The Future of Film Club


I’ve kind of boxed myself in with this Film Club thing, you know — I’m committed to watching the film, then writing it up to post on Monday, then I have to get my Forgotten column ready by Tuesday, then Hitchcock watched and written up for Wednesday — and with the Intertitle of the Week on Sunday, that’s a slightly more rigid way of working than I usually fancy.

My solution will probably be to retire Film Club before I start back teaching in September, perhaps climaxing it with the Hitchcock-Film Club perfect storm of STRANGERS ON A TRAIN. But the idea seems to be a popular one so maybe I’ll continue it as a monthly treat, or revive it on a weekly basis after Hitchcock Year is over. Time will tell. I’ve been meaning to try a revival of the ever-popular CINEMA EUPHORIA strand as well, which has the advantage of being something that can run on a completely irregular basis.

The good news is that next week’s Film Club, as suggested by Tom Sutpen, of If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger… and Illusion Travels by Streetcar fame, will be ANATOMY OF A MURDER.


As Lionel Hutz would say, “Panties, panties, panties!”

13 Responses to “The Future of Film Club”

  1. David Lawrence Says:

    I will be sad to see this weekly feature come to an end – although like you I will soon have less free time when I return to teaching – as I have greatly enjoyed watching the films, forming my own opinions and then having these opinions supported/challenged by the insights I have gained here. I have not joined the discussions as yet because I have largely felt out of my league and not knowledgeable enough, and I wonder if there are other “film club” supporters in the same position! Anyway, thank you for doing this as in the case of three out of the now four films selected you have made me watch classic films far sooner than I would have otherwise.

  2. I don’t plan on totally stopping Film Club, it’s too popular! It will continue/return in some form or other. I might just move it off Monday.

    Good to hear from a lurker, it’s nice to know there are few others watching along with us. Don’t be shy!

  3. Advise and Consent is a very impressive film.

  4. I would reccomend that in preparation for discussing Preminger’s film everyone familiarize themseleves with the great Duke Ellington score — which like most Duke Elligton scores was written by Billy Strayhorn.

    There’s a lot to say about this film -which challenged censorship far more thoroughly than The Moon is Blue.

  5. Arthur S. Says:

    Anatomy… is generally considered the best trial film ever made. It’s also in the late Preminger phase where he became interested in institutions – the legal system, Washington DC(Advise and Consent), the Catholic Church(The Cardinal) and the US Navy(IN HARM’S WAY).

    Aspects of that are anticipated in his underrated adaptation of SAINT JOAN.

  6. I also remember enjoying the film even as a pan-and-scan on late-night TV. Most Preminger I find unwatchable when his compositions have been ruined. His films rely on them utterly to express what’s on his mind. Anatomy somehow transcends that via the script and performances.

    I’ve never managed to find a proper widescreen Advise and Consent so I’ve never been able to sit through it, despite Laughton, Tierney et al.

  7. Arthur S. Says:

    ”Advise and Consent” is out on DVD in the US. And it’s beautiful in the original widescreen. It’s a real pity that film flopped because it is one of the most sophisticated political films in American cinema. A film that gives you a sense of how politics actually function and it’s a complete ensemble piece as well. Laughton is dynamite as a crooked southern politician with a sibiliant voice. Walter Pidgeon is fantastic and Gene Tierney is still luminous as a Washington hostess. Henry Fonda is also good although his is more of a character role than a star role.

    And Saul Bass puts in a great credits design.

  8. Lifting the lid off the Capitol dome!

    I can forgive Otto all his occasional vulgarities for the great opportunities he gave Bass.

  9. Your suggestion of a monthly Film Club gets a thumbs up from me as I’m sure it would make it easier for more people to take part in the discussion. At the moment I suspect that some of us without the same degree of knowledge and without a huge DVD collection are struggling to keep up. I’ve never seen Le Mepris, for example, couldn’t afford to buy the DVD, so put it on my LoveFilm wishlist and was told there’d be too long a wait. I did watch La Regle du Jeu, but in 10 minutes episodes on YouTube – not ideal as I could barely see what was going on and was too busy reading subtitles to appreciate the camera movement. I intended to watch it again and then didn’t have time. So a bit more notice of what films were coming up would be really useful.

    Nevertheless, I’ve enjoyed reading other people’s contributions, so I hope we can work something out.

  10. I think you’re right, giving it a month will allow me to publicize it more, without an annoying little posting every single day, and give people a chance to rent via Lovefilm or Netflix or whatever. And it makes it more of an occasion. Gives me a chance to look at the film more than once too, and maybe I can screen it to my students so they can take part if they feel like extra homework.

  11. Ah, it’s always “Rules of the Game” that kills the film clubs. Monthly is good, actually. Weekly always comes faster than I expect. If only world governments would adopt my proposed eleven-day week it’d be easier.

    I know I’m old-fashioned, but there are two video rental stores and two libraries within 10 minutes of here that would have “Contempt” and “Rules of the Game” in stock…

  12. Next thing to decide will be “beginning, middle or end of month?”

    Rules hasn’t killed it off, I refuse to admit that! We’re carrying on on a weekly basis for a few more weeks, until Strangers on a Train comes round.

  13. Tony Williams Says:

    David, This has been a very good experience and I apologize for not contributing much, THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER for obvious reasons. But I’ve been busy writing, sometimes DVDs are not available in this abysmal region, and teaching resumes for me next week.

    A month sounds a good idea.

    BTW, Do you teach at Edinburgh University? Your expertise and site here are definite plusses in this area.

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