Archive for October 20, 2010

Graham Crowden, 1922-2010

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on October 20, 2010 by dcairns

That’s Graham Crowden in my film of Robert Louis Stevenson’s THE ISLE OF VOICES. He was 72, I was 27. Just heard from my writer friend Colin McLaren, screenwriter of DONKEYS, co-author of CRY FO BOBO, and author of another short film, FANTOOSH, which starred the Great Man, that Graham is no longer among us.

My fondest memory of that shoot is doing an insert shot of Graham picking up a seashell. “Just need a bit of hand acting here, Graham,” I said. He grinned that grin. “Oh, I’m very good at that!” And we carried on that exchange whenever there was an insert shot, or a shot of his back.

I introduced Graham’s sorceror character with three shots, going closer, then closer — a device nicked from James Whale’s presentation of the Frankenstein monster.

He was a lovely man, a true eccentric, a genuinely theatrical figure. Honour him by running IF…, O LUCKY MAN!, or BRITANNIA HOSPITAL, in each of which he’s sublime. “Do you have an opinion???”

The Rock

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on October 20, 2010 by dcairns

I have self-satisfaction coming out of my ears. Yes, as I peruse my brand-new, still-warm edition of the Masters of Cinema BluRay of WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER?, an emotion akin to third-degree smugness creeps from the dank recesses of my id and leaves complacent footsteps all over my ego and superego. The reason being the three — count ’em! — three “essays” crammed into the compact accompanying booklet, each of them authored — personally — by my brain and forelimbs.

That’s not the primary reason to buy the thing, though — you should buy it for the movie itself, a crackerjack box of visual gags, satirical sideswipes and exuberant, nimble comic performances (Randall! Mansfield! Blondell!) and Gorgeous Life-like Color by Deluxe! After watching the thing, my eyeballs feel like they should be sealed in a  lead-lined box for a thousand years before it’s safe for them to look at anyone again. That thing has the platonic ideal of all your basic colours, with the brightness turned up to eleventeen.

You also get a video intro by arch-Tashlinite Joe Dante, the trailer, a Mansfield newsreel, and an alternative audio track, and a text interview with legend Tony Randall, conducted by Ethan DeSeife.

Just watched my copy, and Fiona and I were oohing and aahing at the colours like early cinemagoers experiencing projected images for the first time. An observation from Fiona I wish I’d been able to include in my essay: when Betsy Drake goes Mansfield-mad and starts making that high-pictched EEEOOH! noise associate with J.M., it’s as disturbing as Mercedes McCambridge’s revoicing of Linda Blair in THE EXORCIST. Tashlin’s comedy hovers near the boundaries of nightmare.

In stores October 25th — buy it now via my link and make me slightly more financially secure —

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? [Masters of Cinema] [Blu-ray]