Archive for April 1, 2008

Star ’60

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on April 1, 2008 by dcairns

You know me, I love an imaginary landscape. Don’t let this guy stop you, have a look around…

Stop or My Mom Will Shoot


All this stuff is from an East German-Polish sci-fi movie called THE SILENT STAR. It stars the beautiful Yoko Tani and a bunch of equally beautiful special effects. It’s a shellac-bright vision of the communist future we could all be enjoying right now if only Ronald Reagan hadn’t single-handedly won the Cold War with his bare fists, damn his greasy mane! If not for his senile single-mindedness, THIS COULD BE YOU:


Thanks to filmmaker Steve Sullivan for this one!

Journey to the Far Side of the Sun

The film isn’t so very great, it shares some of the lack of characterisation and narrative drive that a lot of US sci-fi from the 50s suffers from, but these images will sear themselves onto your retinas (which, I dunno, you might or might not enjoy). They’re like the kind of thing Mario Bava was doing with PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES, only here they have a bit of a budget.

The Castle

It’s rare to find a sci-fi film with imagery as lurid and beautiful as cheap paperback art. The only thing missing is a half-naked girl in copper pasties. But this film is way too serious for that.

Short People

I would sort of like to visit the Silent Star, though it does look a bit inhospitable and scary. But if I had Yoko to protect me I’d be OK.


Book your vacation now!

Euphoria #55: The best line reading ever.

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on April 1, 2008 by dcairns

This was suggested by Keiran Thomson, which is all the more impressive since he’s too young to have seen it. It’s an 18 Certificate, kid!

The film in question is George Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and the performer in question is actually the film’s production manager, George Kosana, as “Sheriff Colin McLelland.” Apart from appearing in Romero’s second film, THERE’S ALWAYS VANILLA (a true film maudit, that one) Kosana appears not to have had any film acting career at all. I get the impression that in this scene they just asked him to be a sheriff and answer some questions, unscripted. Since he knows the film’s plot set-up, he has all the answers at his fingertips and can answer glibly and smoothly, like a real politician. The only time he stumbles is on the line, “Yeah, they’re dead, they’re… all messed up.” And the effect is so BEAUTIFULLY AUTHENTIC. I just get an aching sense of sheer wonderment, combined with total childish amusement, whenever I hear it. It makes me want to seize Kosana manfully by the hand, thrust a drink upon him, introduce him to my family, maybe even marry him, in a civil ceremony presided over by Dario Argento.

Choo-chee Face

“I now pronounce you…”

I’m hereby giving George Kosana the first Shadowplay Award for Ineffable Brilliance, known as the “Effie”. If he’s still alive, and anybody has any kind of contact details for him, I will actually send him the award. It will look a lot like a cheap golf trophy, or possibly like a piece of paper, but I will incur the postage costs in order to commemorate his indelible contribution to thespian history.

Failing that I’ll send it (whatever it proves to be) to Romero himself, if anybody can suggest a way to get it to him. Damn, wish I’d got John Harrison’s contact details when I met him!

R.I.P. Jules Dassin

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on April 1, 2008 by dcairns

Cap in hand

Aged 96. Damn, I was looking for a Jewish filmmaker to outlive Leni Riefenstahl. First Billy Wilder let me down, now this.

And yes, I let Richard Widmark’s death go unmentioned (but was gratified to see him get his due all over the blogosphere) but I’m glad I wrote about Widmark and Dassin when they were both very much alive.

My friend Duncan suggests that what with this and the passing of Abby Mann, it’s time for anybody closely associated with Widmark to worry.

A while back I gave a copy of NIGHT AND THE CITY to a friend on his birthday. Said friend had complained of an aversion to noir, and I wasn’t going to let that stand. Months later, you’ll be happy to know, Dassin’s film had cured him entirely, and he was watching it regularly with friends — it had become “like STAR WARS or something.” (You maybe have to be able to conceive of people watching STAR WARS regularly to be able to get that image, and I confess it’s a stretch for me, too.)

beaver shot

Here is a somewhat mysterious image of Dassin (the one with the flag) disguised as a beaver. It isn’t how *I* will be choosing to remember him, but for those of you who don’t know his work, this will LODGE IN YOUR BRAINS and force you to seek out NIGHT AND THE CITY and RIFIFI etc. The gain will be entirely yours.