Archive for September 11, 2009

Never Again!

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on September 11, 2009 by dcairns

depalma

On this particular date in the calendar, one naturally thinks back to tragic past events, for it was on this very day, but a few years ago, that Brian DePalma was born. A date which will live in infamy!

There’s a DePalma blogathon raging, and I *must* contribute! Not sure which film to watch though. I’ve gone from basically disliking all of them, to unclenching a bit and basically liking all of them. But I’ve never forced myself to sit through THE BLACK DAHLIA…

NB: think I’m swinging towards PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE.

Advertisements

Congruence #1

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2009 by dcairns

vlcsnap-44733vlcsnap-44779vlcsnap-44817

Congruence — what an ugly word! The above images conclude Buster Keaton’s COLLEGE (credited to James W Horne, but we know better). Not the first time Keaton ended a comedy with a gravestone — the marker inscribed “Buster” at the end of COPS is the best-known example, and inspired my own CRY FOR BOBO’s clown funeral scene.

vlcsnap-1637953vlcsnap-1637997vlcsnap-1638551vlcsnap-1638626vlcsnap-1638219vlcsnap-1638257vlcsnap-1638289

The ending of John Boorman’s much-maligned dystopian wankathon ZARDOZ. Note ~

1) The first child, posture, expression and position in frame = comedy gold.

2) Framing, in its formality and flatness, is even more Keaton-like than the Keaton.

3) Extremely funny bad OAP makeup, especially on la Rampling.

4) Friendly skeletons. “The grave’s a fine and noble place / But none I think do there embrace.”

Both the Boorman jockstrap-and-bandolier epic, and Buster Keaton’s minor-league but still-spectacular flap shoe romance, are the only two films I can think of, off the top of my head (the only part of it I can access without cranial surgery) that end quite this way, on a cheery fast-forward to senescence and death. Seeming to give the lie to the concept of the happy ending. As Dorothy Parker told Sam Goldwyn ~

“Sam, I hate to tell you this, but of all the people who have ever lived in the history of the human race, not one of them ever had a happy ending.”

Great exit line.

Goldwyn: “What the hell did she mean by that?”

Turning it on its head, maybe we could retrieve the happy ending by endorsing Val Lewton’s note to the front office, when they had warned him against “message movies” as he prepared to make ISLE OF THE DEAD ~

“I’m sorry to say that our picture does have a message, and that message is: Death is Good.”

Anyhow, I don’t think influence is at work here. I’ve never heard Boorman talk about Keaton. And the fact that, incredibly, both men made films called THE GENERAL seems more to indicate a lack of appreciation by Boorman rather than a desire to pay homage.

Interested parties can do me some good by buying these products here, if you’re UK:

Zardoz [DVD] [1974]

Buster Keaton – College / Steamboat Bill Jr. / Three Ages [DVD] [1927]

And here, if you’re USA:

Zardoz

The Art of Buster Keaton (The General / Sherlock, Jr. / Our Hospitality / The Navigator / Steamboat Bill Jr. / College / Three Ages / Battling Butler / Go West / The Saphead / Seven Chances / 21 Short Films)