Otto parts

It looks like it’s going to be Otto Preminger Weekend here at Shadowplay. And really, FOR NO REASON.


Having enjoyed DAISY KENYON so much, I’m reminded that I have ANGEL FACE waiting to be watched, which I should really have plunged into right after seeing FALLEN ANGEL a few years back and realising I was an Ottophile. I have numerous late-period Ottos as well, but those that are off-air recordings tend to be cropped to 16X9 and I find that Preminger’s work is damaged by cropping to an extent greater than almost anybody else’s — even Leone’s. So I might not take in much of the late stuff, although I have a decent DVD of BUNNY LAKE IS MISSING, so far my favourite late Preminger (and my favourite Olivier performance by a country mile). The disc does have that inexplicable quirk of presenting the Saul Bass title sequence shrunk down into a tiny box, but I could probably do with seeing that film again so maybe I’ll get around to it.

I’ve recently found FOREVER AMBER and A ROYAL SCANDAL more interesting (at least visually) than their reputations suggest, so should have something to say about those two. And the early curio DANGER: LOVE AT WORK deserves an airing.

A word from the Otteur himself:

Otto is NOT the most interesting interviewee, at least when he’s talking seriously… possibly because the very interesting stylistic stuff in his films is exactly what he doesn’t want to get into discussing, or because, as he suggests, it comes from some part of his brain he doesn’t have conscious access to.


6 Responses to “Otto parts”

  1. Ah but the TRUE Ottophile looks past such obvious auteur delights to the ne plus ultra of film maudits — the one and only Skidoo.

    I’ve got a ton of stories about that one.

    When you’re ready. . .

  2. Oh yes! A copy of Skidoo is going to be on its way to me shortly, but alas it’s the pan-and-scan aired by TCM recently.

    Make with the stories! Either add them in the comments or email them to me and I’ll make a whole post out of them!

  3. The best place to get started is Early Plastic, my boyfriend Bill Reed’s memoir. In it he recounts (among a host of things) the time when he was living in John Phillip Law’s basement in his home on Miller Drive in L.A. during the shooting of Skidoo.

    The screenplay of Skidoo is by one Doran William Cannon, whose other credited screenplay is for Robert Altman’s Brewster McCloud. Quite a bizarre talent — sadly no longer with us.

    Yes Otto dropped acid and the film is reflective of the “trip” he had on it. That said “trip” starred Carol Channing, Jackie Gleason, Groucho Marx and Donayele Luna speaks for itself.

  4. I love the idea of Otto on acid. And I especially love the goofiness of Preminger (and Fellini) taking acid under “controlled laboratory conditions”.

  5. And they both make films featuring the same supermodel avant la lettre (Donayele plays “Onothea” the Witch in Fellini Satyricon made just after Skidoo)

  6. Ah, the perils of drug abuse! One minute you’re making nice films noir and neorealist dramas, the next you’ve fallen prey to widescreen and supermodels. It’s a slippery slope…

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