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27601   From: "thebradstevens"
Date: Thu May 26, 2005 7:27pm
Subject: Re: Two Questions  thebradstevens


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666"
wrote:
So it's the same doss-house as in Triple
> Trouble?

I just rewatched POLICE and TRIPLE TROUBLE. Contrary to what I
claimed in my previous post, the two doss-house scenes are entirely
different. It is the aftermath of the doss-house scene in POLICE (the
scene in which a man tries to rob the tramp, then recruits him to
help break into a house) that appears in both POLICE and TRIPLE
TROUBLE.
27602  
From: "thebradstevens"
Date: Thu May 26, 2005 8:10pm
Subject: Re: Two Questions  thebradstevens


 
There's also a doss-house scene in Chaplin's unfinished film THE
PROFESSOR. It can be seen in part 3 of THE UNKNOWN CHAPLIN. This
scene includes an early version of the performing fleas routine from
LIMELIGHT.
27603  
From: ptonguette@...
Date: Thu May 26, 2005 11:31pm
Subject: Re: Re: Griffin on Welles  peter_tonguette


 
Richard Modiano wrote:

"He said "Old age is like a shipwreck," as the cigar wobbled in his trembling
hand."

This was a line he attributed to Charles de Gaulle. Welles also used it in
his videotaped pitch for his planned film of "King Lear" (a brilliant pitch,
fully transcribed by Jonathan Rosenbaum at the back of the paperback edition of
"This Is Orson Welles.")

Welles was absolutely brilliant in the Griffin show being discussion. I
interviewed the magician who assisted Welles with the wonderful trick he performed
at the top of the program. Among other things, he has some thoughts on that
particular program and Welles's TV talk show appearances in general.

http://www.thefilmjournal.com/issue6/steinmeyer.html

Richard, that episode of "The David Frost Show" sounds amazing!

Peter Tonguette


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27604  
From: ptonguette@...
Date: Thu May 26, 2005 11:36pm
Subject: Re: Re: Viva Rossellini!  peter_tonguette


 
Fred Camper wrote:

"About loving certain scenes: Rossellini once said in an interview that there
are key scenes that caused him to make whole films, though I'm not getting
this exactly right."

That's very interesting, Fred, and I wasn't aware of this quote when I posted
that certain scenes from Rossellini films always stuck out in my mind, a
little bit more so than with other films by other directors.

I actually have another quote which I'd like to ask the group about. It's
not by Rossellini, but about him. Truffaut is supposed to have said the
following of "Francesco, giullare di Dio": "It's the most beautiful film in the
world." I have never been able to determine where Truffaut originally said (or
wrote) this. Might anyone on the group know?

Peter Tonguette


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27605  
From: ptonguette@...
Date: Thu May 26, 2005 11:42pm
Subject: Re: Re: Group business: all members please read  peter_tonguette


 
About the incident that began this thread, we're sorry that some took it as a
change in policy or a restriction on political interpretations of films.

In hindsight, what we now think we should have done is write privately to the
people involved:

"It seems like the discussion of Lucas might veer in the direction of posts
solely about politics. If it starts to do so, please consider taking it to the
OT board, especially if it starts to do so for more than a few posts."

We hope this clarifies the situation.

Peter, Aaron and Fred
Your co-moderators


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27606  
From: "Gabe Klinger"
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 5:45am
Subject: Repatriation  gcklinger


 
REPATRIATION was one of my favorite movies last year. Our own Sam Adams writes a
scathing review of it this week in the Philly City Paper. He really hates it! In fact, there are
no other reviews in recent memory, on any film or in any paper, as full of vitriol as this. I
was taken aback.
First, I was surprised by Sam's narrow view that a human rights film festival should not
include what he thinks is an anti-humanistic film. REPATRIATION clearly raises interesting
questions -- it certainly inspired Sam to devote half of his article to it -- and which,
despite any of the untruths which Sam claims the film is full of, is all about the
humanization of an issue which all governments -- including the US -- are unsympathetic
towards.
I have to say, I don't always understand what Sam writes, but in the first couple paragraphs
of his article you would think he's accusing Kim Dong-won of being "guilty by association"
-- that is, from anti-communist point of view. (Your potshot at Kim's mention of his dad is
what lead me to think this.)
A simple question: why should the political prisoners show remorse? And why should Kim,
as documentary filmmaker, only be interested in that? If he were in the North, he might be
making a film about South Korean spies. And how could you say, subjectively, what is
wrong or right as a documentarian?
And please: do you think any of the repatriated spies are concerned with the North's
"shoddy human rights record"? To me it's an issue that hardly needs to be
acknowledged. These soldiers can't wait to return to the conventionalities, the "wrongs"
you would say, of a system which fostered and funded their beliefs for more than thirty
years.
Your reference to Stalinism is nothing short of ridiculous; this film does not have a Cold
War stance. It has a modern stance on what is human.
Kim's is a film full of humor about his subjects. It's a self-doubting film in a way, since
these old men have generational problems, which they are more than entitled to be
stubborn about!
And you know what: most Koreans, North and South, have the same generational
problems, the same disparity which divides their families, their children, their lovers, their
fathers. That's what the movie is about, I think.

Gabe
27607  
From: "Elizabeth Anne Nolan"
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 7:52am
Subject: THE HOLY GIRL  eanmdphd


 
The sexually naive girl pursuring the doctor could only hold her breath 50 secs or so; the
sexually active girl could hold hear breath much longer. The scene near the end, where
the sexual girl has 'amplified and betrayed the confidence of the naive girl reference her
interaction with the doctor cannot have a good outcome given the betrayal. I wondered if
the sexually active girl ends up killing the naive give in the swiming pult by holder her
under the water longer than the naive girl can endure.
I felt the two girls in the water at the end was a suspensful scene, as were the other. Iliked
the movie quiet a bit.

Elizabeth
27608  
From: Adrian Martin
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 9:35am
Subject: Wild Side  apmartin90


 
I received a pleasant surprise today: I bought a DVD of Donald
Cammell's final film WILD SIDE for a couple of bucks, and when I got
home and played the start, it turned out to be the 'director's cut' as
reconstructed by the editor - a fact not mentioned on the DVD cover! I
haven't watched it yet, but do we have any fans of the film on AFB?
Brad in his MORAL VISION book mentions that Ferrara at one point bought
a Cammell/China Kong script to film; WILD SIDE certain looks rather
'Ferraran'.

Adrian
27609  
From: Adrian Martin
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 9:42am
Subject: Dream project  apmartin90


 
I just read in an article on Glauber Rocha that around 1974 he had a
project to film Marx's CAPITAL starring ... Orson Welles as Karl Marx
and Dirk Bogarde as Engels! Does anyone know if Rocha got as far as
approaching these actors? Rocha stated in a letter to a journalist at
the time that his aim was to bring out the kinship of CAPITAL as a
literary text with Joyce's ULYSSES. Intriguing.

I also noted in the VILLAGE VOICE Cannes coverage that the Dardenne
brothers had wanted to buy the rights to MYSTIC RIVER - but Eastwood
beat them to it!

Ah, all the dream films that never were ...

Adrian
27610  
From: "thebradstevens"
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 10:41am
Subject: Re: Wild Side  thebradstevens


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Adrian Martin wrote:
> I received a pleasant surprise today: I bought a DVD of Donald
> Cammell's final film WILD SIDE for a couple of bucks, and when I
got
> home and played the start, it turned out to be the 'director's cut'
as
> reconstructed by the editor - a fact not mentioned on the DVD cover

This must be the UK DVD released by Tartan. Tartan financed the
reconstruction several years after Cammell's death, and commissioned
a new score by Ryuichi Sakamoto - it even had a brief UK theatrical
release. This version cannot be screened in the US for copyright
reasons. Tartan's DVD also includes Cammell's short film THE ARGUMENT
(from the early 70s).

Abel Ferrara's Cammell adaptation never came to anything, but Abel
once told me how much he liked WILD SIDE (and I assume he must only
have seen the producer's version).
27611  
From: "thebradstevens"
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 11:58am
Subject: Re: Wild Side  thebradstevens


 
Marianne Faithfull once described the set of Donald Cammell's
PERFORMANCE as a "psychosexual lab" with James Fox as "the prime
experimental animal". And this may also be true of WILD SIDE -
Cammell apparently set out to take Anne Heche apart, see how she
worked, then put her back together again in an improved (which is to
say less repressed) form. Although Heche plays a woman discovering
her bisexual nature in WILD SIDE, she regarded herself as
heterosexual at the time (she makes this clear during an on-set
interview that is included on Tartan's DVD). Heche came out shortly
after shooting had been completed, but now refuses to discuss the
film.

There should be a lot of information about this aspect of WILD SIDE
in a forthcoming Cammell biography which my friends Rebecca and Sam
Umland have been working on for years. It will be published (probably
next year) by FAB Press (who also published my Ferrara book).
27612  
From: MG4273@...
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 8:50am
Subject: The Big Trail: more on circles in Raoul Walsh  nzkpzq


 
The Big Trail (Raoul Walsh, 1930) is a lavishly produced early sound Western.
It is best known today for giving John Wayne his first starring role. The
women pioneers here work and fight right alongside of the men, typical of Walsh's
fondness for women who function as men's equals.

Circles
The Big Trail starts right out with Walsh's favorite figure, the circle. The
wagon trains in the opening shot have circular entrances and frames at their
rear. These fall into the category of "circular containers for humans", a Walsh
trademark. They also have circular wagon wheels, that show up everywhere in
Walsh's shots. Soon, we see compositions centering on the circular washtub,
where a woman is doing laundry, and a huge wagon wheel behind. The pioneers also
seem to specialize in moving circular barrels westward - most shots of the
characters outside of their wagons are full of these circular objects. John Wayne
wears a hat with a broad circular brim, and a nearly cylindrical conical
central region sticking up.
Eventually, the pioneers will gather their wagons in a circle to ward off an
attack. Walsh shoots this from above, at a slightly elevated angle, creating
vast landscapes with the circle of wagons in the middle. We also see smaller
arcs of the wagon circle, in other compositions. Walsh fills the center of the
circle with the pioneers' moving horses, while the attackers are also in
movement outside. This gives a dynamic quality to these circle-centered
compositions. They remind one of the dynamic crowd imagery of the boat scenes in
Regeneration. And of the train depot in Going Hollywood. Just as the crowds in that
film often split into two independently moving groups, so do the movements inside
and outside the circle of wagons function in counterpoint here.
The Indians have an astonishing range of conical teepees - one of the best
landscape panoramas in the film. Their feather headdresses form a full, complete
circle, something that is not standard in Western movies. Walsh often shoots
these from above, so that one sees the circular opening of the headdress top,
framed by feathers all around. These shots remind one a bit of the headdresses
worn by the dancers near the end of Going Hollywood. One of the Indians
pounds on a large, cylindrical drum. This summons the tribe together - another
instance of Walsh's fascination with sound-based communication devices.
The finale takes place in a redwood forest. The tall, cylindrical boles of
the trees remind one of the circular column that ends Regeneration. In both
films, there is an elegiac, mournful tone to this finale, with the hero
rededicating himself to his principles, in a symbolic, emotionally laden landscape.
27613  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 2:12pm
Subject: Re: Wild Side  cellar47


 
I've seen that cut. I also have the cut wiht "Franklin
Brauner" listed as director on laser.

It's a very interesting transitional work. Cammell had
a great many ideas, and was continually frustrated by
a sustem not designed to deal with them.

The person most responsible for fucking him over was
Marlon brando -- who kept him hanging for years with
promises of starring in and partially financing
several films.

Be sure to look out for the documentary "Donald
Cammell: The Ultimate Performance" which reviews his
entire life and careers(s). Jmaes Fox and Johnny
Shannon are in it and discuss "Performance" in detail.
Also on hand, Kenneth Anger, Cathy Moriarty, China
Kong and Barbara Steele -- who has always wondered why
Cammell wasn't gay.

Wondered that myself.

I met Cammell once -- at a press screening of "White
of the Eye." In all my years as a critic he's the ONLY
filmmaker I've ever seen attend his own press
screening. Incalculably sweet man.

--- Adrian Martin wrote:
> I received a pleasant surprise today: I bought a DVD
> of Donald
> Cammell's final film WILD SIDE for a couple of
> bucks, and when I got
> home and played the start, it turned out to be the
> 'director's cut' as
> reconstructed by the editor - a fact not mentioned
> on the DVD cover! I
> haven't watched it yet, but do we have any fans of
> the film on AFB?
> Brad in his MORAL VISION book mentions that Ferrara
> at one point bought
> a Cammell/China Kong script to film; WILD SIDE
> certain looks rather
> 'Ferraran'.
>
> Adrian
>
>

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27614  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 2:18pm
Subject: Re: Re: Wild Side  cellar47


 
--- thebradstevens wrote:
Heche
> came out shortly
> after shooting had been completed, but now refuses
> to discuss the
> film.
>

I'll bet! When her affair with Ellen began, Heche
claimed she had NEVER been attracted to a woman
before. Yeah, right.

Cammell was SUCH a Lesbian-hag.

> There should be a lot of information about this
> aspect of WILD SIDE
> in a forthcoming Cammell biography which my friends
> Rebecca and Sam
> Umland have been working on for years. It will be
> published (probably
> next year) by FAB Press (who also published my
> Ferrara book).
>

Greatly looking forward to it.

Here's my pic of Barbara Steele's son

http://ehrensteinland.com/htmls/bride/g001/b_jonathanpoe.html

Deborah Dixon is his godmother!
>
>
>

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27615  
From: "Richard Modiano"
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 2:20pm
Subject: Re: Dream project  tharpa2002


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Adrian Martin wrote:

"I just read in an article on Glauber Rocha that around 1974 he had a
project to film Marx's CAPITAL starring ... Orson Welles as Karl Marx
and Dirk Bogarde as Engels! Does anyone know if Rocha got as far as
approaching these actors?"

I don't know about Bogarde, but in the exhaustive chronology of
Welles' life prepared by Jonathan Rosenbaum there's no mention of the
Rocha project so Welles may not have been formally approached.
During
the same period Sirk was working on a treatment about the conflict
between Marx and Bakunin over the First International and wanted to
cast Charles Bronson as Marx! Then there's Rosselini's unfilmed movie
about Marx. By the way, Bakunin translated "Das Capital" into Russian.

Richard
27616  
From: samadams@...
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 3:43pm
Subject: Re: Repatriation  arglebargle31


 
Gabe:

This seems to be written more as a personal email than a list
comment, so I'll respond once and then we can take it off-list (or
OT) if need be.

My objection to REPATRIATION was not to Kim's sympathy with the north
as such -- I wouldn't call myself anti-communist by a long shot,
although North Korea is pretty low on my list of favorite countries.
It was specifically to what I felt was a heavy-handed, one-sided
point of view that consistently tried to push me to see things one
way -- a strategy that instinctively makes me want to push back. When
a narrator starts telling me that one of his subjects has "the
kindest face I've ever seen.. .a face that would make you believe in
the goodness of all humankind," I get the feeling I'm being snowed.

Kim blames the US for North Korea's let's-just-say-limited human
rights record, saying that the US and the North have been "at war for
fifty years" and "the war limits the rights of the North Korean
people." This is exactly the line that apologists for Stalinism in
the US and elsewhere took, and what practically every dictatorship in
the 20th century has said -- "human rights, after the war is over."
(Just plug "North Korea" into the search engine on Amnesty
International's site and see what comes up). I find your idea that
the North's h.r. record "hardly needs to be acknowledged" extremely
wrong-headed, particularly in the context of a film festival
ostensibly devoted to promoting human rights. I don't see why the
reference to Kim's father is a "potshot" -- he opens the film with a
dedication to his father, then follows it with a title surmising that
his late anti-communist father "would have been furious at my work."
He put it out there; all I did was quote it back and add that my
guess is he's probably correct.

To me, the film's laudable goal of humanizing political prisoners --
it's worth pointing out that the people in question were imprisoned
for admitted acts of espionage, which in many countries, including
our own, are punishable by death -- is negated by the fact that the
film doesn't want its characters to be fully human: that is,
fallible, stubborn, even downright unsympathetic, rather than the
plaster saints it tries to make of them. "Why should prisoners show
remorse?" Not for me to say if they should or shouldn't, but I think
it's fair to be horrified and disgusted by the fact that after 30
years in S Korean jails, they deny even the possibility that there
might be S Koreans similarly imprisoned in the North. How can I,
"subjectively, say what is right or wrong about a documentary?" Well,
that's the gig, isn't it? It seems like what you mean is "how can you
say such nasty things about such a good movie?" I think it's pretty
obvious from the review that the movie pissed me off, but if I were
feeling tongue in cheek, I'd say verging-on-irrational anger can be
the critic's best friend. (I hope you're not drawing a distinction
between documentaries and other types of films, because we all know
that a moderately skilled documentarian can make a documentary saying
just about anything he or she wants it to.) As for the idea that
there are "no other reviews in recent memory, on any film or in any
paper, as full of vitriol as this", I'm flattered, but I think the
press for PALINDROMES at least matches if not surpasses my ire.

As for the movie being "anti-humanist," I would say exactly the
opposite -- that it's a textbook case of the limits of humanism,
which strives to drown any objections to the prisoners' past
activities or political views in a flood of sympathetic tears. A bit
of a diversion which may clarify my position: The parallel I'd draw
is to anti-death penalty movies which, implicitly or explicitly,
argue that execution is wrong because, deep down, all convicts have a
good heart that has been insufficiently nourished. That's true in
some cases, as is the fact the system is riddled with inaccuracies
and racial bias, but it's also true that some of the people on death
row are heartless psychopaths whom no sane person would ever want to
see the light of day. (I'm not talking hypothetically here: my
girlfriend meets with them on a regular basis.) If you're only
against executing the potentially innocent, or potentially
reformable, you're not actually against the death penalty -- you just
have strong reservations. True opposition means that no one, no
matter how depraved or disgusting, should be put to death because it
is fundamentally, morally, wrong. (Coincidentally or not, this is
what I was getting at in my PALINDROMES posts -- empathy is not the
most effective tool for every political struggle, and may at times
undermine the ends to which it is purportedly put.)

If Kim's movie were less eager to minimize its subjects' failings,
it would make a much stronger case. REPATRIATION attempts to evoke
sympathy for its characters with syrupy music and heart-tugging
narration (which incidentally draws an explicit distinction between
subjects the filmmaker likes and doesn't like), and makes the case
that we ought to admire their ideological tenacity regardless of the
substance of their beliefs, which is -- and here comes the opinion --
a completely idiotic point of view. (You might as well admire George
W. Bush or Rick Santorum for their dedication to their ideals.) I get
that the movie is an implicit reaction to decades of anti-North
propaganda, but the fact that Kim is so critical of the South (and
the US) while essentially giving the North a pass sticks very much in
my craw.

I hope this answers at least some of your concerns, Gabe. Honestly,
the only sentence in your post that truly concerns me is the part
where you say you "don't always understand" what I write. I don't
mind seeming irrational or flat out wrong, but in all sincerity, I
can't stand the idea of being unclear.

Sam

PS: What we're on about: http://citypaper.net/articles/2005-05-26/movies.shtml

PPS: I'd apologize that this post might violate the recently
clarified rule on politics vs. aesthetics, but I'm basically happier
when lists run anarchistically. And besides, Gabe started it. ;)
27617  
From: "Gabe Klinger"
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 3:51pm
Subject: Re: Dream project  gcklinger


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Adrian Martin wrote:
> I just read in an article on Glauber Rocha that around 1974 he had a
> project to film Marx's CAPITAL starring ... Orson Welles as Karl Marx
> and Dirk Bogarde as Engels! Does anyone know if Rocha got as far as
> approaching these actors? Rocha stated in a letter to a journalist at
> the time that his aim was to bring out the kinship of CAPITAL as a
> literary text with Joyce's ULYSSES. Intriguing.

Rocha also thought Welles might be interested in an adaptation of Brecht's Galileu Galilei.
That was much earlier though. As far as I know, Rocha cites ULYSSES in his letter as a
book *like* CAPITAL -- that is, cited often and not read enough. But he spoke of nothing
to merge the two. Later Rocha talked about going to meet Welles and Elia Kazan in Persia
somewhere. He told Fabiano Canosa in a letter he was going to meet him. Then Orson
Welles wrote a letter to Rocha, misspelling his name, but telling him he would meet him in
Paris in the spring. I don't know if they ever met, but maybe some of our more
knowledgeable Rocha fans in BRazil know.

Gabe
27618  
From: Matt Teichman
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 4:20pm
Subject: Re: Dream project  bufordrat


 
Picking up where Eisenstein left off?

-Matt



Adrian Martin wrote:

>I just read in an article on Glauber Rocha that around 1974 he had a
>project to film Marx's CAPITAL starring ... Orson Welles as Karl Marx
>and Dirk Bogarde as Engels! Does anyone know if Rocha got as far as
>approaching these actors? Rocha stated in a letter to a journalist at
>the time that his aim was to bring out the kinship of CAPITAL as a
>literary text with Joyce's ULYSSES. Intriguing.
>
>
27619  
From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 4:54pm
Subject: Re: Wild Side  sallitt1


 
> I met Cammell once -- at a press screening of "White
> of the Eye." In all my years as a critic he's the ONLY
> filmmaker I've ever seen attend his own press
> screening.

I remember Rick Schmidt attending one of his press screenings at the
Nuart, and then blocking the exit so that critics had to talk to him on
the way out. - Dan
27620  
From: "Charles Leary"
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 5:02pm
Subject: Re: Dream project  cw_leary


 
Not an answer to the Rocha question, but, by the way, Eisenstein also
planned films of both ULYSSES and CAPITAL. There's two essays on the
affinities between the two projects by Annette Michelson in ART & TEXT
#34 and OCTOBER #2. That's CAPITAL for you: just as Marx himself
finished it, the film versions remain incomplete.

Charley
27621  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 5:47pm
Subject: Re: Wild Side  cellar47


 
--- Dan Sallitt wrote:

>
> I remember Rick Schmidt attending one of his press
> screenings at the
> Nuart, and then blocking the exit so that critics
> had to talk to him on
> the way out.

An admirable notion> No reasons for fimmakers to do
this through surrogates (ie. press reps.)

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27622  
From: "allegra@..."
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 7:57pm
Subject: Re: Re: Viva Rossellini!  allegra423


 
Peter Tonguette asked:

I actually have another quote which I'd like to ask the group about. It's not by Rossellini, but about him. Truffaut is supposed to have said the following of "Francesco, giullare di Dio": "It's the most beautiful film in the world." I have never been able to determine where Truffaut originally said (or wrote) this. Might anyone on the group know?

I have a quote from the endnotes to the German edition of Truffaut's "The Films in My Life" that may be what you're referring to. (My translation may not be exact; I'm not a native German speaker.) According to the notes for the chapter "George Cukor, It Should Happen to You":

"In the original text [of Truffaut's book], the enumeration of the actors Grant, Cooper, Stewart, Fonda and Bogart [as actors who triumph even in the complete absence of direction] is followed by the following paragraph: 'So much nonsense has been written about this subject -- that is, comedy -- that I'll refrain from putting in my two cents' worth. Otherwise I'd let it slip out that I hold FRANZISKUS, DER GAUKLER GOTTES [the German title of the film] as the best American comedy, because it makes one cry for joy.' "

Could this be it?

Leslie

ptonguette@... wrote:
Fred Camper wrote:

"About loving certain scenes: Rossellini once said in an interview that there
are key scenes that caused him to make whole films, though I'm not getting
this exactly right."

That's very interesting, Fred, and I wasn't aware of this quote when I posted
that certain scenes from Rossellini films always stuck out in my mind, a
little bit more so than with other films by other directors.



Peter Tonguette


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27623  
From: "jpcoursodon"
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 11:16pm
Subject: Re: Viva Rossellini!  jpcoursodon


 
>
> Peter Tonguette asked:
>
> I actually have another quote which I'd like to ask the group
about. It's not by Rossellini, but about him. Truffaut is supposed
to have said the following of "Francesco, giullare di Dio": "It's
the most beautiful film in the world." I have never been able to
determine where Truffaut originally said (or wrote) this. Might
anyone on the group know?

I don't know, but it may be anecdotically interesting to note that
calling a film "le plus beau film du monde" was a kind of verbal tic
among French cinephiles of the time. Another film that was
called "le plus beau du monde" by quite a few cinephiles
was "Sunrise" (Jean Domarchi in his Murnau monography
for "Anthologie du Cinema" wrote: "L'AURORE est pour moi le plus
beau film existant.") JPC


> ptonguette@a... wrote:
> Fred Camper wrote:
>
> "About loving certain scenes: Rossellini once said in an interview
that there
> are key scenes that caused him to make whole films, though I'm not
getting
> this exactly right."
>
> That's very interesting, Fred, and I wasn't aware of this quote
when I posted
> that certain scenes from Rossellini films always stuck out in my
mind, a
> little bit more so than with other films by other directors.
>
>
>
> Peter Tonguette

In his RR bio Tag Gallagher argues that RR made some of his films
specifically for a few scenes he was interested in and more or less
neglected the rest. I'm quoting from memory (although I translated
the book!) but I think that was the gist of it, and it seems RR
admitted it himself. JPC
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>
>
>
> ---------------------------------
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> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27624  
From: MG4273@...
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 7:41pm
Subject: Re: Viva Rossellini!  nzkpzq


 
In a message dated 05-05-27 19:18:06 EDT, JPC writes:


I don't know, but it may be anecdotically interesting to note that
calling a film "le plus beau film du monde" was a kind of verbal tic
among French cinephiles of the time. Another film that was
called "le plus beau du monde" by quite a few cinephiles
was "Sunrise" (Jean Domarchi in his Murnau monography
for "Anthologie du Cinema" wrote: "L'AURORE est pour moi le plus
beau film existant.") JPC >>

Louis Delluc called "The Outlaw and His Wife" (Victor Sjostrom, 1917) "the
most beautiful film in the world". It's awfully good - a kind of melodrama that
takes place in Iceland.
Films in 2005 are no better or worse than films in the 1910's. It's very
strange.

Mike Grost
27625  
From: MG4273@...
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 7:58pm
Subject: Besieged: visual style in Bertolucci  nzkpzq


 
Beiseiged (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1998) has a rich visual style. One component:
many shots involve "repeated visual elements". We see the hammers in a piano,
striking the keys. There are dozens of hammers, all in a row. Similarly, we
see long streches of steps (the film takes place near the Spanish Steps in
Rome). The metal balustrade of a spiral staircase, with its repeated metal
supports. A wine shop with hundreds of bottles in rows. Lots of African fabrics, with
repeated geometric designs running through them. Even a letter, with the
words "Thank You" written over and over in it.
These repeated visual elements give a strong sense of visual rhythm to the
shots. It is like a pulse of energy running through them. Bertolucci can cut
from one such image to another.
The characters are also often at the bottom of well like regions. The high
narrow streets of Rome help here. So do strong vertical regions of color inside
the house - a wall of brilliant red, for instance, running up behind a
character.
The film is full of bright reds and oranges, both in the clothes, and the
interiors. Ocassionally, these are contrasted with soft greens, or green foliage.
There is a tremendous sense of fertility everywhere - Bertolucci loves
summer.
There are also polished surfaces, which reflect things. A piano lid serves as
a diagonal mirror across the composition, leading to an almost kaleidoscope
effect. The same piano is lowered (by moving men) from a window, leading to a
dangling "mirror" effect in the street. Later, we see a Roman streetscape
reflected upside-down in the convex golden bowl of a door bell.
As in some Antonioni films, such as "Beyond the Clouds", some of these images
oddly recall film noir. Shots of spiral staircases run through Mann's
"Desperate" and many other noir works. Buildings are reflected in a getaway car
during the early robbery sequence of "Kansas City Confidential" (Phil Karlson).

Mike Grost
27626  
From: MG4273@...
Date: Fri May 27, 2005 8:20pm
Subject: Politics in Today's comic strips (Very OT)  nzkpzq


 
Am going OT - Beware. But just read yesterday's newspaper, and was struck by
all the liberal political references in the comic strips.
"Beetle Bailey" (about some soldiers at a US military base, and one of the
most popular US strips for 50 years). Beetle and his soldier pal Killer go to a
peace march to pick up girls. It doesn't quite work out: a woman carrying a
"Peace Now!" sign doesn't like "Killer's" nick-name (Killer is a lady-killer,
not a serial killer type killer).
"The Elderberries". Senior citizens plot a raid into Canada, where they will
buy their prescription drugs at half the US cost, then smuggle them back into
the States.
"Zits". The typical American teenager hero has a new plan. He wants his Dad
to start giving him his allowance in euros.
When was the last time we a saw a peace demonstration in a mainstream
American movie? Or anything about dollars and euros? The commercial narrative film
seems a lot more timid than the comics.
This is not a radical newspaper. It is "The Detroit Free Press", one of the
two large Michigan dailies.

Mike Grost
27627  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sat May 28, 2005 1:03am
Subject: Re: Politics in Today's comic strips (Very OT)  cellar47


 
--- MG4273@... wrote:
> Am going OT - Beware. But just read yesterday's
> newspaper, and was struck by
> all the liberal political references in the comic
> strips.


Alain Resnais has cited comic strips as teaching him
the basics of film editing. "The Heart of Juliet
Jones" was his favorite back in the day, and its
influence on "Muriel" is quite obvious.

And then there's the famous shot of a stack of comic
books in "Toute la Memoire du Monde."

(I expect we're back on topic now.)

__________________________________________________
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27628  
From: "Brian Charles Dauth"
Date: Sat May 28, 2005 2:21am
Subject: Re: Eddie Albert Dies at 99  cinebklyn


 
He probably saw the remake of "The Longest Yard."

Brian
27629  
From: "Brian Charles Dauth"
Date: Sat May 28, 2005 2:42am
Subject: Re: THE HOLY GIRL  cinebklyn


 
Elizabeth writes:

> The scene near the end, where the sexual girl
has 'amplified and betrayed the confidence of
the naive girl reference her interaction with the
doctor cannot have a good outcome given the
betrayal. I wondered if the sexually active girl
ends up killing the naive give in the swiming
pult by holder her under the water longer than
the naive girl can endure. I felt the two girls in
the water at the end was a suspensful scene, as
were the other. Iliked the movie quiet a bit.

You have convinced me to see it again with your
perspective in mind. It is a good argument and
would continue what I saw as one of the best
aspects of LA CIENAGA -- her portrayal of
women and how they interact.

Brian
27630  
From: "Brian Charles Dauth"
Date: Sat May 28, 2005 2:49am
Subject: Re: Resnais (was: Politics in Today's comic strips)  cinebklyn


 
> Alain Resnais has cited comic strips as
teaching him the basics of film editing.
"The Heart of Juliet Jones" was his
favorite back in the day, and its influence
on "Muriel" is quite obvious.

What I also remember is that he said that
during the war he would get the comics
out of order, so he would sometimes know
the end before the middle or even the
beginning of a story (which I can also see
in his films).

Brian
27631  
From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Sat May 28, 2005 3:43am
Subject: Gentlemen of the press (Was: Wild Side)  sallitt1


 
>> I remember Rick Schmidt attending one of his press
>> screenings at the
>> Nuart, and then blocking the exit so that critics
>> had to talk to him on
>> the way out.
>
> An admirable notion> No reasons for fimmakers to do
> this through surrogates (ie. press reps.)

Really? I'm pretty old school on this point: I think that every personal
encounter with filmmakers makes it harder for us to write well about their
work. - Dan
27632  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sat May 28, 2005 1:29pm
Subject: Re: Gentlemen of the press (Was: Wild Side)  cellar47


 
--- Dan Sallitt wrote:

I'm pretty old school on this point: I
> think that every personal
> encounter with filmmakers makes it harder for us to
> write well about their
> work.

There's no use pretending we operate under pristine
conditions. We don't.



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27633  
From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Sat May 28, 2005 2:08pm
Subject: Re: Gentlemen of the press (Was: Wild Side)  sallitt1


 
> I'm pretty old school on this point: I
>> think that every personal
>> encounter with filmmakers makes it harder for us to
>> write well about their
>> work.
>
> There's no use pretending we operate under pristine
> conditions. We don't.

I completely agree. But the encounters do make it harder. - Dan
27634  
From: "Henrik Sylow"
Date: Sat May 28, 2005 4:51pm
Subject: Re: Gentlemen of the press (Was: Wild Side)  henrik_sylow


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:
> > I'm pretty old school on this point: I
> >> think that every personal
> >> encounter with filmmakers makes it harder for us to
> >> write well about their
> >> work.
> >
> > There's no use pretending we operate under pristine
> > conditions. We don't.
>
> I completely agree. But the encounters do make it harder. - Dan

I'm with Dan on this one. But I try only to meet up with filmmakers
whos work I admire to begin with. I simply don't have to stomach to
ask "someone famous" why his work sucks.

Henrik
27635  
From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Sat May 28, 2005 5:13pm
Subject: Re: Re: Gentlemen of the press (Was: Wild Side)  sallitt1


 
>>> There's no use pretending we operate under pristine
>>> conditions. We don't.
>>
>> I completely agree. But the encounters do make it harder. - Dan
>
> I'm with Dan on this one. But I try only to meet up with filmmakers
> whos work I admire to begin with. I simply don't have to stomach to
> ask "someone famous" why his work sucks.

I know there are tradeoffs. If, say, you're writing a book about a
filmmaker, there's a lot to be gained from talking to them, and your
opinions are a little more complete to start with. Even then, it's likely
that the personal encounter will sway what you write, but in that case the
risk is less than the benefit. But, in the case of Rick Schmidt blocking
the press screening door, the risk outweighs the benefit - I think it's
better to write that review unencumbered. - Dan
27636  
From: Fred Camper
Date: Sat May 28, 2005 6:15pm
Subject: Re: Re: Gentlemen of the press (Was: Wild Side)  fredcamper


 
I don't think there's a one way or the other rule here.

Didn't Truffaut once say something about his days at Cahiers to the
effect of, "It's hard to write that a man has made a terrible film in
the morning if you know you're going to meet him for lunch that day."

Even if you admire the filmmaker's previous work, it isn't always easy
to publicly pan a later one.

After many years I was able to tell Brakhage that there were maybe ten
films of his I didn't like. He was rather charmed, or at least, didn't
appear to be upset. I think it helped that I was most dubious "The Text
of Light" or "Scenes From Under Childhood" or the "Arabics," but films
somewhat marginal to his mainstream work ("The Women," "The Stars Are
Beautiful," "Confession" (formerly known as "Love Sacrifice"). But
suppose that circa 1990 I had started to dislike all his films, thought
they were stupid and poor imitations of the earlier ones (actually, to
be clear, they're not, they're quite great), and so on, but I still
wanted to be able to stay in touch with him about earlier work. How easy
would it be to write exactly what I thought of the ones I disliked?

On the other hand knowing filmmakers or artists can be a real help in
understanding the work, both in terms of understanding them as people
better but, more importantly in my view, for access to information about
working methods and influences.

Early in my critical "career" I read in a New York Times movie review, I
think by Canby, a statement like "The narration is probably by the
filmmakers." I thought, huh? The filmmaker is alive. Why publish
speculations when you can find out the actual fact of the matter?

There's a minor sub-tradition in avant-garde film of essays on
filmmakers by their current lovers, without any acknowledgment of same.
There was also a pan by a former lover who accused the avant-garde
filmmaker who had dumped her of being a sexist. Do *not* ask me to name
names here, and please don't post speculations as to who to our group,
but the point is that there probably are some limits that should never
be breached. One of them is the critical appraisal of the work of an
unacknowledged lover. But even there -- a brief affair could be less
involving than a lifelong chaste friendship, I think we'd mostly agree.
I just don't think there are any formulas that will give us all the same
answer.

I know that in terms of filmmakers I've written on, in almost every case
I came to know them after praising their work. So it's not like I'm
pushing the work of a friend who happens to make films. But I've also
known young people whose first good film came after I knew them, and in
these cases I often look for to see if a few other people whose opinions
I respect like it before feeling my way to whether I can praise it in print.

It's also the case that I am almost invariably more favorably disposed
toward the work of someone I really like, and approach it not with the
neural eye of a critic going to a press screening but out of sympathetic
friendship. This can have its advantages in terms of better
understanding but also its dangers: you typically are trying to like it.
On the other hand, when a friend once made a film that I thought was
aesthetically bankrupt and also morally reprehensible due to the way it
presented its subject, I wrote him to that effect, throwing around words
like Stalinism and Nazism. I was being honest, and I think our
friendship was permanently damaged.

Another point is that a critic has to preserve the appearance of
objectivity, and even if you feel you are objective, it's always
dangerous to write about the work of close friends for that reason.

Fred Camper
27637  
From: MG4273@...
Date: Sun May 29, 2005 9:16am
Subject: Ancestors of one of the world's most famous movies!  nzkpzq


 
A young man from an obscure background gradually gets caught up in a
rebellion against an evil, oppresive government. He fights plenty of sabre battles and
duels, and becomes famous for his ability with the sabre. He especially
struggles with an evil government official, a haughty man who represents everything
that is Evil about the regime. But, ...he ultimately makes a shocking
discovery. The Evil Older Man turns out to be... his own father! (Gasp!)
Does this plot sound familiar?
Have you seen it in a multiplex near you?
It is actually from novelist Rafael Sabatini, author of The Sea Hawk (1915),
Scaramouche (1921) and Captain Blood (1922). This is the plot of Scaramouche.
The silent version of Scaramouche (Rex Ingram, 1922) is one of the gems of
the silent screen. The sound version (George Sidney, 1952) is less
distinguished, but does have jaw-droppingly lavish sets (the theater with the big duel, for
instance) that look especially impressive when seen on the big screen. The
re-make is sort of... "lightly likeable", to coin a phrase.
One might also mention Jack Kirby's series of early 1970's comic books,
collectively known as "The Fourth World". These are science fictional stories. The
characters are often in touch with a benevolent source of spiritual-physical
energy, known as... The Source!

Mike Grost
27638  
From: "peckinpah20012000"
Date: Sun May 29, 2005 4:55pm
Subject: Dr. Cruise's Health Advice to Young Ladies!  peckinpah200...


 
For those of you who may be interested (especially David), several
may wish to access The Sunday Times (UK) to read an article concerning
Dr. Cruise's rubbishing Brooke Shields for taking anti-depressants
after her preganancy. It has received criticism, especially since her
career is now developing in England.

Thanks to Rupert Murdoch, a subscription is usually required to
access the site but one can bypass this by accessing THE TIMES moving
to the World News and gradually getting to the site free.

Ironically, I recently viewed a trailer for WAR OF THE WORLDS last
night depicting "chipmunk guy" as a sensitive family man!

Tony Williams
27639  
From: "peckinpah20012000"
Date: Sun May 29, 2005 5:01pm
Subject: Re: Eddie Albert Dies at 99  peckinpah200...


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Brian Charles Dauth"
wrote:
> He probably saw the remake of "The Longest Yard."
>
> Brian

Actually, the film could have been much much worse! Although it
does not surpass the remake of FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX, it does not
deliver the MTV associations promised in the opening credits (apart
from some unavoidable "rap" associations.

Members may wish to debate the developed gay overtones in this
version, but Burt Reynolds is really distinctive in his new role as
Nate Scarboro entering the film in slow motion against the sunset
like a Western hero and Chris Rock is a reasonable new development
of Caretaker. Despite the film straying from Aldrich's view, Adam
Sandler's speech about community before the final touchdown is
really emotive.

One may cherish the original but also have to recognize the
position of the remake and hope it is not too bad. I made an
exception of seeing THE LONGEST YAARD (thanks to a $5 gift
certificate) in the DVD reissue of the original) but doubt whether I
will do so for the black HONEYMOONERS, THE DUKES OF HAZZARD (with
Burt as Boss Hogg) or BEWITCHED (if Tom had remained with Nicole,
then he would be the new Dick York).

Tony Williams
27640  
From: "samfilms2003"
Date: Sun May 29, 2005 7:59pm
Subject: Re: Dr. Cruise's Health Advice to Young Ladies!  samfilms2003


 
http://entertainment.msn.com/movies/hotgossip?GT1=6542

Next week on Oprah, the glass ashtray from "The Text of Light" and
the plastic Safeway bag from "Variations" discuss stem cell research
and the exchange rate of the Chinese yuan.

And you thought you could live without TiVo

-Sam
27641  
From: "hotlove666"
Date: Sun May 29, 2005 9:03pm
Subject: Re: Ancestors of one of the world's most famous movies!  hotlove666


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, MG4273@a... wrote:
The Evil Older Man turns out to be... his own father! (Gasp!)
> Does this plot sound familiar?

Lucas is a magpie. Wasn't the Evil Older Man Scaramouche's brother (Mel
Ferrer) in the Sidney remake? I like the duel in that a lot - the whole
thing would be a masterpiece if Gene Kelly had played Scaramouche, as
was bruited at one time, opposite Elizabeth Taylor and Ava Gardner...
27642  
From: "joe_mcelhaney"
Date: Mon May 30, 2005 1:32pm
Subject: Darling Lili: Or is Auteurism Dead?  joe_mcelhaney


 
I went to a 4:00 p.m. screening yesterday at Anthology Film Archives of
the original 136-minute cut of "Darling Lili" (complete with roadshow
overture and exit music). A beautiful new print. And there were
perhaps 20 people in the large screening room. Is there so little
interest in Edwards now that a central auteurist film of the 1970s (at
least among American and English critics) could attract such
indifference? Or was everybody waiting for the screening of the
shorter version being shown at 7:00? I would have at least thought
that the Julie Andrews Fan Club would have turned out in full force for
a film that was never released on video, doesn't turn up on television
any more, and is seldom projected under any conditions.

I know it's Memorial Day weekend. Picnics and families and all of
that. But when did a true film lover ever pass up a screening of a rare
film for sunshine and nature?
27643  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Mon May 30, 2005 3:06pm
Subject: Re: Darling Lili: Or is Auteurism Dead?  cellar47


 
I'd say it was a three-way split between the holiday
weekend, how heavily it was advertised, and the fact
that the ranks of Edwards-loving auteurists have
shrunk.


--- joe_mcelhaney wrote:

>
> I know it's Memorial Day weekend. Picnics and
> families and all of
> that. But when did a true film lover ever pass up a
> screening of a rare
> film for sunshine and nature?
>
>
>
>



__________________________________
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27644  
From: "peckinpah20012000"
Date: Mon May 30, 2005 4:28pm
Subject: Re: Darling Lili: Or is Auteurism Dead?  peckinpah200...


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
> I'd say it was a three-way split between the holiday
> weekend, how heavily it was advertised, and the fact
> that the ranks of Edwards-loving auteurists have
> shrunk.
>
>
> --- joe_mcelhaney wrote:
>
> >
> > But when did a true film lover ever pass up a
> > screening of a rare
> > film for sunshine and nature?

If I lived there I'd be at that screening. But noting how posts
seems to have diminished somewhat during this Memorial Day Weekend,
perhaps many might be enjoying the sunshine and good weather and
pondering over Dr. Cruise's advice to women suffering post-partum
depression. Perhaps after saving the world in WAR OF THE WORLDS,
this may be his new role in life? That would be enough to drive me
into the darkness and enjoy DARLING LILLI.

Tony Williams
> >
> >
> >
> >
>
>
>
> __________________________________
> Do you Yahoo!?
> Yahoo! Small Business - Try our new Resources site
> http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/resources/
27645  
From: "jess_l_amortell"
Date: Mon May 30, 2005 5:13pm
Subject: Re: Darling Lili: Or is Auteurism Dead?  jess_l_amortell


 
> Or was everybody waiting for the screening of the
> shorter version being shown at 7:00?

Not that unlikely, actually, since the shorter version was billed as the "director's cut" and presumably not everyone had access to the advisories posted earlier in this group.

(Or maybe they were all watching Rameau's Nephew downstairs.)

As I was leaving, I overheard a guy who was arriving trying to ascertain the contents of the shorter version since his "dad's planes were flown in the film!"

Edwards screenings are so rare these days -- I wondered how many people turned up for (the less rare) S.O.B. and The Party at the Thalia earlier this year. (I wasn't free that day, but there were about six people at The Big Mouth in the same comedy series.)

Not to complain, but what would it take to get Anthology a screen that could be properly masked for Scope and other ratios?
27646  
From: "Maxime Renaudin"
Date: Mon May 30, 2005 10:21pm
Subject: Re: What is cinematic  jaloysius56


 
See again Blue Gardenia. In a 60's interview, Lang comes back to the
new crab dolly he used then with Musuraca, laying stress on its
capacity to film simultaneously in several directions and, moreover,
with different focal lengths. "My new crab gives the fluidity of
a 'flying image'. The practice of close-up shot separately is
completely outdated. () They interrupt the film thought, and are
detrimental to it." I was not aware of that technical point, but find
it fascinating, in relation with the very same obsession by
Rossellini, which led him to invent his famous zoom. The film as a
single flow.
27647  
From: "Maxime Renaudin"
Date: Mon May 30, 2005 10:23pm
Subject: Re: Viva Rossellini!  jaloysius56


 
Bill wrote
> I had no problem making the leap from Stromboli to Prise du pouvoir
> when I first saw the latter, because they are both about the same
> thing: "Death and the sun cannot be looked at directly."

But where is the sun? At Stomboli's peak, when the rising sun reveals
Bergman's body lying on the dark earth, her haggard face is flooded
with the burning light in a sublime moment. In 'La Prise du Pouvoir',
the sun is forbidden. For a few moments, during the hunting scene, I
felt that the screen was thrilling from a certain idea of the world as
a whole, as the ultimate reconciliation of Rossellini with the object
of its desire. But, eventually, the sad beauty of the movie comes from
a renunciation, the one of lifeless corpses, when the Idea only needs
megaphones.
27648  
From: "hotlove666"
Date: Mon May 30, 2005 11:14pm
Subject: Re: Viva Rossellini!  hotlove666


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Maxime Renaudin"
wrote:
> But where is the sun?
In 'La Prise du Pouvoir',
> the sun is forbidden
the sad beauty of the movie comes from
> a renunciation, the one of lifeless corpses, when the Idea only needs
> megaphones.

Isn't there a beautiful light effect when the old king dies? At the end
of the film Louis has taken the place of the sun.
27649  
From: "hotlove666"
Date: Mon May 30, 2005 11:30pm
Subject: Re: Group business: all members please read  hotlove666


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, ptonguette@a... wrote:
> About the incident that began this thread, we're sorry that some
took it as a
> change in policy or a restriction on political interpretations of
films.
>
> In hindsight, what we now think we should have done is write
privately to the
> people involved:
>
> "It seems like the discussion of Lucas might veer in the direction
of posts
> solely about politics. If it starts to do so, please consider
taking it to the
> OT board, especially if it starts to do so for more than a few
posts."
>
> We hope this clarifies the situation.
>
> Peter, Aaron and Fred
> Your co-moderators

First of all, congratulations to the founders and members of
a_film_by on the list's upcoming second anniversary. Long may it
flourish - it has already changed the life of more than one person I
know who posts here. In the age of DVDs, opportunities to get
together and talk about film with fellow auteurists are rare. Thanks
again to Fred and Peter for making it happen, and now to Aaron for
shouldering some of the load.

I obviously agree with the moderators' revised post on political
interpretation of films, but I wonder how many here, deep down,
really care about all this, or even more to the point, how many may
actually consider it a nuisance and a deviation from what a_f_b is
for. (The moderators' references to people who have unsubscribed from
the list because of this kind of talk have not fallen on deaf ears.)
I suspect that those of us who do care about film and politics are in
the minority here, simply because American auteurism has always
tended to be a-political, unlike its Continental counterpart.

But for the small minority who do care about these things, the OT
list is not a solution, simply because as soon as you start talking
seriously about film and politics, you have to start talking about
politics, and often at some length - otherwise you're dealing in
abstractions. OT is really good for thnigs like song lyrics, but not
for this, which either has to be part of the ongoing discussion
(hence, "on topic") or has to be broached little if at all.

Bearing in mind Fred's occasional injunctions to look elsewhere for
lists that do engage in this kind of discussion, I was surprised when
Google turned up a slew of course headings, but no e-mail lists,
called Film and Politics. Which just confirms that the Continental
interest in film theory and it political ramifications has had an
impact here mainly within the university system. I've talked to a few
friends about the recent discussions of this problem at a_f_b, and we
feel that the topic is too important to confined to the classroom.

So we've started a no-frills yahoo e-mail list to fill that specific
need and take that specific pressure off a_film_by. It's called Film
and Politics: The Raymond Sapene Group. Anyone interested can read
about it at our new home page by clicking on the link posted in the
Links folder here at a_film_by. (That's on the side of the home
page.) The handful of people who took this initiative are all
a_f_b'ers. We have no intention of abandoning our commitment to this
group, which obviously serves a very important purpose by giving us
all a place to discuss film as an art apart from any utilitarian or
social concerns.

Those who are interested in a group with an auteurist bent that talks
about those concerns are welcome to join us - joining Film and
Politics: The Raymond Sapene Group is easy as pie. We hope to see at
least some of you there. In any case, we will definitely continue to
see you here.
27650  
From: "Maxime Renaudin"
Date: Mon May 30, 2005 11:52pm
Subject: Re: Viva Rossellini!  jaloysius56


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666" wrote:
> Isn't there a beautiful light effect when the old king dies?
> At the end of the film Louis has taken the place of the sun.

I don't remember this specific effect, but there is actually a true
work on light, from the dark hours of Mazarin's death to the
enlightened reign of the young king. But I don't feel the faces are
touched by the light.
Btw, Biette wrote a piece on Rossellini last films, wich he overall
did not like (he saves Blaise Pascal and Il Messia, which I'm not sure
to get), stressing notably on his work on light.
27651  
From: "joe_mcelhaney"
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 0:06am
Subject: Re: Darling Lili: Or is Auteurism Dead?  joe_mcelhaney


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jess_l_amortell"
wrote:
> > Or was everybody waiting for the screening of the
> > shorter version being shown at 7:00?
>
> Not that unlikely, actually, since the shorter version was billed
as the "director's cut" and presumably not everyone had access to the
advisories posted earlier in this group.

I was trying to remember where I had read comparisons of the two
versions and it must have been here. I have a tape of the 114-minute
cut and was trying to keep the two versions straight in my mind as I
watched yesterday. I wasn't heartbroken over some of the cuts, like
the one of the French schoolchildren singing as Andrews and Hudson
follow them. It (along with some of the other romantic footage)
reminded me too much of middle-period Stanley Donen. I wish, though,
that Edwards had not trimmed "The Girl in No Man's Land." If he
wanted to shorten the film, I could easily have lived with much less
aerial footage as well as footage of the can-can dancers, etc. But
it's unlikely that I would be playing this game of He Should Have Cut
That/He Should Have Left That In if Edwards hadn't assembled a second
version of the film about ten years ago.
>
>
> Edwards screenings are so rare these days -- I wondered how many
people turned up for (the less rare) S.O.B. and The Party at the
Thalia earlier this year. (I wasn't free that day, but there were
about six people at The Big Mouth in the same comedy series.)

I didn't go to that one but I've seen both films more than once. I'd
like to see a complete Edwards series, starting with the very early
ones and working through the body of work in chronological order. I
don't think that there has ever been a retrospective in NYC since the
early 1980s and I don't recall that one being complete.
>
> Not to complain, but what would it take to get Anthology a screen
that could be properly masked for Scope and other ratios?

A major problem but I was impressed that the projectionist seemed to
be watching the film continually and made a concerted effort to keep
it in focus. And they were only ten minutes late getting started.
And BOTH projectors were operating! It was so borderline professional
that I half expected the Rockettes to perform afterwards.
27652  
From: "J. Mabe"
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 0:47am
Subject: His Famous Zoom (was: Viva Rossellini!)  brack_28


 
For those of us completely unfamiliar with late
Rossellini (my own knowledge of his work is totally
limited to what's on video - though I would make the
trip to NY or elsewhere if that was ever corrected by
a retrospective) could someone explain his "famous
zoom?" What do you mean exactly? When did it first
appear? Is it something that is used throughout his
late work? Is there anything written about it I could
go track down... or is there good writing on his late
work in general?

Josh M.



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27653  
From: "Brian Charles Dauth"
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 0:57am
Subject: Re: Darling Lili: Or is Auteurism Dead?  cinebklyn


 
Joe writes:

>I went to a 4:00 p.m. screening yesterday at Anthology Film
Archives of the original 136-minute cut of "Darling Lili"
(complete with roadshow overture and exit music). A
beautiful new print. And there were perhaps 20 people in
the large screening room.

Had to choose between that and Michael Powell at Lincoln
Center. Michael Powell won.

> Is there so little interest in Edwards now that a central
auteurist film of the 1970s (at least among American and
English critics) could attract such indifference?

Too many movies and too little time. There was a nice
audience for the Powell and for his AGE OF CONSENT the
night before, so all is not lost.

Also, on Saturday saw Edmind Goulding's THE TRESSPASSER
with Gloria Swanson. Definitely a less than full house.

Brian
27654  
From: "peckinpah20012000"
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 0:57am
Subject: Re: Group business: all members please read  peckinpah200...


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666" wrote:
> --- that the topic is too important to confined to the classroom.
>
> So we've started a no-frills yahoo e-mail list to fill that specific
> need and take that specific pressure off a_film_by. It's called Film
> and Politics: The Raymond Sapene Group. We have no intention of
abandoning our commitment to this > group, which obviously serves a
very important purpose by giving us
> all a place to discuss film as an art apart from any utilitarian or
> social concerns.
>
> Those who are interested in a group with an auteurist bent that
talks
> about those concerns are welcome to join us - joining Film and
> Politics: The Raymond Sapene Group is easy as pie.

This is an excellent move, Bill. I'm one of those people whose life
has been changed positively by "A Film By" since I find very few
people genuinely interested in talking about film within a university
setting dominated by backstabbing and negative politics. One can not
remove the political element from film. I thought the "Art (Film) for
Art's/ Film) sake" argument had been totally discredited by now. One
can not really view film in such a vacuum and the formation of this
new group represents a welcome direction.

Also, I will still be maintaining my subscription to "A Film By."

Tony Williams
27655  
From: Fred Camper
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 1:06am
Subject: Re: His Famous Zoom  fredcamper


 
There are some zooms in pre-1967 Rossellinis -- there's even one or two
in "Generale Della Rovere" -- but starting with "La Prise du Pouvoir par
Louis XIV," Rossellini used the zoom pretty continuously. At one point
he even had a remote control device built so that he could zoom without
looking through the camera, during shooting. The zoom is constantly
reframing, going to wider or closer views, and his use of it I think is
crucial to the style and ideas of the films: it places every moment of
them, every image, at a potential transition point between two or more
perspectives, suggesting that at any instant there are other, and in a
sense always "wider," possible ways of seeing the situation.
Rossellini's late films tend to center around "pivot points" in history,
such as the beginning of the Renaissance in "The Age of the Medici,"
which is consistent with his way of seeing, in which whatever is
happening is always on the brink of some momentous change.

Fred Camper
27656  
From: "joe_mcelhaney"
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 2:10am
Subject: Re: Group business: all members please read  joe_mcelhaney


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666" >
>>
> Those who are interested in a group with an auteurist bent that talks
> about those concerns are welcome to join us - joining Film and
> Politics: The Raymond Sapene Group is easy as pie. We hope to see at
> least some of you there. In any case, we will definitely continue to
> see you here.

I hope that this new group is a great success. But I have to say that
I'm sorry to see that it has to come to this. I rather enjoyed the
electric nature of the group, the alternation between posts which took
more overt political positions and those which were more interested in
the aesthetics of Robert Mulligan films or somesuch. I can't recall if
I ever got involved in the political discussions but they often
interested me enormously even if I didn't or couldn't get involved.
Silence from certain members in terms of these discussions should not
necessarily have been construed as indifference or hostility to the
topics at hand. I don't understand why anyone who would make a specific
point of resigning from the group because they disliked the political
nature of certain discussions. It strikes me as being a very repressive
gesture. Many, many interesting discussions took place here which I
did not post any responses to for a variety of reasons, from not having
read the posts until days after the posting to the fact that certain
topics raised issues which I needed to think about for a longer period
of time. Some of you are so fast, spinning out posts at a rate almost
equal to the speed of sound, that the discussions would evaporate
before I even had a chance to respond at all. But this was the nature
of the beast and God knows there are other things to do, other things
to write, other people to talk to.
27657  
From: "jpcoursodon"
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 3:12am
Subject: Re: What is cinematic  jpcoursodon


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Maxime Renaudin"
wrote:
> See again Blue Gardenia. In a 60's interview, Lang comes back to the
> new crab dolly he used then with Musuraca, laying stress on its
> capacity to film simultaneously in several directions and, moreover,
> with different focal lengths. "My new crab gives the fluidity of
> a 'flying image'. The practice of close-up shot separately is
> completely outdated. () They interrupt the film thought, and are
> detrimental to it." I was not aware of that technical point, but
find
> it fascinating, in relation with the very same obsession by
> Rossellini, which led him to invent his famous zoom. The film as a
> single flow.

Lang was referring to a crab dolly, of course, not a pet crustacean...

I lived for an hour
What more can I tell
Loved bloomed like a flower
And then the petals fell...
Blue Gardenia
Tossed to a passing breeze
But pressed in my book of memories.

Sorry, Fred. Couldn't help it.

JPC
27658  
From: "jpcoursodon"
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 3:24am
Subject: Re: Viva Rossellini!  jpcoursodon


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666" wrote:
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Maxime Renaudin"
> wrote:
> > But where is the sun?
> In 'La Prise du Pouvoir',
> > the sun is forbidden
> the sad beauty of the movie comes from
> > a renunciation, the one of lifeless corpses, when the Idea only
needs
> > megaphones.
>
> Isn't there a beautiful light effect when the old king dies? At the
end
> of the film Louis has taken the place of the sun.

He is condemned to become the sun-king, and that's like death. he
knows it but there is nothing he can do about it. It sure is lonely at
the top.
27659  
From: Fred Camper
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 5:31am
Subject: Re: Re: Group business: all members please read  fredcamper


 
Bill, congrats on your new group -- we obviously think it's a fine idea
for people to start other groups if they want to, particularly if they
serve purposes not filled by a_film_by.

To Joe McElhaney: to the best of our knowledge, no one has resigned or
stopped reading the group specifically due to the political nature of
posts. We have received feedback from a number of members, however, who
have felt that the group has drifted from its main purpose as a forum to
analyze film primarily from an aesthetic perspective. Some of these
individuals have stopped reading and/or posting, a loss we regret. The
group can't be all things to all people. We're puzzled by your sentence,
"It strikes me as being a very repressive gesture," since your "it" has
no antecedent, but if you're referring to our statements, in our posts
subsequent to the first we've made clear that both political analyses of
films and a few OT posts about politics are permitted. We fail to see
how asking group members to stay within our long-standing rules and
focus is "very repressive."

Peter, Aaron, and Fred
Your co-moderators
27660  
From: "hotlove666"
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 6:29am
Subject: Re: What is cinematic  hotlove666


 
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Maxime Renaudin"
> wrote:
> > See again Blue Gardenia. In a 60's interview, Lang comes back to
the
> > new crab dolly he used then with Musuraca, laying stress on its
> > capacity to film simultaneously in several directions and,
moreover,
> > with different focal lengths.

Lee Garmes created a protype crab dolly for Hitchcock to shoot The
Pardine Case but, to his regret, never patented it. Selznick hated all
the camera movement, probably because it limited his recutting options,
although as you can see from the first shot of the release version
(DOS's cut), he wasn't averse to doing jump-cuts to solve the problem!
27661  
From: "joe_mcelhaney"
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 11:19am
Subject: Re: Group business: all members please read  joe_mcelhaney


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Fred Camper wrote:
>> To Joe McElhaney: to the best of our knowledge, no one has
resigned or
> stopped reading the group specifically due to the political nature
of
> posts. We have received feedback from a number of members,
however, who
> have felt that the group has drifted from its main purpose as a
forum to
> analyze film primarily from an aesthetic perspective. Some of these
> individuals have stopped reading and/or posting, a loss we regret.
The
> group can't be all things to all people. We're puzzled by your
sentence,
> "It strikes me as being a very repressive gesture," since your "it"
has
> no antecedent, but if you're referring to our statements, in our
posts
> subsequent to the first we've made clear that both political
analyses of
> films and a few OT posts about politics are permitted. We fail to
see
> how asking group members to stay within our long-standing rules and
> focus is "very repressive."

I thought it was clear that my reference was entirely to those who
had resigned from the group (or, as you now clarify for me, have
complained to the moderators and then simply stopped posting) due to
the political nature of some of the discussions. If you care to go
back and read my post carefully, you will see that I made absolutely
no reference to the three of you anywhere. I was simply picking up on
a sentence of Bill's in his post. I quote: "The moderators'
references to people who have unsubscribed from the list because of
this kind of talk have not fallen on deaf ears."
27662  
From: "Zach Campbell"
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 0:30pm
Subject: Re: Darling Lili: Or is Auteurism Dead?  rashomon82


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "joe_mcelhaney" wrote:
> I went to a 4:00 p.m. screening yesterday at Anthology Film Archives of
> the original 136-minute cut of "Darling Lili" (complete with roadshow
> overture and exit music). A beautiful new print. And there were
> perhaps 20 people in the large screening room.

This news might have just ruined my day. I forgot about the screening (mentally,
erroneously consigned it to sometime in June) and since I still don't have Internet access at
home right now, I wasn't of a mind to check and double check these things ... aw, shit.

--Zach
27663  
From: "alfred eaker"
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 1:31pm
Subject: Star Wars and movie making by the numbers.  eaker40b04


 
Ok,

I got dragged to see the new Star Wars movie.

First of all, I have to admit I don't really like sci fi movies.

It's not just that I can't buy into life on other planets, there are
a few sci fi movies I halfway like, but I tend to prefer the `really
dumb' ones from the 50's with really bad fx, hot rods, big bugs,
Marlboro smoking anti-heroes, and well endowed heroines with tight,
white sweaters (and then only on a pizza and beer night).

And, I admit to having a `very small' soft spot for the old Star Trek
TV episodes.

There's something about Shatner's highly entertaining god awful
acting, those cardboard sets, the mini skirts, hairdos, and Dr. McCoy.

McCoy was always the coolest, because one sensed that he would rather
be home drinking coffee than participating in `this crap'.

`The Prisoner' was the closest TV got to sci fi art and `2001' was,
of course the closest cinema got to it, but I suspect they're
only `sci fi' by default.

Anyway, everyone's been raving about the new Star Wars " It's the
best in the series" yadda yadda yadda.

A sci fi geek asked me go with him and I agreed mainly because I had
heard old George L. took a few pot shots at old George W (and, yes,
he does and it's the best thing about the movie. Ironically, it's the
only complaint I've heard from the Star Wars fans regarding this new
movie. By the way, the idea of many Star Wars fans being conservative
shouldn't be surprising at all. Also, if anything, this new Star Wars
AT LEAST goes on up on the others by the political statements, and
yes, art CAN be political, possibly, should be, or need I
say 'Guernica' one more time?).

Upon discovering that I had not seen any of the new Star Wars movies,
said Sci fi geek informed me I had to see the last two.

Now, here I get really annoyed, especially when they start referring
to these movies by screwball numbers and added subtitles.

I mean I thought `Return of the Jedi' was the third one, but am
informed, no the 3rd one just came out.

And then, what's with these new titles? When I said something about
Star Wars, I was informed that I REALLY meant The New Hope?'. Huh? I
don't know dammit, I mean the `REAL first one' , the one that came
out in that late 70s.

Anyway, so skimmed through the `last two', god awful as they were.
And I don't think, by not thoroughly going through them, I missed
anything `in preparation' for the new one.

And, from what I saw, I found the last two were indeed really bad,
taking this hokum as serious as they do. At least the 70's Star Wars
(that's how I have to refer to it now, dammit) had Harrison Ford's
Errol Flynn like character to zing things along ( I mean, let's face
it, Luke was a bloody bore).

So, how was this new one?

It was like a bunch of accountants watched the first one (the one
from the 70s) and said `ok, we gotta do this, this and this to wrap
stuff up and keep this money making formula going'.

First of all, there's this Darth Vader guy. Really bad acting. And,
when he goes from being kind of good to really bad, it's just too
quick, too unconvincing. I asked myself `Now why did he go over to
the dark side? Because he had bad dreams about his wife dying, or
something like that?'.

Then, when he's informed by his boss that his wife is indeed dead, he
screams out a really bad `nooooo' (camera pans back as he arches his
head skyward and clenches his fists).

After the movie, said sci fi geek enthusiastically asked me what I
thought of the film and before I could answer, asked me question #2,
regarding a fight between Yoda and some guy whose name starts with a
P.
Or was it Obi Wan that fought the P guy?

I don't exactly remember the name of the P guy or who fought him.

I do recall thinking `huh, Yoda fighting this P guy was all post
production and when they shot it, the only thing they shot was the P
guy waving his sword around in front of a green screen'. So, I guess
that was kind of neat.

A few nights ago, my other half turned the TV on when going to bed.

Before I was married, I had not watched TV since they took `Pee Wee's
Playhouse' and Bakshi's `Mighty Mouse ` off the air.

A lot of people think I'm pulling their leg when I say that, but I'm
not at all.

Nothing against TV, I just lost interest.

But, since getting married, my wife `has' to have TV on so she can go
to sleep (and I have found I haven't missed much).

Anyway, the other night we're watching `Poltergeist 2 or 3 or 4', one
of the sequels.

And the old midget lady from the first one was in this one too, and
she's yelling `Carol Anne' just like she did in the first one, only
now she's saying it in a really tired tone and it just sounds like a
repetitive, watered down gimmick from the first one.

Then a bunch of people start yelling `Carol Anne' again and again and
again and all I could think was `when are they going to shut up?'.

And someone (I think it was Depalma's ex wife, the one who left him
because he wouldn't put her in 'Scarface', although anyone with half
a brain would have seen that as a blessing) anyway, she's yelling
something about 'the light'.

And, it just had that 'oh, here we go again' thing.

It was like a bunch of accountants rolled out this big chart and
they looked at the first Poltergeist and mapped it out.

`Ok, gentlemen, 13 minutes into the first one we had a guy getting
killed, so thirteen minutes into this one, we'll do the same. And at
such and such a spot we'll have all these people yelling Carol Anne,
but this time we'll have them do it a hundred times', or whatever.

Quite similarly, when watching the old 30s Universal horror film vs.
the 40s Universal horror films, one gets this feeling of
manufactured repetition.

Even the angry mob carrying torches scenes, first excitingly done in
the Whale films, feel grossly (and mechanically) rehashed in the
increasingly awful sequels.

Whale, as everyone knows, was sacked by the Jewish Universal
accountants for making his anti-war opus `The Road Back' (The Jewish
accountants were afraid of pissing off the Nazis!).

I have to admit to hating accountants (sorry if there's any
accountants out there, but if there is, would you please stick to
accounting and stay out of artistic decisions and, while you're at
it, retail management too?).

And, being in retail (I`m a jeweler by trade, forgive me. I have to
do something to offset the costs of my artistic endeavors), both the
Star Wars and Poltergeist sequels had a very `let's have the
accountants map this out' type of feel.

In the jewelry biz, our corporate bosses look at last years
numbers. `On May 30th 2004 you guys did $1500, so on may 30th 2005
you have to do $2,000. God have mercy if you don't`.

Well, Star Wars feels the same. 'We have to do the same thing all
over again, but this time we'll put more fx in it, and by God, we're
gonna make a ton more $ !'. (Now, if you find yourself in a similar
meeting, I would highly recommend NOT to speak out, lest you're
tempted, and not to suggest anything remotely imaginative, because
this would go against that proven money making `formula`. If you just
remember this wise old adage; `No one ever went broke nderestimating
the intelligence of the American public' you should be taking a ton
of that dyed green paper home, And keep your job).

I realize, in groups like these, I am, as they say, `preaching to the
choir', but these groups ARE important, if, for anything, to help
offset the attitude of the vast majority, at least a little.

But, realizing we are in the extreme minority is not always as
obvious as it may seem.

Case in point;

Here in Indy, we are doing an alternative film series on Dorman
Street.
I have had numerous submissions from all over the world, but very few
local filmmakers have submitted.

I had heard of a local filmmaking group and it was suggested I
contact them.

When talking to the head of this group, the first thing he said to me
was that he had seen an interview with me on one of the local TV
stations (I was being interviewed about my film) and he wanted me to
know, right from the get go, that he and his group did NOT make
thought provoking, artistic films.

Indeed, he went onto say, he did not see movie making as an art, just
a business to make some money with and help people pass an hour or so.

This was amusing, as I had not even mentioned my film in our
discussion.

Too, I recently read a treatise on the `art' of conducting that
claimed, quite correctly, that it had degenerated into
the `business' of conducting.

When comparing, say Scherchen's old interpretation of the 'Eroica',
full of his unique idiosyncrasies to Karajan's bland, homogenized
interpretation of the same, one would be tempted, all too easily, to
agree with the author of the treatise.

Someone once warned me that, like spaghetti and ice cream, money and
art don't mix.

I guess I was a bit nave, because looking at Star Wars and the
like, I have to concede that he's right, dammit.

ok,
peace
Alfred
27664  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 2:38pm
Subject: Re: A Whale of a Tale [as:Star Wars and movie making by the numbers.]  cellar47


 
--- alfred eaker wrote:

Whale, as everyone knows, was sacked by the Jewish
Universal
accountants for making his anti-war opus `The Road
Back' (The Jewish
accountants were afraid of pissing off the Nazis!).

Uh, no. The Laemmles had lost control of Universal.
They let Whale do exactly what he wanted, to a degree
quite unknown in Hollywood. Their successors changed
all that. It was the Germans who complained about "The
Road Back" -- not the Jews.

Whale fulfilled his contract by showing up on the set
but by no means "directing" in any way the likes of
"Wives Under Suspicion" and "They Dare Not Love."



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27665  
From: Noel Murray
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 3:37pm
Subject: Re: Star Wars and movie making by the numbers.  noelmu_2000


 
alfred eaker wrote (re: REVENGE OF THE SITH):

> It was like a bunch of accountants watched the first one (the one
> from the 70s) and said `ok, we gotta do this, this and this to wrap
> stuff up and keep this money making formula going'.


I feel quite the opposite, which is why I liked the much-maligned first
two STAR WARS episodes more than a lot of folks (and ATTACK OF THE
CLONES better than than SITH, actually). I think "a bunch of
accountants" would've made different choices than George Lucas, like
asking him to lose the tangled political intrigue and insisting that he
hire an acting coach. The recent STAR WARS trilogy to me feels like a
real auteur project ... Lucas made exactly the movies that he wanted to
make, reflecting his adolescent interests in fast cars and painted
sci-fi tableaux. Do I wish the dialogue and acting were better? Sure.
But ultimately they didn't bother me so much, not with all the sincere
pastiche-ing of old movie serials and junky sci-fi paperbacks, not to
mention all of Lucas's fanciful doodling in the margins. I'd stack
Lucas's work on this trilogy up against any of the Ray Harryhausen
productions of the '50s and '60s, which were equally stiff in their
way, and equally delightful.


BTW, this is my first post to this group. Some of you know me from
elsewhere, and some don't. I'll prepare a proper introduction later
this week, once I skate past my Wednesday deadlines.


*****************************************************

Noel Murray bear@...
12 Redbud Drive
Conway, AR 72034 501-513-2481


don't feel so alone with the radio on
27666  
From: "alfred eaker"
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 3:29pm
Subject: Re: A Whale of a Tale [as:Star Wars and movie making by the numbers.]  eaker40b04


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
>
> --- alfred eaker wrote:
>
> Whale, as everyone knows, was sacked by the Jewish
> Universal
> accountants for making his anti-war opus `The Road
> Back' (The Jewish
> accountants were afraid of pissing off the Nazis!).
>
> Uh, no. The Laemmles had lost control of Universal.
> They let Whale do exactly what he wanted, to a degree
> quite unknown in Hollywood. Their successors changed
> all that. It was the Germans who complained about "The
> Road Back" -- not the Jews.
>
> Whale fulfilled his contract by showing up on the set
> but by no means "directing" in any way the likes of
> "Wives Under Suspicion" and "They Dare Not Love."

The Road Back was made after the Laemmles had lost Universal
(and yes, the Laemmles had gvien Whale much freedom).
But, the Germans complained about the film and the new, Jewish heads
backed down and recut the film, to the Germans'liking.

Not one of our faith's better moments, to be certain.

After this, Whale lost artistic control over his films and was given
run of the mill assigments and finally retired in disgust.

This, and Whale's known sexual preferences soured him to the new
heads.
All of this has been documented in several books on Universal,Whale
etc, but even the somewhat(and otherwise well made) fictional
film 'Gods and Monsters' glossed over that little detailed fact.

ok
peace
Alfred



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27667  
From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 5:03pm
Subject: A thought about BLACK NARCISSUS  sallitt1


 
I was thinking about a few moments in BLACK NARCISSUS:

1) The closeup of Kathleen Byron applying lipstick;

2) The closeup of raindrops plashing on leaves near the end.

Both these shots convey an idea, a storytelling concept that can easily be
put into words. And both shots do their utmost to give that idea the most
physical, tactile, sensual, dramatically obtrusive form possible. The
shot-as-idea is by no means unusual - most storytelling movies use such
shots - but the exaggeration, the hypertrophy of the physicality of these
signifiers *is* unusual, given that physicality is almost irrelevant to
the shots' ostensible function.

The style of the shots seems to grow out of this paradox. - Dan
27668  
From: "Blake Lucas"
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 5:17pm
Subject: Re: Group business: all members please read  lukethedealer12


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "joe_mcelhaney"
wrote:
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666" >
> >>
> > Those who are interested in a group with an auteurist bent that
talks
> > about those concerns are welcome to join us - joining Film and
> > Politics: The Raymond Sapene Group is easy as pie. We hope to
see at
> > least some of you there. In any case, we will definitely
continue to
> > see you here.
>
> I hope that this new group is a great success. But I have to say
that
> I'm sorry to see that it has to come to this. I rather enjoyed the
> electric nature of the group, the alternation between posts which
took
> more overt political positions and those which were more
interested in
> the aesthetics of Robert Mulligan films or somesuch.

Getting back from out of town yesterday after being away all weekend
I tried to quickly zip through everything and there are any number
of interesting threads, but this is the one I am motivated to throw
a few words into for the moment. That's because like Joe (sorry I
cut the rest of yours, Joe), I'm sorry to see this happen, and don't
feel it needed to happen. Bill knows this because I shared some
thoughts with him in private e-mail last week, but now I'll share
same with the group in context of the above.

Of course, it's fine to start a new group and I join in wishing the
new group all the best, but my concern is that these a_f_b members
who may have largely carried the political discussion here
will now be shy of ever introducing any political thought here at
all. I'm sure that's not what the moderators had in mind.

This group is called a_film_by and that means a lot of things--ask
any filmmaker and they will agree I'm sure. Auteurism did rescue
aesthetics and visual style to make those things central to the
whole critical argument, but while filmmakers make films for
aesthetic reasons they also make them for many other reasons, which
are not completely separable from the aesthetic. Look at the
interviews of any of the great filmmakers--you will see them talk
about their style and formal ideas, but also about stories,
characters, ideas, actors, music, and yes, even politics. We don't
do any film or filmmaker a favor by compartmentalizing. The effect
would be to narrow our understanding, not broaden it, and ultimately
to narrow our understanding of their work strictly from a standpoint
of visual style and form, too, as those things never exist all by
themselves and are conditioned by many elements both external to the
filmmaker and within the filmmaker.

I haven't been a member of this group long but maybe long enough to
discern a certain character which comes from all the members, who
are interested in different things, from politics to biographical
detail, studio style to songs. And though I may have wrongly chafed
against some of these elements initially, I've come to not feel any
of them pulling adversely against the Statement of Purpose. It's
the nature of moderators to at times remind the unruly of rules, and
groups can get unruly. But when these dictates have come down, I
haven't once seen a message like: Do this no more or you're out of
the group. I don't think it does anyone any harm to read what the
moderators say and think about it a little. Those messages are
meant to help keep focus--but this is not "Tabu" you know, where
we'll get sacrificed or drown in the dark water if we somehow
misstep, or at least it doesn't feel like it to me.

This is mainly just to say I like the character of the group, and I
wouldn't like to see an aesthetic emphasis cause everything else to
have go find some other group. Whatever their individual interests,
and this goes for me, too, I haven't seen one member post yet who
does not seem to understand what the group is about, who is not
passionately interested in aesthetics, form, the visual style of
filmmakers and so on. Everyone here seems to be and that's what we
have in common--so what is individual about us can only give a more
interesting play to the discussion.

I'm just saying this as a member, one guy's opinion. But I know I
don't have time to get involved in another group--it's hard enough
to keep up with this one. And I find this one always lively and
interesting from an intellectual point of view, and it certainly
does have that commonality of interest. Again, I'd just hate to see
the political part, or anything else, taken away from us.

Just to support all of what I've just said, this is in reply to Joe's
post 27656. The previous post 27655 was Fred's very eloquent one of
the zoom in late Rosselini, linking RR's approach and use of the
zoom to his interest in certain key historical moments. Historical
moments are not in of themselves aesthetic--they are even quite
close to, may I say it, "politics" (a very big part of "Age of the
Medici" for example). So right there, in preceding post of Fred, a
moderator, we are very close to considering an art/politics
relationship. And I can't imagine anyone found this in the least OT.

And the next post after this one, 27657, was a little more on the
crab dolly in Lang, but JPC could not resist quoting the lyrics of
the title song from "The Blue Gardenia" (so beautifully sung
Nat "King" Cole, as I recall). I haven't seen "The Blue Gardenia"
in years, but for me, JPC's brief recitation so well evoked the
mise-en-scene of Lang and the Langian thought behind it that it made
me immediately yearn to see the film again, and so explore for
myself more deeply exactly the things that a_film_by is specifically
most concerned with.

So, please, my fellow members, whether you have gone off to join
another group or not, please don't take your interests away from this
one. At least I hope that you won't.

Blake Lucas
27669  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 5:28pm
Subject: Re: A thought about BLACK NARCISSUS  cellar47


 
--- Dan Sallitt wrote:
> I was thinking about a few moments in BLACK
> NARCISSUS:
>
> 1) The closeup of Kathleen Byron applying lipstick;
>
> 2) The closeup of raindrops plashing on leaves near
> the end.
>
> Both these shots convey an idea, a storytelling
> concept that can easily be
> put into words.

I'm not so sure about that. Words have limits to them
that shots do not.

__________________________________________________
Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
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27670  
From: LiLiPUT1@...
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 2:53pm
Subject: The Claim/Drums Along The Mohawk  scil1973


 
Finally watched a DVD of THE CLAIM that I had borrowed from a friend 4 months
ago. Dramatically, it was the pits. But I dug how the structure of melodrama
(namely, an obsession with legitimacy) was grafted onto the western.

Not long after, I took in DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK and it proved to be an
object lesson in how little the "trad" western (more on that appellation a bit
later) was concerned with this issue of lineage and legitimacy (SPOILERS). Unless,
of course, we're talking the legitimacy of space, i.e. who can legitimately
claim this chunk of land as their own. The characters in DRUMS, for instance,
are too busy surviving in the wilds to be falling in and out of disparate beds
(note how Edna May Oliver clings to hers) or fashioning surrogate
parents/children. There's no storminess to the scene where the dying Oliver bequeaths her
home to Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert. She even says they're like her own
flesh and blood, no melodrama attached.

That's because the Injuns are the source of conflict here. Not all of them,
mind you. A rather "noble" one is united under the flag with a mammy and a
blacksmith (the working class of 1939?) at the end of the film. But the uppity
ones are a problem along with evil Benedict Arnolds like a very pirate-like John
Carradine. What I find so fascinating about the film and so many of its ilk is
that whereas at one point in American history migrating west meant an
encounter with an Other, today it means an escape. Before I was even born, my family
moved west out of Chicago in the mid-1960s. In the mid-1980s, my sister bought
a house in the same burb we all grew up in. But last year, she found the
place to be "overrun with Mexicans," the new Injuns in some zip codes. So she
moved even further west to a more whitewashed community. So many suburbs today
have the feeling of a big city where "civilization" no longer resides. Indeed,
the Northwest burb of Schaumburg has long been called "Little Chicago." Go west,
go west - you can still hear it in 2005. (And I don't mean "go west"
literally here. I imagine the "ideal" re: Los Angeles is to move EAST and out.)

Of course, DRUMS is a fly in the genre analyst's ointment since it isn't
technically a western. It takes place in upstate New York during the Revolutionary
War. But its syntax is certainly western and according to Rick Altman, syntax
trumps semantics, which DRUMS has plenty of anyway - covered wagons, Indians,
cowboy hats, a fort, wide open spaces, etc. Everything really except a
western locale. But it was shot in Utah just like the America of OPEN RANGE was
really shot in Canada. Come to think of it, the Chicago of CHICAGO was partially
filmed in Canada too. Perhaps to Canadians, all Hollywood films are westerns.

Kevin John


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27671  
From: BklynMagus
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 6:59pm
Subject: Re: Group business: all members please read  cinebklyn


 
Blake writes:

> . . . my concern is that these a_f_b members
who may have largely carried the political
discussion here will now be shy of ever introducing
any political thought here at all.

I will admit that after my first REVENGE OF THE SITH
post, I went to see the film again, so I could
compose a (hopefully) well-supported post about the
relationship between Lucas' politics and his imagery.
But after the other posts came out, I just hit the delete
key on the draft I had written and moved on.

In the first sentence of the Statement of Purpose, it
says that " . . . our interest is primarily in film as an
expression of its author's vision." For me, most films
worth discussing and arguing over have a political
vision that is expressed in formal elements such as
lighting, editing, dialogue, performance, color, etc.
I think it is important to do justice to both the formal
elements that express the vision and the vision itself.
For me, too much emphasis on the formal is just as
deadly as forgetting to ground discussion of a
filmmaker's vision in formal elements.

My $.02 (or whatever currency is exchanged in your
geographic area).

Brian
27672  
From: BklynMagus
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 7:23pm
Subject: Re: The Claim/Drums Along The Mohawk  cinebklyn


 
Kevin John writes:

> Not long after, I took in DRUMS ALONG THE
MOHAWK and it proved to be an object lesson
in how little the "trad" western (more on that
appellation a bit later) was concerned with this
issue of lineage and legitimacy. Unless, of
course, we're talking the legitimacy of space,
i.e. who can legitimately claim this chunk of
land as their own.

The trad Western It was also concerned with
the establishment of "justice" on this land after
its violent appropriation. Of course, few
Westerns ever dealt with the fact that the "wild"
of the wild West had been introduced by those
ettlers who sought to civilize an "untamed country."

Brian
27673  
From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 7:26pm
Subject: Words and shots (Was: A thought about BLACK NARCISSUS)  sallitt1


 
>> Both these shots convey an idea, a storytelling
>> concept that can easily be
>> put into words.
>
> I'm not so sure about that. Words have limits to them
> that shots do not.

I don't know if you read me correctly: my idea was that these shots were
*more* than the mere concept that they could have been.

But my feeling is that, because of the way the mind works, a shot can
sacrifice all its complexity if it suggests an idea strongly. For
instance, think of those stock close-ups in silent movies that show a
ringing phone. There's an incredible amount of information coming at you
in one of these shots: lighting, spatial perspective, acting (i.e., make
and behavior of phone) - any way you want to break it down, lots of stuff
is going on. But what does it matter? Because these shots say "A phone
is ringing" so clearly that all that complexity might as well not be
happening. A potent concept can overpower the multifariousness of
reality.

When I talk about a shot here, I really mean "a shot and how it's used."
Take the same telephone shot and put it on an infinite loop in an abstract
film, and the audience will probably start absorbing the lost details.

- Dan
27674  
From: "Noel Vera"
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 7:36pm
Subject: Sword of Doom  noelbotevera


 
Kihachi Okamoto's Sword of Doom is interesting in the ways it
differs from a Kurosawa jidai-geki: unlike Kurosawa, he doesn't rely
on lengthy, well-placed, well-choreographed medium shots to capture
the swordfight's every movement (much as directors of classic
Hollywood musicals rely on the same kind of shot to capture as much
of the dancing as possible); his style is more impressionistic, more
immersive, as if you're the one holding the sword, or receiving the
stroke.

His tone is also darker, more nihilistic (darker than traditional
Kurosawa--Kurosawa himself was already experimenting with more
pessimistic material and more stylized filmmaking in Throne of
Blood). Tatsuya Nakadai (a Kurosawa favorite) shows an intriguing
combination of physical prowess and perpetual melancholy, his near-
feminine eyelids drooping languidly over unseeing eyes (the effect
is of someone too bored, or too deep into despair, to see what's in
front of him). Interestingly enough, Toshiro Mifune (Kurosawa's most
famous favorite) makes a cameo as a fencing teacher, and his assured
stance, his rough-and-ready charisma--embodying the classic Kurosawa
hero--makes for a vivid contrast to Nakadai's brooding anti-hero.

The film ends abruptly (SPOILERS); actually, it was meant to have a
number of sequels, which were never made (it and a number of other
films were based on Daibosatsu Toge (The Pass of the Great Buddha) a
huge novel by Kaizan Nakazato). As is, that final freeze-frame is
fascinating, unsettling--far more, I suspect, than any sequel could
possibly be. The anti-hero played by Nakadai begins with the near-
senseless killing of an old man (you might say Nakadai killed him
because he asked for death), and ends with the character
experiencing a psychotic episode, prompting a bloody showdown that
ends with him surrounded by dozens of swordsmen inflicting great
wounds from all sides, he in turn dealing out deadly blows in an
apocalyptic massacre. The sense Okamoto gives you of a gradually
accelerating moral slide, of a plummet from promising if cold-
blooded swordsman to sociopathic assassin, is harrowing; that
Okamoto halts that slide in mid-frame suggests a mere pause,
suggests depths of nihilism and despair still untouched, yet about
to be explored.
27675  
From: "Noel Vera"
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 7:59pm
Subject: American Guerilla in the Philippines  noelbotevera


 
Finally caught Fritz Lang's 1950 American Guerilla in the
Philippines, and it's not bad--straightforward storytelling, nice
attention to details (how they improvised a radio station from a
movie projector, or booby traps out of bamboo, or a telegraph
network out of barbed wire and bottles), some good physical acting
by Tyrone Power, nice use of Filipino locales--but this is the
director of M and Metropolis and you can't help feeling that he
isn't quite all there, that he isn't putting as much of him into the
film (even Fury or The Ministry of Fear, which I don't consider his
best works, are better). And they should have used someone with a
real Filipino accent to play Miguel (Tommy Cook).

For a superior World War 2 film set in the Philippines, I'd pick
Gerardo de Leon and Eddie Romero's Intramuros: The Gates of Hell
anytime--they had a smaller budget and no-name Hollywood stars, but
the war scenes are vividly staged, and the film makes full use of
the massive walls of Intramuros as a set and onscreen character; the
action even manage to thrill you some. Plus de Leon and Romero had
the late Fernando Poe Jr.'s Latino punk presence, which blows
Power's dark-browed intensity out of the water.
27676  
From: "hotlove666"
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 8:56pm
Subject: Re: Group business: all members please read  hotlove666


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, BklynMagus wrote:
> Blake writes:
>
> > . . . my concern is that these a_f_b members
> who may have largely carried the political
> discussion here will now be shy of ever introducing
> any political thought here at all.
I hope not. I'll be posting more on SW3 at Film and Politics myself. I
think that having a place to talk about politics and about film in the
same breath will perhaps give a_f_b members with those interests more
incentive to talk about form HERE! We don't do it enough - in fact, as
Kevin pointed out, we hardly ever do it.
27677  
From: "jpcoursodon"
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 9:57pm
Subject: Re: A thought about BLACK NARCISSUS  jpcoursodon


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
>
> --- Dan Sallitt wrote:
> > I was thinking about a few moments in BLACK
> > NARCISSUS:
> >
> > 1) The closeup of Kathleen Byron applying lipstick;
> >
> > 2) The closeup of raindrops plashing on leaves near
> > the end.
> >
> > Both these shots convey an idea, a storytelling
> > concept that can easily be
> > put into words.
>
> I'm not so sure about that. Words have limits to them
> that shots do not.
>
> ____I tend to agree with David here. It's hard to imagine
the "ideas" in question put into words in any way that would make
them as compelling as the shots that "express" them. The beauty of
those ideas resides almost entirely in their visualization (and the
two shots mentioned are indeed two of the most memorable in the
film). JPC


> http://mail.yahoo.com
27678  
From: "Richard Modiano"
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 10:13pm
Subject: Re: Sword of Doom  tharpa2002


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Noel Vera"
wrote:

"Kihachi Okamoto's Sword of Doom is interesting in the ways it
differs from a Kurosawa jidai-geki: unlike Kurosawa, he doesn't rely
on lengthy, well-placed, well-choreographed medium shots to capture
the swordfight's every movement (much as directors of classic
Hollywood musicals rely on the same kind of shot to capture as much
of the dancing as possible); his style is more impressionistic, more
immersive, as if you're the one holding the sword, or receiving the
stroke."

In the first ambush following the intial attack on Ryumosuke by two
of swordsman laying in wait for him, Okamoto cuts to a lateral
tracking shot as Ryunosuke dispatches the other swordsmen. But in
the fencing match Okamoto does show the fight in the standard
chambara manner. It's interesting that the other big swordfight set
pieces are ambushes and are depited in the manner you describe.

"His tone is also darker, more nihilistic (darker than traditional
Kurosawa--"

Well, that's the character of Tsukue Ryunosuke. In "Kiru"/"Kill"
Okamoto's tone is light and comic (the fights happen in bright
sunshine and light backgrounds, and "Kiru" shares many of the same
cast members as "Daibosatsu Toge.") To be faithful to the material
Okamoto would have to make it dark. If Kurosawa made it it would be
just as dark. For an interesting comparison between the two take a
look at Okamto's "Zatoichi to Yojimbo" with Mifune reprising his
Yojimbo role for the third time (he played the character one more
time.)

"The film ends abruptly (SPOILERS); actually, it was meant to have a
number of sequels, which were never made (it and a number of other
films were based on Daibosatsu Toge (The Pass of the Great Buddha) a
huge novel by Kaizan Nakazato)."

I've seen two other versions of "Daibosatsu Toge." The 1958 version
by Uchida Tomu has approximately the same plot as Okamoto's version
and ends in the same place. The other version (released in the
early '60s) starred the cult actor Ichikawa Raizo and was a multi-
part picture that ends with asassination of Kamo Serizawa followed by
Ryunosuke assaination by the Shinsen Gumi, so I suspect that
Okamoto's version was not made with a sequel in mind.

By the way, last year's taiga drama (the yearly 52 week historical
spectacle produced by NHK) was about the rise and fall of the Shinsen
Gumi and featured the assasination of Serizawa (minus the fictitious
charter of Tsukue Ryunosuke.)

"The sense Okamoto gives you of a gradually accelerating moral
slide, of a plummet from promising if cold- blooded swordsman to
sociopathic assassin, is harrowing; that Okamoto halts that slide in
mid-frame suggests a mere pause, suggests depths of nihilism and
despair still untouched, yet about to be explored."

I don't see a gradually accelerating slide. Murdering the pilgram
immediately establishes Ryunosuke as evil. He couldn't get any worse
from the conventional Japanese point of view. He could only go up
but he dosen't, so it becomes a matter of how much more mayhem he'll
commit before he gets his comeuppence. Periodically he has qualms
(like after the failed ambush of Mifune) or his troubled sleep, but
he always embraces the dark side (if I may put it that way.)

Once the supernatural element is introduced at the climax, the way
the story has been read is that Ryunoske has been fatally wounded at
some point but continues the fight in the afterlife, speciffically in
the cutting hell of Buddhist mythology where he's doomed to go on
fighting and suffering until his evil karma has been expiated.

Richard
27679  
From: "jpcoursodon"
Date: Tue May 31, 2005 10:29pm
Subject: Re: Group business: all members please read  jpcoursodon


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Blake Lucas"
wrote:



>
> And the next post after this one, 27657, was a little more on the
> crab dolly in Lang, but JPC could not resist quoting the lyrics of
> the title song from "The Blue Gardenia" (so beautifully sung
> Nat "King" Cole, as I recall). I haven't seen "The Blue Gardenia"
> in years, but for me, JPC's brief recitation so well evoked the
> mise-en-scene of Lang and the Langian thought behind it that it made
> me immediately yearn to see the film again, and so explore for
> myself more deeply exactly the things that a_film_by is specifically
> most concerned with.


Well, thanks. The song "Blue Gardenia" is as much a necessary part
of the film "The Blue Gardenia" as the song "Laura" is of the
film "Laura". (only difference: the latter doesn't have the lyrics). A
lot of possibly interesting and not necessarily OT remarks could be
made about "theme songs" -- the role they play and the impact on the
audience. One of my earliest cinephilic memories was watching Paul
Fejos's wonderful "Lonesome" at the first Langlois Cinematheque Avenue
de Messine in the mid-fifties -- the film had one charming talking
scene and sound effects and a score and the song "Always" which I can
never hear without thinking of "Lonesome" (which I haven't seen again
since then)and that half a century old screening. But enough
nostalgia...

JPC
27680  
From: "Maxime Renaudin"
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 0:00am
Subject: Re: His Famous Zoom  jaloysius56


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "J. Mabe" wrote:
> For those of us completely unfamiliar with late
> Rossellini (my own knowledge of his work is totally
> limited to what's on video - though I would make the
> trip to NY or elsewhere if that was ever corrected by
> a retrospective) could someone explain his "famous
> zoom?" What do you mean exactly?
> When did it first appear?

Era Notte a Roma is, I believe, the first where he widely used the
zoom. For his TV films, he had to combine his remote-controlled zoom
(which allows for smooth and easy movements) with the use of "black
projection" (not sure of the term), with mirrors (the old trick from
Melies and others), which is used constantly. He described the whole
thing in details in interviews published by Cahiers (French) and
maybe elsewhere.

He was so obsessed by this technique that he was furious to have to
use a 'shot/reverse shot' approach in a scene of La Prise du Pouvoir
(with Mazarin and the priest).

A text by afb member Chris Fujiwara 'Zooming through Space'
http://www.hermenaut.com/a18.shtml
"Rossellini's zoom is lulling, liquid. We become immersed in the
wash of the film"

'Making Reality' by Tag Gallagher
http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/04/32/rossellini_television.ht
ml
I notably disagree with last sentence, with the very last words...
"Its fluid pictorial style, with its continuous reframing as
Rossellini looks in (using a remote-controlled zoom he invented for
this purpose), assures us of the reality of his gaze and the
distance of the past, encourages us to look in, animate the
characters, and bring them to life." Where is the damned life!?
27681  
From: "Maxime Renaudin"
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 0:08am
Subject: Re: What is cinematic  jaloysius56


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jpcoursodon"
> Lang was referring to a crab dolly, of course, not a pet
crustacean...

Who knows?
Lang concludes with: "the camera becomes 'alive'"
And, moreover, from what I heard, the images formed in the eyes of
crabs are actually multiple!
27682  
From: "jpcoursodon"
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 1:12am
Subject: Re: What is cinematic  jpcoursodon


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Maxime Renaudin"
wrote:
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jpcoursodon"
> > Lang was referring to a crab dolly, of course, not a pet
> crustacean...
>
> Who knows?
> Lang concludes with: "the camera becomes 'alive'"
> And, moreover, from what I heard, the images formed in the eyes of
> crabs are actually multiple!

I must refrain from giving the above a crabby answer.

Do crabs have a thousand eyes, like a cerain Dr.?

JPC
27683  
From: "Richard Modiano"
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 2:27am
Subject: Re: The Claim/Drums Along The Mohawk  tharpa2002


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:

"...That's because the Injuns are the source of conflict here ["Drums
Along the Mohawk"]. Not all of them, mind you. A rather "noble" one
is united under the flag with a mammy and a blacksmith (the working
class of 1939?) at the end of the film. But the uppity ones are a
problem along with evil Benedict Arnolds like a very pirate-like John
Carradine."

It's interesting that Ford had little sympathy for the Tories but did
have some for the Confederates (maybe that would have changed had he
been able to make his later Revolutionary War picture.) Also
interesting is the fact that Blue Boy (I think that was the Indian's
name)kills the Tory agent played by Carradine and then appears from
behind the pulpit wearing the agent's eye patch. On the surface it's
comic but there's something sinister about it too.

"What I find so fascinating about the film and so many of its ilk is
that whereas at one point in American history migrating west meant an
encounter with an Other, today it means an escape."

And by the time "Drums Along the Mohawk" was made the frontier was
long gone, so these migratory Westerns were tales of nostalgia or
allegories of the frontier within (like Ford's "The Searchers.")


"Of course, DRUMS is a fly in the genre analyst's ointment since it
isn't technically a western. It takes place in upstate New York
during the Revolutionary War. But its syntax is certainly western
and according to Rick Altman, syntax trumps semantics, which DRUMS
has plenty of anyway - covered wagons, Indians, cowboy hats, a fort,
wide open spaces, etc. Everything really except a western locale.
But it was shot in Utah..."

I don't recall the cowboy hats (didn't all the men wear the standard
tri-corner hat of the era?) but the Utah location looks nothing like
the north-eastern woodlands and re-enforces the notion that this is a
Western. Perhaps it could be called a Frontier movie.

Richard
27684  
From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 2:41am
Subject: Drums Along The Mohawk  sallitt1


 
> Also
> interesting is the fact that Blue Boy (I think that was the Indian's
> name)

Blue Belly, I think.

It's not always noted that this film (which I love) is pretty much
structured around Colbert's point of view. - Dan
27685  
From: "Noel Vera"
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 4:12am
Subject: Re: Star Wars and movie making by the numbers.  noelbotevera


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Noel Murray wrote:

> The recent STAR WARS trilogy to me feels like a
> real auteur project ... Lucas made exactly the movies that he
wanted to
> make

In that sense, yep, he was an auteur. Was he any good?

> But ultimately they didn't bother me so much, not with all the
sincere
> pastiche-ing of old movie serials and junky sci-fi paperbacks

Didn't feel any of the old serial or junky paperback feel that
excused much of the clumsiness of the first Star Wars (and yep, I'm
not into this retitling shit, either). If it was crap, it was highly
glossy and overproduced crap, like Ridley Scott's Gladiator.

> I'd stack
> Lucas's work on this trilogy up against any of the Ray Harryhausen
> productions of the '50s and '60s, which were equally stiff in
their
> way, and equally delightful.

(Standing up, waving arms stiffly about)

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
27686  
From: "Noel Vera"
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 4:23am
Subject: Re: Sword of Doom  noelbotevera


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Modiano"
wrote:

> I've seen two other versions of "Daibosatsu Toge." The 1958
version
> by Uchida Tomu has approximately the same plot as Okamoto's
version
> and ends in the same place. The other version (released in the
> early '60s) starred the cult actor Ichikawa Raizo and was a multi-
> part picture that ends with asassination of Kamo Serizawa followed
by
> Ryunosuke assaination by the Shinsen Gumi, so I suspect that
> Okamoto's version was not made with a sequel in mind.

This wasn't what I heard, but I couldn't point to you where I heard
that.

--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Modiano"
wrote:
> By the way, last year's taiga drama (the yearly 52 week historical
> spectacle produced by NHK) was about the rise and fall of the
Shinsen
> Gumi

This group helped bring about the Meiji era, didn't it? Did most of
its plotting in the teahouses?

> "The sense Okamoto gives you of a gradually accelerating moral
> slide, of a plummet from promising if cold- blooded swordsman to
> sociopathic assassin, is harrowing; that Okamoto halts that slide
in
> mid-frame suggests a mere pause, suggests depths of nihilism and
> despair still untouched, yet about to be explored."
>
> I don't see a gradually accelerating slide. Murdering the pilgram
> immediately establishes Ryunosuke as evil.

But he had a standing, and he was willing to deal reasonably with
his opponent's wife (or reasonably in a despicable way); after that
match--or duel, as someone points out--he is mainly in hiding, he
grows more introverted, and possibly more psychotic.

> Once the supernatural element is introduced at the climax, the way
> the story has been read is that Ryunoske has been fatally wounded
at
> some point but continues the fight in the afterlife, speciffically
in
> the cutting hell of Buddhist mythology where he's doomed to go on
> fighting and suffering until his evil karma has been expiated.

But this doesn't happen, or so I read; he survives, but is blinded.
The movie supposedly covers only a portion of the novel.
27687  
From: "Noel Vera"
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 4:49am
Subject: Re: Sword of Doom  noelbotevera


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Noel Vera"
wrote:
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Modiano"
> wrote:

> > I suspect that
> > Okamoto's version was not made with a sequel in mind.
>
> This wasn't what I heard, but I couldn't point to you where I heard
> that.

Okay, I remember now--Geoffrey O'Brien's essay for the Criterion
Collection. Also mentions that Ryunosuke goes on as a blind man who
switches sides.

On the other hand, I think you're right about the inaccuracy of the
term "moral slide"--can't get more rotten than killing a helpless old
man. I should have said Ryunosuke had a standing in the community and
his life started to go to hell after the match/duel.
27688  
From: "Noel Vera"
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 4:53am
Subject: Re: Sword of Doom  noelbotevera


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Noel Vera"
wrote:

> On the other hand, I think you're right about the inaccuracy of the
> term "moral slide"--can't get more rotten than killing a helpless
old
> man. I should have said Ryunosuke had a standing in the community
and
> his life started to go to hell after the match/duel.

On the other OTHER hand, he regresses from killing old men, raping
women and jealous husbands to killing, well, housewives and children.
So maybe it's better to say he went from rotten to worse.
27689  
From: "Blake Lucas"
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 5:03am
Subject: Re: The Claim/Drums Along The Mohawk  lukethedealer12


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:
> > Also
> > interesting is the fact that Blue Boy (I think that was the
Indian's
> > name)
>
> Blue Belly, I think.
>
> It's not always noted that this film (which I love) is pretty much
> structured around Colbert's point of view. - Dan

The Indian's name is neither Blue Boy nor Blue Belly. It is Blue Back.
Why did I remember this when neither Dan or Kevin did? Well, to tell
the truth I looked it up. Haven't seen Drums Along the Mohawk in
awhile though I must admit I'd love to. It's a wonderful film, with
more than its share of cinematic magic.

One note on Blue Back--the role is played by Chief Big Tree, much
loved by Fordians for his performance as Pony-That-Walks in She Wore a
Yellow Ribbon, but for some reason, the fact it's the same actor in
these two films is rarely observed and I've seen him cited as no actor
and very awkward in Drums by the same critics, like Robin Wood, who
love his big scene with Brittles/Wayne in Yellow Ribbon.

More important, Dan's note about Lana/Colbert's point of view could
not be more apt--and who she is (both Colbert and the character) does
a lot to define the warmth of feeling which pervades the film. One of
its most memorable moments for everyone, I am sure, is the sequence of
Gil/Fonda going off with the troops along a road in the background of
a long shot as the camera moves with Colbert in the foreground,
running across the verdant fields in a kind of harmony with them,
while the only sound is ambient marching music from the troops.
As I recall it this is one lengthy shot which comes to rest when she
does. Only in a Ford film does one see something just like this--it's
beautiful not only from a compositional standpoint but also from a
choreographic one, having the grace of any dance number in a musical.

I restored Kevin's original subject heading partly to observe that his
juxtaposition of The Claim (Michael Winterbottom) and Drums Along the
Mohawk was interesting to me, his insights about westward expansion,
property and so on. Ford is more liable to get points for political
correctness (assuming he would care, which seems doubtful) in other of
his movies dealing with Indians than Drums Along the Mohawk, but one
only has to compare it to Unconquered by the arch-racist De Mille
to see that his point of view even here is sophisticated enough not to
be oversimplified. De Mille seems to yearn for a settled America of
entitled white folk but Ford always seems to yearn for some
unobtainable America which can resolve all its contradictions and
which never quite comes into being. Even as the flag is raised in
that final sequence in Drums, one feels that the world being born here
will decay, mutate or die, leaving only its half-formed ideals. So,
the movie, like most Ford, still has plenty of resonance.

The question of whether this is a Western was raised. Guess I have to
chime in on that one because I anguished over this question a lot in
year by year lists of Westerns I've made for my own reference. There
are about a dozen really outstanding titles which rank so high for me
that to consider them marginal Westerns as I was first inclined to do
just didn't work for me after awhile--these include rodeo pictures and
other modern subjects, south of the border movies like Way of a Gaucho
and something like Drums Along the Mohawk from an earlier era and
setting which seems to tap so many of the genre's themes and at least
some of its iconography. Now I just include them as Westerns so I'll
know they're not forgotten--and I think most people do, and very much
so in the case of Drums Along the Mohawk.

That brings me to The Claim--you know, I really liked this movie based
on Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge. The atmosphere borrowed kind of
heavily from McCabe and Mrs. Miller, I thought, but there's nothing
wrong with remembering the tone and texture of a memorable movie,
which among later Westerns, McCabe definitely is. But the subject and
the director's feeling for it ultimately overrode a rather taxing
quality that it had. I undertand why Kevin said it was dramatically
nil, or whatever it was he said (sorry I don't have that in front of
me), but there was so much that was interesting. How many Westerns
have someone singing a Hungarian folk song in the saloon (haven't seen
it in since it came out and trust I have that language right)? And
Nastassia Kinski was especially memorable in one of the leading roles.
I'm not pining for new Westerns though see everyone which comes out,
of course. But while something like Open Range, which really treads
rather familiar territory--to at least mildly pleasing effect even if
it has all been done infinitely better--tends to get more attention,
The Claim tried something a little different and I preferred it.

That doesn't make it Drums Along the Mohawk. But I find the gloom
appropriate to a twenty-first century view of the frontier.

Blake
27690  
From: "Noel Vera"
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 5:13am
Subject: Re: The Claim/Drums Along The Mohawk  noelbotevera


 
Let me chime out in favor of The Claim too. It did a surprisingly good
job of condensing The Mayor of Casterbridge, and it captures Hardy's
feeling of moments long past that come back to haunt us. Sure, its
debt to McCabe is obvious, but it has images of its own that are
memorable (the house moving, the horses on fire, etc.). Blake Lucas
mentions Kinski (always a welcome sight), but I liked Sarah Polley,
Peter Mullan, Milla Jovovich (who I always remembered as Luc Besson's
squeeze--not anymore), Wes Bentley, Sarah Polley--hell, everyone.

I think Winterbottom's the best British filmmaker working right now.
27691  
From: "Richard Modiano"
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 6:58am
Subject: Re: Sword of Doom  tharpa2002


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Noel Vera"
wrote:

"Okay, I remember now--Geoffrey O'Brien's essay for the Criterion
Collection. Also mentions that Ryunosuke goes on as a blind man who
switches sides."

I didn't read the novel, but in the Ichikawa version he does live and
has only one eye. My bad memory combined the plots.

The Shinsengumi were pledged to defend the Shogun (the old regime)so
they were reactionaries, and when Ryunosuke changed sides he had his
shot at redemption.

Okamoto made an entire movie about the Sakurada Gate Incident
mentioned
in the title card with Mifune,"Samurai"/"Samurai Assasin." It's one
of
his best and quite bleak. And in a movie titled "Shinsengumi" Mifune
plays Kondo.

"...I should have said Ryunosuke had a standing in the community and
his life started to go to hell after the match/duel."

His life started to go to hell when he deviated from the rules of his
fencing school in order to become invincible (the scene with his
ailing
father.) He lost his social standing when he defied the judges after
the match/duel.

Paul Schrader was much enamoured of the Uchida version and recycled
the
ending in "Taxi Driver," "Rolling Thunder," "The Yakuza" and
"Hardcore."

Richard
27692  
From: "Zach Campbell"
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 0:32pm
Subject: Re: A thought about BLACK NARCISSUS  rashomon82


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:
> Both these shots convey an idea, a storytelling concept that can easily be
> put into words. And both shots do their utmost to give that idea the most
> physical, tactile, sensual, dramatically obtrusive form possible.

(Spoilers for AGE OF CONSENT in the second paragraph.)

The expressive possibilities of superfluity are one of the mainlines through Powell's (and
Pressburger's) art. I loved the moment in THE SMALL BACK ROOM when, as Sue and the
other fellow look for Sammy in the pub. They walk in and don't notice him at the bar fairly
close to the door; they walk over screen-left, the camera following them, for a few steps
until they turn around and find him, practically back where they started.

Or: the fact that Nat in AGE OF CONSENT, when he takes Brad's money, decides to put a
few dollars back in Brad's pocket.

Digression from or excess to the narrative line, whether in an image, a camera movement,
a character action, is in itself a way that the Archers exerted their sensibility (-ies), and a
site for further expression.

In BLACK NARCISSUS, I think the overwhelming tactility of some of those images is deeply
tied to the nothingness--the sublime precipice--which taunts Clodagh. The images are
so powerful because they must be expressive of the void into which she will fall if she lets
fall her cultural and religious crutches.

--Zach
27693  
From: BklynMagus
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 2:15pm
Subject: Re: A thought about BLACK NARCISSUS  cinebklyn


 
Zach writes:

> The expressive possibilities of superfluity are one of
the mainlines through Powell's (and Pressburger's) art.

One of my favorite lines of dialogue in film occurs in
THE RED SHOES when Anton Walbrook tells the wimpy
composer: "I love her in a way you can never
understand." Also, the look of rapt intensity with which
Walbrook first watches her dance.

I wish Walbrook could have made AGE OF CONSENT
instead of James Mason (but then Mason had the career
Walbrook would have had if Mason had not existed).

Brian
27694  
From: LiLiPUT1@...
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 10:51am
Subject: Re: Re: The Claim/Drums Along The Mohawk  scil1973


 
In a message dated 6/1/05 12:05:52 AM, lukethedealer@... writes:


> Why did I remember this when neither Dan or Kevin did?  Well, to tell
> the truth I looked it up.
>

Which I was too lazy to do. But I often forget characters' names, even as I'm
watching the film in question.

I guess I prefer OPEN RANGE to THE CLAIM for how unrevisionist it was yet
still had relevance to 2003, what with all the tin stars/presidencies bought with
money/position.

Kevin John


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27695  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 6:30pm
Subject: Armond White on "F For Fake"  cellar47


 
http://www.nypress.com/18/22/film/ArmondWhite2.cfm

He's only right.

__________________________________________________
Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
http://mail.yahoo.com
27696  
From: Peter Henne
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 8:03pm
Subject: Re: Armond White on "F For Fake"  peterhenne
Online Now Send IM

 
White's F is not mine. His review emphasizes the speed and fluidity of the editing. But Welles' theatrical intonation, ripe with ruminative gestures and arch pauses, slows down the film, going against the grain of the rapid-fire cutting. Welles' voice is not only bemused, but his presumptions to sad grandeur suggest a superior intelligence above the manic flow of his own imagery, the unceasing river of modern life.

Peter Henne

David Ehrenstein wrote:
http://www.nypress.com/18/22/film/ArmondWhite2.cfm

He's only right.





__________________________________________________
Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
http://mail.yahoo.com

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27697  
From: ptonguette@...
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 5:12pm
Subject: Re: Re: Group business: all members please read  peter_tonguette


 
Brian wrote:

"[...] so I could
compose a (hopefully) well-supported post about the
relationship between Lucas' politics and his imagery."

Brian, any post on the above topic would not only be permitted, but it falls
explicitly in line with our Statement of Purpose. Recall the paragraph in
which it is stated that part of our goal is to discuss "...the relationship of
style to meaning." I can't remember when we added this line to our Statement
(it's been revised several times), but I have a feeling that it's been there for
a while, maybe even since the beginning.

I offer this as a clarification, not out of any desire whatsoever to prolong
this discussion of ourselves!

Peter Tonguette


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27698  
From: "hotlove666"
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 9:55pm
Subject: Re: Words and shots (Was: A thought about BLACK NARCISSUS)  hotlove666


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:
When I talk about a shot here, I really mean "a shot and how it's
used."


and/ie who is looking at it. See Pascal Bonitzer's "Voici," which I
translated moons ago in some academic film publication.
27699  
From: MG4273@...
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 6:35pm
Subject: Style & Meaning in Star Wars: Episode III - Architecture  nzkpzq


 
The Cityscapes
Vast panoramas of a future world are seen outside of Anakin's home, the Jedi
Headquarters, etc. These are in a tradition that goes back to the future city
in "Metropolis" (1926). Fritz Lang's vision stressed a Modernist style
architecture, somewhat similar to the Bauhaus. These were highly influential on the
illustrations in the science fiction pulps, which began in 1929. In 1936, comic
strip artist Alex Raymond started drawing future cities in "Flash Gordon".
Raymond's cities embodied a different 20th Century style, Art Deco. Raymond had
the greatest influence on American comic book artists, and such artists as
Carmine Infantino (the planet Rann) and Wayne Boring (Krypton) created vast
futuristic cityscapes in the Deco mode. Such Deco buildings emphasized strange,
geometrically shaped towers, often assymettric in approach. These frequently
featured flanges and ramps, as well as polyogonally sloped sides, and mixtures of
circular and polygonal cross-sections.
Star Wars: Episode III reflects both such approaches - the Modernist and the
Deco - but with a unique synthesis all its own. The general outline of the
city is broadly in the tradition of a Infantino cityscape in the Deco mode. There
are a profusion of towers, whose shapes are often of the irregular polygons
of the Deco tradition. However, these towers combine this with a surface finish
that recalls 1950's skyscrapers in the Modernist mode. These buildings are
not the pink or gold solid colored geometric towers of Infantino, mysterious
beacons of an advanced civilizattion. Rather, they are glass-and-steel
skyscrapers, like a business building in today's New York, London or Tokyo, but bigger
and with a geometrically "futurist" outline. The suggestion is that such
buildings are the locus of an advanced capitalism. They do not have a sense of
magic, but rather convey corporate success.
While each building in an Infantino or Wayne Boring city seems like some
unqiue fantasy creation, the Star Wars III buildings seem mass produced. The
cityscape also lacks unique or distinguishing features, considered as an aerial
map. Rather, it is like a contemporary urban sprawl. It would be hard to draw a
map of this city, or see it as an environment filled with unique places (such
as the Krypton Zoo or Aquarium in Superman comic books). Consequently, the
World of Star Wars does noy seem more Advanced in civilization than ours does. By
contrast, Krypton often seems Utopian, a product of a genuinely advanced
culture (and one that has outlawed war).
Since the World of the film is about to collapse into dictatorship from
democracy, it is clear that there (probably rightly) was a deliberate attempt not
to suggest it is a Utopia.

Mike Grost
27700  
From: MG4273@...
Date: Wed Jun 1, 2005 7:15pm
Subject: Style & Meaning in Star Wars: Episode III - Costumes  nzkpzq


 
Anakin's black leather Jedi outifit is the locus of many meanings. It
parallel's Obi-Wan Kenobi's white Jedi robes, which have a similar shape, with
Obi-Wan's boots of brown leather. It stresses the close ties between the two men.
And this relationship is the most important one in the film. Lucas drops the
other shoe at the film's climactic moment, when the duel between the two is about
to start on the planet of lava. "I always loved you!" a heartbroken Obi-Wan
declares. Such a declaration of love between two men is extremely rare in any
sort of cinema. In classical Hollywood, it is found only in "Emergency Call"
(Edward L. Cahn), "Dead Reckoning" (John Cromwell) and "Red River" (Howard
Hawks), and in surprizingly few modern films, as well. The relationship between the
two men, with the somewhat older Obi-Wan teaching and training the
inexperienced Anakin, echoes the central relationship of the first Star Wars, in which
Han Solo looked out for Luke Skywalker. The strong similarity in clothes and
equipment between the two men (they carry similar light sabres as well), is also
echoed in their behavior in the opening section of the film, which emphasizes
the idealized cameraderie between the two men, as they function as Hawksian
professionals doing a complex job.
All black outfits have a long history in movies. The farmer hero of the
magnificent "Lorna Doone" (Maurice Tourner, 1922), wears a black leather jerkin
whose ties and fastenings are even gaudier and more elaborate than Anakin's
three-level-deep cuff buckles. This was before Variety heralded STICKS NIX HICKS
PIX in 1935, and rural audiences liked seeing farmer heroes in outfits that
would have been considered too avant-garde for Jim Morrison of the Doors 40 years
later.
Lucas' iconography is most similar here to Raoul Walsh's in "The Sheriff of
Fracrtured Jaw" (1958). The young, would-be bad guy in this Western spoof
(William Campbell) swaggers around town in an all-black desperado's outfit. He
clearly thinks he is evil incarnate, but he is not as tough as he hopes, and he
gets run over the film's plot in short order. Like Anakin, the Campbell
character is a young man trying to grow up, and find his place in the mysterious
world of masculinity. Like Anakin, he thinks a trip to the Dark Side will provide
him a short cut. Anakin's is motivated, on the surface, by desiring to protect
his wife during childbirth - the archetypal image of Patriarchy. But both
Campbell and Anakin discover that they have only found a road to failure and
death. Steve Cohran's would be gangster in "White Heat" (Walsh) goes down a
similar path, helped out by the gaudiest charcoal pinstripe suit in the history of
movies.

Mike Grost

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