Archive for Masters of Cinema

The Sunday Intertitle: Checkmate

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on August 17, 2014 by dcairns

First, Blogneys! Here.

Second, Limericks about CAT PEOPLE! Here. Here. And KING KONG here and DRACULA here and THE MUMMY here and here. And THE WOLFMAN here and here and here. I think we’ve put the Universal horror cycle to bed now.

Now, an intertitle:


From Ernst Lubitsch’s earliest surviving film as director, variously known as WHERE IS MY SWEETIE? and WHEN I WAS DEAD (1916). I’ve written an essay on this odd thing, which stars Lubitsch himself, looking not unlike Hugh “Woo Woo” Herbert, in suave leading man mode rather than his more usual rambunctious manner of this period, long before his famous “touch” became a byword for sophistication. I’ve written an essay on the movie which will appear on Masters of Cinema’s disc of MADAME DUBARRY — also, an essay on MADAME DUBARRY. I recommend the whole package, but then I would, wouldn’t I?


I haven’t seen the new transfer but it will certainly look 1,000,000 times better than the above.

Buy it and find out for yourselves: MADAME DUBARRY [Masters of Cinema] (1919) [Blu-ray]



Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on July 12, 2014 by dcairns


New from Masters of Cinema.

TOO LATE BLUES, the second film of John Cassavetes, has a video intro by me.

IF…. has a text essay in the booklet as well as an interview with Brian Pettifer, one of the film’s dazzling discoveries, conducted by me.

HAROLD AND MAUDE has another video intro.

Strange seeing myself on video on a commercially available DVD. Even stranger seeing my name as an item on the menu. DAVID CAIRNS — that’s all it says. Click here for some David Cairns.

Thanks to Brian, to Colin McLaren for the use of the flat and the excellent spaghetti and to Alberto and Lukasz and Anna and Mario for recording my blatherings. Thanks to MoC for the gigs in the first place.

Now you should buy at least one of them!

If…. (Masters of Cinema) [Blu-ray] [1968]

Harold And Maude (Masters of Cinema) (Blu-ray) [1971]

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

Cabinet Maker

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on June 5, 2014 by dcairns


THE CABINET OF DR CALIGARI gets a new UK release, theatrically in selected venues, and on Blu-ray/DVD from Masters of Cinema. The latter features a video essay by me, edited by Timo Langer. I pitched hard to get the gig, because it seemed like a terrific film to tackle in that way — the story is so packed with ambiguity, reordering it and re-emphasizing it is a joy. I am proud to say I’ve introduced a new hare-brained theory to the reading of that film, which ninety-very-odd years on still retained unplumbed depths of peculiarity. It feels like you could spin a new interpretation out of any random minute in its modest runtime.

I can also report that the film looks nearly new, and the experience of seeing it is totally new — a different film, now we can see the actors’ expressions in long-shot. Werner Krauss’ essentially comic performance is sharper, and Conrad Veidt’s tragic one is even more poignant now that he seems to be in the room with you…

“If ou have the means, I highly recommend checking one out.”

It streets on August 29th — not yet up on Amazon for pre-order — I’ll keep you posted.


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