d accepted Walter Hill’s offer of a drink his character would have survived to the end of the picture. The Voice continues its coverage with Dan Hyman talking with songwriter Barry De Vorzon and producer Kenny Vance about the film’s soundtrack (“It’s a wonderful feeling to be recognized for something that you do, even if it’s 35 years later. It’s never too late.”), and reprinting Andrew Sarris’s less than enthusiastic review (“You may giggle at the unyielding solemnity of the characters, and at the breath-held gravity of the confrontations. And then again, you may not.”).

“De Palma the political filmmaker might seem at odds with De Palma the teasing sex-horror specialist, but these two halves of his split personality have worked in tandem throughout his career, and certainly do so in Dressed to Kill. This film is a minefield of potential offense—with its horrific butchery of a middle-aged woman and its full-frontal images of naked women shot like soft-core pornography—and, especially at a moment when studio output like Kramer vs. Kramer and Looking for Mr. Goodbar was being accused of containing reactionary responses to second-wave feminism… it was bound to incite some anger.” Michael Koresky charts the doublings and doppelgangers that run throughout Dressed to Kill—and De Palma’s entire career.

‘The Umbrellas of Cherbourg’

“If there’s any sad note in that ending, it’s that love probably doesn’t have the end-of-the-world intensity it did when they were young—it’s more stable and settled, a persistent warmth rather than a hot flame. Musicals don’t naturally accommodate such ambiguities, but Legrand’s theme keeps the end of the first act in conversation with the end of the last: love isn’t pure, but that’s okay.” Musicals may not seem the vessel for bittersweet ruminations on love’s impermanence, but Démy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Young Girls of Rochefort pull it off perfectly for Scott Tobias. Via Matt Fagerholm.

“Lambert was puzzled as to why Hollywood buried Whale’s suicide, seemingly content to allow lurid rumors of murder to circulate. Fritz Lang put him right: ‘We are supposed to be living in paradise here, so killing yourself is a betrayal of the community image […] More than one reputation has been ruined by it.’” Alex Harvey relates the story of critic turned screenwriter Gavin Lambert, brought out to Hollywood by his lover Nicholas Ray, whose sanguine refusal to cover up his homosexuality happily coincided with a new openness in films on the subject.

While he’s seemingly never met a social justice buzzword he didn’t love, Andrew Heisel does a good job tracking the social opprobrium that finally, after decades of dismay from black audiences, caused the movies to stop bandying about the phrase “free, white, and 21” at every opportunity.

Kermit and Steve Whitmire

“Henson would bend the frog’s nose down to the floor to convey hurt or dismay; Whitmire doesn’t exaggerate, instead tilting the green guy’s nostrils down slightly. Watching Whitmire perform Kermit is the same as hearing a talented pianist take on Rachmaninoff. But Steve (a musician himself) is not playing Henson’s notes; he’s playing Kermit’s.” Jon Irwin profiles Steve Whitmire, who’s remained anonymous despite having one of the most famous—and daunting—jobs in the world, having puppeted Kermit the Frog since Jim Henson’s death.

Maer Roshan’s article on the poaching of several top CAA agents by rival firm UTA captures the cutthroat intensity of grown men acting like petulant children; the perfect Hollywood story, in other words.

“The only rehearsal we did was for the dance sequence, just to memorize the choreography. Everything else, including the fights, had to be spontaneous and unstudied. I want to feel like the actors are speaking to me directly, and I am filming them directly. If it doesn’t work, we try again. Sometimes, we wait a few days and try again. Sometimes we discarded the scene entirely. I can tell by looking in the eyes of my actors if they are not ready for a scene yet.” Aliza Ma talks with Hou Hsiao-hsien about the making of The Assassin, and the level of prep work that led to his seven-year gab between films. Since you can never have too much of a smart director talking intelligently about movies, Film Comment throws in the transcript of a Cannes roundtable as bonus. (“For example, those paintings on the set were drawn by students from the academy of fine arts in Taipei. They worked from morning to night, every day for a few months. All these beautiful screens were drawn by them.” “In the end they were all blocked by the silk curtains.”)

“I remember somebody saying to me that I was too old for Hugh Grant, who’s like a year younger than me, in Sense and Sensibility. I said, ‘Do you want to go take a flying leap?’” Whether discussing (with Kyle Buchanan) feminism, script rewrites, or Angela Lansbury, Emma Thompson maintains a compelling mix of humor and righteous anger.

Agnès Varda directing ‘La Pointe courte’ (1955)

“[We] came up with the idea that the brothers should look the same, because the film is, like you said, about identity, and the masks we wear, and what’s underneath beautiful surfaces. Like cockroaches crawling underneath. We are interested in what makes you become you.” “We think that you have several identities. You are different depending on different circumstances. That’s what we tried to play through with all of those images.” Sheila O’Malley talks with Goodnight Mommy directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz about their debut—and gets a one-sentence description of their planned followup that already makes it one of my more anticipated films.

“We knew that we were dealing with a spooky environment and that included child molestation as well as economic disparities. Wes even included video images of the “shock and awe” from the first Gulf War. It may sound a bit odd to say, but in many ways we shot many of those scenes very realistically. It was not until we shot in the basement and the walls that horror took over.” Filmmaker Magazine offers a pair of interviews with directors of photography. Jim Hemphill sits down with Sandi Sissel about how she adapted her verité style to People Under the Stairs. (I missed this when it was posted a few weeks back, to explain why Craven’s death goes unmentioned.) And Sean Price Williams talks with Matt Mulcahey about bonding with Alex Ross Perry at an Out 1 screening, working with Albert Maysles, and shooting Queen of Earth. (“I did [a nine-minute shot] different all three takes. We definitely wanted to watch the actors listen. That was something that Alex said in the very beginning before we started shooting. We wanted to watch people listen as much as we wanted to see them talk.”)

Isabel Stevens’s gallery of women directors is explicitly designed to counter familiar images of male filmmakers with shots that should be equally iconic. Personally I thought, at a minimum, Arzner in jodhpurs, Deren’s hazy, dreamlike self-portraits, and Lupino in anything were already there.

Martin Milner

Obituary

Martin Milner is remembered for his two iconic TV shows of the 1960s, Route 66 and Adam-12, playing a clean-cut drifter in the former and a veteran LAPD patrolman in the latter. But he was a busy movie actor before his TV fame. Making his feature debut as a juvenile in Life With Father (1947), he appeared in Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), Mister Roberts (1955), Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), and worked his way up to significant supporting roles in Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Marjorie Morningstar (1958), Compulsion (1959), and William Castle’s 13 Ghosts (1960). He passed away this week at the age of 82, More from Anita Gates at the New York Times and Robert Lloyd looks at his place in sixties TV culture at Los Angeles Times.

Judy Carne, who entered pop culture history as the “Sock it to me!” girl on Laugh-In, also had a career on TV and in the movies, including guest shots on Danger Man, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and five appearances of Love, American Style, to which she added a little British style. She died at age 76. The Telegraph has a detailed obituary.

Seattle Screens

SIFF’s Women in Cinema 2015 festival opens at SIFF Uptown on Thursday, September 17 with the opening night film It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong and director Emily Ting scheduled to attend. The series plays through Thursday, September 24 at The Uptown and SIFF Film Center. See SIFF.net for complete schedule, screening information, and tickets.

The day before the festival opens, SIFF celebrates the 40th Anniversary of Robert Altman’s Nashville (1975) with a special screening at SIFF Uptown on Wednesday, September 16 at 7pm. Tickets and more details at SIFF.net here.

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 curated by Sean Axmaker, and other contributions from friends of Parallax View.