Archive for December 27, 2007

How to talk like a 1970s filmmaker.

Posted in FILM, literature, MUSIC with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2007 by dcairns

If you want to be a 1970s filmmaker — and who doesn’t? — you should try and pick up a secondhand copy of MOVIE PEOPLE, edited by Fred Baker with Ross Firestone. And grow a beard.

angels with hairy faces

The book is a sparky collection of interviews with snazzy personae from the U.S. film biz, and serves as a neat primer on How to Talk 70s. Here’s Mr. Cool, Quincy Jones:

‘I’m very wary of the cat who says “I do my thing and zap/zap/zap/zap/zap — it’s great!” If he doesn’t bleed a little, something’s off. I know Ingmar Bergman is supposed to knock out his pictures in two or three weeks, but I’m sure that underneath he chews up twenty tons of rug. He won’t even leave his own city, so don’t tell me what a real secure cat he is. He’s as uptight and sensitive as anybody else. You’ve got to be to care that much.’

Then they ask Terry Southern (the man who actually wrote the bits of EASY RIDER that required writing):

Could you be more specific regarding these negative experiences you’ve had as a screenwriter?

TS: ‘I could of course be devastatingly specific about it, but this would plunge us into the grotesque realm of badmouthery and personalities — whereas it is probably much more to the purposes of your project if we can somehow restrict it to the technical and practical aspects of screenwriting. I mentioned the negative side only because it would be misleading not to. Suffice it to say that with the exception of STRANGELOVE, of the films I’ve worked on there isn’t one that would not be infinitely improved by the absence of the director.’

As a director, and fainthearted auteurist (Orson Welles: “A good film can be made by anybody. Great films are made by the director.”) I always take a perverse pleasure in director-bashing. It’s worth bearing in mind that truly bad films that started as good scripts are also made by the director, or else the producer. Fish stinks from the head.

Grim.

Advertisements

Lighting

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , on December 27, 2007 by dcairns

bulb
Originally uploaded by donpayasos

that's blown itI figured out how to do frame grabs! And for a total techno-yokel like me, this is a considerable achievement.

This is a lightbulb which has a starring role in the first scene of Jules Dassin’s 1030PM SUMMER. Mr. Dassin is one of Shadowplay’s Official Nonagenarians, along with Richard Widmark.

The light bulb is the first casualty of this film, which has a fairly high body count for an art film, although admittedly one character departs the film without leaving any trace at all…

You can buy it!

Orson Prepares For His Porno Career

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on December 27, 2007 by dcairns

Citizen C**k

Note the sign in the background, beneath the Shanghai Low marquee.

Actually, on a slightly less stupid note, there are a few of these type shots in THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI, documentary-style images obviously snatched quickly on the streets of Chinatown. Quite unusual, and at variance with the shooting style elsewhere, but nice. A little sneak preview of THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND’s approach.

Another stray weirdness: both films feature minor characters called Fassbinder.