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15401


From: hotlove666
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 7:10pm
Subject: Re: The meaning of the word "documentary" (& OT, oxymorons today)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Fred Camper wrote:
> In today's "New York Times," a photo caption reads:


PS - I'm doing a little piece on Haskell Wexler for the doc issue
(and another on anti-Bush docs) -- Brazil: Report on Torture is a
mixture of interviews and reenactments of torture scenes by the
torture victims, out in a grassy outdoors area that clearly isn't a
torture chamber, with victims enacting torture and victim roles by
way of showing the camera what was done to them, rather than
describing it.

Wexler started introducing doc techniques into his first features as
a dp -- like sticking a camera in a car in The Loved One instead of
shooting against a rear-projection screen. Medium Cool is a
fascinating experiment where the line is often blurred. I didn't
realize until I watched the making-of doc that the scene of soldiers
and pot-bellied "hippies" clashing out in the boondockswas a training
exercise, w. soldiers playing hippies. He didn't stage it -- he just
filmed it. Afterwards he threw his actors in the middle of the police
riot in Chicago and filmed the real thing. He says Godard was his
constant inspiration. He's still making them -- a recent doc is about
the union of bus riders in LA, and he's finishing one on sleep
deprivation in film production right now.
15402


From: Damien Bona
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 7:12pm
Subject: Re: Oxymorons (was The meaning of the word "documentary" (& OT, oxymorons today)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Fred Camper wrote:
>
> It has long amused me to observe the common usage of phrases that
are
> oxymoronic, that is, inherently self-contradictory. Some of my
personal
> favorites:
>
> fresh frozen
> military intelligence
> smart bomb
> just war
>
> ...and
> President George W. Bush
>
> I know I have other favorites but I can't think of any just now.
>
> Fred Camper

George Carlin early on showed his brilliance as a comedian when he
did riffs on oxymorons (I believe he was the one who first pointed
out the contradictions in Military Intelligence and Jumbo Shrimp).

Some of my favorites: Civil War, Guest Host, Small Crowd, Working
Vacation, Good Grief, Act Naturally and, of course, Compassionate
Conservative.
15403


From: jess_l_amortell
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 7:20pm
Subject: Re: The meaning of the word "documentary" (& OT, oxymorons today)
 
> I wonder if others have a problem with the idea of calling something
> that includes re-enactments a "documentary." I can't think of another
> word for it, though; if there isn't one, maybe we need one.

We have "docudrama," so would this be a "dramadoc"? (more oxymorons...)
15404


From:
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 3:38pm
Subject: It's Always Fair Weather/Dolores Gray (was:what's so)
 
It's Always Fair Weather is indeed a remarkable film even though we can see
in it the beginning of the end of the classical Hollywood musical. But yes, it
does feature the sparkling Dolores Gray. I've yet to see all of her severely
truncated filmography mainly because I've yet to hear anything good about
Kismet. Does anyone here like that film?

Kevin John


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
15405


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 7:49pm
Subject: Re: It's Always Fair Weather/Dolores Gray (was:what's so)
 
--- LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:

I've yet to
> see all of her severely
> truncated filmography mainly because I've yet to
> hear anything good about
> Kismet. Does anyone here like that film?
>

Haven't you heard? IT MADE ME GAY!!!

After seeing Dolores in Jack Cole's fabulous "Not
Since Nineveh" number I was never the same child.
Strange twilight urges welled up in me finally finding
release in high school right around the time I saw
Alain Delon in "Plein Soleil."

Anyway, Minnelli never wanted to do the film, and
considered his work on it pure
going-though-the-motions stuff. It's fairly stolid for
a musical. Ann Blyth and Vic Damone fail to make young
love look interesting. But Howard Keel is marvelous as
always, and the art direction is first-rate.

>




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15406


From: Matt Teichman
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 8:05pm
Subject: Re: The meaning of the word "documentary"
 
Fred Camper wrote:

>In today's "New York Times," a photo caption reads:
>
>"A re-enactment of the British burning of the White House in the History
>Channel documentary 'First Invasion : The War of 1812."
>
>So for how long has it been acceptable to refer to films and videos that
>include re-enactments as "documentaries"?
>
>

I'm a bit puzzled to hear you say this, given that you're an admirer of
Flaherty and Ivens. Couldn't one answer "as long as the term has been
in use"? Almost every documentary from before the late 50s that I've
seen is pretty heavy on reenactment. What are _Nanook of the North_ or
_Song of Ceylon_, if not documentaries? Aren't they supposed to be the
paradigm cases?

-Matt
15407


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 9:01pm
Subject: Comics (Was: Anderson, Jost, Ozon, Ford, et al)
 
> I haven't seen Spidey 2, which everyone says is better than 1, but
> re: 1 I felt rather as I did about Ghost World: what's the point of
> producing a perfect imitation of a good comic book? It's really
> someone else's film then.

But a movie can't imitate a comic no matter how hard it tries, can't
even come close.

I couldn't call SPIDER-MAN 2 a good film, because every time someone
opens his or her mouth it drags the film down. But the action scenes
are done with quite a different philosophy than what we're used to these
days: things happen mighty fast. Video games may have been an
inspiration. I found the style rather bracing. - Dan
15408


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 9:09pm
Subject: Re: Gilberto Perez on NOSFERATU
 
> Perez also describes how the plague scenes are naturalistic,
> but "vertiginously subjective"

The old-timers make Murnau sound like an expressionist; the Cahiers
writers sometimes come close to making him sound like a neorealist.
Surely the interaction of expressionism and spatial realism (Bazin
shrewdly points out that Murnau isn't that interested in time) in his
films is the point, or a big part of it.

New Yorkers attending the Murnau retro might want to take a look as
Rohmer's insightful writing on Murnau. For English readers, there's the
short essay "Such Vanity Is Painting," translated in THE TASTE FOR
BEAUTY. - Dan
15409


From: hotlove666
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 9:16pm
Subject: Re: It's Always Fair Weather/Dolores Gray (was:what's so)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
>
> --- LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:
>
> I've yet to
> > see all of her severely
> > truncated filmography mainly because I've yet to
> > hear anything good about
> > Kismet. Does anyone here like that film?
> >
>
> Haven't you heard? IT MADE ME GAY!!!

I'm sure it's sheer coincidence, David, but Francois Weyergans
described it in CdC as "a film about schizophrenia"....
15410


From: hotlove666
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 9:19pm
Subject: Re: Gilberto Perez on NOSFERATU
 
>
> New Yorkers attending the Murnau retro might want to take a look as
> Rohmer's insightful writing on Murnau. For English readers,
there's the
> short essay "Such Vanity Is Painting," translated in THE TASTE FOR
> BEAUTY. - Dan

Is The Use of Space in Murnau's Faust translated? It's his PhD
thesis, I guess, belatedly finished and instantly published in book
form by 10/18 in French. The key Rohmer/Murnau text, if it's
available -- and I vaguely remember seeing a translation pop up at
Samuel French once.
15411


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 9:26pm
Subject: Re: Comics (Was: Anderson, Jost, Ozon, Ford, et al)
 
--- Dan Sallitt wrote:


>
> But a movie can't imitate a comic no matter how hard
> it tries, can't
> even come close.
>

Have you seen Resnais' "Muriel"?

>




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15412


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 9:28pm
Subject: Re: Re: It's Always Fair Weather/Dolores Gray (was:what's so)
 
--- hotlove666 wrote:


>
> I'm sure it's sheer coincidence, David, but Francois
> Weyergans
> described it in CdC as "a film about
> schizophrenia"....
>
>
>
>

Well it was choreographed by Jack Cole.




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15413


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 9:32pm
Subject: Rohmer on Murnau (Was: Gilberto Perez on NOSFERATU)
 
> Is The Use of Space in Murnau's Faust translated? It's his PhD
> thesis, I guess, belatedly finished and instantly published in book
> form by 10/18 in French. The key Rohmer/Murnau text, if it's
> available -- and I vaguely remember seeing a translation pop up at
> Samuel French once.

Geez, if you find out about a translation, please let me know. Nothing
showed up from a brief Internet search. - Dan
15414


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 9:38pm
Subject: Re: Comics (Was: Anderson, Jost, Ozon, Ford, et al)
 
>>But a movie can't imitate a comic no matter how hard
>>it tries, can't
>>even come close.
>
> Have you seen Resnais' "Muriel"?

Uh - yeah.... - Dan
15415


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 9:50pm
Subject: Re: Comics (Was: Anderson, Jost, Ozon, Ford, et al)
 
How about "Je T'Aime Je T'Aime" ?

Bava's "Danger:Diabolik" is another example.


--- Dan Sallitt wrote:

> >>But a movie can't imitate a comic no matter how
> hard
> >>it tries, can't
> >>even come close.
> >
> > Have you seen Resnais' "Muriel"?
>
> Uh - yeah.... - Dan
>
>




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15416


From: hotlove666
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 9:59pm
Subject: Re: Comics (Was: Anderson, Jost, Ozon, Ford, et al)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
> How about "Je T'Aime Je T'Aime" ?
>
> Bava's "Danger:Diabolik" is another example.

It's a long love affair. La jetee is a photo-novel. Antonioni was
obviously interested in that form too.

As for films influenced by the the komix, McBride's Breatheless is a
favorite of mine. The ones I like apart from a few like that tend to
be the avant-garde approach of Resnais -- actually trying to use
comic book form, which is not what the Marvel movies of today do,
except maybe for The Hulk, a little.

I'll see Spidey 2, Dan. Sounds interesting.
15417


From:
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 6:26pm
Subject: Re:The meaning of the word "documentary" (& OT, oxymorons today)
 
Lots of TV "documentaries" are full of historical re-recreations: The British
TV series "Connections" (James Burke) on the history of science is a good
example. The film weaves between Burke talking in the present, demonstrating
scientific apparatus and discoveries, and recreations of people back in 1850 or
whenever. The interpolations are not "faked footage" - it is obvious to every
viewer where modern day reality leaves off, and historical recreation begins. So
this is not in any sense lying to the viewer.
It is not clear whether this is somehow an aesthetic or intellectual sin. Or
whether one should call this a mix of documentary and fiction.
Before that, Jacques Tourneur's short films such as "Romance of Radium" or
"The Magic Alphabet" did the same thing.
Ken Burns' films employ actors to give dramatic, character-based readings of
real historical personage's prose. This is a related effect.

Mike Grost
15418


From:
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 6:32pm
Subject: Re: It's Always Fair Weather/Dolores Gray (was:what's so)
 
Minnelli did make "Kismet" under protest - and it shows.
The only part of the film that seems truly magical is the "Stranger in
Paradise" number. It is discussed in my Minnelli web site article:

http://members.aol.com/MG4273/minn.htm

Mike Grost
15419


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 10:35pm
Subject: Brazil again
 
There's another Brazil film fest going on in NYC:

http://www.nybrazilianfilmfestival.com/default.htm

I don't recognize any of the titles from old posts. Does anyone have
recommendations? - Dan
15420


From: Maxime Renaudin
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 11:41pm
Subject: Prisoner of Japan, Ripley/Ulmer
 
Seen on tape. An awful tape I must say. So awful that I hesitated a
bit before going through, but I guess there are not so many
opportunities to see that one (?). In such circumstances, it's
rather difficult to really appreciate a movie, and I can't say I
enjoyed it a lot.
Alan Baxter is very ulmerian as a hero: solitary, tormented and
stranger in a macabre world, either whispering his despair or
yelling his anger. His lifeless presence and rigid acting contribute
to a strange mood where death has a large part. The discovery of a
sleeping dead child in a hammock, the killing of treacherous wife, a
dramatic underground ending where improbable words of tenderness
emerge from the ruins... macabre indeed.
Does anyone of the distinguished ulmerian members of this group has
some insight about Ulmer's contribution? (Rewriting and 2/6 days
shooting according to his words to Bogdanovich)

Maxime
15421


From: hotlove666
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 0:30am
Subject: Re: Prisoner of Japan, Ripley/Ulmer
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Maxime Renaudin"
wrote:
> Does anyone of the distinguished ulmerian members of this group has
> some insight about Ulmer's contribution? (Rewriting and 2/6 days
> shooting according to his words to Bogdanovich)
>
> Maxime

I'll check my records when I can find them, Maxime. I've never seen
the film. I would love to. Ripley was no shlub, by the way.
15422


From: hotlove666
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 0:35am
Subject: Leigh Cops Top Nod at Venice, Planning Faulted, Donen Dances
 
http://news.yahoo.com/news?
tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040911/ap_en_mo/italy_venice_film_festival_4
15423


From: Paul Gallagher
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 1:04am
Subject: Re: Gilberto Perez on NOSFERATU
 
--- In a"film"by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666"
wrote:
> --- In a"film"by@yahoogroups.com, "Paul Gallagher"

> wrote:
>
> Fantastic -- I must read that article.

It's in Perez' book, "The Material Ghost."

> Without disagreeing at all, let me mention that Hans Jonas's The >
> Gnostic Religion -- the seminal
> work on the subject by a great scholar, before the present
trendiness
> set in -- contains a fascinating appendix comparing Gnosticism and
> Existentialism point by point. What were Murnau's intellectual
roots?
> there was a lot of esoteric mysticism floating around Germany, and
> Annette Michelson tells me that Lang was into Rosicrucianism at the
> time. All worth mentioning, IMO. But Heidegger is a fascinating
> parallel.

Murnau studied art history and literature at Heidelberg University,
but apart from that I don't know his background or his beliefs.

We had a discussion about "Sunrise" on rec.arts.movies.international
two years ago, so I'll repost some of my notes.


In "Sexual Politics and Narrative Film" Wood emphasizes "Sunrise's"
narrative eccentricity. He considers most of the middle section
a distraction, for example, the visit to the amusement park and
the comic scenes, such as the drunk pig. [I'll note that when I
saw "Sunrise" this Friday, the middle comic scenes, including the
drunk pig, went over very well with the audience. And how did
Murnau get the pig to act drunk?] He also points out how
banal the married life in "Sunrise" is shown to be: "Murnau seems
able to conceive their supposedly perfect union only
in terms of triviality... The film can convincingly affirm the
value of marriage, in fact, only when the marriage is in jeopardy...
it unwittingly supplies its own commentary on the idealization that
is inextricable from its artistic intensity and distinction."

In the online discussion I noted "Sunrise's" visual magnificence,
but stated that even there the film's importance diminished its
impact, since it is one of the formal foundations of the the Hollywood
sound film, so that it appears over-familiar or even a regression
from the silent film traditions. I'm not sure I was correct to
write that. In any case, Jean-Andre Fieschi argued that the
major works of silent film were a different kind of cinema from
the subsequent sound cinema. He writes,
With Sunrise, the conquest of narrative (novelistic) fluidity is
achieved at the expense of abandoning the attainments specific to
the silent period (in a sense, liquidating the tradition).
Dramaturgy was now firmly in the driver's seat; and for decades
cinema was chiefly to mean well-told stories. But could one
so describe Caligari, La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc, October,
Nosferatu or Tartuffe? The aim in preparing a shootings
script now became transparency (with the articulations
concealed, tending to create the illusion of spatio-
temporal continuity); that transparency which can be seen as a
dual symptom, ideological and formal, of Hollywood films
from the 30s until the 60s. So Sunrise, universally
praised, occupies a somewhat equivocal position. Today, to an
extent shared by few other silent films, its story, decoupage,
and imagery have an air of familiarity about them: one feels
like saying that only sound is missing. Sunrise was to
create its own tradition in which the 'sentimental
(and psychologizing) virus' was to dominate. Of course Sunrise can
in no way be reduced to these terms, nor can it be retrospectively
discredited because of a bastard progeny.

There is also the question of "Sunrise's" ideological content.
Murnau's films usually emphasizes dualities. In "Sunrise"
Fieschi lists "Town/Country, Nature/Culture, Man/Woman, Night/Day,
Earth/Water, Wish/Real, Good/Evil," as well as light/darkness,
movement/repose. Fieschi identifies this as the heritage of
the romantics and classical German philosophy, but its value
in Murnau's films is that Murnau treats it "an immense
potential reservoir of forms, images, and narratives."

So the Vamp in "Sunrise" plays much the same role as Nosferatu,
Mephistopheles, Tartuffe, and the priest in "Tabu." But their
ideological significance is different. For example, in "Tabu"
Matahi and Reri's relationship is based on erotic love and is
opposed by tradition, by social norms, so that it is in other
respects the opposite of "Sunrise's" defense of marriage and rural
values. "Sunrise" appears conventional and conservative.

Robin Wood emphasizes the parallels between "Sunrise" and "Nosferatu":
Nosferatu and the City Woman are both "associated with night, animals,
contamination, and the erotic; [Nosferatu] too, poses a threat to an
'innocent' heterosexual couple; he, too, is vanquished by the rising
sun. Like Dracula, the City Woman of the first part of the film
becomes a figure of vaguely defined but irresistible power, before
which the male protagonist can only prostrate himself helplessly.
Within the Expressionist context, Murnau's films inflect the notion
of Fate very differently from Lang's. For Lang, Fate is a complex
mechanism whose workings can be analyzed, understood, and defeated
(though always at a cost); for Murnau, it is some terrible,
implacable,
and finally incomprehensible dark force. The helplessness of the hero
is one of the most prominent motifs in the overall structure of the
work." Wood goes on to contrast "Sunrise" with "Tabu", in which
Matahi is exceptional, an active hero, sexuality and innocence are
reconciled, and the threat is conceived in social terms. In contrast,
"in Sunrise -- as in Nosferatu before it -- the destructive forces
are those of the Id, and the film becomes itself an enactment of
repression, through the process of idealization. That the City
Woman is a thoroughly inadequate substitute for Murnau's terrifying
vampire -- that so slight a figure cannot possibly sustain the
great weight of imagery and symbolic significance with which she is
burdened -- is but one of the film's problems."

Wood identifies the root of "Sunrise's" identification of sexuality
and evil in Murnau's homosexuality:
The ultimate -- and ultimately distasteful -- paradox of "Sunrise"
is that this eloquent hymn to home and hearth, heterosexual
marriage and family, was the work of a homosexual. In making
this point one is not laying a charge of hypocrisy, exactly...
When this film was made... the male homosexual's drives were
(if acted upon) punishable by law, a situation powerfully
supported by the dominant social myths of homosexuality as
a vice of sickness or both. To be homosexual then was to feel
oneself to be living in a barren desert gazing longingly at the
unattainable mirage of home/marriage/family. And "Sunrise" with
its idealization and its artifice, has something of the nature--
even the appearance -- of a mirage. Ostensibly a hymn to
health (as societally conceived), it in fact testifies to the
essential sickness of Western culture.
An act of self-oppression never stops there; it always transforms
itself into the oppression of others. In Sunrise evil is defined,
not in terms of homosexuality (though that was doubtless for Murnau
the root of it), but in terms of sexuality itself: the erotic is
associated with darkness, fog, mud, and "sin," and must be
forcibly repressed in order that the idealized "holy family"
(the final image is eloquent about the holiness) can be (re-)
constituted. That construction further demands the subordination
of woman and their relegation to archetypical roles: the asexually
"pure" wife/mother who is finally sanctified, the sexually "active"
evil woman who must be eliminated from the narrative altogether.
Behind the realization of this project is not just Murnau (though
his presence lends its its wish-fulfilling intensity, its
artistic distinction, and its ultimate perversity) but the whole
tendency of Western culture (European and American) toward
repression and idealization (the two being aspects of the same
process).

Wood also notes that Sunrise, despite its praise of rural values,
would have been seen primarily by urban audiences.

I'm reminded of Griffith's " True Heart Susie ", another tale setting
a pure rural girl against a less worthy urban woman. But "True
Heart Susie" is, I think, much more complex or ambiguous. The women
are the protagonists; the man, William Jenkins, is shown as weak and
obtuse, but this is a weakness of character, not a result of the
machinations of women or of Fate. Susie is innocent, but her desire
and
passion are evident -- for example, the scene with popcorn in the
fireplace is
an obvious symbol of sexual desire. Also, whereas in "Sunrise" the
City
Woman and the Wife are never seen together, Susie and Bettina are
shown
to have a closer bond with each other than either has with Jenkins.
Susie protects her, deceives Jenkins for her; they even sleep together
in the same bed and embrace each other. The film ends not with a
depiction of Susie marrying Jenkins, but with a flashback to their
youth; Jenkins seems unworthy of Susie, and there seems to be no
clear
resolution to their relationship except to return in memory to happier
times.

----



Paul
15424


From: Joseph Kaufman
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 1:17am
Subject: Re: Speeling errors (was An extra N for Millennium Mambo)
 
>Scott McQueen, who did that restoration at Disney before leaving for
>Eastman House, can presumably spell better than the folks at MGM-UA
>Video. I assume it's Scott's restoration, which would not be the same
>as the Anchor Bay. Did that have the green reel and stereo?

Green yes, color portrait yes, stereo no.
--

- Joe Kaufman
15425


From: Paul Gallagher
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 1:48am
Subject: Re: Gilberto Perez on NOSFERATU
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Paul Gallagher"
wrote:

>
> Wood identifies the root of "Sunrise's" identification of sexuality
> and evil in Murnau's homosexuality:
> The ultimate -- and ultimately distasteful -- paradox of "Sunrise"
...
> repression and idealization (the two being aspects of the same
> process).

The formatting was lost when I posted this. I just wanted to make
it clear I was quoting Robin Wood.

Paul
15426


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 1:55am
Subject: Wood and Fieschi on Sunrise (Was: Gilberto Perez on NOSFERATU)
 
> In "Sexual Politics and Narrative Film" Wood emphasizes "Sunrise's"
> narrative eccentricity. He considers most of the middle section
> a distraction, for example, the visit to the amusement park and
> the comic scenes, such as the drunk pig.

I admire Wood, but he always has a tendency to devalue aspects of a film
that don't fit his schema. That's a third of the movie he's chucking
out there.

> And how did
> Murnau get the pig to act drunk?

Looked to me as if the floor was so slick that the pig couldn't get its
footing.

] He also points out how
> banal the married life in "Sunrise" is shown to be: "Murnau seems
> able to conceive their supposedly perfect union only
> in terms of triviality... The film can convincingly affirm the
> value of marriage, in fact, only when the marriage is in jeopardy...
> it unwittingly supplies its own commentary on the idealization that
> is inextricable from its artistic intensity and distinction."

Geez. This is where the middle section comes in.... Wood may not care
for it, but the couple isn't in jeopardy there, and Murnau and Mayer are
actually pretty inventive in giving the couple interesting ways to
express their pleasure in each other. It helps that Janet Gaynor is a
creative actress.

But!!! This is not a psychological depiction of marriage, or of
anything else. Like it or not, Murnau and Mayer are dealing in big,
general character traits. To wish otherwise is to wish that both
artists were different artists. (See Rohmer on Murnau's relationship to
psychology.)

> With Sunrise, the conquest of narrative (novelistic) fluidity is
> achieved at the expense of abandoning the attainments specific to
> the silent period (in a sense, liquidating the tradition).
> Dramaturgy was now firmly in the driver's seat; and for decades
> cinema was chiefly to mean well-told stories. But could one
> so describe Caligari, La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc, October,
> Nosferatu or Tartuffe?

I dunno, but THE LAST LAUGH is pretty dramaturgically solid too. I get
the sense that Mayer was into this kind of storytelling perfection, and
Murnau heightens the effect with his particular qualities. I hesitate
to view SUNRISE as a watershed film in this regard, particularly as it
was a commercial failure, which means more to the film industry than the
critical praise that Fieschi claims was so influential.

(I know that Mayer also wrote some of the stuff on Fieschi's
not-well-told list. I've got to think about that. I'm not so sure that
that list really represents what Fieschi wants it to.)

> so that it is in other
> respects the opposite of "Sunrise's" defense of marriage and rural
> values. "Sunrise" appears conventional and conservative.

SUNRISE contains an early title, at least, that tries to balance the
city-country thing, saying that life is the same everywhere, a mixture
of bitter and sweet. I don't find the film anti-urban: there's the city
lady, true, but on the other hand the city is a lot of fun in the film,
and doesn't corrupt the yokels. Most of the city people are nice. And
the film is big on visual city-country transitions that express more of
a sense of beauty than of imbalance.

> The ultimate -- and ultimately distasteful -- paradox of "Sunrise"
> is that this eloquent hymn to home and hearth, heterosexual
> marriage and family, was the work of a homosexual.

Here's where auteurism gets to be a problem. Sudermann wrote this
story, which isn't that far from the movie's (though the city girl is a
country servant in the story, and the ending is more sacrificial than
happy). Mayer wrote the script, which has all the thematic elements in
place (though apparently less of the city fun than is in the film). I
have no idea about the writers' sex life. It's legitimate to talk about
what Murnau brings to the project, but Wood is criticizing elements that
are born in the story and script: the film is not solely "his work."

> When this film was made... the male homosexual's drives were
> (if acted upon) punishable by law, a situation powerfully
> supported by the dominant social myths of homosexuality as
> a vice of sickness or both. To be homosexual then was to feel
> oneself to be living in a barren desert gazing longingly at the
> unattainable mirage of home/marriage/family.

Homosexuals do not have a monopoly on making films in which sex is
threatening. Hollywood was, then and now, long on films where
uninhibited sex is a negative and destabilizing force. Wood himself
points this out later, but seems untroubled by the fact that that our
culture manages to enact a repression-idealization syndrome even though
it is predominantly heterosexual.

> That construction further demands the subordination
> of woman and their relegation to archetypical roles: the asexually
> "pure" wife/mother who is finally sanctified

Just once more: I feel as if Wood is shortchanging Gaynor's character a
little bit. There's something of a sexual vibe about her: certainly the
kiss at the photographers has a bit of spark to it. Her dance with
O'Brien isn't unsexy. In general, Murnau and Gaynor make that character
rather more sexual than they had to.

- Dan
15427


From:
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 11:07pm
Subject: Re: It's Always Fair Weather/Dolores Gray (was:what's so)
 
In a message dated 9/11/04 2:50:20 PM, cellar47@y... writes:


> Haven't you heard? IT MADE ME GAY!!!
>

Oh wow. Then I wonder if it'll make me MORE gay. I'll definitely get on it.

Kevin John


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
15428


From: Fred Camper
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 3:35am
Subject: Re: Re:The meaning of the word "documentary" (& OT, oxymorons today)
 
Yes, of course Flaherty staged things and there are lots of earlier
re-enactments in films generally called "documentary." And this is the
case with "documentary" photography before the invention of cinema:
Matthew Brady is said to have re-arranged corpses to make more effective
compositions. In a way I posted too hastily; I should see this damn
"documentary" first I suppose. Partly it's that in general I think that
hokey TV "re-enactments" are about the lowest of the low, except of
course if the work as a whole is somehow good. It seems to me that
there's a pretty big difference between Flaherty asking Nanook to catch
that fish again and building a set of the White House in order to burn
it down. But I'd also be pretty careful about calling Flaherty's films
"documentaries," given what we know today. One reenactment might still
leave most of the film as a "documentary," but if the whole thing is a
reenactment, I don't know.

I guess I'm making two different points here. One is a relatively small
one about terminology. The other is a larger one, that I think a film
that in fact doesn't rehearse or manipulate should be given credit for
that, and distinguished from a film that does rather than placed in the
same "genre." The former seems increasingly rare, and in our culture no
few seem to care anymore about the distinction between theater and
actuality.

As to the smaller point, I paste in two dictionary definitions below. In
the shorter one, "without...inserting fictional matter" seems the key
point, though I suppose you could contend that a reenactment is not a
fiction; I disagree.

The longer one, from the OED, is of course more complete and thus more
nuanced. But I like the 1932 definition included in the citations: "A
deliberate documentary film must be a transcript of real life, a bit of
what actually happened, under approximately unrehearsed conditions." I
think this is the way the term has been largely understood originally,
though I'm no expert on the history of the word or the concept and hope
to be corrected if I'm wrong. But is it not true that in its time the
viewers of Flaherty's "Nanook" took it as unrehearsed, not reenactments,
and that that was part of the reason for its success?



Fred Camper

__________________________________________________________________

From my favorite free on-line dictionary, The American Heritage
Dictionary, at

http://www.bartleby.com/cgi-bin/texis/webinator/ahdsearch?search_type=enty&query=documentary&db=ahd&Submit=Search
SYLLABICATION:doc·u·men·ta·ry PRONUNCIATION: dky-mnt-r ADJECTIVE:1.
Consisting of, concerning, or based on documents. 2. Presenting facts
objectively without editorializing or inserting fictional matter, as in
a book or film. NOUN:Inflected forms: pl. doc·u·men·ta·ries

A work, such as a film or television program, presenting political,
social, or historical subject matter in a factual and informative manner
and often consisting of actual news films or interviews accompanied by
narration.

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

documentary, a.

1. Of the nature of or consisting in documents.

1802-12 BENTHAM Rat. Judic. Evid. (1827) I. 54 Documentary evidence.
1831 CARLYLE Sart. Res. II. iii, Various fragments of Letters and other
documentary scraps. 1855 MACAULAY Hist. Eng. IV. 178 They were in
possession of documentary evidence which would confound the guilty. 1861
M. PATTISON Ess. ('89) I. 30 Going back beyond the printed annalists to
original and documentary authorities.

2. Affording evidence, evidential. rare.

1843 CARLYLE Past & Pr. I. iii, It is an authentic..fact, quietly
documentary of a whole world of such.

3. Relating to teaching or instruction. rare.

1871 EARLE Philol. Eng. Tongue §52 Long before 1250 we get traces
of the documentary use of French..Trevisa says it was a new thing in
1349 for children to construe into English in the Grammar schools.

4. Factual, realistic; applied esp. to a film or literary work, etc.,
based on real events or circumstances, and intended primarily for
instruction or record purposes. Also ellipt. as n.

1926 N. Y. Sun 8 Feb. 18/1 'Moana', being a visual account of events
in the daily life of a Polynesian youth and his family, has documentary
value. 1930 P. ROTHA Film till Now I. ii. 65 The Documentary or Interest
Film, including the Scientific, Cultural and Sociological Film. 1932
Cinema Q. I. I. 67 Documentary is a clumsy description, but let it
stand. The French who first used the term only meant travelogue. 1932
Film in National Life (Rep. Comm. Educ. & Cult. Films) viii. 115 §174 A
deliberate documentary film must be a transcript of real life, a bit of
what actually happened, under approximately unrehearsed conditions. 1934
Punch 26 Dec. 720/1 Most documentary films seem to hinge upon the
exposition of some staple industry. 1935 R. SPOTTISWOODE Gram. of Film
288 The documentary as he defines it is still flourishing. 1936 Times
Lit. Suppl. 25 Jan. 72/3 The documentary filmor, tout court,
'documentary'. 1941 [see ACTUALITY 4b]. 1947 J. HAYWARD Prose Lit. since
1939 32 'Mass-Observation', whose intriguing 'documentaries' of the
British people at work and play contain the crude substance of
innumerable novels, biographies, and essays. 1957 V. J. KEHOE Film &
T.V. Make-Up i. 17 Some producers do not like the smoothness of the face
created by the use of make-up. They strive to achieve what is termed a
documentary effect..by the lack of make-up on men (even at times, on
women). 1957 Listener 18 July 103/1 Mr. Owen's 'documentary', as he
calls his attractive book, reveals him as an acute observer. 1962
Observer 8 July 20/4 Henry Cecil's light legal documentary fiction.

Hence documentarily adv., in the way of a document; from a
documentary point of view; documentarist, one who makes documentary films.

1857 RUSKIN Pol. Econ. Art ii. (1868) 126 These copies..would be
historically and documentarily valuable. 1953 New Statesman 10 Oct. 419
A documentarist of sensation. 1959 Times 3 Nov. 15/3 The most ruthless
of documentarists. 1961 Times 1 June 6/4 It is a film about
film-making... A simple, puppyish documentarist has moved into the 'pad'
of a group of junkies. 1962 Times 26 Apr. 8/5 The Swedish
documentarist..in his new film.
15429


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 4:23am
Subject: Re: Wood and Fieschi on Sunrise (Was: Gilberto Perez on NOSFERATU)
 
--- Dan Sallitt wrote:

>
> Homosexuals do not have a monopoly on making films
> in which sex is
> threatening. Hollywood was, then and now, long on
> films where
> uninhibited sex is a negative and destabilizing
> force. Wood himself
> points this out later, but seems untroubled by the
> fact that that our
> culture manages to enact a repression-idealization
> syndrome even though
> it is predominantly heterosexual.
>


Wood's trying much too hard to read Murnau's gayness
into the film. It's just not there. Murnau is a
filmmaker who happened to be gay -- not a gay
filmmaker like Whale. Or even Cukor or Ozu.






__________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail Address AutoComplete - You start. We finish.
http://promotions.yahoo.com/new_mail
15430


From: Robert Keser
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 5:44am
Subject: Re: It's Always Fair Weather/Dolores Gray (was:what's so)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:
> ... I've yet to hear anything good about
> Kismet. Does anyone here like that film?
>
Can't say I'm crazy about the very ornate and rather forced KISMET,
but one of my favorite Hollywood stories concerns shooting the "Night
of My Nights" number. The staging called for Vic Damone (as the
prince) to lead his retinue riding along a path through a Persian
garden. Minnelli had peacocks planted at intervals along the path,
the idea being that each bird, one after the other, would spread its
luxurious fan as the prince passed. The peacocks, of course, were not
about to cooperate, but the stagehands discovered that the only sure
way to compel the bird to spread its tail was to goose it. Hence, the
number was filmed with stagehands concealed under the garden's
astroturf, each tasked with deploying a pinkie at the strategic
moment as Vic Damone warbled past. Knowing this certainly adds an
extra dimension to one's appreciation of KISMET (this story is in
Harvey's Minnelli book, as I recall).



--Robert Keser
15431


From: Matt Teichman
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 5:57am
Subject: Re: The meaning of the word "documentary"
 
Fred Camper wrote:

>It seems to me that
>there's a pretty big difference between Flaherty asking Nanook to catch
>that fish again and building a set of the White House in order to burn
>it down.
>
That's true. Grierson's definition of documentary emphasizes nonactors
and location shooting (foreshadowing neorealism, most certainly), so
that even though scenes involving the post office (in _Night Mail_) or
firefighting (in _Fires Were Started_) were scripted, the "actors" in
question were actually the postal workers and firemen whose lives the
film was supposed to be treating. It isn't as though they cast a bunch
of professional actors and built a set.

You raise a good question about the reception of _Nanook_. I've always
suspected that the audience response to reenactment in classical
documentary was a bit complicated, something like knowing one is looking
at a reenactment, but responding to it as if it wasn't. A bit like the
famous audience of _Arrival of a Train_, who presumably knew that what
they were seeing wasn't really a train but ducked (or fled, whatever it
was that they did, if indeed they did anything) anyway, in spite of
themselves. But this is a topic I'd like to learn more about.

I wonder if you're equally bothered by Watkins' _The War Game_, which I
understand was controversial for some of the reasons you give...

-Matt
15432


From: Paul Gallagher
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 6:53am
Subject: Re: Syberberg
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Maxime Renaudin"
wrote:
>
> Hitler. How is that possible to make a 7 hours film about Hitler
> without showing the camps. Paul, I believe, made that point
already.
> Syberberg answers: "One does not fight Hitler with statistics of
> Auschwitz, or making the sociology of his economy, but with Richard
> Wagner and Mozart.". The nauseous innuendo is there. This absence
> (the camps) is heavy; but yes, this Elsewhere (the myth,
> the "irrationalism"), is incredible.

I imagine the film would be diminished if the material world were
allowed to intrude onto it. It is a very beautiful film. I think
my quarrel is with those who see it as valid critical history.
I suspect Susan Sontag's statement is close to the opposite of
the truth: Syberberg’s ‘Hitler’ “is, for seven hours, on the
screen: a film designed as a critique of and antidote to the
fascinations of fascism. There is no complicity, objective or
subjective, between ‘Hitler’ and Hitler; nothing in common between the
appeal of this contemplative, ironic, learned, compassionate film and
the Führer's appeal.”

An idea that seems to work with films like Syberberg's, is that art is
a form of seeing, perceiving, and feeling, not of knowledge. A related
idea is that art "renders ideology cognizable." According to
Althusser, "What art makes us see... is the ideology from which it is
born, in which it bathes, from which it detaches itself as art, and to
which it alludes... [artists] give us a 'view' of the ideology to
which [their] work alludes and with which it is constantly fed, a view
which presupposes a retreat, an internal distantiation... They make us
'perceive' (but not know) in some sense from the inside, by an
internal distance, the very ideology in which they are held."

For example, consider how Syberberg's film briefly, obliquely
addresses the Holocaust. I may not remember the scene correctly and
welcome corrections. One of Syberberg's actors tells the story of how
Hitler as a young boy visits his uncle the beekeeper. He admires a
great bee hive, which looks like Napoleon's head with his bicorn hat.
He admires the perfectly functioning bee society. His uncle spends
his days trying to exterminate the parasite wasps that plague
the bees. One day young Adolf sees a wasp in a wasp trap, takes
mercy on it, and releases it, but the wasp stings him, and he is
sent to the hospital, his throat so badly swollen that he needs
a tracheotomy. Thus he learns there is no place for mercy in
nature. This is ideology: ideology often naturalizes; in this case,
the basis and justification for racist violence is claimed to be found
in nature.

Paul
15433


From:
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 4:00am
Subject: Re: The meaning of the word "documentary"
 
Andrew Sarris has been campaigning for years to ban to the term
"documentary", and replace it with "non-fiction film".
A lot of today's "documentaries" should really be better called "educational
films". Their point is to convey ideas and information, as clearly as possible
to the viewer. To do this, they use a mixture of actuality, staged interviews
and demonstrations, and re-enactments.
A viewer legitimately judges such a film on the quality of the information it
conveys. Everything in the film is obviously staged. No attempt is made in
such films to suggest that one is seeing "cinema verite" or raw unfiltered
reality. The filmmaker presents the events as clearly created to convey
information. The viewer is NOT being lied to - it is an ethical system.
I do not see what the problem is with this approach.

Mike Grost
15434


From: Fred Camper
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 8:31am
Subject: Re: Re: The meaning of the word "documentary"
 
MG4273@a... wrote:

>...I do not see what the problem is with this approach.
>
As I often say, in the end I don't see a problem with almost any
approach, whatever biases I might have.

"Non-fiction film" is fine with me, but I still would like to keep the
term "documentary" for those films in which the filmmaker films the
world without direction or manipulation or staging or overly metaphoric
or directive montage. I suppose to comport with ordinary understandings
of the word the imagery should not be overly manipulated, out of focus
too often, et cetera. This would exclude Brakhage's "The Text of Light"
but include his three "Pittsburgh films" and "The Governor," as well as,
say Leacock and Pennebaker's "Primary," many ethnographic films, and so
on. My point is that it seems worth distinguishing between these and
more manipulated films.

I didn't much like "The War Game" when I saw it years ago, but I don't
recall being confused -- I mean I didn't take it as a "documentary."

Fred Camper
15435


From: hotlove666
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 10:15am
Subject: Re: Gilberto Perez on NOSFERATU
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Paul Gallagher"
wrote:

Jean Douchet divides Murnau's world into three zones: day, night and
an in-between zone that is night but looks like day -- the Luna Park
in Sunrise.
15436


From: hotlove666
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 10:24am
Subject: Re: The meaning of the word "documentary"
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Fred Camper wrote:
Haskell Wexler is a cameraman whjo has shot mostly fiction films, but
as a director he has done a lot of documentaries. He talks about the
relation between the two in the featurette with Medium Cool on the
DVD, "Look Out Haskewll, It's Real!" For him, in the 60s, cinema
verite meant cinema that told the truth about the camera being there.
It meant Godard.
15437


From: cairnsdavid1967
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 10:39am
Subject: Re: This Sunday at 5 PM
 
> "Performance and "The Devils" will be screened at the
> American Cinemathque in L.A.

That's going to be quite a mind-blowing evening!

Have you seen the outtakes? I've only seen snippets from the PERF
stuff (which already looked pretty hardcore) but I've seen the
whole "rape of christ on the corss" sequence cut by the UK censors
from THE DEVILS to avoid our ancinet blasphemy laws.

I'm not sure if the problem was the subject matter, or Russell's
decision to shoot it from above in the manner of Busby Berkeley...
15438


From:
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 8:07am
Subject: Re: The meaning of the word "documentary"
 
Fred Camper writes:
I still would like to keep the term "documentary" for those films in which
the filmmaker films the world without direction or manipulation or staging or
overly metaphoric or directive montage.

Agreed! Lots of terrific films have been made with this approach. Isn't this
essentially what is known as direct cinema / cinema verite?

And he goes on:
This would exclude Brakhage's "The Text of Light" but include his three
"Pittsburgh films" and "The Governor," as well as, say Leacock and Pennebaker's
"Primary", many ethnographic films

I loved Brakhage's "Deus Ex" when seen in the theater ages ago. Would love to
see "eyes" and "The Governor". Perhaps a DVD of these films - and "Wonder
Ring" and other Brakhage documentaries - might be a great idea.
"Primary" is fascinating, too. Oddly enough, this 1960 film really brings
back the world of my childhood, in an astonishingly direct way.

Mike Grost
15439


From:
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 9:11am
Subject: TCM: Dreyer, Sodmak, Joseph H. Lewis
 
Those who get TCM can see tonight, Sept 12, Eastern time:

8:15 Criss Cross (Robert Siodmak) - one one his most inventive films
10:00 Day of Wrath (Dreyer)
Midnight The Parson's Widow (Dreyer) - at last!
1:30 AM Michael (Dreyer) - at last!

Finally I will be able to see Michael and The Parson's Widow!
(Any film named Michael has got to be good, of course!)

Then Monday evening, Sept 13, Eastern Time:

9:15 Boys of the City
10:30 That Gang of Mine
11:45 Pride of the Bowery

Three early low budget Bowery Boys pics directed by Joseph H. Lewis.
Are they any good? Who knows?
These are the films that caused Andrew Sarris to do his backtracking in the
Lewis article in "The American Cinema":
"Madness is always preferable to smugness".
Scramble we must, and set those VCR's.

Mike Grost
15440


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 1:17pm
Subject: Re: Re: This Sunday at 5 PM
 
--- cairnsdavid1967 wrote:


>
> Have you seen the outtakes? I've only seen snippets
> from the PERF
> stuff (which already looked pretty hardcore) but
> I've seen the
> whole "rape of christ on the corss" sequence cut by
> the UK censors
> from THE DEVILS to avoid our ancinet blasphemy laws.
>
>
Tha'ts only recently been made available. I'm not
atallcertain that the print they'reshowing today will
include it.

> I'm not sure if the problem was the subject matter,
> or Russell's
> decision to shoot it from above in the manner of
> Busby Berkeley...
>
>
Doubtless both.




__________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail is new and improved - Check it out!
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15441


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 1:31pm
Subject: Re: TCM: Dreyer, Sodmak, Joseph H. Lewis
 
> Finally I will be able to see Michael and The Parson's Widow!
> (Any film named Michael has got to be good, of course!)

Have fun! I am much higher on THE PARSON'S WIDOW than on MICHAEL, but
opinions vary.

> Then Monday evening, Sept 13, Eastern Time:
>
> 9:15 Boys of the City
> 10:30 That Gang of Mine
> 11:45 Pride of the Bowery
>
> Three early low budget Bowery Boys pics directed by Joseph H. Lewis.
> Are they any good? Who knows?

Back in April, Fred wrote:

"More early
obscurities: Joseph H. Lewis directed at least three Bowery Boys
pictures, which I've seen only on TV; I remember them mostly as not very
good (and one has a pretty stupid racist moment involving a black boy
who "sure do love" watermelon), but at least two have terrific boxing
scenes, with characteristically intense Lewis close ups."

And I replied:

"One of those Bowery Boys films is more ambitious than the others - I'm
pretty sure it's THAT GANG OF MINE. Lewis puts the camera on a dolly
about two feet off the ground and tracks around the Bowery Boys as if
they were Shakespearian figures - and this was a year before CITIZEN
KANE. The story was taken pretty seriously, as I recall."

- Dan
15442


From:
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 11:11am
Subject: Post 1978 Hollywood comedy (was: Feel-Good films)
 
Have been thinking more about Adrian Martin's inquiry about "feel good" films.
Since Classical Hollywood collapsed sometime in the early 1970's, the only
genre Hollywood has consistently done well is comedy, IMHO.
My Best Films list on the internet lists over Hollywood 150 comedies after
1978 that I enjoyed. Around 110 of these are grown-up comedies, around 40 are
teen comedies.
What seems Really Strange to me is this: aside from Adrian Martin, who also
likes Teen Comedies, most of the a_film_by-ers seem to have no interest in this
material at all. Most of the recommended comedies on my list are not on the
lists of others in the group. And they rarely discuss them.
This could mean a number of things:
1) My interest in these films is just plain wrong. Maybe these films are
awful, and my liking for them is a bad case of bad taste.
2) The films are good, but for some reason, a_film_by-ers are just not
watching them. Consequently, they are unknown to members of the group, who have
simply not seen them.
3) Are people boycotting these films as a protest against Hollywood? Do they
think every nickel wasted on Hollywood films makes it harder for Bela Tarr or
Edward Yang to get funding? (Could be.)
4) Do people regard these films as too vulgar? There are a handful of films
on my list that are pretty vulgar in their comedy: "Porky's", "Top Secret" and
"Dumb and Dumber" come to mind. But the great majority of these films are in
reasonably good taste. Especially compared to the gruesome horror and action
movies that are widely viewed and discussed on a_film_by.
5) Many of these films were made by one-time directors. This is due to the
difficulties of Hollywood financing. Consequently, it has been hard for
auteurist interest to build in them.
6) It is a question of attitude. For some genetic reason, my personality
(like much of the mass public's) is attuned to these films, whereas most
cinephiles will never like this material. It's possible...

I think of films like "The Boyfriend School" (also known as "Don't Tell Her
It's Me") or "Sister Act". I've seen these films several times over the years,
and really enjoy them.
Would members of a_film_by like these films if they saw them? Did they see
them and regard them as junk? So what's the story?

Mike Grost
15443


From: Zach Campbell
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 3:55pm
Subject: Re: Post 1978 Hollywood comedy (and other genres)
 
Mike, great post! I don't know if I'm as happy overall about
Hollywood comedies as you are, but there is good work being done.

Teen comedies are of special interest. There have been plenty of
good ones over the last few decades. In Hollywood alone, the
following titles spring to mind: FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH and
(in my opinion but not Adrian Martin's) Heckerling's somewhat less
impressive but still good CLUELESS, PRETTY IN PINK (a really
underrated film that I feel will soon get its due), CAN'T HARDLY
WAIT, SCREAM, and DROP DEAD GORGEOUS. Not many masterpieces in that
list, perhaps, but there's a lot of solid, entertaining,
unassumingly smart work in there. (And of course there are things
like DAZED AND CONFUSED, which don't need much defense about their
worth.)

And I'm not even close to a connoisseur of teen films. How do
people feel about SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL, which (like PRETTY IN
PINK) is John Hughes-written and -produced but Howard Deutch (auteur
of GETTING EVEN WITH DAD) -directed?

Robin Wood, in Cineaction 58, wrote a very fine article on teen
films (and their identity politics, which he found largely more
progressive than Hollywood as a whole). He singles out, if memory
serves, CAN'T HARDLY WAIT, AMERICAN PIE, and SHE'S ALL THAT, as
solid and important films from Hollywood.

Outside of teen comedies, I love the Farrelly Brothers, and
GROUNDHOG DAY is a favorite of mine. Bonnie Hunt's RETURN TO ME is
an incredibly sweet, unfortunately neglected film. Armond White was
correct to allude to Borzage in his review.

> 2) The films are good, but for some reason, a_film_by-ers are just
> not watching them. Consequently, they are unknown to members of
> the group, who have simply not seen them.

This is true. One problem with wading through Hollywood product is
that it is, overwhelmingly, product. But if I were somehow stuck in
a position where I was to choose a few contemporary commercial
genres from Hollywood and study them intensely (in terms of
aesthetics, politics, ideologies, marketing, etc.) I could do so
with much pleasure in a handful of areas, I think.

The teen comedy would be one. Another would be the special effects
action film, particularly ones with ties to sci-fi and horror: not
the massive "event" films like Bruckheimer does, but the sort of "B-
movie blockbuster" (speaking of oxymorons) that has produced
interesting things in the recent past: the films of Paul W.S.
Anderson (RESIDENT EVIL most of all, but SOLDIER and EVENT HORIZON,
inspired by Tarkovsky I think, are worth investigating as genre
cases), John Carpenter's last few films, maybe PREDATOR (and
McTiernan's other work, like THE 13TH WARRIOR and DIE HARD),
possibly STARSHIP TROOPERS. Or films that have no ties to sci-fi
and horror: DRIVEN, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, THE HUNTED, UNDISPUTED
(and Walter Hill's filmography in general). Films like these, many
of which (Verhoeven is an exception) are unself-conscious genre
films with genuine chops.

Another genre--one that gets a bad rap--is the "respectable" costume
drama. James Ivory is a good filmmaker, and stuff like Ang Lee's
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, James Lapine's IMPROMPTU, or a "masculine"
period film like Michael Caton-Jones' ROB ROY are worthwhile, well-
executed pictures. There are others, I'm sure.

--Zach
15444


From: Dave Kehr
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 4:06pm
Subject: Re: Post 1978 Hollywood comedy (and other genres)
 
Thank god, somebody else who likes Paul WS (for widescreen?)
Anderson. I was disappointed by Alien vs. Predator but the sequel
to "Resident Evil," which is out right now -- produced by Anderson
and directed by a long time second unit guy -- is extremely
entertaining and ideologically charged, as most of Anderson's films
have been since "Shopping," his Brit indie debut film.

Also, speaking of despised action filmmakers, how about Park Chan-
wook? Everyone seemed to hate "Old Boy" at Cannes, but now, having
seen it on a Korean DVD, I'm wondering if that wasn't anti-Tarantino
backlash. It's a very inventive picture, full of interesting,
offbeat choices, as are Park's previous (though much less mature)
films, "Joint Security Area" and "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" (the
latter an interesting parallel to "A Short Film about Killing").
I'd take him over that pompous exoticist Kim Ki-duk ("Spring,
Summer, Winter, etc.) any time.

Dave Kehr
15445


From: Zach Campbell
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 4:30pm
Subject: Re: Post 1978 Hollywood comedy (and other genres)
 
Dave Kehr:
> Thank god, somebody else who likes Paul WS (for widescreen?)
> Anderson. I was disappointed by Alien vs. Predator but the sequel
> to "Resident Evil," which is out right now -- produced by Anderson
> and directed by a long time second unit guy -- is extremely
> entertaining and ideologically charged, as most of Anderson's
> films have been since "Shopping," his Brit indie debut film.

Anderson didn't do the RESIDENT EVIL sequel did he? Or did he have
some hand in it? The only Anderson I'd say I really like (I haven't
seen them all) is RESIDENT EVIL, but MORTAL KOMBAT, EVENT HORIZON,
and SOLDIER have a certain feel to them that suggests Anderson is
interested in something more than what his commercial position
demands of him.

And since this is Dave Kehr I'm responding to, thank god somebody
else likes John McTiernan's underappreciated 13TH WARRIOR!

> Also, speaking of despised action filmmakers, how about Park Chan-
> wook?

My roommate has the DVD of this, I'll likely be checking it out soon.

--Zach
15446


From: hotlove666
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 5:07pm
Subject: Re: Post 1978 Hollywood comedy (and other genres)
 
> Dave Kehr:
> > Thank god, somebody else who likes Paul WS (for widescreen?)
> > Anderson. I was disappointed by Alien vs. Predator but the
sequel
> > to "Resident Evil," which is out right now -- produced by
Anderson
> > and directed by a long time second unit guy -- is extremely
> > entertaining and ideologically charged, as most of Anderson's
> > films have been since "Shopping," his Brit indie debut film.

I've been following him since doing the Mortal Kombat presskit.
Incidentally, that was the first film to include a completely CGI-
generated character. Can't wait to see Resident Evil 2 no matter who
directed because...well, you know. BTW, RE1 was supposed to be
Romero, but it was taken away from him.

>
> > Also, speaking of despised action filmmakers, how about Park Chan-
> > wook?
>
And Me Yeung-Sung [sic?]! His first actioner, Injeong sajeong bol
geot eobtda (Nowhere to Hide, 1999), is out of this world!
15447


From:
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 1:09pm
Subject: Re: Post 1978 Hollywood comedy (and other genres)
 
These are very interesting posts - and am learning a lot about films new to
me here!
Certainly am not claiming that all Hollywood comedies are good. I've liked
150 over the last 25 years. That averages 6 per year. It does not seem
surprizing that out of the countless comedies made in Hollywood, that 6 per year might
be above average.
I really like action films, too. Rob Cohen and John McTiernan are long time
favorites. "13th Warrior" is a much better film than its reputation suggests.
Will come up with a much longer post on some of these topics soon - must run!
Thanks for the very informative posts!

Mike Grost
15448


From: Jonathan Rosenbaum
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 5:09pm
Subject: Re: The House Is Black
 
>
> If you read French you can purchase the journal "Cinema".
> Its seventh issue includes a DVD of the film. Apparently
> the eighth issue will include a DVD of John Ford's
> "Bucking Broadway".
>
> Jonathan Takagi

This is by far the best version of the film available anywhere, IMO. The version
being brought out by Facets (late 2004/early 2005, I've heard) is exactly the
same one that was shown years ago at the Film Center in Chicago (as well as
the New York Film Festival), and isn't bad apart from a few minor TV cuts, but
it lacks the sound-and-image quality of the Cinema DVD.

(from a Toronto cybercafe)

Jonathan
15449


From:
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 4:23pm
Subject: Re: Post 1978 Hollywood comedy (was: Feel-Good films)
 
This a_film_by-er is definitely watching (and frequently loving) post 1978
Hollywood film in general. Re: teen comedies, there's my beloved Empire Records
and, for those who like their films with a more assured authorial thrust
behind them, Pump Up The Volume. Heathers, natch. The Legally Blonde films tell me
more about politics than most news sources and undermine patriarchal discourse
as decisively as anything by Laura Mulvey and Gracie Allen. Josie & The
Pussycats and Election would make a searing double feature. Not sure how Hollywood
if at all any of these are but I dug them fine: Psycho Beach Party, Wet Hot
American Summer, Happy Campers. And for that meta touch, there's the terrific
Not Another Teen Comedy.

I have a loathe/worship rapport with John Hughes' oeuvre, particularly The
Breakfast Club. Basically, I expected it to solve the clique problem in high
schools across America and it fuckin' didn't! Hated Some Kind of Wonderful too
but cannot remember why (even though I saw it this summer).

I guess I liked Sister Act but I recall seeing it in a theatre during its
first run and thinking I was watching it for the 40th time on video. Hmmm.

And let me pump some of the SNL flix (in ascending order of greatness):
Superstar, Stuart Saves His Family and Razzie winner It's Pat - The Movie. The
latter is as masterful as anything by Yang or Tarr.

Kevin John


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
15450


From: Zach Campbell
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 8:44pm
Subject: Re: Post 1978 Hollywood comedy (was: Feel-Good films)
 
Kevin John:

> The Legally Blonde films tell me
> more about politics than most news sources and undermine
> patriarchal discourse as decisively as anything by Laura Mulvey
> and Gracie Allen.

> It's Pat - The Movie ... is as masterful as anything by Yang or
> Tarr.

My curiosity is sufficiently piqued - how so on both counts?

--Zach
15451


From:
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 4:57pm
Subject: The Legend of Leigh Bowery (Was: The meaning of the word "documentary")
 
Especially given the recent posts on documentary or whatever it's called, I
must gush about The Legend of Leigh Bowery. Bowery was an Australian who
outmindfucked everyone in London's New Romantic scene. Think Boy George but artier
and much less cuddly (how could you get your arms around his enceinte bodysuits
anyway??). In fact, he was downright terrifying. The Legend of Leigh Bowery
is a doc (or whatever) directed by Charles Atlas (for the BBC, I think). There
were some bits of info I wish had more context. But in general, I appreciated
the contexts that were presented, especially (as always) an economic one.

Even though Bowery seems to have embodied, even epitomized freedom, he placed
enormous physical constraints upon himself. It got me thinking about what
could be achieved (artistically and otherwise) if comfort weren't such an ideal.
And beyond that lies the suggestion that discomfort and freedom are
(paradoxically?) more intertwined than we think (or would hope). A legend indeed. See
it!

Kevin John


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
15452


From: Paul Gallagher
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 11:12pm
Subject: Re: Wood and Fieschi on Sunrise (Was: Gilberto Perez on NOSFERATU)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:
> > And how did
> > Murnau get the pig to act drunk?
>
> Looked to me as if the floor was so slick that the pig couldn't get
its
> footing.

I think you're right. I was also impressed by the dog who swam out
to the boat, and the dress straps that slid down on cue on the
woman in the nightclub.

>
> But!!! This is not a psychological depiction of marriage, or of
> anything else. Like it or not, Murnau and Mayer are dealing in
big,
> general character traits. To wish otherwise is to wish that both
> artists were different artists. (See Rohmer on Murnau's
relationship to
> psychology.)

Those are excellent points. Wood maybe wants a Leo McCarey movie.
For my own part, there were the criticisms of "Sunrise" offered on
the rec.arts.movies.international newsgroup, the political questions
Wood raised, and then there was my own experience of "Sunrise."
Margaret Livingston had left a stronger impression than Janet
Gaynor, the City had made a stronger impression than the Country.
(This has been largely corrected when I reviewed "Sunrise" this
Friday.) And "Sunrise," while beautiful, was not overwhelming to
me, unlike "Nosferatu," "Faust," "Tabu," and I wanted to understand
why.

>
> I dunno, but THE LAST LAUGH is pretty dramaturgically solid too. I
get
> the sense that Mayer was into this kind of storytelling perfection,
and
> Murnau heightens the effect with his particular qualities. I
hesitate
> to view SUNRISE as a watershed film in this regard, particularly as
it
> was a commercial failure, which means more to the film industry than
the
> critical praise that Fieschi claims was so influential.

"The Last Laugh" of course is set apart by the absence of intertitles,
and Murnau influenced directors such as Hitchcock, Ford, Ulmer,
etc. However, I don't know the details of Murnau's influence. It
could be much less than Fieschi imagines. I'd imagine a later
Hollywood film wouldn't have "Sunrise's" "narrative eccentricity"
that Wood complains about. The people would be given distinct
personalities and motivations, the places would be more specific,
the murder attempt would come much later, after the affair between
the Man and the City Woman had been established, the Man would be
more of a man of action. Maybe we'd have "A Place in the Sun..."

>
> SUNRISE contains an early title, at least, that tries to balance
the
> city-country thing, saying that life is the same everywhere, a
mixture
> of bitter and sweet. I don't find the film anti-urban: there's the
city
> lady, true, but on the other hand the city is a lot of fun in the
film,
> and doesn't corrupt the yokels. Most of the city people are nice.
And
> the film is big on visual city-country transitions that express
more of
> a sense of beauty than of imbalance.

Another excellent point. The film is much less anti-urban than I
had remembered. The City Woman's wild dance associates the city
with sex. It's a threat to the family and an irresistable instigation
to violence and murder. But on reviewing "Sunrise" I didn't see
much anti-urbanism. More to the point is the depiction of the City
Woman's sexuality as disruptive, dangerous, having an almost
supernatural power.

>
> Homosexuals do not have a monopoly on making films in which sex is
> threatening. Hollywood was, then and now, long on films where
> uninhibited sex is a negative and destabilizing force. Wood
himself
> points this out later, but seems untroubled by the fact that that
our
> culture manages to enact a repression-idealization syndrome even
though
> it is predominantly heterosexual.

Again, a good point. Also, Murnau presents a very different persective
on sexuality in "Tabu" a few years later.
>
> Just once more: I feel as if Wood is shortchanging Gaynor's
character a
> little bit. There's something of a sexual vibe about her: certainly
the
> kiss at the photographers has a bit of spark to it. Her dance with
> O'Brien isn't unsexy. In general, Murnau and Gaynor make that
character
> rather more sexual than they had to.

Her odd hat is a sign of prim nature. She loses the hat in her
water. She's very beautiful when she is almost drowned, as her
hair flows freely in the water, or as she lies unconscious in bed.
The proximity of death seems to bring out her beauty -- which is,
I think, a Romantic convention.

Is George O'Obrien beauty and sexuality emphasized?

Given that these are character types, Wood may still have a few
valid points. The City Woman is strongly sexualized and associated
with evil and death, and it is shown as a threat to the family.
The Man veers between passivity and mad violence, under the influence
of sexuality. The association of sexuality and evil may be
objectionable. However, as you point out, the representation of
sexuality is more complicated, and more inspired, than Wood describes.
However, another arguments might be that "Sunrise" is weak as drama.
That is, The City Woman is an inadequate substitute for Nosferatu
or Faust, given the Man's passivity and the power of the City
Woman's influence.

Paul
15453


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 11:51pm
Subject: Re: Re: Wood and Fieschi on Sunrise (Was: Gilberto Perez on NOSFERATU)
 
> I think you're right. I was also impressed by the dog who swam out
> to the boat, and the dress straps that slid down on cue on the
> woman in the nightclub.

There had to be invisible wires on those dress straps. Never really
cared for that gag much, by the way, though I'm interested in the way
the dance and the gag are intercut, and emphasized equally.

> Is George O'Obrien beauty and sexuality emphasized?

I guess. He's just not the actor that Gaynor is, which is an obstacle;
but he's often presented in an energetic, appealing way in the middle
section.

> The City Woman is strongly sexualized and associated
> with evil and death, and it is shown as a threat to the family.
> The Man veers between passivity and mad violence, under the influence
> of sexuality.

No doubt about it. The fact that O'Brien-Gaynor relationship is
implicitly sexual doesn't mitigate the fact that the City Woman's sex is
positively occult.

> The association of sexuality and evil may be
> objectionable.

I dunno. Pro-sex films are nice, coz they're relatively rare. But it
can be evocative to depict sex as destabilizing and dangerous - because,
among other things, it is. If it becomes a world view, then I start to
find it objectionable. But I don't really get that feeling here.

I think I'd be bugged too if Gaynor resembled, say, one of those
Griffith heroines for whom sex seems unthinkable. I guess Wood thinks
that's the way Murnau presents her. But I have no trouble imagining
O'Brien and Gaynor exchanging bodily fluids - whereas Lillian Gish in
BROKEN BLOSSOMS....

> However, another arguments might be that "Sunrise" is weak as drama.
> That is, The City Woman is an inadequate substitute for Nosferatu
> or Faust, given the Man's passivity and the power of the City
> Woman's influence.

This argument assumes that the City Woman is the antagonist of the film.
But I'd say that Nature, or something like that, really fills this
bill. The City Woman is just an imp, a subordinate of some greater
natural force; ditto the fisherman who saves Gaynor, albeit on the other
side.

If you follow this argument, Nature, or the Deity, or something, becomes
both protagonist and antagonist in the film. The hero and heroine are
physically subordinate to the big forces around them: they dispose of
nothing, they save no one. They do interact on the level of the spirit:
the hero abandons his murderous plan, and learns to love again; the
heroine is able to forgive an unspeakable betrayal. But they never
really take control of events in a major way, not the way Nature does. - Dan
15454


From: Maxime Renaudin
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 11:58pm
Subject: Re: re-enactments
 
Nils (son of) Tavernier made recently for TV a film-investigation
about French sexuality (or lets say sexuality of some people who
used to live in France). Désirs et sexualité, 2003. The film
consists of several straight interviews of a few people talking
about their life. But those on the screen are not the actual ones.
Just actors reading their lines. Acting their lines. I understand
from Tavernier's words that it was a matter of principle: against a
kind of TV reality, TV that "induces people to pour their life on a
set, to throw their intimacy to the lions".
Actually, I shall say haven't seen the film, except for a few
minutes, so I can't pass judgment on it, but I don't feel convinced
by this approach. I can't help thinking that there is something lost
in the process. Whatever the talent of the actor is (if any). During
the few minutes I watched, I felt somewhat cheated. Is that entirely
imaginary? If I had not know this terrible secret (which is not one
of course), my reaction would probably have been different...
Maxime
15455


From:
Date: Sun Sep 12, 2004 8:51pm
Subject: Re: Re: Post 1978 Hollywood comedy (was: Feel-Good films)
 
For It's Pat - The Movie, see my reviews at

http://neumu.net/continuity_error/2002/2002-00009_continuity.shtml and
http://neumu.net/continuity_error/2002/2002-00010_continuity.shtml

As for Legally Blonde, Elle Woods makes passion, aerobics and perm solution
integral to the legal process and closes out the film with a totally unlabored
speech countering Aristotle. That's rad enough 4 me.

Kevin John


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
15456


From: Patrick Ciccone
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 1:21am
Subject: CONTEMPT translation error?
 
I'm sure many in this group have the Criterion disc of CONTEMPT, which
I was just looking at but at 19:22 into the film, Lang's response to
Jeremey Prokosch's "Whenever I hear culture, I get my checkbook."
Lang's response is mistranslate--he says "les hitleriens," which gets
mistranslated as "Italians."

Am I right here?

Patrick
15457


From: Paul Gallagher
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 5:05am
Subject: Re: Wood and Fieschi on Sunrise (Was: Gilberto Perez on NOSFERATU)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:

> This argument assumes that the City Woman is the antagonist of the
film.
> But I'd say that Nature, or something like that, really fills
this
> bill. The City Woman is just an imp, a subordinate of some greater
> natural force; ditto the fisherman who saves Gaynor, albeit on the
other
> side.
>
> If you follow this argument, Nature, or the Deity, or something,
becomes
> both protagonist and antagonist in the film. The hero and heroine
are
> physically subordinate to the big forces around them: they dispose
of
> nothing, they save no one. They do interact on the level of the
spirit:
> the hero abandons his murderous plan, and learns to love again; the
> heroine is able to forgive an unspeakable betrayal. But they never
> really take control of events in a major way, not the way Nature
does. - Dan

I'm going to see "Sunrise" again and keep that in mind. It's
persuasive. I remember that the City Woman so often looks small,
vulnerable, innocent, pretty. She's much smaller than George O'Brien
and seems physically dominated by him even as she is mentally
controlling him. We often see her appear small in the frame. We see
her asleep, where she looks innocent (although maybe the point is that
she is untroubled by the great storm?). Her grumpiness as she departs
the village makes her look as if she's been a brat: there's no hatred
toward her. It's hard to find malice or bitterness in "Sunrise": why
be bitter toward a storm? So I think you are right. These are people
at the mercy of larger forces.

Paul
15458


From: hotlove666
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 6:29am
Subject: Re: Post 1978 Hollywood comedy (was: Feel-Good films)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:
It's Pat - The Movie. ...is as masterful as anything by Yang or Tarr.
>
> Kevin John

It's Pat somehow landed in my VCR back when it came out. I had never
seen the character on SNL, so I took the film "droit dans la geule."
I yammered about it for a week, but no one listened, except to tell
me that they had had enough of her/him on SNL etc. etc. Comparing
It's Pat -- The Movie to Yang is like comparing Monty Python to
Masterpiece Theatre.
15459


From: hotlove666
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 6:56am
Subject: SubversionVision comes to the LA Cinematheque
 
No nurses, naugthy or otherwise, were on duty in the lobby, but
David's presentation of Performance and The Devils at the
Cinematheque was well-attended by a gratifyingly young and, in some
cases, puzzlingly devout crowd. Golden years attendees included
a_film_byers Richard Modiano and yours truly; Joseph K stopped in to
see David Lebrun's Proteus at the Spielberg Theatre and confirmed
after seeing a few minutes of Performance that the 'Theque's 35 print
was inferior to his 16 Technicolor at home. The films haven't aged,
although you couldn't prove it by me, as I was seeing both for the
first time. Biggest laugh: when Fox says to Jagger "you're going to
look ridiculous when you're 50." Most obscure reference: the mirror
game from the steam room in The Alphabet Murders, deployed by Fox's
bedmate against his smug sense of gender boundaries. David's
erudition awed listeners, one of whom was convinced he has heard him
on the radio -- he was obviously mixing him up with Paul Harvey. The
Devils subverted The Exorcist while it was shooting, and continues to
subvert The Passion of the Christ, which it may have inspired. I'm no
Ken Russell unconditional, but I like this one -- Vannessa Redgrave's
entrance is one of those truly unforgetable screen moments. Derek
Jarman's credit got applause from the knowledgeable, but in some
cases mysteriously deistic, participants. A bloody good time was had
by all. We weren't wearing special glasses, but it FELT like we were.
15460


From:
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:07am
Subject: Re: Re: Anderson, Jost, Ozon, Ford, et al
 
Bill Krohn wrote:

> The Hulk showed that a comic superhero can
>be recreated for the screen and made the filmmaker's own, but Popeye
>will always be the great example of that, pending a second visit to
>Peter's beloved Superman series.

Just in the interest of clarity, I make no claims whatsoever for Richard
Donner's "Superman" nor Sidney J. Furie's "Superman IV." The two Lester entries
sandwiched in between are the ones that I think are great. The first article I
ever wrote was on those films and re-viewings as recently as a month ago
continue to confirm my opinion that "Superman II," in particular, is one of
Lester's three or four greatest pictures.

I loved Lee's "Hulk," almost certainly my favorite film derived from a comic
since Lester's "Superman" films. (I've never taken to Burton's "Batmans"...)

Peter
15461


From: hotlove666
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 7:10am
Subject: Re: Anderson, Jost, Ozon, Ford, et al
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, ptonguette@a... wrote:

(I've never taken to Burton's "Batmans"...)
>
> Peter

A tad labored. Pfeiffer is great in BR.
15462


From:
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:28am
Subject: Re: Welles' nostalgia (was: Brown Bunny...)
 
Jake Wilson wrote:

>One wrinkle is that for the last century (as still today) many
>commentators of both left and right have seen the cinema itself as
>the epitome of alienating, mechanical inauthenticity, and I have to
>wonder if Welles (and maybe other filmmakers of his generation) felt
>conflicted for this reason about the principal medium he worked in [...]

This is a fascinating thread to the discussion. A few months back, I
interviewed Armond White about Spielberg and somehow we got to talking about Welles.
White felt that one of the things Welles was always expressing was a
consciousness of what the world was like before cinema. (I'm paraphrasing here, as I
don't have the interview transcript in front of me.) This seems to me a key
observation.

As to Jake's wonderful point about Welles' attempts to re-establish the
immediacy of the artist/audience relationship found in the theatre or oral
storytelling, I have to again (at the risk of sounding like a broken record) bring up
that most wonderful late project of his, "The Magic Show," so much of which is
comprised of Welles' direct address to the audience and which seems to have
been conceived as a particularly audience-friendly movie. I don't mean this in
a negative sense at all. An editor who worked on the film in its latter
stages, Jon Braun, put it to me like this: "What I liked about 'The Magic Show'
was that it was something where you sat back and you could be a kid again."
With its mixture of illusions, narrative, and plain and simple gags, it certainly
achieves this aim, as well as simultaneously connecting with the theme of
Welles' nostalgia, for when Welles speaks in the film of old magicians, or "those
grand old days when every whistlestop had a real live theatre of its own,"
you can hear the nostalgia in his voice.

Peter
15463


From: jaketwilson
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 8:07am
Subject: Re: Anderson, Jost, Ozon, Ford, et al
 
> I loved Lee's "Hulk," almost certainly my favorite film derived
from a comic
> since Lester's "Superman" films.

Peter, did you ever watch LOIS AND CLARK on TV, and if so what did
you think? I remember it with some fondness -- in playing up the
romantic comedy angle it clearly took a lot of inspiration from
Lester's approach.

>(I've never taken to Burton's "Batmans"...)

Both have golden moments, e.g. the Joker's infomercial, which is pure
Burton. Bruce Wayne could be speaking for the filmmaker when he says
re his overdecorated mansion: "Some parts are very much me. Others,
not so much."

Apart from unwieldy plot stuff, a big problem a lot of these comic-
book struggle with is having to hide the star. Keaton is fine as a
reclusive millionaire but once he puts the mask on it could be
anybody.

JTW
15464


From: thebradstevens
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:04am
Subject: Jerry Lewis on DVD
 
Deatails about the Jerry Lewis films being released on DVD are
available here:

http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/content.php?contentid=12401

It looks like a very promising series of discs, with Lewis
commentaries and deleted scenes from THE BELLBOY and THE NUTTY
PROFESSOR.
15465


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 1:22pm
Subject: Re: SubversionVision comes to the LA Cinematheque
 
Well it was a teriffic evening, and confirmed a
feeling that I've had for some time --that the
Cinematheque's Lloyd Rigler Theater is one of the best
places in town to see movies. When images as big as
the ones offered up by "Performance" and "The Devils"
are thrown on a big screen to an auditorium in which
every set is good, it's quite a delight. That the
"Performance" print was slightly "off" color-wise
didn't ruin it. I was much more concerned about the
state of the "The Devils." Outside of one
unaccountably dark shot it was just about perfect.
David Watkin is such great DP.

Surprised that so many got the jokes in "The Devils."

--- hotlove666 wrote:

> No nurses, naugthy or otherwise, were on duty in the
> lobby, but
> David's presentation of Performance and The Devils
> at the
> Cinematheque was well-attended by a gratifyingly
> young and, in some
> cases, puzzlingly devout crowd.



_______________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
Shop for Back-to-School deals on Yahoo! Shopping.
http://shopping.yahoo.com/backtoschool
15466


From: Zach Campbell
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 1:28pm
Subject: It's Pat, Legally Blonde
 
Kevin John:
> For It's Pat - The Movie, see my reviews

Excellent! I've seen only part of IT'S PAT on television a few
years ago, now I want to see it in full.

> As for Legally Blonde, Elle Woods makes passion, aerobics and perm
> solution integral to the legal process and closes out the film
> with a totally unlabored speech countering Aristotle. That's rad
> enough 4 me.

This I must admit I still don't see. My sister loves the movies, or
at least the first one (the only one I've seen), so next time I
visit the parents maybe I'll check out the DVD again.

--Zach
15467


From: cairnsdavid1967
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 1:39pm
Subject: (Siodmak: (was: Dreyer, Sodmak, Joseph H. Lewis)
 
> 8:15 Criss Cross (Robert Siodmak) - one one his most inventive
films

I wasn't a memeber of this board when you guys were discussing
Siodmak, but I was reading the stuff and really want to join in.

Siodmak's films have one really adorable element that should be a
weakness but, by it's frequent recurrence, marks him out as a bigger
auteur than his obvious strengths.

The cod-psychology scene. In PHANTOM LADY there's a discourse on
how "all killer's are paranoiacs" from Thomas Mitchell, and Lew Ayres
tells us in THE DARK MIRROR how all sisters hate each other, twin
sisters even more so.

And so on - there's even a scene in the French film PIEGES where some
dollar-book Freud is rolled out to account for a mad murderer's acts.

I always perk up and enjoy these scenes, campy and inaccurate as they
may be - they may not tell us about real-life psychology of human
beings, but they tell us something about Siodmak's rather sweet
naivety in these matters.

I think Siodmak's noirs are the most freudian of anybody's, and
warmly recommend THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF UNCLE HARRY as one of the most
peculiar Hollywood films you are likely to see.
15468


From: cairnsdavid1967
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 1:42pm
Subject: Re: Wood and Fieschi on Sunrise (Was: Gilberto Perez on NOSFERATU)
 
> But I have no trouble imagining
> O'Brien and Gaynor exchanging bodily fluids - whereas Lillian Gish
in
> BROKEN BLOSSOMS...

But iusn't Gish playing a CHILD? So I'm kind of glad you don't think
of her that way. Her embrace with Lars Hansen at the end of THE WIND
is pretty sexy, even if it is a studio-imposed happy ending.
15469


From: cairnsdavid1967
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 1:47pm
Subject: Re: This Sunday at 5 PM
 
> > Have you seen the outtakes? I've only seen snippets
> > from the PERF
> > stuff (which already looked pretty hardcore) but
> > I've seen the
> > whole "rape of christ on the corss" sequence cut by
> > the UK censors
> > from THE DEVILS to avoid our ancinet blasphemy laws.
> >
> >
> Tha'ts only recently been made available. I'm not
> atallcertain that the print they'reshowing today will
> include it.

Hope the show went well.

The deleted scene was released by Warners for use in a British
documentary on the film, on the explicit condition that it was NOT to
be reinstated into the movie. This despite the fact that Ken Russell
always wanted to include the scene.

Hope you got the version with full-frontal nudity though - Warners
cut all that from the US release in hopes of getting an R, then when
they got an X they released the cut version anyway. According to
Russell, anyway.
15470


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 2:34pm
Subject: Re: Re: This Sunday at 5 PM
 
--- cairnsdavid1967 wrote:


> Hope you got the version with full-frontal nudity
> though - Warners
> cut all that from the US release in hopes of getting
> an R, then when
> they got an X they released the cut version anyway.
> According to
> Russell, anyway.
>
>
The print was quite good with plenty of full frontal
nude nunnery.

That scene was clearly supposed to appear as the
climax of the sequence in the church where the King
arrives incognito to observe the shennanigans. I
gather it's "blasphemy" would be due to the fact that
nuns would be "raping" a gaint crucifix rather than
the merely mortal Oliver Reed.




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15471


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 2:42pm
Subject: The Pets' Potemkin -- Reactions
 
Looks like it was a hit:

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/theguide/archives/music/2004/09/go_west_end.html




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15472


From: Richard Modiano
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 4:10pm
Subject: Re: This Sunday at 5 PM
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "cairnsdavid1967"
wrote:

"Hope you got the version with full-frontal nudity though - Warners
cut all that from the US release in hopes of getting an R, then when
they got an X they released the cut version anyway. According to
Russell, anyway."

That footage was present in last night's print, but I heard it was
deleted for a 1976 rerelease, so maybe Russell was refering to that
rerelease version.

One of my friends who was with me and who preserved several films for
Disney said THE DEVILS print was dye transfer but the PERFORMANCE
print was an Eastman color print despite the Technicolor logo.

And it was a pleasure to meet David and Bill face to face.

Richard
15473


From:
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 4:16pm
Subject: My Favorite Year (Richard Benjamin)
 
TCM is showing My Favorite Year (Richard Benjamin, 1982) at 6PM Eastern tonight. This is an example of one of the many Hollywood comedies seen here over the years. Memory suggests it has some amusing moments. It takes back stage at a clone of the 1950's TV program "Your Show of Shows" (just as the Dick Van Dyke TV show did.)
Benjamin's work is uneven. The other two I like are "Little Nikita" and "Mrs. Winterbourne".
Do a_film_by-ers have any feelings on these movies?

Mike Grost
15474


From:
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 4:21pm
Subject: Re: Re: Post 1978 Hollywood comedy (was: Feel-Good films)
 
I'm confused. DId you yammer about it in a good way or a bad way?

< Masterpiece Theatre.>>

Ok but then aren't you dissing Yang?

Kevin John
15475


From:
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 4:40pm
Subject: Re: It's Pat, Legally Blonde
 
Thanx, Zach! The version shown on TV is different from the one available on VHS/DVD. The TV version is longer but the new/extended scenes are not essential, IMO.

As for Legally Blonde, I guess I'm just a sucker for girl culture. You have to really care about these denigrated markers of femininity for the film to work, I imagine. Overall, Elle has access to a knowledge that America's patriarchal legal process devalues. I would surmise that negative reactions to the film stem for a similar devaluation on the part of (some) audiences. (Oooh, and now that I write all that down, I realize either LB would make a nifty double feature with Dancer in the Dark or, more obliquely, Letter From An Unknown Woman.)

And again, she disses Aristotle. Aristotle!! That takes some cojones or the female equivalent thereof (see? Elle would have a field day unpacking my patriarchal language).

Or how 'bout this? Try to imagine Rear Window without Jimmy Stewart or where Grace Kelly's fashion concerns overrides Jimmy's photography ones. It probably wouldn't be a suspense film at all, hence LB.

Kevin John
15476


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 4:50pm
Subject: Re: Re: Wood and Fieschi on Sunrise (Was: Gilberto Perez on NOSFERATU)
 
> Her grumpiness as she departs
> the village makes her look as if she's been a brat: there's no hatred
> toward her.

I found her expression stricken rather than grumpy. But, either way,
she's viewed with compassion.

It's interesting that this representative of the city is associated so
strongly with the marshes, and climbs trees like a wild cat. She really
reminds me less of Nosferatu than of Renfield. - Dan
15477


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 4:57pm
Subject: Re: Re: Wood and Fieschi on Sunrise (Was: Gilberto Perez on NOSFERATU)
 
>> But I have no trouble imagining
>> O'Brien and Gaynor exchanging bodily fluids - whereas Lillian Gish
> in
>> BROKEN BLOSSOMS...
>
> But iusn't Gish playing a CHILD?

Isn't that something of a technicality for Griffith? I dunno - I haven't
seen much Griffith in a long time, and maybe there's a persuasive opinion
out there on the other side, but I find his depiction of sexuality quite
problemsome in general. - Dan
15478


From: hotlove666
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 5:28pm
Subject: Re: It's Pat, Legally Blonde
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:

Kevin - I haven't seen LB2, but I was struck by the poster: she's
wearing Jackie O's assassination dress. is that an accident?

PS - All things Reese are good since I saw Freeway.
15479


From: hotlove666
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 5:29pm
Subject: Re: Post 1978 Hollywood comedy (was: Feel-Good films)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:
> I'm confused. DId you yammer about it in a good way or a bad
way?
>

I raved. I sung its praises to the sky.

> < Monty Python to
> Masterpiece Theatre.>>
>
> Ok but then aren't you dissing Yang?

I fear that Yi Yi struck me as an oversold bore.
15480


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 6:04pm
Subject: Re: My Favorite Year (Richard Benjamin)
 
Can't say I care all that much for the other two, but
"My Favorite Year" is a gem. It's a shame Benjamin
hasn't developed as a director in the way I'd expected
he would from that film. But then its real auteurs are
Mel Brooks and the great Peter O'Toole: "I'M NOT AN
ACTOR I'M A MOVIE STAR!"

--- MG4273@a... wrote:

> TCM is showing My Favorite Year (Richard Benjamin,
> 1982) at 6PM Eastern tonight. This is an example of
> one of the many Hollywood comedies seen here over
> the years. Memory suggests it has some amusing
> moments. It takes back stage at a clone of the
> 1950's TV program "Your Show of Shows" (just as the
> Dick Van Dyke TV show did.)
> Benjamin's work is uneven. The other two I like are
> "Little Nikita" and "Mrs. Winterbourne".
> Do a_film_by-ers have any feelings on these movies?
>
> Mike Grost
>
>





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New and Improved Yahoo! Mail - 100MB free storage!
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15481


From: Greg
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 6:29pm
Subject: Re: Auteur as commodity
 
> ...and then basically reward them for doing THE SAME THING
> about five times rapidly in a row - ie, being an auteur with a
> signature, a recognisable schtick, an imitable style...

A recursive quality of self-consistency...And one wonders just how a
more organic development (maturation) in a filmmaker's life & work
jibes with this kind of compulsory self-consistency...

Adrian's post put me in mind of Egoyan, and of Maddin...

Does 'auteurist style' work chiefly, now, as a kind of lingua franca
or currency, for the independent filmmaker cobbling together
production/distribution deals across various continents,
public/corporate funding entities, etc?

- Greg Little
15482


From:
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 7:12pm
Subject: Re: Re: It's Pat, Legally Blonde
 
<>
Nope, not an accident.

<>

Especially Election!

Kevin John
15483


From:
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 7:25pm
Subject: Re: Re: Post 1978 Hollywood comedy (was: Feel-Good films)
 
My mind has been properly blown. Someone else (and someone as erudite as Bill on top of it) thinks It's Pat - The Movie is a better film than Yi Yi (even though I liked Yi Yi)! I was apprehensive about posting my love for It's Pat. Never again. Thanx!!

Kevin John
15484


From: hotlove666
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 7:28pm
Subject: Re: Auteur as commodity
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Greg"
wrote: ...Egoyan...Maddin

I can'tanswer about Maddin, but Egoyan changed directions with
The Sweet Hereafter and was very much rewarded for it. Then he
stubbornly introduced self-reflexive devices into Ararat, showing
that he just likes self-reflexiveness...and seriously affecting the
impact of the film. In between he filmed Krapp's Last Tape --
maybe that exorcism of his Ur-Text will enable him to eventually
return to the direction mapped out in Sweet Hereafter...if
producers let him.

In truth, the problem of consistency has always dogged auteurs,
but from the outside. Hitchcock to Albert Whitlock on Mary Rose,
which would have been his crowning masterpiece: "The head
office didn't want it -- said it wasn't the kind of thing people
expected from me."
Welles to me on Lady from Shanghai: "I'd have loved to do more
films with charismatic women at the center, but producers
wouldn't let me."

I think indie directors are just more vulnerable than their
successful mainstreeam counterparts. But really it's not much
different from what actors experience, and fight against. Look at
what Neve Campbell has been doing lately!
15485


From: hotlove666
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 7:30pm
Subject: Re: Post 1978 Hollywood comedy (was: Feel-Good films)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:
> My mind has been properly blown. Someone else (and
someone as erudite as Bill on top of it) thinks It's Pat - The Movie
is a better film than Yi Yi (even though I liked Yi Yi)! I was
apprehensive about posting my love for It's Pat. Never again.
Thanx!!
>
> Kevin John

I'm probably underrating Yi Yi because it was disappointing after
all the hype. But It's Pat is way better.
15486


From: Greg
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 7:59pm
Subject: Re: Auteur as commodity
 
> Hitchcock to Albert Whitlock on Mary Rose,
> which would have been his crowning masterpiece: "The head
> office didn't want it -- said it wasn't the kind of thing people
> expected from me."

Isn't it strange (as a recent reading of Biskind's "Easy Riders,
Raging Bulls" leads me to wonder) how the generation of auteurs which
included Coppola, Schrader, Friedkin & dePalma ended up being
*compelled* to do exactly the kind of things people didn't expect
from them (eg Coppola with Peggy Sue..., Gardens of Stone, Jack,
Rainmaker, and on & on)? In their cases, it's as if the bubble of
stylistic/thematic self-consistency was deliberately burst, with only
the name & old credits remaining to sell the new product...Lynch (who
went to CanalPlus for funding on Mulholland Drive) and
Cronenberg (who fought against all hope to make Spider), and
Gilliam, and Egoyan (and Jost, and Alex Cox, & others), though
working from project-to-project, seem empowered by
comparison...

> But really it's not much
> different from what actors experience, and fight against...

Yes, that's so true!
15487


From: hotlove666
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 8:59pm
Subject: Re: Auteur as commodity
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Greg"
wrote:

Lynch (who
> went to CanalPlus for funding on Mulholland Drive) and
> Cronenberg (who fought against all hope to make Spider), and
> Gilliam, and Egoyan (and Jost, and Alex Cox, & others), though
> working from project-to-project, seem empowered by
> comparison...

The high-rollers from the 60s and 70s all failed spectacularly
and were integrated into the studio system. All of them. The
group you cite are relatively empowered, but only relatively.
Gilliam has had project after project fold up on him, one in the
midst of shooting, and Cox, whom I revere, has been doing
literary adaptations that really don't show his talent to his best
advantage. He seems to have gotten ensconced in British tv,
much as Jost has gotten ensconced in the art galley/video
circuit, where I'm not sure he has prospered. We'll see when
Redcat in LA shows a spectrum of his work in October.

The New Batch certainly seem to combine the best of both
worlds, with Soderbergh leading the pack, but when's thge last
time Soderbergh did anything as interesting as Schizopolos?
Will Alex Proyas use the success of the badly compromised I
Robot to make one that knocks our socks off? Will Raimi do the
same when he's done carbon-copying old Spidey comix? Will
Payne's new one be better than About Schmidt, or worse? Burton
is two films down and praying that Willy Wonka and The Corpse
Bride will bring back the magic. Etc.

So far David O. Russell has led a blessed life, and so has Sofia
Coppola (3 films and 2, respectively), and so have others I'm
forgetting. But you need the luck of the Irish combined with the
will-to-power of Genghis Kahn to keep the string going. And
matthew Bright just keeps making films, somehow.

An inspiring example: Joe Dante, who just keeps making good
films, but takes long periods off in between because he's
avoiding making bad ones. His latest plan: To make a film about
the making of The Trip.
15488


From: thebradstevens
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:14pm
Subject: Re: Auteur as commodity
 
"Joe Dante...His latest plan: To make a film about the making of The
Trip."

Is this the one based on a screenplay by VIDEO WATCHDOG-editor Tim
Lucas?
15489


From: Craig Keller
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:17pm
Subject: 'Rooftops'
 
I was curious whether anyone here has seen Robert Wise's 'Rooftops,'
and if so, what some opinions might be.

craig.
15490


From: hotlove666
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:21pm
Subject: Re: Auteur as commodity
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "thebradstevens"
wrote:
> "Joe Dante...His latest plan: To make a film about the making
of The
> Trip."
>
> Is this the one based on a screenplay by VIDEO
WATCHDOG-editor Tim
> Lucas?

I believe so.
15491


From: Aaron Graham
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:44pm
Subject: Re: Auteur as commodity
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666"
wrote:
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "thebradstevens"
> wrote:
> > "Joe Dante...His latest plan: To make a film about the making
> of The
> > Trip."
> >

I'm very excited about this! I recently interviewed Charles Griffith,
who wrote a first draft of "The Trip" for Corman -- but as a
comedy/musical. He mentioned that Frank Zappa (!) auditioned, as well
as composer David Raksin ("Laura"), for potential musical choices. It
wasn't made for the simple reason that Corman thought it was
essentially a feature-length commercial promoting pot and LSD.

-Aaron
15492


From:
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 7:55pm
Subject: Re: 'Rooftops'
 
Craig Keller wrote:

>I was curious whether anyone here has seen Robert Wise's 'Rooftops,'
>and if so, what some opinions might be.

I'd be curious as well. I'm not what you'd call a big fan of Wise's
directorial efforts, but I am an auteurist with a real affinity for late works
(although I understand there's an even later Wise picture, a TV movie from 2000.)

Have you seen it, Craig?

Peter
15493


From: Craig Keller
Date: Tue Sep 14, 2004 0:05am
Subject: Re: 'Rooftops'
 
>> I was curious whether anyone here has seen Robert Wise's 'Rooftops,'
>> and if so, what some opinions might be.
>
> I'd be curious as well. I'm not what you'd call a big fan of Wise's
> directorial efforts, but I am an auteurist with a real affinity for
> late works
> (although I understand there's an even later Wise picture, a TV movie
> from 2000.)
>
> Have you seen it, Craig?

I haven't -- I flirted with buying the DVD on eBay last night, then
abandoned the effort after I saw it was full-frame. As the film dates
from '89, I'm assuming the OAR is 1.85. I'm less fond of the big Wise
productions than I am the smaller films -- in line with that, I saw
'The Set-Up' last night (twice in a row, off the new Warner disc) for
the first time and was blown away.

craig.
15494


From:
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 8:04pm
Subject: Re: Re: Anderson, Jost, Ozon, Ford, et al
 
Jake Wilson wrote:

>Peter, did you ever watch LOIS AND CLARK on TV, and if so what did
>you think? I remember it with some fondness -- in playing up the
>romantic comedy angle it clearly took a lot of inspiration from
>Lester's approach.

I haven't seen it since watching a few episodes when it first aired. That
was some years ago, so I can't quite remember my impressions of it. I'd
certainly be interested in seeing it again, particularly after reading your comments.


[On Burton's "Batman" pictures]

>Bruce Wayne could be speaking for the filmmaker when he says
>re his overdecorated mansion: "Some parts are very much me. Others,
>not so much."

Although I do remember the second one as being much more Burton-esque (though
still nothing particularly special, IMO), as though Burton won a greater
degree of freedom coming off of the blockbuster success of the first film. I hope
Raimi has finally gotten to that place with the third "Spider-Man."

Lester was in many ways an ideal director for a "Superman" film or, for that
matter, any comic book film which comes encumbered with a fictional universe
already built around it. His whole forte in the '70s was looking at myths from
new point-of-views. He came into "Superman II" ready to do the same. In
this way, his "Superman" films are closer to "Robin and Marian" than any other
superhero movie per se.

Peter
15495


From: Craig Keller
Date: Tue Sep 14, 2004 0:07am
Subject: Re: 'Rooftops'
 
> I'd be curious as well. I'm not what you'd call a big fan of Wise's
> directorial efforts, but I am an auteurist with a real affinity for
> late works
> (although I understand there's an even later Wise picture, a TV movie
> from 2000.)

PS - The TV film from 2000 is 'A Storm in Summer,' and it stars Peter
Falk (!) and Natassja Kinski (!!), and is actually, to my surprise, out
on DVD --

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000063K19/qid%3D1095120270/
sr%3D11-1/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F1/103-6416214-6195065

It was originally broadcast on Showtime, apparently, so I'm sure Wise
went crazy with the "fuck"s.

I'll have to try and find this on eBay as well.

craig.
15496


From:
Date: Mon Sep 13, 2004 8:08pm
Subject: Re: 'Rooftops'
 
Craig Keller wrote:

>I'm less fond of the big Wise
>productions than I am the smaller films -- in line with that, I saw
>'The Set-Up' last night (twice in a row, off the new Warner disc) for
>the first time and was blown away.

Indeed, early Wise is quite distinctive. He then got into the groove of
doing these mega-productions and became much less so. But, again, I would hold
out hope that he regained some of his interest in an odd, small late work, which
both "Rooftops" and the TV movie sound like they are.

Peter

15497


From: Aaron Graham
Date: Tue Sep 14, 2004 0:43am
Subject: Re: 'Rooftops'
 
I'm less fond of the big Wise
> productions than I am the smaller films -- in line with that, I saw
> 'The Set-Up' last night (twice in a row, off the new Warner disc)
for
> the first time and was blown away.
>
> craig.

His picture before "The Set-Up" is remarkable as well - "Blood on the
Moon", with Robert Mitchum, Barbara Bel Geddes and Walter Brennan.
It's got such a different, darker look that works particularly well
and Mitchum is just terrific.

Considering he was an editor beforehand, his films certainly seem to
pace extremely well. My favorite period of his were these early RKO
directorial efforts, although I carry a fondness for later films such
as "The Haunting" and "Audrey Rose". Haven't seen "Rooftops" yet.

Has anyone seen "Two for the Seesaw"?

-Aaron
15498


From: Adrian Martin
Date: Tue Sep 14, 2004 2:51am
Subject: Re: Rooftops (and a view of cinema therefrom)
 
Am I the only one in this group who has actually seen ROOFTOPS ???

I made it point of honour - for a book on 80s-and-beyond teen movies that I
began 20 years ago (! - I have that Malick rhythm) - to catch every film I
could about music and dance crazes (lambada, 'combat dance', breakdance,
etc). ROOFTOPS is one of them, and it's not too bad, although of course not
a patch on WEST SIDE STORY, which I regard as the best-crafted Wise film.
(He is a clear case of metteur en scene rather than auteur - an
uncontroversial statement?)

In the dance/music craze subgenre of the 80s teen movie, I also recommend
Boaz Davidson's SALSA (1988) - which has Demy-like stuff in a motor
mechanics, plus one of Paul Morrissey's young discoveries from the great
MIXED BLOOD; Michael Schultz's THE LAST DRAGON, which is a lot of fun and
stands up very well today (any Schultz enthusiasts on this list?); and
really the finest film of this whole bunch, Stan Lathan's BEAT STREET
(1984), which recently came out on DVD. A surprisingly political film of its
kind. I know Lathan did a noted youth-culture doco before this; did he ever
do anything since?

... And that was also a belated gesture of support for Gabe's heartfelt cry
that EVERY film, certified auteur or no, is worth a little bit of our
cinephilic time!!!

Adrian
15499


From: Aaron Graham
Date: Tue Sep 14, 2004 3:04am
Subject: Schultz Re: Rooftops (and a view of cinema therefrom)
 
> Michael Schultz's THE LAST DRAGON, which is a lot of fun and
> stands up very well today (any Schultz enthusiasts on this list?);

Schultz had a great track record there in the late 70's with "Cooley
High" (as good as "American Graffiti, with an even better
soundtrack!), "Car Wash", "Greased Lightning" and my favorite, "Which
Way Is Up?" - all within a four year period. All somewhat successful
in what they were trying to do, too.

I haven't checked out "The Last Dragon", but from the synopsis I've
read, it sounds like a lot of fun!

-Aaron
15500


From: Paul Gallagher
Date: Tue Sep 14, 2004 3:46am
Subject: Five Dedicated to Ozu (was Re: The Wind Will Carry Us)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jaketwilson"
wrote:

>
> Both are vital, though together they suggest that AK has reached an
> aesthetic crossroads and paused to reflect. TEN ON 10 is a
> declaration of principles done seemingly straightforwardly as a
> lecture to camera; on one viewing, I'm not sure how far it succeeds
> as a film rather than a manifesto (though the ending is great).
FIVE
> on the other hand is gorgeous and typically sly –- while the
long
> takes may at first give the impression of unmediated reality,
they're
> anything but.
>
> JTW

I noticed they are being shown at the Toronto Film Festival. Is anyone
on a_film_by at that festival?

The 130 films filmed or produced by Lumiere shown at the Anthology
Film Archives were discussed recently. They're different -- maybe
compelely different from what Kiarastomi is doing (for one thing,
Lumiere rarely filmed nature) -- but they also give the (possibly
deceiving) impression of unmediated reality.

Paul

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