On the Whiteness of The White Sheik

As far as I can tell, my plan to have an April 1st Film Club on Fellini’s THE WHITE SHEIK is still on track. Not that I’ve watched the film yet, but Fiona and I submit the latest draft of our screenplay on Friday so there should be a chance to do so. I mention this so that those of you without a copy can just about have time to procure one, watch it, and join the discussion on the aptly named All Fools’ Day (aptly named since, when all’s said and done, what else is any of us?).

UK: The White Sheik [DVD] [1952]

US: The White Sheik – Criterion Collection

6 Responses to “On the Whiteness of The White Sheik”

  1. The whole film is You Tube. Here’s Alberto Sordi being ineffably wonderful

  2. No excuse not to take part then! And if after watching the first part, you’re charmed, please buy a copy using my links. If enough people do this, I can buy the Kino DVD of Buster Keaton’s The General with the Carl Davis soundtrack…

  3. Ah yes, the quest for the perfect marriage of print and soundtrack for The General….

    I own the MK2 DVD which is the restored print but has the tedious, repetitive soundtrack by Joe Hisaishi, and the Network DVD set ‘The Buster Keaton Chronicles’ which has a crummy print but the sublime Carl Davis score. How can I justify buying a third copy to my partner, or should I just smuggle it into the house?

  4. Hisaishi’s failure (or at any rate, lack of triumph) was surprising to me, since I love his Miyazaki scores. He was an unlikely choice in some ways, but he had written some great adventure music. Strangely, h just doesn’t seem inspired by the film.

    Scoring silents IS pretty different from scoring talkies, which may be why Carl Davis is the master of the former but never really made his mark at the latter. He treats The General as straight swashbuckler, and addresses its epic qualities with a straight face, and it turns out to be the exact right approach.

    I have a VHS with piano score by William Perry which is also nice, in a completely different manner.

    One thing I can’t stand is the organ scores that still afflict numerous Keaton features.

  5. Oh! And Davis’ theme for “A Hard Act to Follow” amazing!. It might be my imagination but there’s the unearthliest sympathy for Keaton himself in these scores, as though Davis was scoring the actual character rather than the film. What do I mean by this? I’m not sure, but whatever I mean it is more easily achieved when we never hear the hero speak.

  6. I think you’re right. The contrast with his music for Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius is instructive. The music essentially becomes the character’s voice, and David makes shrewd decisions about what kind of voices Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd should have.

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