The Late Show Round-Up

THE LATE SHOW: THE LATE FILMS BLOGATHON is here. I’ll keep this post at the top of the page, presenting all the participants’ work, while my own entries will appear immediately below it.


Arthur S., over at This Pig’s Alley, files a confidential report on Eric Rohmer’s TRIPLE AGENT.

The latest Shadowplay post, on Cukor’s RICH AND FAMOUS, is right below this one.

Brandon keeps it coming with an illuminating scan through Orson Welles’ ONE-MAN BAND.

Eric at Sporadic Scintillation plays THE MUSIC, curtain call of the great Yasuzo Masumura.

WARM WATER UNDER A RED BRIDGE, the last film from Shohei Immamura, which provoked mainly perplexity upon release, is sympathetically showcased at Serene Velocity.

Flickhead makes a very welcome contribution, bringing a documentary flavour to the proceedings with a look at Varick Frissell’s THE VIKING.

More from Andreas at Pussy Goes Grrr, exploring the tragedy and hope of Mizoguchi’s final opus, STREET OF SHAME.

Gareth’s Movie Diary rides with THE COMANCHEROS, the last movie from golden age giant Michael Curtiz. And a handsome piece it looks, too!

55 DAYS AT PEKING, arguably the final completed feature from (in part) Nicholas Ray, is under the microscope at Mr. K’s Geel Cornucopia. And it takes us into quite a lovely place!

My own new entry is right below this one. NOT an appreciation of LOLA MONTES, merely a sidelong observation or two.

Arch-Shadowplayer David Ehrenstein, over at the Fablog, presents Pasolini’s 1966 anthology piece CHE COSA SONA LE NUVOLE?, in which giant puppets enact Othello… in a Late Show first, you can not only read about the film over at his place, but watch it too.

Brandon again (don’t stop, Brandon!) at Brandon’s Movie Memory explores Jimmy Stewart’s last theatrical feature, an odder-than-odd Japanese nature film shot in Africa.

Ed Howard at Only the Cinema takes on RIO LOBO, a sad note for Howard Hawks to end on, but certainly a recognizable variation on his usual themes and characters. Beautiful screen-shots, making me regret seeing it on an old VHS. A revisit might be in order: I remember enjoying Sherry Lansing’s unlikely turn as a vengeful Mexican.

C. Jerry Kutner writes for Bright Lights Film about James Whale’s difficult-to-see final project, HELLO OUT THERE. Anybody got a copy of that movie?

There’s a new post by yours truly, right below this one.

John McElwee’s Greenbriar Picture Shows examines THE LEFT HAND OF GOD, a late Bogart movie directed by Edward Dmytryk.

Pierre Fournier at Frankensteinia revisits FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL, the last film from Terence Fisher, the last Hammer Frankenstein, the last Peter Cushing appearance as the Baron, and one of the last Hammer releases altogether.

Brandon’s Movie Memory absorbs late works by Lindsay Anderson, Charlie Bowers, Buster Keaton, Osamu Tezuka (yay!), Norman McLaren and Joseph Barbera. Wouldn’t they make a houseful?

At Pussy Goes Grrr, an excellent analysis and appreciation of Eric Rohmer’s THE ROMANCE OF ASTREA AND CELADON can be found. A new discovery for me, this blog promises riches!

Jaime Grijalba looks at the last films of Bunuel and Ozu in a Spanish-language entry at Exodus 8:2. Thrilled to have something non-English-language here, even if I can’t read it myself!

At Deeper Into Movies, Brandon’s Movie Memory connects with COLD LAZARUS, the last teleplay of Dennis Potter, starring the frozen, severed head of Albert Finney, and executed “under the strictest writing deadline: to finish the story before his imminent death.” A terrific piece which exemplifies the virtues of this fun, intelligent blog — a sympathetic account which acknowledges the flaws in a film even while seeing beyond them to possibly hidden virtues.

At Boiling Sand, Doug Bonner delves into Herbert Wilcox’s THE LADY IS A SQUARE, exploring how a somewhat stilted film can nevertheless serve as a touching farewell to a star and director. A really beautiful piece.

Another Shadowplay entry by guest blogger and regular Shadowplayer Judy Dean can be found below ~

61 Responses to “The Late Show Round-Up”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by dcairns and Douglas Noble, film doctor. film doctor said: RT @dcairns: First two pieces in the Late Show Blogathon: […]

  2. Just a Late Show comment, as Topkapi was on television last night. Never gave this film much thought, but after seeing thought it was brilliant in parts, and anticipated a pop film sensibility that I thought really came about in the later 60’s.
    I thought there was a peculiar editing style, where the word “cut ” best describes it, very abrupt and violent, and runs counter to the overall lightness of the rest of the film.
    The scene with Mercouri watching the Turkish wresters is brilliant, going back and forth between the oiled wrestlers and Mercouri’s lust.

  3. Ah, Dassin had some interesting late films. Topkapi is a favourite of mine, even though many people really really hate it. One film archivist I met was compelled to screen it and complained it gave him a headache for a week.

    10.30 pm Summer anticipates many developments in European art cinema, and has a whole section lifted by Fellini for Toby Dammit.

    I’ll even stick up for Up Tight!, Dassin’s blaxploitation remake of The Informer, and for A Dream of Passion, a simply ludicrous modern take on Greek tragedy, which comes into its own with a stunning final twenty minutes.

    Alas, Dassin’s final movie stars Richard Burton and Tatum O’Neil and wasn’t anybody’s finest 90 minutes… “She was supposed to be this lovely, effervescent girl, and then I realized who they’d cast. I said, ‘Don’t make this film!’ even though I needed the money…”

  4. […] is my contribution to The Late Show, a blogathon being held by David Cairns of Shadowplay. The premise is simple: it’s the end of […]

  5. I’ll be interested to see more of these.


  6. Damn, I wish I’d written down my thoughts on TRIPLE AGENT a couple months back to share on this blog-a-thon. Thank god I DVRed 55 DAYS IN PEKING (as an attempt at a Nicholas Ray late show).

  7. That’d be great! A problematic film, but one with some interest (notably Ray’s cameo).

  8. TOPKAPI is one of the great kitsch/camp Pop Art films of the 60s, and 10:30 PM SUMMER is an out-and-out masterpiece.

    Has anybody out there seen PROMISE AT DAWN? Melina Mercouri as a flamboyant actress and Assaf Dayan as her traumatised son. If it still exists, I’m there!

  9. Enjoying the Losey piece. Afraid I’ve got another one posted, with more on the way:

  10. Great idea for a blogathon! Here’s my contribution on Howard Hawks’ Rio Lobo:

  11. It’s not quite the latest work by Jimmy Stewart – there was that huge TV miniseries and some cartoon voice work – but I studied his latest theatrical appearance here:

    Didn’t mean to dominate the conversation with all my entries – just thought a blogathon meant I should watch LOTS of late movies. Anyway, off to find a copy of Rio Lobo (who doesn’t love Jack Elam?)…

  12. Thanks, guys! Adding links. What a smorgasbord of wintry treats this is!

  13. In answer to your question – whether anybody has copy of Whale’s HELLO OUT THERE – James Whale’s biographer, James Curtis, reports that Kit Parker has a 35mm print of the film that can be rented. Ideally, someone like Criterion should issue it in disc format, perhaps as an extra to a Blu-ray of GODS AND MONSTERS or Whale’s SHOW BOAT.

  14. That would indeed be terrific. And Show Boat should certainly be made available. I rather like Whale’s Man in the Iron Mask too, and a good DVD of Journey’s End would be nice.

  15. The Whale to get ahold of is The Great Garrick. Jacques Rivette avant la Lettre, it stars Brian Aherne as the famous British impressario who on a trip to France is waylaid at a country inn populated with actors from the Comedie Francaise, out to pull a practical joke on him. There’s also an enchanting woman of mystery, played by the enchanting Olivia de Haviland. A very young and pretty Lana Turner is among the players.

    All this plus my favorite camera movement in the history of the cinema (when you see it you’ll know what I’m talking about.)

  16. Any festival of James Whale’s non-horror films would have to include Remember Last Night? and The Kiss Before the Mirror, both of which I find fascinating. Whale liked The Kiss Before the Mirror well enough to remake it only 5 years later as Wives Under Suspicion – except with the OPPOSITE conclusion. In one film, the accused man is innocent. In the other, he is guilty. For the sake of avoiding spoilers, I won’t say which is which.

  17. Asher Steinberg Says:

    Speaking of late works, Minnelli’s last film, A Matter Of Time, is on tonight.

  18. 55 DAYS AT PEKING blog review/post at the link below! I’m thrilled to be part of this blogathon.

  19. I happen to think 55 Days at Peking is a very interesting film. Ray only partially directed that film, the epic exterior battle scenes were all done by Andrew Marston, the interior character scenes were all Ray. Ava Gardner gives one of her best performances in this, she was the only one Ray got along well with on the shoot. Heston’s scene at the orphanage is one of the greatest acting moments in all of Ray, proving once and for all, two axioms – Charlton Heston is a good actor, in the last analysis and of course Robin Wood’s law that no one gives a bad performance in a Nicholas Ray film.

    Samuel Bronston’s movies get a lot of flak but all the films under his banner are on a different track than the BEN-HUR or THE TEN COMMANDMENTS type and Anthony Mann’s epics are among his greatest films. Cinephiles have a natural aversion for this genre but there’s plenty of great stuff. Like the opening prologue of KING OF KINGS is one of the most avant-garde moments in American cinema.

  20. David E, you’re right, The Great Garrick needs a release. Preferably with commentary/interview from Olivia!

    Asher, thanks for the tip!

    Robby, thanks for the post!

    Arthur S, you’re right: Bronson at least hired interesting people. His business model was more defective than his artistic ambition. Looking forward to your entry!

  21. David E – is that the shot that ends or begins with Olivia reflected in the water? The film didn’t impress me much but that moment certainly did.

    Arthur S – for me 55 DAYS is stolen by Flora Robson and Robert Helpmann as the sublimely evil Chinese royals. Utterly non-PC I admit, but still one of my favourite essays in camp villainy.

    David C – did you get my contribution to the Late Show fun and frolics?

  22. It’s the one where the actors make a commotion outside the room they think Garrick is in only to discover where he isn’t when they open the door. The camera then flies across the room to the window overlooking the garden at night (a set) where Brian Aherne can be seen runnning after a laughing Olivia over a small hill.

  23. My piece is a real pain to revise. Am working on it, but it’ll be ready before the blogathon ends. It’s on Rohmer’s TRIPLE AGENT. Not his last film, but a late film nonetheless. It’s such a complex film that it needs a BFI classics monograph at the very least and I am not sufficiently educated to write it but it’ll work.

    I might also do a short piece on other late films and one on TOUCH OF EVIL being Welles’ late film, but I am saving that for Siren’s Film Noir blogathon.

  24. Speaking of Welles, I’ve got a new one:

    Now featuring less writing and more screen shots!
    Plus: motivated use of an alternate blogathon banner.

  25. david wingrove Says:

    David E – great piece on CHE COSA SONO LE NUVOLE? but I still think the highlight of CAPRICCIO is LA GELOSA by Mauro Bolognini. Call me a philistine if you must!

    Has anybody actually seen A MATTER OF TIME. I tried to sit though it on TV as a kid but just couldn’t stand it. Still – never mind Liza and Ingrid – it does feature the utterly glorious Tina Aumont.

  26. That film was completely taken away from Minnelli and brutally recut. He disowned the film and pretty much gave up hope for another film after that.

    For me, late Minnelli’s most important film is ”Bells Are Ringing”, which is also the last Arthur Freed musical and the last film in Judy Holliday’s short brilliant life and the only time she appeared in colour. It’s got a real end-of-the-50s feel to it. Of course he made important stuff after that, like TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN(also recut) but I think that’s his finish.

    Sometimes film-makers make their late film well in advance or in the case of Welles, in non-Chronological order. Like David Lean’s late film is RYAN’s DAUGHTER, he took a ten year sabbatical and returned with “A Passage to India” and spent the rest of his life trying to make NOSTROMO. Or with Bunuel, I’d argue that TRISTANA is his late film(especially the stunning reverse-montage at its end).

    Of course in most cases, film-makers careers are cut short or as Nick Ray would put it, interrupted.

  27. Asher Steinberg Says:

    Brutal recutting aside, it can’t be escaped that almost every moment of the raw material that did get into the film is kind of brutal. I can see the auteurist interest, thematically anyway, and Boyer was touching, but I was pretty aghast at most of it. Bergman is cartoonish in a Norma Desmond role, the stuff she’s made to say is hopelessly trite, Liza walks around dimly lit corridors that look like they’ve been shot through Vaseline with internal musical monologues running through her head – it got to the point where I was relieved to see the second unit’s rote travel video footage of Rome.

  28. David C: thanks again for organizing, and here’s my piece:

  29. Thanks, Gareth!

  30. Terrible that Minnelli should suffer such professional disrespect on his last ever movie. There ought to be an age limit of recutting a filmmaker’s work, at the very least.

    Almost every Welles film works as a testament film, and you’re right Arthur, Kane is possibly the best summation. Bunuel almost seems to come full circle.

  31. Onher “Private Screenins” interview on TCM, Liza said her father was starting to show signs of demntia during the shooting. Yikes! Still she lameted that it was taken away from him and cut against his wishes. Bergman and Boyer are great in it. In her very understanding review of the film Pauline Kael reccomended seeing it for them while acknowledging she would have preferred to see what Minnelli actually made rather than what was released.

    Tina Aumont is indeed charming in it, but for my money the best scene is Liza singing, very soulfully, “Do It Again,” in a number Minnelli obviously staged with great love and care.

  32. I think it was suggested that Otto Preminger was starting to lose it when he made The Human Factor. As well as battling budget troubles. It wouldn’t surprise me, looking at the film, which exerts a grim fascination but isn’t something I’m eager to see again. Although it has its admirers.

  33. Arthur S: I’m looking forward to seeing your TRIPLE AGENT post. You’re right, it really does deserve a monograph. You could probably right thirty pages alone on the significance of the epilogue/”end”.

    And I do agree the orphanage scene is amazing. It’s just that the interior character scenes are so few and far between after the “entr’acte”.

  34. Christopher Says:

    I enjoy the heck outta Rio Lobo and its leisure pacing.Some good belly laughs here and there and its always amusing to see the Duke saddled with youngsters.

  35. Christopher Says:

  36. […] at Shadowplay, David Cairns’ The Late Show – a blogathon devoted to directors’ late and last movies – rages on. Since I […]

  37. I’ve got another post for you, this one on Mizoguchi’s last film, Street of Shame (or Red Light District):

    Glad to see James Whale getting so much love in these comments! I can’t wait for his non-horror movies to become more readily available.

  38. RIP Jean Rollin — a man who just wouldn’t quit, for the love of movies.

    Andreas, thanks! Am linking!

  39. I’d like to offer my contribution to the blogathon, on filmmaker Varick Frissell. Go to “The last voyage” at

  40. Thanks! Linking.

  41. Just learned that Blake Edwards has passed on. While S.O.B. was not, in fact, his last film, I think it’s one of his greatest and stands as his testament, the one in which he imagined the death of the filmmaker, i.e., himself.

  42. It definitely seems like some kind of definitive statement on that “false place” Hollywood, to use David Manners’ description. Although it’s clear Edwards must have had some kind of love for it.

    I can make no sense of Jean Rollin and Blake Edwards going together — it’s an afterlife collaboration I just can’t picture.

  43. Hi David! I’ve done a piece about Imamura Shohei’s odd last film, ‘Warm Water Under a Red Bridge’ over at my blog serenevelocity here:

    Thanks to you for doing this, and everyone else for their great posts!

  44. Thanks, Bags! Great piece!

  45. Loved all the pieces so far.

    Here is my modest post:

    Maybe I’ll be able to squeeze in one more tomorrow.

    Thank you!

  46. And thank you! Terrific!

  47. SOB may not be a great film, but it does bring back a few memories.

    Most of all, the collective gasp of shock that echoed through the cinema when Julie Andrews pulled off her bra and revealed that…OH MY GOD, MARY POPPINS HAS TITS!! The gasp was almost as loud when Julie said ‘SHIT.’ We never thought she learned words like that in a convent in the Alps.

    OK, this was a provincial town in Canada, so perhaps not the most sophisticated audience on earth. But my best friend and I were 16, we had to fake our age just to get in, and it sure did make an impression.

    THE SOUND OF MUSIC was never the same again.

  48. The first time I saw it, SOB depressed the hell out of me. I’ve been increasingly anxious to see it in the correct ratio since then, since a few depressing comedies have since become among my favourites — notably Britannia Hospital.

  49. The first time I saw it I was sitting next to my friend Rafe Blasi. A film critic turned studio publicist (for 20th Century Fox in the 60’s no less) Rafe was doubled over with laughter again and again by S.O.B. — constantly mouthing to me “It’s all TRUE!!!”

    My favorite Rafe story came from when he was on board for the big push to make Star! a hit. It had “tested poorly,” to the studio’s great surprise. After all it starred Julie Andrews who just had made more money than God for them with The Sound of Music. So they decided it needed a new title. Much muttering, a long silence and then Rafe spoke up. “Well I’ve thought it over and the only one that would really apply is Bitch of Broadway.”
    Sadly they didn’t take his advice and the movie tanked.

    And now, off-topic, but in regard to your banner, Speaking of Rainbows. . .

  50. Well, I for one hope the Christian right start carrying rainbow banners — it’ll just look like there are twice as many pro-equality marchers at the next event. A good result.

    Their paranoia that God’s rainbow might have gotten a little bit of gayness on it is hysterical.

    By the way, see below for a post that may be up your street.

  51. That Masumura picture sounds incredible.

    Been meaning to rent something by Jean Rollin for a long time now. I have a fascination with the cover art of FASCINATION.

    Late Films Week has been fun. Afraid I haven’t finished my last two write-ups in time, but I’ll be posting on LE PETIT THEATRE DE JEAN RENOIR and Tashlin’s PRIVATE NAVY OF SGT. O’FARRELL in the next week or so.

  52. Oh, the Tashlin is a sad affair. Not by any means free of invention, it’s just that the soggy bits massively outweigh bright ones. I bet you like the Renoir though.

    Fascination might be Rollin’s best feature, along with his first, Le Viol du Vampire.

  53. […] Blogathoned out?  If not David Cairns is hosting a fine one, The Late Show, focusing on final works from long, distinguished careers. […]


    After much delay, my contribution to the Blogathon is ready…
    I have a shorter piece ready for tomorrow as well.

  55. david wingrove Says:

    An alternative suggestion for Rollin virgins…THE LIVING DEAD GIRL, which has much in common thematically with Ingmar Bergman’s PERSONA but is a whole lot less ponderous and infinitely more fun.

    Also his stupendous lesbian vampire pirate movie LES DEMONIAQUES, which was a tribute to Fritz Lang’s immortal MOONFLEET.

  56. Well, “fun” is probably not on Bergman’s list of priorities with Persona (although it clearly is with lots of his work, even including Saraband).

  57. […] contribution to the The Late Show:  The Late Films Blog-a-Thon, December 12th-18th.   Click here for more. Posted by C. Jerry Kutner Tagged with: auteur, Bride of Frankenstein, expressionism, […]

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