Archive for David Cairns

That Man ‘Ees Crazee

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on November 15, 2014 by dcairns

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Such is the title of my essay in the booklet enclosed with each copy of Masters of Cinema’s Blu-ray of THE GANG’S ALL HERE, available NOW. Also featuring a piece by Karina Longworth and a commentary track by Farran Smith Nehme (the Self-Styled Siren) Glenn Kenny (Some Came Running) and Ed Hulse.

I’m trying to achieve excellence in titling, but remain hit-0r-miss. Fiona pronounced Picturewise, the title of my Richard Lester video essay, “terrible,” although it is a word used by Victor Spinetti in A HARD DAY’S NIGHT. On the other hand, my video essay on DIARY OF A LOST GIRL, available to pre-order below, is called Naked On My Goat, and I don’t think the paying public deserves any better than that, even if anything better was conceivable by the human mind. I think You Must Become Caligari is quite a strong title, and my essay for WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER? was called I Must I Must Increase My Bust, which makes me smile anyway.

For Lubitsch’s MADAME DUBARRY I contributed a piece called Who Wants to be a Milliner?, a terrible pun of which I am inordinately proud.

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The Return of Etaix, for the Pierre Etaix box set is not as strong a title as the piece itself, and certainly nowhere near as strong as the set. The Complete Jacques Tati has a piece called Things Fall Together which is a kind of sequel to an earlier piece called Things Fall Apart, Beautifully, on the Criterion website. 39 Steps to Happiness is self-explanatory, just about.

Mick Travis and the Chamber of Secrets, for IF…. is maybe a little desperate, but I was trying at least. The accompanying interview with supporting performer Brian Pettifer is triumphantly called Small Parts Inspection. My piece on THE LOST WEEKEND is called The Lost Weekend, which shows, frankly, a lack of inspiration which I fear shows in the piece. RIFIFI got one called I’m a Crook at Heart, for which credit goes to director Jules Dassin because he said it. Also for Arrow, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (Philip Kaufman version) got a piece called We Came from Outer Space, which is interesting at least, and my video essays for that company are Through the Pale Door (THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, title take from a line in the story) and… but maybe I can’t announce this one yet.

My best DVD essay title may be my first, for STAGECOACH. Taking the Stage is a pretty simple name, but it works on two levels and isn’t too cute. Ford might have allowed it.

I am about to start a new piece for Criterion but if I told you what the essay was called, some of you would guess the film and it ain’t announced yet.

Pre-order:

Diary of a Lost Girl [Masters of Cinema] Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD)

Out Now:
The Gang’s All Here (1943) [Masters of Cinema] [Blu-ray]
If…. (Masters of Cinema) [Blu-ray] [1968]
Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? [Masters of Cinema] (Dual Format Edition) [Blu-ray] [1957]
The Lost Weekend [Masters of Cinema] (Blu-ray) [1945]
MADAME DUBARRY [Masters of Cinema] (1919) [Blu-ray]

The 39 Steps (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Stagecoach (The Criterion Collection)
A Hard Day’s Night (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD)
Pierre Etaix (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
The Complete Jacques Tati [Blu-ray]

Rififi [Dual Format Edition DVD + Blu-Ray] [1955]
Fall of the House of Usher [Blu-ray]
Invasion of the Body Snatchers [Blu-ray]

There are also two video intros for Masters of Cinema but they don’t have titles, so it just says David Cairns on the DVD menu, which is quite startling if your name is David Cairns or you know somebody called David Cairns.

Harold And Maude (Masters of Cinema) (Blu-ray) [1971]
Too Late Blues (Masters of Cinema) (Dual Format Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD] [1961]

Have you got yours?

Posted in FILM, Painting with tags , , , , , on November 8, 2014 by dcairns

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My complimentary Complete Tati box set arrived from Criterion! I promptly exploded it all over our crumbling floor and took a photo.

I have a little essay in the booklet, in the august company of James Quandt, Jonathan Rosenbaum and Kristin Ross. This may not be the chunkiest booklet I’ve ever featured in, but thanks to the art of David Merveille, it’s the one that feels most like an actual BOOK. Gorgeous. Tati’s longterm relationship with graphic artists like Lagrange and Etaix makes this the perfect way to go, design-wise. David Merveille is here.

The Complete Jacques Tati [Blu-ray]

Order yours! The distressed floorboards are not included, but you will be one giant step closer to being able to mock up the above image in your own home.

The essay can be read at Criterion’s website, here,  if you’re not into the whole buying thing, but you would be missing unbelievably beautiful transfers of some of the most unbelievably beautiful films ever made, and some terrific extras. After reading the booklet in the bath — to my relief, the essay seemed to hold up, and I wasn’t saying the same stuff as everyone else — I looked at the openings of all three versions of JOUR DE FETE. Definitely the right choice to lead with the original b&w release. There’s a lovely doc about the restoration of the Thomson Colour version, though, a scientific-cinematic detective story. The negative appeared to be black & white, but somewhere in its photochemical makeup was the information to produce colour prints. A nice bit of filmmaking: when the detective finally manages to project a single frame with the colours of 1949 magically recovered, we faintly hear Jean Yatove’s unforgettable theme tune wafting in the distance…

My Tati video essay is here. An earlier Tati essay I did for Criterion is here. And if you’re not sick of the sound of me on this subject yet, I have a piece on Tati’s collaboration with painter-designer Jacques Lagrange in the new Sight & Sound. Voila!

Appeal

Posted in FILM with tags on June 13, 2014 by dcairns

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I’ve found a script I want to film — a thing that NEVER happens, usually.

Pleasingly, I made contact with the writer via this blog (and FaceBook). Which is kind of what happened with NATAN.

The script is about sex, drugs, celebrity, dying young, throwing pies, playing at life and being too adorable for your own good.

I happen to think it’s potentially very commercial, not because of who it’s about but because of what it’s about. And it’s exciting — things which are exciting are by their nature potentially appealing to a wide audience. More importantly for me, I’m just in love with it.

What’s needed now is a producer, because however much we grumble about them, they are the people without whom nothing ever happens. So I thought it would be kind of appropriate to use the blog to put the call out (while also using other methods) to see if there’s anyone out there who is a producer looking for a project. A producer with some knowledge and skills and contacts. Or, if you’re not that person, maybe you know someone?

The story takes place in Hollywood — it can be filmed mostly anywhere but it would make good sense to shoot it there…

If this approach doesn’t seem strictly professional, trust me, I’m using other methods too. Just thought it would be silly to have this organ at my disposal and not use it for this purpose. If you get in touch I can tell you more/show you the script.

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