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4001


From:
Date: Tue Nov 11, 2003 10:07pm
Subject: Re: Re: Late Minnelli
 
George, as a big fan of Minnelli's last films, I'd love to read your master's
thesis on them. There are a few I haven't been able to see yet (notably
"Home from the Hill," "Two Weeks In Another Town," and "A Matter of TIme"), but I
think at least two ("Some Came Running" and "The Courtship of Eddie's Father")
are among his very greatest. I like "Gigi" well enough, I suppose, but it
will always suffer in my mind in comparison to that OTHER film Minnelli released
in 1958, the aforementioned "Some Came Running," which is a masterpiece and
actually my favorite.

Bill, I find Blake Lucas' theory very interesting. I believe Stuart Byron
used "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever" as a jumping-off point to talk about
how Minnelli's constant theme was freedom. Unfortunately, I've never read his
essay (referenced here before by Fred), but I think Lucas and Byron provide us
with ample evidence that there is much to be gleaned from his late films. As
is frequently the case with many directors.

Henry Sheehan has a terrific interview with Minnelli up at his site:

http://henrysheehan.com/interviews/mno/minnelli.html

Peter


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
4002


From: Peter Tonguette
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 3:18am
Subject: Re: France We Love You...and they love AND hate us.
 
Chris Fujiwara writes:

>I included it in a very short bibliography of writings on
> Jerry that will be published with a Great Directors piece going up
> later this month (?) on Senses of Cinema.

Chris, will this be a prelude to (or unofficial excerpt from) your
upcoming book length study of Lewis' films? In any case, I'm greatly
looking forward to both of them.

JPC mentioned (and I agree) that it's unfair to compare
the "reputations" of a filmmaker who makes a film a year (Woody)
versus one who has been inactive for many years (Jerry). But that
brings up an interesting point actually. Like Orson Welles, there
are several Lewis films which have either never been released ("The
Day The Clown Cried") or never received any sort of traditional wide
release (his remarkable 1990 short film "Boy"). So, as with Welles,
I don't think we're anywhere near the point where we can begin to
think of Lewis' career in anything but incomplete terms. In this
sense - in the sense that "The Day The Clown Cried" could completely
modify or expand upon our conception of Lewis' cinema - he's as
active a director as Woody. And there's always the chance that he'll
get to do that "Family Jewels" remake with Tom Hanks.

By the way, great post on Jerry, Bill!

Peter
4003


From: Tag Gallagher
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 3:34am
Subject: Re: Re: Late Minnelli
 
Nobody likes Lust for Life ??? It's his best movie, IMHO.
4004


From:
Date: Tue Nov 11, 2003 10:37pm
Subject: Re: Re: Late Minnelli
 
Tag writes:

> Nobody likes Lust for Life ??? It's his best movie, IMHO.

I haven't seen it yet! I know TCM has shown it letterboxed in the past and
I'm waiting for another airing; I don't dare check out the pan-and-scan video
that's for sale.

Peter


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
4005


From: jaketwilson
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 3:45am
Subject: Re: Late Minnelli
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, ptonguette@a... wrote:
> I like "Gigi" well enough, I suppose, but it
> will always suffer in my mind in comparison to that OTHER film
Minnelli released
> in 1958, the aforementioned "Some Came Running," which is a
masterpiece and
> actually my favorite.

There's a third Minnelli film from 1958, THE RELUCTANT DEBUTANTE,
which I've had no opportunity to see but which I've been curious
about since viewing the not-too-fabulous recent remake, WHAT A GIRL
WANTS. Anyone have any comments on that one?

JTW
4006


From: Damien Bona
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 3:53am
Subject: Re: Late Minnelli
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Tag Gallagher wrote:
> Nobody likes Lust for Life ??? It's his best movie, IMHO.

I like Lust For Life a lot, but I can think of at least 13 other
Minnellis that I prefer. I don't even think it's his best film of
1956 -- that would be Tea And Sympathy.

I find that even though Lust For Life is one of the very best
examples of a rather disreputable genre (the bio-pic), it doesn't
completely transcend the limitations of that genre. It certainly is
a personal work addressing the nature of the artistic temperament and
the need to be free to express oneself.
4007


From: Tag Gallagher
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 4:00am
Subject: Re: Re: Late Minnelli
 
Tea and Sympathy is among my top three: Lust, Tea, Some.

Genres don't have limitations; that's one of the advantages of
non-existence.

Do you really mean to put down all those wonderful biographies by
Rossellini, Ford, Ophuls, Mizoguchi, Renoir, Sirk, P.Sturges, Walsh,
Dieterle -- gee the list of supermasterpieces that are "bio-pics" is
almost endless ?? !!




Damien Bona wrote:

>
> I like Lust For Life a lot, but I can think of at least 13 other
> Minnellis that I prefer. I don't even think it's his best film of
> 1956 -- that would be Tea And Sympathy.
>
> I find that even though Lust For Life is one of the very best
> examples of a rather disreputable genre (the bio-pic), it doesn't
> completely transcend the limitations of that genre.
4008


From: Peter Tonguette
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 4:07am
Subject: Re: Woody Allen's September
 
Rick Segreda writes:

> It's sad, and I hope that he reclaims enough of his own artistic
>integrity so that his next project will remind us why we ever put
>money down to see a Woody Allen movie in the first place.

I'm pretty sympathetic to most everything Woody has done. As I say,
I enjoyed at least two of his DreamWorks comedies very much: "Small
Time Crooks" and "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion," both of which
struck me as tiny divertissements made with a lot of charm and a
complete absence of pretense. (I'll grant that "Hollywood Ending"
was a falling off, though I liked the "Annie Hall"-esque final shot
very much.)

HOWEVER...

I would argue that "Anything Else" is the "reclamation of his
artistic integrity" that you're looking for, despite the fact that it
was advertised as "American Pie 8" or whatever. I found it to be,
far and away, his best film since "Everyone Says I Love You." It's a
difficult movie in that it has many fluctuating tones. In many ways,
it encompasses the two sides of Allen which you and Damien have been
discussing; it's warm in some spots, angry in others, and the ending
could be taken either way. But as I argue in my piece on the film,
he hasn't done a film which is as formally "with it" in quite a few
years. I'm convinced that the decision to shoot in 2.35:1 reawakened
his visual imagination. Now I'm a fan of the long-take, zooming
style he's perfected in recent years, but I think it was wise to take
a break from it; it's a style that is, I think, very easy to get lazy
with (have a look at the entire canon of Mr. Henry Jaglom.)
But "Anything Else," with its roomy 'Scope compositions, is anything
but lazy. And there's one scene, detailed in my review, which
honestly rivals any American movie released this year in its use of
space.

Peter
4009


From:
Date: Tue Nov 11, 2003 11:41pm
Subject: Palm Beach Story question
 
Y'all -

In The Palm Beach Story, Hackensacker (Rudy Vallee) says that "staterooms are
unamerican." That, I understand. Shortly after, he states "tipping is
unamerican." That, I don't understand. I mean, I understand both statements
thematically. But how might Hackensacker explain why tipping is unamerican? Any
thoughts?

Kevin


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
4010


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 5:08am
Subject: Re: Palm Beach Story question
 
> In The Palm Beach Story, Hackensacker (Rudy Vallee) says that "staterooms are
> unamerican." That, I understand. Shortly after, he states "tipping is
> unamerican." That, I don't understand. I mean, I understand both statements
> thematically. But how might Hackensacker explain why tipping is unamerican? Any
> thoughts?

Hackensacker probably saw the tip as being a gift, a reward at the
discretion of the wealthier party, instead of an exchange of labor for
value. Sturges was pretty tuned in to, and about 50% sympathetic with,
America's primordial capitalist mind. - Dan
4011


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 5:18am
Subject: Re: ELEPHANT & THE SHINING, KEN PARK
 
> I'm also pretty
> curious about your thoughts on KEN PARK, which I think is a great
> film, but I'm quite alone trying to champion it.

No, I'm a big fan of KEN PARK as well: maybe just a bit short of a great
film in my mind, but very very good.

Don't know how to compare ELEPHANT and KEN PARK, though. A baseline of
Larry Clark's films is that he seems almost unaware (or perhaps
contemptous - it's hard to tell with him) of the ways that audience
expectations and traditional storytelling can distort character, and
therefore generates fascinating, complex behavior as if it were the
easiest thing in the world. Whereas ELEPHANT doesn't seem to me all
that interested in character and psychology. (As I mentioned before, I
couldn't rightly tell you what it *is* interested in, other than an
oddly detached commitment to formal beauty.) - Dan
4012


From: Gabe Klinger
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 6:10am
Subject: Re: ELEPHANT & THE SHINING, KEN PARK
 
Dan wrote:

> Whereas ELEPHANT doesn't seem to me all
> that interested in character and psychology.

I'm not entirely sure about the Larry Clark connection either but I
disagree that there is no psychology in ELEPHANT. Seeing the film a
second time around I noticed a few of the characters' reactions to the
violence -- well, actually, two in particular that I hadn't picked up
on before: one from the girl Acadia, who consoles a sobbing John in the
beginning and when we see her again she is numbed by the shootings and
it is her that's sobbing (and another character -- Benny, actually --
that is helping her), and an unnamed girl who we see for a few seconds
in the cafeteria responding to a friend's criticism about her singing
voice ("I sang last week and everyone said it was really good"), and
later running into the girl's bathroom and shooting a contemptuous look
at Carrie, Nicole and Brittany before running into a stall to protect
herself. They're easy-to-miss moments, but these girls' reactions
suggest that it's not always in the temperament of these kids to have
hysterical reactions and to simply run, but rather to have trouble
accepting the fact that it is happening at all and viewing it as a
reflection (or augmentation) of their own prejudices and fears. In
fact, I could easily imagine several of my old high school chums having
passive rather than hysterical reactions at the unfolding of such a
tragedy as a way to indulge a fantasy not dissimilar from the shooters.
Also the dynamic between the three bulimic girls was described as
"perfect" by a youngish American girl who saw the film with me, and
that their dialogues about the importance of spending time with one's
friends "right on". I think I agree with her and I could definitely see
that kind of dynamic in some of my male friends. Similarly, the jock
(whose name is Nathan, I think) is talking with his girlfriend and she
mentions something about doctors or the hospital and being in the woods
with Nathan two weeks earlier (they had sex), and he immediately
changes the subject, not because he doesn't care but because he dreads
having to face facts. Or Michelle. Why is it that she tells the gym
teacher that "she doesn't want to talk about it" when asked why she
refuses to wear shorts?
4013


From: jess_l_amortell
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 6:44am
Subject: Re: Late Minnelli
 
> > Nobody likes Lust for Life ??? It's his best movie, IMHO.


And nobody likes THE COBWEB ??

But no objection here to Lust, Some, Tea -- LST. (Is anyone really obliged to play favorites with films like these?)

There's one "genre" I'm forced to recognize -- that genre that impels a certain local revival-goer (and star of CINEMANIA) to cackle relentlessly through a screening (I should say that he laughs at dialogue, not at camera movement or other nuances), spoiling half the rarities I manage to get to (not only for me but for anyone within chortling distance, or so I would think). He cackled at COBWEB and he cackled, last month, at JAPANESE WAR BRIDE. He's usually the only sound you hear. After the COBWEB ordeal I spied him at LUST FOR LIFE and gritted my teeth, but he was mercifully silent -- LUST FOR LIFE, unlike THE COBWEB, I suppose, is serious. (At any rate, no Gloria Grahame or Marie Windsor in sight.)

Kim's Video used to have a letterboxed LUST FOR LIFE DVD in their collection of Hong Kong cheapies (are they ever going to restock these?) -- no substitute for the real thing, but possibly slightly better, color-wise, than the print at MoMA.
4014


From: hotlove666
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:03am
Subject: The Reluctant Debutant
 
It's a typical - and quite good - Minnelli comedy about people
putting on a show: in this case the London debutante season and, at
its center, the ball Kay Kendall and Rex Harrison are organizing for
Sandra Dee's coming out. Sandra Dee is Sandra Dee, and John Saxon is
short, dark and miscast in every part, but the stars are Kendall and
Harrison (wasn't this her last film before succumbing?). It's also a
good example of how Minnelli treats his comedies as objets d'art:
it's not a musical, but of all the comedies it is the one that is
most like a musical in its choreography of the action during the
ball, which includes a dance between Kendall and Harrison that is the
point d'orgue of the sequence and the film.
4015


From:
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 3:41am
Subject: Re: Late Minnelli
 
All of these films, "Tea and Sympathy", "Lust for Life", "The Reluctant
Debutante", "Some Came Running", "Home From the Hill", "The Four Horsemen of the
Apocalypse", "The Sandpiper" are fascinating examples of Minnelli's art.
The prints TCM has been showing of these for the Minnelli Centenary this year
have been beautiful. The widescreen films are all letterboxed.
I too would love to read George Robinson's thesis on late Minnelli.
Mike Grost
4016


From: joe_mcelhaney
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 0:41pm
Subject: Re: Late Minnelli
 
Tag -- Of course I like LUST FOR LIFE and not just because I'm of
the "I love them all, even THE SANDPIPER" group. (Actually, I don't
love I DOOD IT.) A friend of mine, Scott Bukatman, who teaches film
at Stanford, recently dragged a group of his art history colleagues
there to a 35mm. screening of LUST. They went reluctantly, expecting
that they were going to laugh at this Hollywood attempt to do justice
to Van Gogh but instead Scott told me that they were blown away by
it. Scott, like me, is of the laser disc generation and we have all
of the Minnelli scope films that were released on that regrettably
forgotten format. (Most of my students don't even know what laser
discs are.) But he said that seeing the film projected makes such an
extraordinary difference in the impact of that film -- and I would
imagine of any Minnelli. So those of you who haven't seen it (or any
of the other Minnelli scope films) it's okay to tape them from TCM to
get an idea of what the films are like but make it a point to see
them projected as well.

Has anyone done a serious comparison of LUST FOR LIFE with Pialat's
wonderful (and utterly different) Van Gogh film -- by serious I mean
not brandishng the Pialat as some kind of infinitely profound
statement about life and art in comparison with the falsely
hysterical melodrama of the Minnelli. It's interesting, though, that
the Pialat seems more musical or dance-like than the Minnelli
(including the casting of a singer in the lead), possibly due to a
Renoir influence on Pialat. But then there's also that wonderful
dance sequence which appears to be a direct lift from FORT APACHE.

And I hope that CINEMANIA person cackling during Minnelli films and
JAPANESE WAR BRIDE wasn't Jack. I met Jack during the 1988 MOMA
retro and he was very serious and devoted to all of them -- even THE
SANDPIPER. (Although I think he disliked AN AMERICAN IN PARIS.)
4017


From: Chris Fujiwara
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 0:45pm
Subject: Re: France We Love You...and they love AND hate us.
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Peter Tonguette"
wrote:
>
> Chris, will this be a prelude to (or unofficial excerpt from) your
> upcoming book length study of Lewis' films? In any case, I'm
greatly
> looking forward to both of them.
>
Thanks! The Senses of Cinema piece will be more like a prelude than
an excerpt. Maybe it will have been a prelude to an excerpt? Not sure
yet.
4018


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 2:10pm
Subject: Re: Re: Late Minnelli
 
I'm crazy about THE COBWEB! (rim shot)

Only Minnelli could make a film about the
socio-psychological impact of redecorating.

And who could forget Oscar Levant sining "Mother" in
hydrotherapy?

--- jess_l_amortell wrote:
> > > Nobody likes Lust for Life ??? It's his best
> movie, IMHO.
>
>
> And nobody likes THE COBWEB ??
>


4019


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 2:33pm
Subject: Re: ELEPHANT & THE SHINING, KEN PARK
 
"> There are some other references to THE SHINING in
> ELEPHANT: like Jack Torrance, Alex is a frustrated
> artist and the killers examining the school plans
> reminds me of Jack watching his prey walking the
> miniature labyrinth.
>
> This kind of thing should not come as a surprise
> since it's made by the same guy that gave us his own
> private PSYCHO, but it troubles me anyway. Is Van
> Sant encouraging us to make some kind of a
> transverse reading, and, if that's the case (which I
> think it is), what's his point?"

You'retalking about two entirely different
things."Elephant" makes reference to "The Shining."it
makes referenceto "High School" as well. You don't
have to be aware of this or know eitherfilm in order
to appreciate "Elephant." Gus' remake of "Psycho" is a
whole other kettle of fish. It demands total awareness
of the Hitchcock original in order to make sense at
all.

In some ways the "Psycho" remake in "Looney Tunes --
back in Action" is even more extreme as the shot of
Bugs pouring chocolate sauce down the drian only makes
sense if you're aware of the fact that Hitchcock used
chocolate sauce for blood.


--- Fernando Verissimo


4020


From: jess_l_amortell
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 3:16pm
Subject: Re: Late Minnelli
 
> And I hope that CINEMANIA person cackling during Minnelli films and
> JAPANESE WAR BRIDE wasn't Jack.

No way! And needless to say it wasn't Bill either (the one who ended the film by chiding serious art theaters - like the Walter Reade - that sell popcorn).
4021


From: Tag Gallagher
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 4:05pm
Subject: Re: Re: Late Minnelli
 
I like COBWEB -- especially the first hour, then ... I like Minnelli
when he is excessive and wild.

There are excellent letterboxed laserdiscs of LUST, TEA, SOME, COB,
HOME, etc.

That was my print of JAPANESE WAR BRIDE !



jess_l_amortell wrote:

> > > Nobody likes Lust for Life ??? It's his best movie, IMHO.
>
>
> And nobody likes THE COBWEB ??
>
4022


From: Robert Keser
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 4:47pm
Subject: Re: Late Minnelli
 
All this and Lillian Gish bald too...

--Robert Keser

--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
> I'm crazy about THE COBWEB! (rim shot)
>
> Only Minnelli could make a film about the
> socio-psychological impact of redecorating.
>
> And who could forget Oscar Levant sining "Mother" in
> hydrotherapy?
4023


From: joe_mcelhaney
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 4:54pm
Subject: Re: The Reluctant Debutante
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666"
wrote:
> It's a typical - and quite good - Minnelli comedy about people
> putting on a show: in this case the London debutante season and, at
> its center, the ball Kay Kendall and Rex Harrison are organizing
for
> Sandra Dee's coming out. Sandra Dee is Sandra Dee, and John Saxon
is
> short, dark and miscast in every part, but the stars are Kendall
and
> Harrison (wasn't this her last film before succumbing?). It's also
a
> good example of how Minnelli treats his comedies as objets d'art:
> it's not a musical, but of all the comedies it is the one that is
> most like a musical in its choreography of the action during the
> ball, which includes a dance between Kendall and Harrison that is
the
> point d'orgue of the sequence and the film.

Actually, Kendall's last film was with Stanley Donen, ONCE MORE WITH
FEELING in 1960. It's somewhat painful watching her in this, an
already painful comedy, in that she looks quite visibly ill -- very
thin and pale. By the time the film was released she was already
dead.

It's interesting to compare DEBUTANTE with DESIGNING WOMAN, made the
year before, in that the scenarios of both films are quite slight
(with DESIGNING WOMAN's script being almost entirely a knockoff of
WOMAN OF THE YEAR.) In both films, Minnelli applies his considerable
gifts for color, decor, highly choreographed staging of action, etc.
But the question of what actors can bring to a project (a subject of
some debate on these posts I noticed from before I jumped on board
here)is interesting in that Kendall and Harrison are so endlessly
inventive and brilliant that it lifts the film and Minnelli's mise-en-
scene to an even higher level, whereas Peck and Bacall in WOMAN seem
(to me, at least) too "heavy," not naturally comic enough. From a
thematically-oriented auteurist perspective, WOMAN seems more
typically Minnellian, particularly in the notion of the "plurality of
worlds" (as Deleuze puts it) played out through conflicts over
decor. But as a projected experience, DEBUTANTE has always been
stronger to me, richer and funnier. During the MOMA retro, audiences
laughed hard and continuously throughout DEBUTANTE but DESIGNING
WOMAN was greeted largely with amused silence -- the latter a
too "theoretical" Minnelli film, perhaps?
4024


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 5:43pm
Subject: Re: Late Minnelli
 
Although I don't agree with Tag's radical opinion that genres do
not exist (we have had heated discussions on the subject) I do feel
that no genre should be deemed "disreputable". All genres have
limitations -- they are actually defined by their limitations. And
the limitations are made to be transcended, and every worthwhile film
transcends the limitations of its genre, even when it respects and
exalts them.

By the way, Tea and Lust are two of my favorite Minnelli too. Some
Came Running used to be one. I've cooled a bit about it though.

JPC



--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Tag Gallagher wrote:
> Tea and Sympathy is among my top three: Lust, Tea, Some.
>
> Genres don't have limitations; that's one of the advantages of
> non-existence.
>
> Do you really mean to put down all those wonderful biographies by
> Rossellini, Ford, Ophuls, Mizoguchi, Renoir, Sirk, P.Sturges,
Walsh,
> Dieterle -- gee the list of supermasterpieces that are "bio-pics"
is
> almost endless ?? !!
>
>
>
>
> Damien Bona wrote:
>
> >
> > I like Lust For Life a lot, but I can think of at least 13 other
> > Minnellis that I prefer. I don't even think it's his best film of
> > 1956 -- that would be Tea And Sympathy.
> >
> > I find that even though Lust For Life is one of the very best
> > examples of a rather disreputable genre (the bio-pic), it doesn't
> > completely transcend the limitations of that genre.
4025


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 5:55pm
Subject: Pialat
 
I must be one of the very few people who didn't care much for
Pialat's Van Gogh. I should look at it again. I'm just grabbing the
opportunity to say that "Nous ne vieillirons pas ensemble" and "La
Gueule ouverte" are two of my favorite films ever, and I liked most
of the others very much.
JPC
4026


From: hotlove666
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 6:16pm
Subject: Re: The Reluctant Debutante
 
I agree with David about the humor of Designing Woman vs. The
Reluctant Debutante. Woman IS a theoretical film, which needed
sharp comic playing to make it funny (although Rohmer liked it:
His review was the first statement in CdC that Minnelli was more
than a musical director, and that his approach to comedy was
esthetic). Instead it's a bit melancholy, like so much of Minnelli,
and not as good overall as the little-seen Debutante, despite the
teen hearthrobs who are the titular leads in the latter (and
despite the unusual-for-the-time statement about gayness in the
former).

BTW, the theory David cites, that each character in a Minnelli film
has his own dream (or reality, if you prefer - a word that strictly
speaking has no meaning for Minnelli) which attempts to
assume concrete form in a decor, and that conflicts in Minnelli
films are between dreams (and decors: cf. Four Horsemen),
originated with Jean Douchet and was ably synthesized by
Deleuze, who unlike Stanley Cavell is deeply read in auteurist
film criticism. In fact, until someone translates the rest of
Douchet - a very important Cahiers theorist and "practical critic"
currently available here, I believe, only in his New Wave book -
the English Deleuze, with all its translation flaws, is the best way
to access Douchet on Minnelli: recommended reading for lovers
of this filmmaker.

Robert, re: that scene in the Cobweb - What about the moment
when Widmark rests his hand on the plaster head where Gish
keeps her wig overnight, and she gives a little start? A delicious
moment of grotesque humor with interesting resonances in a
film about "heads."
4027


From: Elizabeth Nolan
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 6:19pm
Subject: visual wit too fast even for them
 
> verbal wit was over their heads and
> the visual wit too fast even for them.


I saw MASTER AND COMMANDER on SUNDAY and thought some of the action
scenes were just 'too quick' to see. I've see a few action movies with
'too quick to see' footage and wonder if that is a ploy to increase DVD
sales as the largest purchasing group of DVD's are young males
interested in re-watching action sequences.

There are many straight to DVD action and adventure movies, and there
are bins of old Westerns and horror movies at very cheap prices.
4028


From: hotlove666
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 6:40pm
Subject: Re: Visual wit too fast even for them
 
I wanted to pass on something Hitchcock said to Ernest Lehman while they
were working out the story of Family Plot (a great 1000-pp trabscript at the
Academy Library*): Lehman asked Hitchcock how he stylized things, and
Hitchcock replied: "To do that you need extended scenes." Obviously there
are other ways of stylizing than what he's talking about, but I thought it was a
fascinating remark from the ever-theoretical AH about the fact that his visual
style, and his KIND of visual style, needed extended scenes - something that
is becoming uncommon today, and not just in action films.

*Note to ER: A different kind of textbook for a screenwriter. They started with
a basic plot idea, which came from a novel, and thought up the whole first
draft with a tape recorder going.
4029


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 7:44pm
Subject: Re: ELEPHANT
 
> I'm not entirely sure about the Larry Clark connection either but I
> disagree that there is no psychology in ELEPHANT. Seeing the film a
> second time around I noticed a few of the characters' reactions to the
> violence -- well, actually, two in particular that I hadn't picked up
> on before: one from the girl Acadia, who consoles a sobbing John in the
> beginning and when we see her again she is numbed by the shootings and
> it is her that's sobbing (and another character -- Benny, actually --
> that is helping her), and an unnamed girl who we see for a few seconds
> in the cafeteria responding to a friend's criticism about her singing
> voice ("I sang last week and everyone said it was really good"), and
> later running into the girl's bathroom and shooting a contemptuous look
> at Carrie, Nicole and Brittany before running into a stall to protect
> herself. They're easy-to-miss moments, but these girls' reactions
> suggest that it's not always in the temperament of these kids to have
> hysterical reactions and to simply run, but rather to have trouble
> accepting the fact that it is happening at all and viewing it as a
> reflection (or augmentation) of their own prejudices and fears. In
> fact, I could easily imagine several of my old high school chums having
> passive rather than hysterical reactions at the unfolding of such a
> tragedy as a way to indulge a fantasy not dissimilar from the shooters.
> Also the dynamic between the three bulimic girls was described as
> "perfect" by a youngish American girl who saw the film with me, and
> that their dialogues about the importance of spending time with one's
> friends "right on". I think I agree with her and I could definitely see
> that kind of dynamic in some of my male friends. Similarly, the jock
> (whose name is Nathan, I think) is talking with his girlfriend and she
> mentions something about doctors or the hospital and being in the woods
> with Nathan two weeks earlier (they had sex), and he immediately
> changes the subject, not because he doesn't care but because he dreads
> having to face facts. Or Michelle. Why is it that she tells the gym
> teacher that "she doesn't want to talk about it" when asked why she
> refuses to wear shorts?

That's my favorite moment in the film! Van Sant needed five more
director-proof actors like Michelle, in my opinion.

I don't say there's no psychology in the film, just that I don't think
it's much of a focus. Much of the acting felt to me as if the kids just
had to keep talking once they started: that's not necessarily a
show-stopper, but it make me look for something other than acting to be
interested in. - Dan
4030


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 7:51pm
Subject: Kendall
 
>> but the stars are Kendall
> and
>>Harrison (wasn't this her last film before succumbing?).

> Actually, Kendall's last film was with Stanley Donen, ONCE MORE WITH
> FEELING in 1960.

Anyone for GENEVIEVE? Which I like more than either the Minnelli or the
Donen, actually. Without GENEVIEVE, I might not remember Kendall,
though she's good in everything.

I'm one of the few auteurist types who isn't wild about Minnelli. His
subjectivity is too total for me - he always makes me feel as if I'm
trapped on a sound stage, even when he's outdoors. I like some of his
films - especially THE CLOCK, for some reason, and also MEET ME IN ST.
LOUIS. - Dan
4031


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 7:52pm
Subject: Re: Pialat
 
> I must be one of the very few people who didn't care much for
> Pialat's Van Gogh. I should look at it again.

I do like it, but I also think it's one of Pialat's lesser films. The
script isn't as good as it might be, I think. - Dan
4032


From: Robert Keser
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 7:54pm
Subject: Re: visual wit too fast even for them
 
My impression is that action scenes get sliced and diced so fast
primarily because the special effects would look patently phony on
the big screen if we could see them properly (but they probably pass
muster on a TV screen). Another reason could be to avoid an R rating
by hurrying past the detailed gore . This, I understand, is what
accounted for the blurred hash made out of the Colosseum scene with
tigers in Gladiator.

The trailers for mainstream films are also cut to the bone and
beyond, sometimes to the point of rendering any dialogue
incomprehensible by slicing away all visual and aural context clues.
Clearly this is an occupational hazard resulting from trailer-
production personnel being way, way too familiar with the footage.

--Robert Keser

--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Elizabeth Nolan wrote:


> I saw MASTER AND COMMANDER on SUNDAY and thought some of the action
> scenes were just 'too quick' to see. I've see a few action movies
with
> 'too quick to see' footage and wonder if that is a ploy to increase
DVD
> sales as the largest purchasing group of DVD's are young males
> interested in re-watching action sequences.
4033


From: hotlove666
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:01pm
Subject: Re: Kendall
 
Dan, OK, what about Les Girls?
4034


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:17pm
Subject: Re: Re: Kendall
 
> Dan, OK, what about Les Girls?

Oh, yeah, I forgot. I do like LES GIRLS, and Kendall in it, though it's
been a few years. - Dan
4035


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:25pm
Subject: Re: Kendall
 
"Anyone for GENEVIEVE?"

Over here!

A very entertaining and very important comedy whose
style is as precise as that of "Trouble in Paradise."
Henry Cornelius was a minor master. Kendall is heaven,
as is the harmonica score by my favorite communist,
Larry Adler. It's as noteworthy as the zither in "The
Third Man."


--- Dan Sallitt wrote:


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4036


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:28pm
Subject: Re: Re: visual wit too fast even for them
 
> My impression is that action scenes get sliced and diced so fast
> primarily because the special effects would look patently phony on
> the big screen if we could see them properly (but they probably pass
> muster on a TV screen). Another reason could be to avoid an R rating
> by hurrying past the detailed gore .
>
> The trailers for mainstream films are also cut to the bone and
> beyond, sometimes to the point of rendering any dialogue
> incomprehensible by slicing away all visual and aural context clues.
> Clearly this is an occupational hazard resulting from trailer-
> production personnel being way, way too familiar with the footage.

I think there's another reason. There's an enormous pressure in the
commercial film industry to go as fast as possible so as not to bore the
audience. If you've ever been around an editing room, you see that
every penny-ante would-be exec, right down to the ones who sharpen the
editing pencils, advises the filmmaker to cut material out. It's
extremely rare to hear anyone say, "I think that scene worked better
when it was slower." The result is often editing that conveys a bare
sense of story but nothing of spatial relations.

I'm always amazed at those scenes, found in nearly every Hollywood film
(including the better ones), in which so much dialogue has been excised
that the progression of the conversation makes no psychological sense
whatsoever, but works merely as a kind of precis of the story points
that the scene has to make. You just know that the script, no matter
how silly, had more of a flow than that. And yet you never hear
audiences complain about this kind of skeletal dialogue. - Dan
4037


From: Adrian Martin
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 9:48pm
Subject: Jerry and France: a true story
 
Dear friends -

Although the idea floated here that Jerry Lewis is no longer so known or
celebrated among the youth of France seems entirely logical, I nonetheless
have an absolutely true tale to tell that indicates the contrary!

In 1994 I saw in a small Parisian cinema Emir Kusturica's ARIZONA DREAM - a
crazy movie which I love. (And which had been enthusiastically recommended
to me by one Raul Ruiz.) It was a packed matinee at which virtually every
single member of the audience (apart from me) was about 14 years old. They
did not exactly seem like bunch of sophisticated cinephiles with copies of
CAHIERS, POSTIF, TRAFIC or 50 ANS DE CINEMA AMERICAIN in their satchels, but
you never know.

Unsurprisingly, whenever Johnny Depp came on screen, there were assorted
orgasmic sighs, groans, etc. (The Vincent Gallo cult had not quite started
yet.) BUT whenever Jerry came on, there were full-throated SHOUTS of love
and mass applause! So there was no choice but to join in with this orgiastic
acclaim for a great comedian-auteur. The screen seemed to glow whenever
Jerry turned up.

The myth of Jerry was, at least for these kids in '94, alive and well! Maybe
TV and the repertory cinemas are keeping the flame alive, or some parents
are doing a good job transmitting this particular passion down to their
kids!

Adrian
4038


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 9:05pm
Subject: Re: Jerry and France: a true story
 
That's great to know, Adrian.

"Arizona Dream" is a marvelous movie.
"Underground"is obviously Kusterica's "big one" but
this bizarre "American" film has plenty of charm --
and what a cast! Jerry, Johnny Depp and Faye Dunaway.

--- Adrian Martin wrote:


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4039


From: joe_mcelhaney
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 9:06pm
Subject: kendall/douchet
 
Actually, I was the one who did the comparison of DEBUTANTE and D.
WOMAN and not David, not that it really matters. I'd just hate for
David to feel that he's credited with something he doesn't agree
with. But Douchet certainly is overdue for more extensive
translating, hence one of my many reasons for doing the Minnelli
anthology (see an earlier post). He was at the Hitchcock centennial
conference (on a panel with Andre Labarthe and chaired by that
famous Hitchcock scholar Annette Michelson) and gave a long,
improptu history of CAHIERS, auteurism and Hitchcock which everyone
in the audience already knew, sadly prompting a lot of walkouts.
But then he began talking in great detail about THE TROUBLE WITH
HARRY, how he thought of the film as his plane was flying over New
England as it was coming into New York and he saw the autumn leaves,
and of how HARRY is one of the most sensual of all of Hitchcock's
films in which you can almost smell the atmosphere, etc. It was
absolutely spellbinding to listen to him.

And by the way, Kay Kendall is Richard Linklater's favorite
actress.

In John Kobal's PEOPLE WILL TALK book there's a nice interview with
Jack Cole in which he talks about working with her on LES GIRLS.
Cole claims that her great drunken scene was staged by him and not
Cukor since according to Cole Kendall had difficulty in working with
Cukor. She preferred directors who gave her a lot of freedom and
found Cukor too controlling and so she and Cole worked out the
staging for that scene. Anyway, that's what Cole claims.
Fascinating how often in his career Cukor would give up control of a
sequence to someone else.
4040


From: hotlove666
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 9:36pm
Subject: Jerry and France: Another true story
 
I already shared this with M. Coursodon. About a year after marrying Veronique
(b. 1962), who is from the South of France, I left on an errand while The Lady's
Man was playing on AMC. When I came back she and the two boys (b. 1982,
1984) were bouncing on the bed laughing uproariously at Jerry, whom they
obviously knew and loved from before. "Ce Jerry Lewis," said Vero, gasping for
breath between belly-laughs, "il me tue!"
4041


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 9:41pm
Subject: Re: kendall/douchet
 
"Fascinating how often in his career Cukor would give
up control of a
sequence to someone else."

Cole was a godsend to Cukor -- and countless others --
when it came to directing Monroe. He could work out
all the movement she needed to do and she would repeat
what he showed her precisely.

Cole was able to create dance out of things that
weren't dance at all -- like Rita Hayworth's famous
"strip" in "Gilda" in which only one glove is removed.
He was quite a character, and his appearance
as"Randy"in "Designing Woman" is truly odd.
Thecharacteris defined as gay and attacked as such --
then defends himself by noting his wife and children.
Cole himself was the biggest flamer to ever work in
pictures -- his "Is There Anyone Here For Love" number
in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" the high point of studio
era homoeroticism.

That Minnelli interview that Henry Sheehan did (linked
in her earlier) is interesting for many reasons --
among them Minnelli declaring that "Tea and Sympathy"
should have been about homosexuality but wasn't. This
is it's chief failure -- both as a film, and as a
play.
The tip-toeing of the post-WWII era is positively
baroque. Last night's "Law and Order" episode in which
an anti-gay shrink (George Segal) murders the lover of
his failed -ex-gay son (Jonathan Tucker) wuldhave been
inconcievable back then.





--- joe_mcelhaney wrote:


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4042


From: hotlove666
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 9:56pm
Subject: Re: Incoherent Randy
 
You'd have to look at the paperwork to know where something like that
comes from. The easiest first strike would be the Production Code files at the
Herrick - I'll look the next time I'm there.
4043


From: Damien Bona
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 10:35pm
Subject: Re: Late Minnelli
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Tag Gallagher wrote:

> Do you really mean to put down all those wonderful biographies by
> Rossellini, Ford, Ophuls, Mizoguchi, Renoir, Sirk, P.Sturges,
Walsh,
> Dieterle -- gee the list of supermasterpieces that are "bio-pics"
is
> almost endless ?? !!
>
>

I don't really consider Young Mr. Licoln, Wings of Eagles, Lola
Montes, Taza, Son of Cochise, The Great Moment, Gentleman Jim, etc.
as primarily bio-pics per se. Rather than simply recreating a litany
of a lifetime's events (a la Gandhi, to name a particularly egregious
example), they are films that employ some biographical aspect(s)as a
starting point for attending to other concerns. I'm a huge admirer
of William Dieterle, but I think his Warners biographies of the late
30s early 40s are probably the least interesting works of his career,
and pale in comparison to his Depression-era melodramas and the later
magnificently delirious romantic drams (Love Letters. Portrait of
Jennie, September Affair).
4044


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 10:43pm
Subject: Re: Late Minnelli
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Damien Bona"
wrote:
> >
>
> I don't really consider Young Mr. Licoln, Wings of Eagles, Lola
> Montes, Taza, Son of Cochise, The Great Moment, Gentleman Jim,
etc.
> as primarily bio-pics per se. Rather than simply recreating a
litany
> of a lifetime's events (a la Gandhi, to name a particularly
egregious
> example), they are films that employ some biographical aspect(s)as
a
> starting point for attending to other concerns. I'm a huge admirer
> of William Dieterle, but I think his Warners biographies of the
late
> 30s early 40s are probably the least interesting works of his
career,
> and pale in comparison to his Depression-era melodramas and the
later
> magnificently delirious romantic drams (Love Letters. Portrait of
> Jennie, September Affair).

There are magnificently delirious romantic moments in "Juarez"...

But by rejecting so many titles out of the "bio-pic genre" you
make it necessary to come up with a definition of the bio-pic that is
going to be unavoidably and arbitrarily very restrictive and thereby
justifying the contempt for the genre you expressed in the first
place.
JPC
4045


From:
Date: Wed Nov 12, 2003 7:12pm
Subject: Re: Re: visual wit too fast even for them
 
In a message dated 11/12/2003 15:35:05 Eastern Standard Time,
sallitt@p... writes:

> The result is often editing that conveys a bare
> sense of story but nothing of spatial relations.
>

Of course, this approach can be interesting sometimes too. Filipe recently
wrote a great article on the merits of McG's "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle"
in which he discusses McG's space-destructive approach in a favorable light.
But it seems like a conscious device in McG's visual universe, whereas it's
just sort of annoying in a "naturalistic" movie like "Master and Commander."

On the other hand, I'd point to the Battle of Shrewsbury in "Chimes at
Midnight" as a very, very tightly edited battle scene within which a sense of
physical space is basically retained (one group is charging from the left; the other
from the right, etc.), even though part of the point eventually becomes the
sheer incomprehensibility and madness of it all.

Peter


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
4046


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 0:53am
Subject: Re: visual wit too fast even for them
 
The editing of the Shrewsbury sequence is abstract, not spatial: It's blow,
counterblow, not a visualization of the terrain, which never existed, any more
than the two armies did. And I defy anyone to draw a map of the Cheapside
Tavern. Ditto for almost all spatial relations in Othello. Or let's go back to the
opening of Kane, which destroys Euclidian space and time in a few shots
before the oeuvre even gets going. I've always thought it odd that Bazin was
such a Wellesian. Rohmer wasn't, even though he admired the genius of the
filmmaking.
4047


From: Peter Tonguette
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 1:15am
Subject: Re: visual wit too fast even for them
 
Bill writes:

> The editing of the Shrewsbury sequence is abstract, not spatial:
It's blow,
> counterblow, not a visualization of the terrain, which never
existed, any more
> than the two armies did.

Yes, a great point and very true of Welles' cinema in general (he
said, backpedalling furiously). "Othello" is perhaps the most radical
of all, with characters stepping across continents in single cuts.
But, then, maybe even more radical is "F for Fake" and that
extraordinary exchange of glances between Elmir and Irving -
extraordinary because Welles stitched the scene together from outtakes
of two separate interviews with Elmir and Irving! In my original
post, I suppose I was trying to express the difference between the
Shrewsbury sequence and, oh, your average contemporary action sequence
(besides the fact that the Shrewsbury sequence is pure genius): both
play havoc with "real" space, but I would maintain that the Shrewsbury
sequence retains, I don't know, a kind of clarity in comparison.
Maybe it's as simple as the 'blow, counterblow' formula you propose
a
4048


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 1:25am
Subject: Welles/Space
 
Peter:

That's how Welles described it. Othello is radical not only in the way it revises
the existing spaces it is using, but in what it does with them: it's an Escher
print come to life.
4049


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 1:38am
Subject: Othello/space
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666"
wrote:
> Peter: propose.>
>
> That's how Welles described it. Othello is radical not only in the
way it revises
> the existing spaces it is using, but in what it does with them:
it's an Escher
> print come to life.

Othello: It's the very model for cases where production lemons
become onscreen lemonade. The idea that Welles could turn alien
material (alien even to his own sensibilities) into something great
is proven in F FOR FAKE. One imagines Reichenbach's documentary
being possibly fascinating but definitely pedestrian.

- Jaime
4050


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 1:59am
Subject: Re: Othello/space
 
"The idea that Welles could turn alien
material (alien even to his own sensibilities) into
something great
is proven in F FOR FAKE. One imagines Reichenbach's
documentary
being possibly fascinating but definitely pedestrian."

While my admiration for "F For Fake" is boundless (I
think it's Welles' best film) you underestimate
Reichenbach -- particularly in relation to someone
like Elmyr. Read David Leddick's "Intimate Companions:
A Triography of George Platt Lynes, Paul
Cadmus,Lincoln Kirstein and Their Circle" for more
about Reichenbach's world (he was a Platt Lynes
running buddy) and be advised that the title of
Chereau's "Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train" came
from Reichenbach -- on his deathbed.

--- "Jaime N. Christley"
wrote:


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4051


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 6:15am
Subject: Not a film review
 
but there are several film references in it that I
trust will interest the group:

http://www.laweekly.com/ink/03/52/news-ehrenstein.php

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4052


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 6:59am
Subject: Re: visual wit too fast even for them: erratum
 
Euclid didn't deal with time. What would the brand-name equivalent of
Euclidean space be, Dan? This is your department more than mine.
4053


From: Fred Camper
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 7:15am
Subject: Re: Group business: a slightly revised Statement of Purpose
 
The revised statement of purpose mentioned in post 3923 has now become
final, and is in the files section.

- Fred
4054


From:
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 8:34am
Subject: Re: visual wit too fast even for them
 
In physics, the traditional combination of Euclidian space PLUS time is known
as "Galilean" physics, after Galileo, who did much to develop it. It is still
a pretty good approximation to ordinary events in daily reality, such as most
non-electronic machines. It was replaced by Einstein's views on space-time
earlier in the 20th Century.

Mike Grost
PS - Has anyone seen any films by the Quebec director Marc S. Grenier? His
thriller "Hidden Agenda" (2001) was on TV last night.
4055


From: joe_mcelhaney
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 1:39pm
Subject: Re:bazin and welles
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666"
wrote:
> I've always thought it odd that Bazin was
> such a Wellesian. Rohmer wasn't, even though he admired the genius
of the filmmaking.

Could we perhaps argue then that Rohmer follows in a path that is
more traditionally thought of as Bazinian in its investment in the
real while Bazin himself is, in fact, more invested in a perpetual
dialogue between the real and the abstract? Daney addresses this
particular tension in Bazin's work in "The Screen of Fantasy." This
would go some ways towards explaining Bazin's fascination with Welles
which, as you note, was more total than Rohmer's. (The same is true
in terms of Bazin's interest in Bunuel, which Rohmer did not share.)
You can see this in Bazin's writing on OTHELLO, on the one hand
trying to hold on to the idea that the long take remains an ideal for
Welles and that the fragmentation of OTHELLO is based on economic
contingencies; but on the other, Bazin is clearly faced with the
problem of the overwhelming formal audacity of this fragmented
cutting, which clearly fascinates him as well even though it would
appear to complicate his famous concern with the integrity of the pro-
filmic event.
4056


From: Richard Modiano
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 4:02pm
Subject: Re: visual wit too fast even for them
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666"
wrote:
> The editing of the Shrewsbury sequence is abstract, not spatial:
It's blow,
> counterblow, not a visualization of the terrain, which never
existed, any more
> than the two armies did. And I defy anyone to draw a map of the
Cheapside
> Tavern.

In the supplementary material of the Spanish DVD edition of CHIMES AT
MIDNIGHT there's an interview with Edmond Richard where he produces a
model of the Cheapside Tavern from he and Welles worked in designing
the scenes shot there.

Richard
4057


From:
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 4:13pm
Subject: Re: Hello/Welles/Space
 
Hi

I'm a new member of the group. Jaime Christley pointed me in this direction and I've been intermittently snooping the archives the last couple days and enjoying what I've read -- articulate/informed/civil, but not uptight. so -- hello!

On the Chimes battle scene, James Naremore had this to say in his fine Welles book w/ the unfortunate title:

"Welles also claimed to have edited the battle sequence so 'each shot would show a blow, a counterblow, a blow received, a blow struck, and so on'...but close analysis reveals he did nothing of the kind -- and good thing, because the formula would have resulted in monotony. Like most directors he cuts from an army on the l;eft to an army on the right and frequently shows a mace crashing down on one part of the field only to cut to a man falling in another place. Once in the heat of hand-to-hand combat, however, he simply throws a series of brutal and confused images on the screen; the 'center cannot hold' ...."

He follows w/ a short discussion of the "artistic logic" of the sequence. It isn't too detailed, but does at least move a bit beyond confused images simply thrown.

My own suspicion is that Welles began by keeping the reciprocal blow structure in mind as an initial way to organize the shots then began working variations and deviations on it during the actual editing.

Best
Brent
4058


From: Chris Fujiwara
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 5:46pm
Subject: Re: Hello/Welles/Space
 
Welcome, Brent. Brent is the author of the great Jerry Lewis piece
Jaime recommended, part one of which appears in the current issue of
The Believer.

I recently bought a DVD box that contains the film "The Bloody Judge"
(aka Night of the Blood Monster) by Jess (Jes˙s) Franco, a director
whose career will not be unknown to everyone here. The liner notes by
Tim Lucas (editor of Video Watchdog) contain this astonishing claim:

"Jess Franco... staged [in The Bloody Judge] some remarkable battle
sequences that prove, beyond a shadow of doubt, who was responsible
for the combat scenes of Orson Welles' FALSTAFF (THE CHIMES AT
MIDNIGHT [sic], 1966), whose second unit Franco had supervised."

I make no comment on this assertion but merely pass it on.

--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, kitebw@a... wrote:
> Hi
>
> I'm a new member of the group. Jaime Christley pointed me in this
direction and I've been intermittently snooping the archives the last
couple days and enjoying what I've read -- articulate/informed/civil,
but not uptight. so -- hello!
>
> On the Chimes battle scene, James Naremore had this to say in his
fine Welles book w/ the unfortunate title:
>
> "Welles also claimed to have edited the battle sequence so 'each
shot would show a blow, a counterblow, a blow received, a blow
struck, and so on'...but close analysis reveals he did nothing of the
kind -- and good thing, because the formula would have resulted in
monotony. Like most directors he cuts from an army on the l;eft to an
army on the right and frequently shows a mace crashing down on one
part of the field only to cut to a man falling in another place. Once
in the heat of hand-to-hand combat, however, he simply throws a
series of brutal and confused images on the screen; the 'center
cannot hold' ...."
>
> He follows w/ a short discussion of the "artistic logic" of the
sequence. It isn't too detailed, but does at least move a bit beyond
confused images simply thrown.
>
> My own suspicion is that Welles began by keeping the reciprocal
blow structure in mind as an initial way to organize the shots then
began working variations and deviations on it during the actual
editing.
>
> Best
> Brent
4059


From:
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 1:17pm
Subject: Re: Re: Hello/Welles/Space
 
In a message dated 11/13/2003 12:52:10 PM Eastern Standard Time,
chris_fujiwara@y... writes:

> "Jess Franco... staged [in The Bloody Judge] some remarkable battle
> sequences that prove, beyond a shadow of doubt, who was responsible
> for the combat scenes of Orson Welles' FALSTAFF (THE CHIMES AT
> MIDNIGHT [sic], 1966), whose second unit Franco had supervised."
>
> I make no comment on this assertion but merely pass it on.

I guess one would need to see the sequence in question to evaluate whether or
not it offers the definitive proof he claims (actually I'm not sure how it
*could* -- since The Bloody Judge was made four year afterwards it seems much
more likely Franco was influenced by Welles). But on the face of it, Lucas'
claim seems pretty ludicrous. Franco's talent hasn't seemed too conspicuous to me
in the few I've seen, and if he had such a knack for spicing up Welles films
he sure didn't show it in the botch he made of Don Quixote.

Brent


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
4060


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 6:19pm
Subject: Galileo/Welles
 
Few things are a mystery to Mystery Mike. Thanks, Mike. And no, I never
heard of your Canadian. How is he?

I've seen the Cheapside model, but can you put that space together from
seeing the film? Mogador (sp?) exists, too, but when I described Othello as a
live-action Escher print I meant that Martians trying to reconstruct the town
from that film would find themselves going down many a path leading
nowhere. Both comments may have to do with my own weakness in
discerning spatial logic, however.

Welles and Bazin were concerned with the translation of theatre to film, a
subject on which both wrote theoretical articles. (Welles' one statement, less
well known than Bazin's, is the general introduction to the series of
Shakespeare plays he edited with Roger Hill.) I think that's where their
concerns met: Bazin argued that film had to reproduce not the literal space of
the theatre, but a film version of it within which words written for the stage
could resonate properly - and his word for that film version of a theatre, I
believe, was "symbolic space." Writing about Othello, he argues that Welles
succeeded in creating a space "with the symbolic properties of a theatre" out
of bits and pieces of real architecture - exactly the opposite of the approach in
Macbeth, but with the same result, if you don't assume that Bazin was just
interested in clearly reproducing pre-existing spaces. In fact, if my recollection
of his use of "symbolic" is accurate, I'd say there's a semiological note
creeping into the argument at that point.

I believe he would have made the same argument for the Cheapside Tavern
scenes, which reproduce the symbolic space of the Elizabethan stage
(trapdoors, gallery etc.) without ever showing it in a way that enables us to
orient ourselves, just as, in my opinion, the banquet scene in Macbeth
reproduces the space of the earlier aristocratic prototype for that stage, which
would have been set up in the royal banqueting hall with the King at one end,
the actors (Banquo) at the other and the aristocratic audience along the
sides. The fact that Banquo and the audience are never visible at the same
time - when we see them, his seat is empty; when we see him, their seats are
empty - is a blackboard illustration of the role of shot-reverse shot in cinema
(rather than audience and actor being co-present, as in theatre, seer and
seen mutually eclipse each other ad infinitum, as in cinema), as well as a
powerfully uncanny effect. The fact that Othello ended up so "bitty" is
probably part of the dialectic of lemon and lemonade, but in a sense the
Banquo scene in Macbeth lays the groundwork for the vertiginous use of s-rs
editing in that film.
4061


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 6:16pm
Subject: Re: Hello/Welles/Space
 
Brent, good to have you alist!

What I find fascinating about Welles' transition between "theatrical"
long takes (KANE, AMBERSONS) and fragmented cutting (OTHELLO...) is
that, to me, it demonstrates that there's a larger artistic
sensibility that remains intact, from first to last, and that Welles
kept developing and innovating that sensibility, throughout his
entire life. What makes the battle sequence in CHIMES thrilling
isn't that it's tediously logical or "thrown together"; I don't see
it as being either. Certainly there's a fair amount of improvisation
in Welles' cutting, but he improvises brilliantly and that's what
makes the sequence...well, brilliant. (The reference to jazz is not
unintentional.) It's possible for a filmmaker to throw a bunch of
strips of film together, at random, and to come up with something
great, accidentally. I don't know much about art forms that are
governed by random concepts but I'm sure there are wonderful examples
of "random" music, painting, film, etc. But that kind of talk
doesn't jive with a close examination of Welles' big montage set
pieces: they are as carefully orchestrated - and lively - as any of
the elaborate long takes in KANE or AMBERSONS.

As an aside, I sometimes think that Welles' success with fragmented
cutting is a perfect answer to the studio-imposed (and arguably less
artistic) cutting that marred his post-KANE Hollywood projects.

-Jaime


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

> My own suspicion is that Welles began by keeping the reciprocal
> blow structure in mind as an initial way to organize the shots then
> began working variations and deviations on it during the actual
> editing.
4062


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 6:45pm
Subject: Re: Galileo/Welles: erratum
 
Welles' introducction to the Shakespeare introductions is a history of theatre
space from the Renaissance on. I merely interpret it as raising questions that
wopuld concern him when he started making films.
4063


From:
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 2:05pm
Subject: Re: Re: Hello/Welles/Space
 
In a message dated 11/13/2003 1:28:26 PM Eastern Standard Time,
j_christley@y... writes:

> What makes the battle sequence in CHIMES thrilling
> isn't that it's tediously logical or "thrown together"; I don't see
> it as being either. Certainly there's a fair amount of improvisation
> in Welles' cutting, but he improvises brilliantly and that's what
> makes the sequence...well, brilliant. (The reference to jazz is not
> unintentional.)

In general, and not thinking of anyone specifically, I think some critics
have trouble relating to the notion of creative process as process and are more
comfortable when they can see certain rules in operation or attribute clear
thematic intent to formal decisions. This actually seems to affect the discussion
of Welles in a number of ways -- I've read intelligent people argue that his
career is an objective downhill slide cause he never again had the freedom he
did on Kane, etc. etc. And the argument that he did in fact retain control of
many of his late works is met with "but he didn't have the RESOURCES and so
the movies are marred in various ways." There seems to be some platonic ideal
of, say, Chimes in these peoples' minds that I just can't see, and the film that
is there is plenty rich enough. I love the way Welles *uses* what he has,
regards every stage of the making as opportunity, views setbacks as opportunity,
etc

Brent


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
4064


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 7:20pm
Subject: Re: Hello/Welles/Space
 
I had actually written some more about this at the end of my last
post but left it off for fear of sounding fanboy-ish. But yeah, what
you said. It isn't just that Welles kept making films (or rather,
kept making "cinema," since plenty of works aren't finished in the
sense of "finished product," and that's a fascination discussion in
itself, etc) that I find compelling, it's that he kept *innovating*,
he kept growing as an artist, etc. I don't even get irritated at the
mess of anti-Welles cliches anymore, they just seem a sign of
ignorance and a lack of even the littlest bit of faith in the guy.

Was talking to a friend (and fellow Jerry-phile) at the video store a
while back and he expressed some amazement that I thought *all* of
CHIMES was great, not just the big battle scene. I guess that's the
general reputation it has now, but to me - after seeing it very
recently - the entire film is really of a piece, the battle isn't
just a spike in a long and otherwise flat (or blurry) line.

-Jaime

--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, kitebw@a... wrote:
> There seems to be some platonic ideal
> of, say, Chimes in these peoples' minds that I just can't see, and
> the film that
> is there is plenty rich enough. I love the way Welles *uses* what
> he has,
> regards every stage of the making as opportunity, views setbacks as
> opportunity,
> etc
4065


From:
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 2:31pm
Subject: Re: Re: Hello/Welles/Space
 
In a message dated 11/13/03 2:14:18 PM, kitebw@a... writes:

>I love the way Welles *uses* what he has,
>regards every stage of the making as opportunity, views setbacks as
opportunity,
>etc

Beautifully expressed. Welles himself acknowledged the importance of process
in his work in his remarkable essay film, "Filming 'Othello,'" where he goes
into great detail about the ways in which the production circumstances of
"Othello" impacted the final film. Of course, this is true of >every< movie. The
point you make is that we shouldn't look down on Welles for having different
production circumstances than, oh, Vincente Minnelli. The fact that he made a
stunningly beautiful poetic fragment ("The Dreamers") in his living room and
garden in Hollywood (in lieu of proper financing) is to be marveled at, not
condescended to.

Peter
4066


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 7:35pm
Subject: Chimes
 
There is a huge piece on the coming Henry IV production
starring Kevin Kline in last Sunday's NY Times. It is mostly a
puffed-up "battle" between Harold Bloom and the director about
how to read Falstaff, but it speaks respectfully of Welles (while
putting him in the Bloom camp, where he belongs) and runs a
big shot of him as Falstaff. Ironic, since Bosley Crowther, the
Times' all-powerful critic, did his best to destroy the film when he
saw it at Cannes and later when it was released. Welles
meditated all his on life how to do the Henriad (which he was
trying to mount as Five Kings when he got the RKO offer and
went to H'wd to make some money to pour into the production),
and I can't imagine a better interpretation of the plays. As for the
technical "flaws," John Carpenter said (in an interview for
Locarno in 1997) that he'd take Chimes over all the expensive
"eye-candy" that ever came out of Hollywood. One problem: The
film is not really in release because of the Troubles, so people
may only have seen the battle scene in tv tributes.
4067


From: filipefurtado
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 7:46pm
Subject: Re: Re: Hello/Welles/Space
 
> The liner notes by
> Tim Lucas (editor of Video Watchdog) contain this astonishin
g claim:
>
> "Jess Franco... staged [in The Bloody Judge] some remarkable
battle
> sequences that prove, beyond a shadow of doubt, who was resp
onsible
> for the combat scenes of Orson Welles' FALSTAFF (THE CHIMES
AT
> MIDNIGHT [sic], 1966), whose second unit Franco had supervis
ed."
>
> I make no comment on this assertion but merely pass it on.
>

Chris,


I think Tim Lucas can be a pretty smart critic, but as some
other critics who usually defend filmmakers with no
respectabilty he has the bad habit of overpraised them (or to
go over other people corpses as a way of praise them).

Filipe



> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, kitebw@a... wrote:
> > Hi
> >
> > I'm a new member of the group. Jaime Christley pointed me
in this
> direction and I've been intermittently snooping the archives
the last
> couple days and enjoying what I've read --
articulate/informed/civil,
> but not uptight. so -- hello!
> >
> > On the Chimes battle scene, James Naremore had this to say
in his
> fine Welles book w/ the unfortunate title:
> >
> > "Welles also claimed to have edited the battle sequence so
'each
> shot would show a blow, a counterblow, a blow received, a bl
ow
> struck, and so on'...but close analysis reveals he did nothi
ng of the
> kind --
and good thing, because the formula would have resulted in
> monotony. Like most directors he cuts from an army on the l;
eft to an
> army on the right and frequently shows a mace crashing down
on one
> part of the field only to cut to a man falling in another pl
ace. Once
> in the heat of hand-to-
hand combat, however, he simply throws a
> series of brutal and confused images on the screen; the 'cen
ter
> cannot hold' ...."
> >
> > He follows w/ a short discussion of the "artistic logic" o
f the
> sequence. It isn't too detailed, but does at least move a bi
t beyond
> confused images simply thrown.
> >
> > My own suspicion is that Welles began by keeping the recip
rocal
> blow structure in mind as an initial way to organize the sho
ts then
> began working variations and deviations on it during the act
ual
> editing.
> >
> > Best
> > Brent
>
>
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Compre no Shopping UOL
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4068


From: joe_mcelhaney
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 8:56pm
Subject: Chimes/Nevsky/Welles & Other Directors
 
Apart from the possible intervention of the style of Jess Franco (a
director whose work I don't know), has anyone ever done an extended
comparison of the battle sequence from ALEXANDER NEVSKY with the
battle sequence from CHIMES? Eisenstein's sequence is occasionally
cited as an influence on Welles's but, in everything I've looked
through, this influence is only discussed on an anecdotal level. I
don't have any Welles interviews in which he talks about NEVSKY,
only about IVAN THE TERRIBLE, a film he wrote about and disliked,
prompting a correspondence between the two directors. Eisenstein's
influence clearly makes its way into certain moments of MACBETH and
OTHELLO.

--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, ptonguette@a... wrote:
> The point you make is that we shouldn't look down on Welles for
having different production circumstances than, oh, Vincente
Minnelli. The fact that he made a stunningly beautiful poetic
fragment ("The Dreamers") in his living room and garden in Hollywood
(in lieu of proper financing) is to be marveled at, not condescended
to.

Welles did look down on Minnelli, though. In the 1958 CAHIERS DU
CINEMA interview, when Welles was asked what he thought of certain
directors, one of the names offered was Minnelli. Welles's response
was (I'm quoting from memory): "Come on, I thought you were going
to ask me about directors." This is the same interview in which he
was also dismissive of Rossellini, Nicholas Ray, all of American
Hitchcock and denied ever having seen a film by Fritz Lang. Of
course as Welles later told Bogdanovich, he often used these moments
in interviews as a form of performance rather than a direct
statement of how he necessarily felt about certain films and
filmmakers. In many cases, he wasn't even familiar with the films
he spoke so authoritatively on. However, I once heard an episode of
a radio series that Welles did in the early 1950s, from around the
time of the slightly Wellesian THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, in which
he played a detective on the trail of a thief named Minnelli.
4069


From: Damien Bona
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 9:18pm
Subject: Re: Not a film review
 
Terrific piece, David -- insightful, mordantly funny and smart as
hell.

My only question is, didn't I read on your website that you and your
boyfriend have been together for decades? You and he would seem to
make a good case for long-term relationships.

--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
> but there are several film references in it that I
> trust will interest the group:
>
> http://www.laweekly.com/ink/03/52/news-ehrenstein.php
>
4070


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 9:33pm
Subject: Re: Chimes/Nevsky/Welles & Other Directors
 
That's a great observation about the "thief named Minnelli."

Dick Wilson, who was sitting next to Welles when he saw Ivan the Terrible,
said OW liked it. I believe he later included it in a list of ten best films, too. But
I have no doubt that he changed his story at least once. Where was the
correspondence with Eisenstein published?
4071


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 10:16pm
Subject: Re: Re: Not a film review
 
Thanks.

Yes we might "make a case," but I don't think gay life
as its properly understood can be refracted through
the "tyranny of the couple" -- about which Pasolini
was so eloquent in his "Lutheran Letters." I think of
the end of "Those Who Love me Can Take the Train" with
Francois staring up at the hotel room windo where
Bruno and Louis are embracing, and then heads off to
the cemetery to meditate on the man who he has just
discovered he really loved most of all -- the
deceased.

I think too of "Lost in Translation" and "Living Out
Loud," bot of which deal with heterosexual "almost
couples" whose relationships are transitory yet
profound.

"Happily Ever After" is in many ways a sentence of
life in prison without the possibility of parole.
--- Damien Bona wrote:
> Terrific piece, David -- insightful, mordantly funny
> and smart as
> hell.
>
> My only question is, didn't I read on your website
> that you and your
> boyfriend have been together for decades? You and
> he would seem to
> make a good case for long-term relationships.
>
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
>
> wrote:
> > but there are several film references in it that I
> > trust will interest the group:
> >
> >
>
http://www.laweekly.com/ink/03/52/news-ehrenstein.php
> >
>
>
>


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4072


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 10:22pm
Subject: Welles on Minnelli and others
 
In the 1958 Cahiers interview Welles, asked "What do you think of
Vincente Minnelli?" answered (this of course is my re-translation
from the French)"Come on, we're having a serious conversation, we're
talking about filmmakers." (the French for that last word
was "cineastes").

In the same interview he also put down Nicholas Ray: "I'm not
interested. I walked out after four reels of Rebel Without a Cause. I
get angry just thinking about that movie." And Kubrick ("Paths of
Glory is repugnant. I walked out after two reels.") And
Rossellini: "An amateur. If you're Italian all you have to do is take
a camera and put people in front of it and they'll believe you're a
director." He also claimed he had never seen a German film and
pretended he had forgotten Fritz Lang's name. At the end of the
interview he said: "Je n'aime pas le cinema, sauf quand je tourne."

If Welles was alive, I think Peter and Fred should think twice
before inviting him to join this group...

JPC
4073


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 10:22pm
Subject: Welles; Auteurs and TV
 
Very enjoyable/informative Welles posts by one and all, especially
Bill's.

Auteurs & TV being a recurring subject on the list here, I wanted to
share the fact that I'm watching an episode of the Colgate Comedy
Hour (following a DVD-purchase recommendation from new listmember and
fellow New Yorker Brent); it stars JERRY LEWIS and Dean Martin; it
features choreography and an appearance by BOB FOSSE (he sure could
dance!) and Mary Ann Niles; the credits list the production
supervisor as being one SAMUEL FULLER.

Weirded out,
-Jaime
4074


From:
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 6:04pm
Subject: Re: Re: Hello/Welles/Space
 
In a message dated 11/13/2003 2:31:34 PM Eastern Standard Time,
j_christley@y... writes:

> Was talking to a friend (and fellow Jerry-phile) at the video store a
> while back and he expressed some amazement that I thought *all* of
> CHIMES was great, not just the big battle scene.

I don't get that at all. Maybe he was just relieved the Shakespeare had
stopped? I have seen prints where the dialogue was noticeably out of sync for some
reels, but I often wonder whether complaints about the soundtrack aren't
sometimes a cover for people's difficulty with the language.

Brent


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
4075


From:
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 6:14pm
Subject: Re: Re: Hello/Welles/Space
 
In a message dated 11/13/2003 2:46:30 PM Eastern Standard Time,
ptonguette@a... writes:

> Of course, this is true of >every< movie. The
> point you make is that we shouldn't look down on Welles for having different
>
> production circumstances than, oh, Vincente Minnelli. The fact that he made
> a
> stunningly beautiful poetic fragment ("The Dreamers") in his living room and
>
> garden in Hollywood (in lieu of proper financing) is to be marveled at, not
> condescended to.
>

Exactly, the other position seems to assume a (rather glossy) norm and see
anything else as unaccountable deviation or undeniable shortcoming. And you're
certainly right that production circumstances affect every film. I wonder,
though, if it's possible to make a rough distinction between directors whose
creative process thrives on contingency (such as Ruiz, Godard...?) and directors
who do all they can to minimize it. I guess Hitchcock is the usual candidate for
this latter position -- though it seems he considerably oversimplified his
own case. I do think it says something that he chose to present himself in such
a way -- at least that he was canny enough to know that this somehow coincided
with what's expected of artists (direct transmission from the brainpan).

Brent


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
4076


From:
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 6:22pm
Subject: Re: Welles on Minnelli and others
 
In a message dated 11/13/2003 5:41:39 PM Eastern Standard Time,
jpcoursodon@y... writes:

> In the same interview he also put down Nicholas Ray: "I'm not
> interested. I walked out after four reels of Rebel Without a Cause. I
> get angry just thinking about that movie."

Did he go into more detail about his gripe with that film? I'd be interested
to know. The rest of those judgements stand at odds with other remarks, maybe
he was trying to get a rise out of his audience.

There was a horrible story in the New Yorker a few weeks ago about Pauline
Kael sitting in a restaurant telling Ray what was wrong with all of his films,
while he hung his head in...shame, boredom, disgust, i dunno.

Brent


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
4077


From: George Robinson
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 11:36pm
Subject: An interestingly obscure film database
 
I'm a recipient of several excellent weekly e-mail newsletters focussing on
new websites. The following comes from one of them and may be of use to
someone on this list (although I'm not quite sure why). Incidentally, the
first film shot in Scotland that leaps to my mind is Powell's "I Know Where
I'm Going."

George (I haven't the faintest idea where I'm going but I don't care)
Robinson

The man who does not read good books
has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.
--Mark Twain

Archive For Films Shot In Scotland

I admit it, when I think of films, "Scotland" does not
immediately pop into my mind. But there's enough of
Scotland's national film archive to create an entire site,
which is available at http://data.scottishscreen.com/home/ .

You can do a simple keyword search from the front page, but
I thought the advanced search was better. With the advanced
search you can add a variety of variables including genre,
subject, sound, color, and year of creation.

A title search for castle found over 250 results. Search
results include reference number, name and description. It's
not underlined, but you can click on the film title for
additional information, including ... oh, I see. You can't
retrieve title information in Opera; you'll get a 404 error.
It'll work fine in IE, however, and you'll see that the
title is in bold. Anyway, title information includes
details, genre, year, credits, and an incredibly detailed
shot list. Some films are available to be ordered; not all.
4078


From:
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 6:41pm
Subject: Re: Welles on Minnelli and others
 
JPC writes:

>If Welles was alive, I think Peter and Fred should think twice
>before inviting him to join this group...

He did do an about-face on Kubrick though, JP. Vinny LoBrutto can confirm
this. Anyway, Welles' love for McCarey (especially "Make Way For Tomorrow"),
Renoir ("Grand Illusion"), and late Dreyer ("Gertrud") more than make up for his
disdain for Minnelli, Lang, and Ray.

In short, er, Orson would be welcome here!

Peter
4079


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 11:42pm
Subject: Re: Welles on Minnelli and others
 
> Did he go into more detail about his gripe with that film? I'd be
interested
> to know. The rest of those judgements stand at odds with other
remarks, maybe
> he was trying to get a rise out of his audience.

This was from the Bazin interview (in the big interview book from
last year). No, he didn't say anything else.

Somebody ought to do a detailed study of Welles-as-interview-
subject. That's a complicated thing if nothing else. A lot of the
time he was just talking for talk's sake, sometimes he was saying
contradictory things (to be playful? manipulative?), and sometimes
he was being way too honest about his opinions of people for his own
good.

He liked Dreyer, Mizoguchi, Jerry Lewis (as comedian), De Sica (bad
auteurist rep), Ford (of course), Hawks, Walsh, Lang (!), Lubitsch,
Murnau, Rene Clair, Renoir ("I've loved him most of all).

-Jaime
4080


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Fri Nov 14, 2003 0:05am
Subject: Re: Re: Hello/Welles/Space/Gus
 
"Was talking to a friend (and fellow Jerry-phile) at
the video store a
while back and he expressed some amazement that I
thought *all* of
CHIMES was great, not just the big battle scene. I
guess that's the
general reputation it has now, but to me - after
seeing it very
recently - the entire film is really of a piece, the
battle isn't
just a spike in a long and otherwise flat (or blurry)
line."

I'm wondering if this is a good time to bring up "My
Own Private Idaho" -- whose entire climax is a hommage
ot "Chimes." This violation of the film's resumed
predominant tone of "realism" has made it most
controversial indeed.


--- "Jaime N. Christley"
wrote:


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4081


From:
Date: Thu Nov 13, 2003 7:24pm
Subject: Re: Re: Hello/Welles/Space/Gus
 
In a message dated 11/13/2003 7:11:37 PM Eastern Standard Time,
cellar47@y... writes:

> I'm wondering if this is a good time to bring up "My
> Own Private Idaho" -- whose entire climax is a hommage
> ot "Chimes." This violation of the film's resumed
> predominant tone of "realism" has made it most
> controversial indeed.

I love Idaho, saw it -- a lot -- when it opened. And would always step out
for a cigarette at the same time, just as the robbery sequence (a la Chimes)
started. The film seems to shift tone from scene to scene all the way through,
and even if some of the Welles-inflected stuff kinda doesn't work, IMO, I still
like the movie for trying it.

And it really is Chimes that's the model rather than the plays -- whole
sequences are visually quoted down to camera angle/movement (dry run for Psycho??)

I actually liked Idaho so much I swore off seeing any of Van S's later films,
fearing a repeat of what I call Wenders Syndrome, where later work is so ...
how to put it? ... awful, that it dims the experience of earlier stuff. But I
think I'm going to break my resolve for Elephant.

Brent


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
4082


From: Michael Lieberman
Date: Fri Nov 14, 2003 2:40am
Subject: Dogville release
 
Does anyone know if the US release of "Dogville" next Spring will be shortened by 45 minutes as originally speculated? Or is it the 177 minute cut?

Mike
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4083


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Fri Nov 14, 2003 2:53am
Subject: Re: Dogville release
 
As far as I know that was a rumor (or an actual plan of action) that
was squelched sometime before the end of, or just after, Cannes.

-Jaime

--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Lieberman"
wrote:
> Does anyone know if the US release of "Dogville" next Spring will
be shortened by 45 minutes as originally speculated? Or is it the 177
minute cut?
>
> Mike
> --
> __________________________________________________________
> Sign-up for your own personalized E-mail at Mail.com
> http://www.mail.com/?sr=signup
>
> Search Smarter - get the new eXact Search Bar for free!
> http://www.exactsearchbar.com/
4084


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Fri Nov 14, 2003 4:15am
Subject: Re: Dogville release [correction]
 
Reliable source: Lion's Gate, which is handling DOGVILLE in the
U.S., produced a shorter version of the film, shopped it around, but
there were no takers. As a result, intrepid American moviegoers will
see the full 177-minute version.

As far as I'm concerned: thank God. I can't see the power of this
great film being anything other than compromised or diluted by a
distributor's decision to cut it up.

-Jaime

--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Jaime N. Christley"
wrote:
> As far as I know that was a rumor (or an actual plan of action)
that
> was squelched sometime before the end of, or just after, Cannes.
>
> -Jaime
>
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Lieberman"
> wrote:
> > Does anyone know if the US release of "Dogville" next Spring will
> be shortened by 45 minutes as originally speculated? Or is it the
177
> minute cut?
> >
> > Mike
> > --
> > __________________________________________________________
> > Sign-up for your own personalized E-mail at Mail.com
> > http://www.mail.com/?sr=signup
> >
> > Search Smarter - get the new eXact Search Bar for free!
> > http://www.exactsearchbar.com/
4085


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Fri Nov 14, 2003 4:33am
Subject: Re: Re: Hello/Welles/Space/Gus
 
"Elephant" is Gus' best film. Hie oeuvre is all over
the map. Uniquely personal films ("Mala Noche")
completely commerical ones ("Finding Forrester"),
oddball in-betweens ("Psycho," "To Die For")

The key to Gus are his short works "My Best Friend,"
"Five Ways to Kill Yourself," "Five Naked Boys with a
Gun"

"Gerry" and "Elephant" mark the turning of a new
corner for Gus.

I want him to do the like of Joe Brainard.

And that of course means I want Todd Haynes to do the
life of Frank O'Hara.

This is all part of my Master Plan for completely
controlling the world of gay cinema!
--- kitebw@a... wrote:

> I actually liked Idaho so much I swore off seeing
> any of Van S's later films,
> fearing a repeat of what I call Wenders Syndrome,
> where later work is so ...
> how to put it? ... awful, that it dims the
> experience of earlier stuff. But I
> think I'm going to break my resolve for Elephant.
>
> Brent
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been
> removed]
>
>


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4086


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Fri Nov 14, 2003 5:03am
Subject: van Ackeren
 
I just saw Ulrich Seidl's remarkable film JESUS, YOU KNOW, and it made
me think of German director Robert van Ackeren, who was mining this
territory decades before Seidl, and who seems to have vanished from the
international film scene. Does anyone know his films or his
whereabouts? Filmex in LA showed some of his early 80s work, including
the then-shocking documentary PRIVATE GERMANY and the interesting PURITY
OF HEART, with Elisabeth Trissenaar. There was clearly something cruel
about van Ackeren, but there were too many unexpected moments of feeling
in his films to dismiss him. His one international release, A WOMAN IN
FLAMES in 1983, was a jump forward for him; then, in 1988, he did an
amazing film called THE VENUS TRAP, which I thought was a masterpiece.
At that point I was ready for anything from van Ackeren, but I never
heard of THE VENUS TRAP after its AFI Fest screening, nor did I ever
read about van Ackeren again. He has a 1992 film in the IMDb, then
nothing. I read somewhere that he was an important film school teacher
in Germany. - Dan
4087


From: Robert Keser
Date: Fri Nov 14, 2003 5:15am
Subject: Re: Not a film review
 
It's great to hear some kind words for the excellent, impressively
adult Living Out Loud, which rarely gets much attention, despite
housing one of the most romantic moments in all cinema, when
Holly Hunter opens the wrong door and is swept inside. Her
attempt to reclaim the experience through the rest of the film
makes a beautiful metaphor for the search for love. The movie
is brave enough to resist all routine plot expectations
(as with the Danny DeVito character) and marks maybe
mainstream American cinema's first unself-conscious use
of a gay bar scene: Holly Hunter dances in a girl bar and we
are left to make whatever we want of it.

(Your article is also excellent and impressively adult!)

--Robert Keser

--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
...>
> I think too of "Lost in Translation" and "Living Out
> Loud," both of which deal with heterosexual "almost
> couples" whose relationships are transitory yet
> profound.
4089


From:
Date: Fri Nov 14, 2003 1:03am
Subject: Re: Re: Hello/Welles/Space/Gus
 
In a message dated 11/13/2003 19:32:33 Eastern Standard Time, kitebw@a...
writes:

> I actually liked Idaho so much I swore off seeing any of Van S's later
> films,
> fearing a repeat of what I call Wenders Syndrome, where later work is so ...
>
> how to put it? ... awful, that it dims the experience of earlier stuff. But
> I
> think I'm going to break my resolve for Elephant.
>

I like virtually nothing of Van Sant's between "My Own Private Idaho" and
"Gerry"... but "Gerry" was so phenomenal that all is forgiven. (Granted: "Even
Cowgirls Get the Blues" and "Psycho" are a great deal more interesting than
their reputations would suggest.) "Elephant" seems to be emerging as Van Sant's
real 'comeback' piece critically speaking, and I am looking forward to it very
much after reading what some posters here have written about it on the group
and in print, but it'd be a mistake to overlook the film which preceded it.
I'm led to believe that the lessons Van Sant learned on "Gerry" were very much
carried over to "Elephant."

I also loved the "Chimes" material in "My Own Private Idaho" and would
completely agree that it's "Chimes," not the plays, which Van Sant was referencing.
As I recall it, the blocking of the actors of the "I know thee not, old man"
scene in "Idaho" imitated Welles' film precisely, although my memory was that
the camera angles were somewhat different.

Peter


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
4090


From:
Date: Fri Nov 14, 2003 1:21am
Subject: Welles and cutting
 
In a message dated 11/13/2003 13:28:22 Eastern Standard Time,
j_christley@y... writes:

> As an aside, I sometimes think that Welles' success with fragmented
> cutting is a perfect answer to the studio-imposed (and arguably less
> artistic) cutting that marred his post-KANE Hollywood projects.

I think a problem for Welles in the last two decades of his life was how many
tiny unfinished things he had accumulated through the years. I'm not
thinking of the big feature films which he actually hoped to complete AS big feature
films ("Don Quixote"; "The Deep"; "The Other Side of the Wind"; "The
Dreamers"; etc), but little sketches such as the material from the aborted CBS special
("Swinging London"; "Stately Homes"; "Tailors"; "Churchill") and his filmed
readings from "Moby Dick," "The Golden Honeymoon," and the Bible. (To say
nothing of his stunning trenchcoat reading of Shylock's monologue!) These bits and
pieces were all shot over the course of quite a few years (with differing
film stocks) and none of them are really substantial enough to exist on their
own. (Of course, this raises another issue entirely; why are avant-garde artists
like Anger and Brakhage allowed to make fragments of several minutes, but a
narrative filmmaker like Welles can't?) Welles' solution to this was to craft
a sort of 'compilation' film which he was calling "Orson's Bag" at one stage
and in which he would feature all of these little fragments and not worry about
the change in film stocks and time periods and so on or even how the
fragments related to each other (conceivably his reading of "Moby Dick" could rest
right beside his wonderful caricature of Churchill).

It's interesting that he confronted the difficulties of fragmentary cutting
and shooting over a long period of time head-on in "The Other Side of the
Wind." The whole idea of that film was that we were seeing the movie from the
perspective of film students and documentarians following the lead character
around. The fragments edited by Welles which are widely available are practically
revolutionary in their fast-paced cutting within single scenes between color,
B&W, 35, 16, etc., etc. Welles anticipated the editing style in the shooting,
just as he did - to less flashy effect perhaps - in "Othello" decades
earlier.

The unseen Welles movie I've written most about, "The Dreamers," looks to be
a return, actually, to the more measured cutting style of some of the other
films. But all we have to go by are a half hour of scenes and test scenes, so
who knows what the final film would have looked like and, more to the point,
who knows if he would have gotten legitimate financing (which may have freed him
to continue in this style) or if he would go make the whole thing himself,
which may have necessitated a more "Othello"-like editing style.

Peter


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
4091


From:
Date: Fri Nov 14, 2003 1:25am
Subject: Another in our popular series of chats
 
[An earlier version of this note was sent out with incorrect date/time info;
please disregard.]

Fred, Tristan, and I are going to hold another in our series of oh-so-popular

chat sessions this SUNDAY at 8:00 P.M. Eastern.  As usual, there are no set
topics beyond what films we've seen recently or care to discuss.  So if
you're inclined to Internet chatting, we'd love to have you join us.

A few posters not savvy with Yahoo! Groups web page design have asked how you

participate.  All you do is click on "Chat" at the bar on the left hand side
of our web page.  The chat page will load and you're all set.

Peter


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
4092


From: Tosh
Date: Fri Nov 14, 2003 6:35am
Subject: Re: Welles and cutting
 
Orson Welles ....not that's an interesting subject matter. I
remember watching him on talk shows - and found him to be quite
quaint and rather established of some sort. Yet his work was great.
But on the other hand I never could figure out why he was always
looking for money - and people who supported him via the press never
actually gave him money. I am thinking particularly of Henry Jaglom
(is that the correct spelling of his name).

If meomory serves me correctly (and it maybe wrong) Jaglom was always
defending Welles against the big guys - but I couldn't figure why
Jaglom never gave him money to do a film - and maybe he did, I don't
know. Did he?

I think Kenneth Anger is just as good as Welles! Sometimes better!
Depends on my mood.

Ciao,
--
Tosh Berman
TamTam Books
http://www.tamtambooks.com
4093


From: Henrik Sylow
Date: Fri Nov 14, 2003 9:37am
Subject: Re: Dogville release
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Jaime N. Christley" ..> wrote:
> Reliable source: Lion's Gate, which is handling DOGVILLE in the
> U.S., produced a shorter version of the film, shopped it around, but
> there were no takers. As a result, intrepid American moviegoers
will
> see the full 177-minute version.
>
> As far as I'm concerned: thank God. I can't see the power of this
> great film being anything other than compromised or diluted by a
> distributor's decision to cut it up.
>
> -Jaime

I know no one who really knows why Lion Gate would "sell" a 120 minute
version. The only reason I can think of is, that they wanted to
increase their revenue by allowing more slots by shorter film.

To those who want the film on DVD, Nordisk Film is releasing it the
18th November in a 2-Disc Special Edition with audio commentary and
tons of additional material. (Region 2 PAL)
4094


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Fri Nov 14, 2003 3:01pm
Subject: Re: Welles and cutting
 
Welles couldn't figure that out either.

No, he never gave him one dime. Jaglom is the THE most
disgusting Phoebe in the history of the cinema.

Kenneth Anger is a whole 'nother story.

--- Tosh wrote:
I
> couldn't figure why
> Jaglom never gave him money to do a film - and maybe
> he did, I don't
> know. Did he?
>
> I think Kenneth Anger is just as good as Welles!
> Sometimes better!
> Depends on my mood.
>
> Ciao,
> --
> Tosh Berman
> TamTam Books
> http://www.tamtambooks.com
>


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4095


From: joe_mcelhaney
Date: Fri Nov 14, 2003 3:23pm
Subject: Re: Welles & IVAN THE TERRIBLE
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666"
wrote:
> That's a great observation about the "thief named Minnelli."
>
> Dick Wilson, who was sitting next to Welles when he saw Ivan the
Terrible,
> said OW liked it. I believe he later included it in a list of ten
best films, too. But
> I have no doubt that he changed his story at least once. Where was
the
> correspondence with Eisenstein published?

Welles claimed that the correspondence burned in a fire in his house
in Spain. I don't know if the Eisenstein archive has any of this
material but if so I'm not aware of them making any of it available.
Welles said that the level of correspondence was heavier on
Eisenstein's side than on his.

Interesting that Welles would do a flip flop on IVAN, from enjoying
it while watching it with Wilson (I think Rita Hayworth was with them
too) then officially criticize the film later, at one point even
calling IVAN the worst film ever made by a great cineaste (which it
most emphatically is NOT). There are several explanations for his
difficulties with IVAN, though, from the political (he understandably
saw it as being tied to Stalinism) to the aesthetic, in that he also
felt that the film went too far, became laughably excessive at
times. I think here he misses the point of the film's visual and
theatrical excesses which are not unintentionally funny at all but
deliberately ironic and sometimes camp in nature.

I wonder to what extent he may also have resented the film on some
level in that Eisenstein was clearly pushing the envelope here and
succeeding, making the kind of baroque extravaganza -- about as
formally audacious as the cinema can get -- while still making a work
which appealed to a popular spectator, certainly one of Welles's
goals as well but one in which popular success usually eluded him?
And IVAN still works as popular spectacle. Whenever I see the film
with audiences they are still spellbound by it and my students always
love it. In fact, in a class on film performance I taught last
semester the students were more responsive to IVAN than to TOUCH OF
EVIL.

The only Ten Best list I know of that Welles did was for SIGHT AND
SOUND in 1952 and IVAN wasn't there. POTEMKIN was, along with CITY
LIGHTS (interesting considering how critical he later was of
Chaplin), GREED, INTOLERANCE, NANOOK OF THE NORTH, SHOESHINE, THE
BAKER'S WIFE, GRAND ILLUSION, STAGECOACH and OUR DAILY BREAD. Except
for the Vidor, pretty standard arthouse fare of the period.

Cukor tells a funny story about Welles being at a party at Darryl
Zanuck's around 1944 and Cukor overheard Welles telling someone: "I'm
not really an educated man and I wish I were. I'd love to read THE
ODYSSEY in the original Greek and the Bible in the original Hebrew."
Cukor thought, "That's strange, where have I heard someone say that
before?" And then he remembered it was in a typescript of Maughaum's
THE RAZOR'S EDGE, which Maughaum's agent was sending around in pre-
galley form to people in Hollywood, everyone under the assumption
that they had the only copy. Welles was so taken with the novel's
protagonist that he was becoming him. As Cukor said, "It's an
indicative, interesting thing about him."
4096


From: Michael Lieberman
Date: Fri Nov 14, 2003 3:27pm
Subject: Re: Re: Dogville release [correction]
 
I couldn't see a frame sliced from "Dogville" to be beneficial to anyone but theater owners hoping to pack in more people. And I agree with Jaime that this is a great film, probably
the best I've seen this year. Thanks for the responses.

Mike


----- Original Message -----
From: "Jaime N. Christley"
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2003 04:15:13 -0000
To: a_film_by@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [a_film_by] Re: Dogville release [correction]





Reliable source:  Lion's Gate, which is handling DOGVILLE in the

U.S., produced a shorter version of the film, shopped it around, but

there were no takers.  As a result, intrepid American moviegoers will

see the full 177-minute version.



As far as I'm concerned:  thank God.  I can't see the power of this

great film being anything other than compromised or diluted by a

distributor's decision to cut it up.



-Jaime



--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Jaime N. Christley"

wrote:

> As far as I know that was a rumor (or an actual plan of action)

that

> was squelched sometime before the end of, or just after, Cannes.

>

> -Jaime

>

> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Lieberman"

> wrote:

> > Does anyone know if the US release of "Dogville" next Spring will

> be shortened by 45 minutes as originally speculated? Or is it the

177

> minute cut?

> >

> > Mike

> > --

> > __________________________________________________________

> > Sign-up for your own personalized E-mail at Mail.com

> > http://www.mail.com/?sr=signup">http://www.mail.com/?sr=signup">http://www.mail.com/?sr=signup

> >

> > Search Smarter - get the new eXact Search Bar for free!

> > http://www.exactsearchbar.com/">http://www.exactsearchbar.com/">http://www.exactsearchbar.com/

















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4097


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Fri Nov 14, 2003 3:47pm
Subject: Re: Welles and money
 
> But on the other hand I never could figure out why he was always
> looking for money - and people who supported him via the press never
> actually gave him money.

I've heard that Welles wasn't responsible with other people's money, and
that this, more than his bankability, was the reason that he had trouble
financing projects. Probably some people here can confirm or deny. - Dan
4098


From: vincent lobrutto
Date: Fri Nov 14, 2003 3:54pm
Subject: Re: Welles and K. Anger
 
Tosh wrote:
Orson Welles ....not that's an interesting subject matter. I
remember watching him on talk shows - and found him to be quite
quaint and rather established of some sort. Yet his work was great.
But on the other hand I never could figure out why he was always
looking for money - and people who supported him via the press never
actually gave him money. I am thinking particularly of Henry Jaglom
(is that the correct spelling of his name).

If meomory serves me correctly (and it maybe wrong) Jaglom was always
defending Welles against the big guys - but I couldn't figure why
Jaglom never gave him money to do a film - and maybe he did, I don't
know. Did he?

I think Kenneth Anger is just as good as Welles! Sometimes better!
Depends on my mood.

Tosh,

All those years Welles appeared on the Dean Martin and Merv Griffin shows he was looking for money for projects. This is a complex almost Freudian issue but he did keep working and looking for money. I wouldn't call his appearances quaint. He was established as a great storyteller and conversationalist. Jaglom did not give him money. Spielberg took meetings with him but never gave money to my understanding. Spielberg did bid and win at auction the sled from Citizen Kane. The money did not go to Welles. And a very prominent production designer told me he knew it as fact that the sled Spielberg owns is not the one used in the film. They had several made a common practice - so Spielberg wouldn't give Welles support to finish or make a film but he laid out a high sum for a memento that turns out not to be the original - there is some street justice in that. Welles was his own worst enemy in many ways but I do think he accepted his fate. As far as comparing him to Kenneth Anger - it never
achieves anything to make an apple to orange comparrison. Anger is a great filmmaker and a giant in avant-garde experimental film - I admire his work, his courage and his ability to get his films made - his life of course is not without controversey. By comparing you diminish the work of both. The man who made Citizen Kane, A Touch of Evil, The Magnificent Ambersons, and others films that some would agree others wouldn't as great cinematic accomplishments is a giant in 20th century cinema. All the wine commercials, and appearances on hokey tv shows can never ever change that.

Vinny









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4099


From:
Date: Fri Nov 14, 2003 4:01pm
Subject: Re: Re: Space/Gus
 
"The key to Gus are his short works "My Best Friend,"
"Five Ways to Kill Yourself," "Five Naked Boys with a
Gun""

I'd like to see his shorts, read about one called "The Discipline of DE" that sounds interesting too (based on the Burroughs story. I'm not really a fan of WSB but do think that piece should be included in future collections of writings on Bresson). I like all of his pre-Idaho features and was intrigued by what I heard of Gerry -- but that is a case where a review discouraged me from seeing the film, Hoberman's.
4100


From:
Date: Fri Nov 14, 2003 4:06pm
Subject: Re: Re: Hello/Welles/Space/Gus
 
"I also loved the "Chimes" material in "My Own Private Idaho" and would
completely agree that it's "Chimes," not the plays, which Van Sant was referencing.  
As I recall it, the blocking of the actors of the "I know thee not, old man"
scene in "Idaho" imitated Welles' film precisely, although my memory was that
the camera angles were somewhat different."

I haven't seen Idaho in years, but I think it goes back and forth between "quote" and "paraphrase" in all the Chimes-related material. In the scene you mention, I recall the timing and angle of Richert/Falstaff's entrance and Keanu/Hal's turn as quote, but I could be wrong.

Brent

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