Archive for Masters of Cinema

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]

The Sunday Intertitle: Lulu, Interrupted

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

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In collaboration with Timo Langer (editor) and Fiona Watson (narrator), I have put together a video essay to accompany the Masters of Cinema Blu-ray of GW Pabst’s DIARY OF A LOST GIRL, starring Louise Brooks.

This would be a dream job if one could make a living at it, but small fees for fun work are, I think, better than fat ones for drudgery.

You buying the product from the nice evil people at Amazon via this link will bring in a few extra pennies: Diary of a Lost Girl [Masters of Cinema] Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD)

In case you need a better reason:

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The Sunday Intertitle: Tomorrow Belongs to Me

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on September 28, 2014 by dcairns

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Got some complimentary copies of CALIGARI in the post from the good people at Masters of Cinema. I’ve contributed a video essay to this one, and David Kalat has recorded a commentary track. His MABUSE tracks are among the finest commentaries out there, and this is well up to standard. I was intrigued to discover that we were both offering alternative readings of the film which intersect at various points. While mine is along the lines of a crackpot theory, inspired a little  by MULHOLLAND DRIVE, Mr. Kalat simply dispels the clouds of intrigue and confusion whipped up by the Krakauer-Janowitz account of the film’s making and meaning. Interestingly, while that yarn has been largely discredited for some time, it has still had an influence on how people see the film.

As mentioned before, the restoration makes the movie look like new, and suddenly, being able to see the facial expressions clearly, you get a whole new kind of emotional involvement too.

I have one spare copy — maybe I’ll offer it as a prize in the next Shadowplay Impossible Film Quiz?

If you can’t wait: Das Cabinet Des Dr. Caligari (Masters of Cinema) (DUAL FORMAT Edition) [Blu-ray]

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