Archive for February 25, 2008

Quote of the Day: Punch Drunk Victory

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , on February 25, 2008 by dcairns

Love Story 

Richard Lester, in 1983, on Joseph Conrad’s Victory:

‘What attracts me to the story is simply that I think it’s a marvellous piece of cinema. A man has gone through life without ever being moved by anything — his father has said, “Look on and make no sound,” and that has been his way of dealing with life. By accident he helps a young girl, they begin this marvellous love affair, and at the moment it starts to go right three total villains, by chance as it were, are set on his trail, misled by the belief that he has money. And so, as the love story flowers, you just see this boat coming and you know disaster will follow. It seems to me that this is terrific cinema and pure cinema: it’s where the images should do a lot and the emotions are there without speech.”

And when you put it like that, it’s also almost the exact plot of Paul Thomas Anderson’s PUNCH DRUNK LOVE.

In Der Mude

Posted in FILM, MUSIC with tags , , , , , , on February 25, 2008 by dcairns

Singalongalang 

I’m still reeling at the concept of a musical version of Fritz Lang’s DER MUDE TOD / DESTINY. If you recall, this was seriously mooted by producer Arthur Brauner as a project for Lang to undertake upon his return to Germany at the end of the ’50s.

Of course, this was the great era of the East German musical, but a West German song-and-dance based on Thea Von Harbou’s original “book” would be quite something. Lang, of course, had musical experience in Hollywood, having directed YOU AND ME, with music by Kurt Weill, and I guess RANCHO NOTORIOUS is pretty tuneful.

But what would a late period musical Lang be like?

I can’t help thinking that it might be something like this:

Enter a Young Woman (Elke Sommer), bereft at her loved one’s disappearance behind a great wall with no doors.

To the tune of “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise.”

YOUNG WOMAN
I must find a way to the other side,
And get back my missing man!
Perhaps with an overdose of cyanide,
I can execute this plan!

(Takes poison, finds self in new surroundings.)

Now I’m within,
I must just have a look round,
Begin,
To get my missing man found,
I’ll climb this stairway to paradise,
And get back my missing man!

Stairway to Heaven

Enter Death (Gert Frobe), singing to the tune of “Hi Ho”.

DEATH
I’m death! I’m Death!
I’ll take your final breath!
I’ll take you all
Behind my wall
I’m Death, I’m Death, I’m Death!

Segues into “You’re my little Choo-chee Face,” from CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG.

YOUNG WOMAN
Destiny! Destiny!
No escaping death for me!

Hot Wax

DEATH
And it seems to me,
You lived your life,
Like a candle in Berlin…

YOUNG WOMAN
Berlin? You take my breath away!

DEATH
Oh. Okay.

Observant readers will have noticed that these are THE WORST LYRICS EVER. Win unspecified goodies by writing better ones! Remember, DER MUDE TOD has several different storylines woven together, so there’s plenty of scope. You could wax poetic about the field with the 99-year-lease, the Chinese emperor’s fireworks display, or the baby in the burning building.

To make it even easier (not everyone has seen DER MUDE TOD) you can musicalize any Lang film. You could have M FOR MUSIC, METROPOLIS MELODY, or THE DANCING DOCTOR MABUSE (“If you knew Mabuse like I know Mabuse…”).

At least one rhyming couplet is necessary to qualify as a lyric. The German musical is an underappreciated genre, so come on, all you Irving Berliners and Helmut Kohl Porters. Don’t let your candor ebb! You may be a learner but you needn’t be low!

Deadline: one week from today.

Prize: the film of your dreams.*

*Normal dream-conditions apply.

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