News Flash

Had a fun start to the day when an anxious senior staff member at the art college where I work phoned up and told me I had to get a form filled in, that I was the last member of staff not to have done so, and that if I didn’t get it in today the entire college would lose 20% of its funding. Fantasized about what would happen if I dropped dead on my way in to work. I always assumed these forms were of no real significance since they always ask me for information I don’t have and which the college already has. Or else you can just make up figures and nobody will ever know — what percentage of my “research activities” (which bizarrely seem to include this blog and my screenwriting work) are paid and what percentage are unpaid? Since I don’t click on a stopwatch when I start to write, any more than I walk about with an odometer strapped to my leg, I have no real idea.

So, I was briefly more important than I have ever been in my life, then I handed the form in and slipped back to insignificance.

The Important Announcements.

1) THE WHITE SHEIK has been watched and will be reviewed for our little Film Club on April 1st.

2) This means that the April Shadowplay Impossible Film Quiz will appear on April 2nd. Those who want to keep their brains free and uncluttered are advised to put a budgie cage cover over their monitors that morning.

3) Coming soon — Cornell Woolrich Week! A Noirathon devoted to the pulp poet of doom-laden romantic mystery and the films his work spawned. Look for this in a week or two. More info to follow. If any fellow bloggers or writers would like to come in on this, they’re welcome.


22 Responses to “News Flash”

  1. Cornell Woolrich! — That means —

  2. Not to mention —

  3. Jenny Eardley Says:

    This is part of your work? I’d better start writing better comments I think-

    As for CW, well I dissed Mississippi Mermaid inexpertly on here once!

  4. Christopher Says:


  5. I never dissed Mississippi Mermaid, but I thought it a rather masochistic film, and it was the second time I noticed a real streak of masochism in Truffaut’s work. Cutest part of MM was seeing the same house in the snow that was in Shoot The Piano Player.

  6. That’s sort of like the IRS form where you have to account for mileage that’s deductible from activities that are themselves deductible (medical, business), and the rest of it. It’s undoable except by estimation. Itemization is a real trial. I ended up spending a week and a half just getting paperwork together for my tax form from other people to see if it was even worth itemizing my taxes. It’s a lot easier now that I’m somewhat impoverished.

  7. Emotional masochism is a major Truffaut theme, he is one of the most intensely and poetically morbid of film-makers.

    The Cornell Woolrich film festival should also include Martha by Rainer Werner Fassbinder who was an intense poetic emotional sadist.

  8. Woolrich’s work conflates love and pain to an extraordinary extent. Apparently Deneuve broke Truffaut’s heart, so some of that feeling may have worked its way into MM, which I do need to see again. I wasn’t that taken with it first time, but the ending was superb.

    I don’t have Cloak and Dagger but I have the others so they’ll all feature at least somewhat. Since this is Siodmak Year, Phantom Lady is for sure going in, with Elisha Cook getting very excited with his drumming.

  9. According to Jonathan Rosenbaum, in his article on Woolrich(, it should have been Truffaut himself paired opposite Deneuve in ”Mississipi Mermaid” as Truffaut played against Nathalie Baye in ”The Green Room”.

  10. Really good piece by J-Ro. I think he’s probably right about swapping Deneuve and Moreau in those two films also. CD as the implacable killer in The Bride Wore Black would have used her proverbial glacial beauty much more effectively than Moreau uses her talent.

  11. If Truffaut had played the lead in La Sirene du Mississipi (note the deliberate misspelling) I doubt he could have survived the shooting. Belmondo gave him ballast. He also suffers beautifully.

  12. Sad to say, but my job is very much like that of the staff member who harangued you. Although I sub-contract the nasty work of actually dealing with faculty members to my minions, of course.

  13. Jenny Eardley Says:

    Agreed, mmedin, thought the return of that house and its eerie setting was a nice touch. As for the ending, I think I was disappointed but maybe I was just too bored and hadn’t managed to get swept along. I did like Belmondo, I thought he seemed genuinely in love and pain, but not so much la Deneuve. Swapping her with Moreau would have been a bonne idee. I’m not much of an ambassador for Woolrich though as I didn’t take to The Bride Wore Black either. However, I would like to watch both films again. Of course I love Rear Window, but I think those are the only three I remember seeing.

    I saw The White Sheik about a year ago and really dug it, it prompted some thoughts from me but can I remember what they were? Think I’ll go and read the synopsis!

  14. The guy who called me about the form is one of the heads of school. It was quite a surprise to hear from him, but fortunately I was half asleep.

    I suspect Mississippi Mermaid suffers from Truffaut’s distraction, it certainly lacks the stylistic solidity of The Bride Wore Black, but some of that angst filters in.

  15. I just watched this! Whew!

  16. Christopher Says:

    Wooa…nice clip!

  17. Elisha Cook Jr. couldn’t play the drums to save his life, it’s pretty obvious if you take a good look at this clip. That said, I love this sequence. Orgasmic. And Ella Raines is a doll.

  18. The clip from PHANTOM LADY at the beginning, I mean.

  19. MARTHA has Karlheinz Bohm at his most Karlheinz Bohm

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