Java Head

Two films by Fedor Ozep form the basis of this week’s edition of The Forgotten, continuing our trawl through the back catalogue of Pathe-Natan. Ozep is my new obsession — careful with the video clips I’ve embedded in the piece, together they may make up more than your allotted daily allowance of cinematic genius — exceed the stated does and you could throw a mental flywheel.

AMOK, from which the above image derives, was subsequently remade in Mexico, and formed the subject of this piece by co-Shadowplayer David Melville, which inaugurated his alphabet of Cine Dorado Mexican melodramas. And THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV — well, when I mentioned the film to my mother, she didn’t say “Dostoevsky?”, she immediately said “Yul Brynner?”

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11 Responses to “Java Head”

  1. David Boxwell Says:

    In that glorious excerpt, Karol Rathaus beautifully integrated a real Indonesian gamelan ensemble into the score. This film should be considered a major, major deal for the soundtrack alone, in terms of the history of the development of “world music.” AMOK came out 2 years before the premiere of Colin McPhee’s “Tabuh Tahan,” which is one of the most influential works of the 20th century.

    Imdb reveals he ended up in Hollywood cranking out stock music at Columbia’s B unit.

  2. Rathaus was apparently an influence on Bernard Herrmann’s film scoring, too. The Rathaus and Honegger scores for Pathe-Natan are part of their most enduring legacy.

  3. david wingrove Says:

    Totally off topic, alas…Tonino Guerra RIP.

  4. Sad about the great Tonino Guerra. RIP, one of the legends of cinema.

    Ozep’s ”Brothers Karamazov” was one of Raymond Durgnat’s favorites, he once put it in a Top Ten list and the music is cited by Bernard Herrmann as especially impressive.

    And I absolutely love Anna Sten, a Boris Barnet discovery. And as impressive as Grushenka is in this film and while Goldwyn didn’t use her as well as she should have been, I cannot help but cite her brilliant performance in King Vidor’s forgotten masterpiece THE WEDDING NIGHT(with Gary Cooper as F. Scott Fitzgerald). Actually Vidor, like Gremillion could use some Forgotten glory, ”The Stranger’s Return” is another 30s masterpiece, nobody knows that film today.

  5. Tonino Guerra, Robert Fuest and Ulu Grosbard in the space of a few days.

    Sten made her first appearance in Miss Mend, directed by both Barnet and Ozep, but Barnet was the first to cast her in a major role. It was Ozep who married her, though!

    I’ve been meaning to look at some of the more obscure Vidor films…

  6. David Boxwell Says:

    It occurs to me that AMOK is another seductive entry in one of my favorite genres: Pretty White People Going To The Dogs In The Colonies.

    Latest (and very, very great): Claire Denis’s WHITE MATERIAL.

  7. Yes, White Mischief is a popular and oft-rewarding theme.

    More on Amok tomorrow, because I just can’t help it.

  8. Christopher Says:

    “Get up when a white man tells ya!”

  9. White Mischief (Sarah Miles) -“Oh God, not another f***ing beautiful day.”

  10. I need to see this.

  11. Well, anything you like the look of at Shadowplay that isn’t commercially available, could be available through me as a trade.

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