City Symphony

So, Rene Clair thinks reality mingles with fantasy in our memories? I’ll show him.


Snaps from my recent sojourn in le grande pomme. My local subway was the one from JACOB’S LADDER. I could relate to Tim Robbins in the sense that it’s one of those annoying stations where, if you venture onto the platform and find yourself on the wrong side, you have to exit the subway, cross the street, re-enter the subway and buy another ticket. 

In spite of this, I was never remotely tempted to walk across the tracks like a crazy fool as he does. Note also how, upon approaching what he suspects to be the third rail, he taps it with his foot to see if it is indeed electrified. Real New Yorkers never do this.


What Brooklyn looks like, in its Red Hook / Cobble Hill district. You’d think it’d be hard to find your way around in such a place, but I soon got the hang of it.


New York, more than most, is a city rubbed smooth by the currents of cinema. Everything there feels familiar, comfortingly filmic. In celebration of the municipality’s rich history of unrest and affray, actors uniformed in the guise of policemen strew gaily-coloured ribbons everywhere you look. Crime bunting.


Tom Farrell, Shadowplay’s special Nicholas Ray Correspondent, captured by camera-flash outside the Museum of Modern Art. Tom informs me that Film Forum in NYC is retrospecting Ray in July, and proposes I do something to cover it. Anyone for a Blogathon?


Many Americans decorate their domiciles with items likely to prove useful in an emergency — water-skis, life-belts (or “preservers” in the quaint parlance of the Amurrican), ships’ wheels, etc, turning their homes into sort of habitable utility belts. Given the fabled girth of the average “yank”, a belt the size of a house does not seem impractical.


The shops of New York are stuffed with products unavailable here in the Developing World. Invisibility is a popular lifestyle choice with a class of citizen known disparagingly as “suits.”


8 Responses to “City Symphony”

  1. If you can find it (it’s rare) get ahold of a copy of the “Masters of Cinema” edition of The Savage Innocents. Bill Krohn and I did the commentary — practically in real time — and at the end we sing a chorus of “The Mighty Quinn.”

  2. Oh, I have it! It’s lovely to think of Dylan coming across Ray’s movie in some Times Square dive and feeling, in some obscure way, inspired by it.

    Nice rendition, David!

  3. I bought that one right as it was going out of print – haven’t watched it yet. I see that it has been replaced in the UK marketplace by a shoddy 4:3 cropped version. How is that an improvement for anybody, even the rights holders/money men?

  4. I bet the new version isn’t even the complete print Masters released (with added Yoko Tani nudity).

    It’s an odd film, flawed in many ways, but the good stuff is absolutely grand. Despite the casting and so on it does create a respectful vision of another, very different culture.

  5. Seamas O'Reilly Says:

    Did they make the film version of I was Interrupted? Philip Kaufman was attached, I just remembered it was supposed to be out years ago, wikipedia links suggest it’s stalling/dead.

  6. I get the impression there’s no heat behind that one at present. I think somebody else had biopic plans too… Van Sant?

  7. Jacob’s Ladder….shudder. Did you see a masked face looking at you from the back window of the subway carriage? The gurney trip into the bowels of the hospital in that film are amongst the most disturbing moments of cinema I’ve ever seen. Dream On.

  8. Any time you get the essence of Francis Bacon and set it in motion, you’re going to have a very impressive freak-out on your hands. Adrian Lyne’s best film, apart from the Macauley Culkin ending.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: