The Late Show


I created this second banner because Fiona said the dead Santa one was “horrible.”

Welcome to the blogathon! I’m going to sellotape this post to the top of Shadowplay using science, so it will be the first thing you see this week. But the new posts will be immediately beneath it, so keep scrolling.

If participating in the blogathon, this is the post to link to. You can add a comment below to let me know about the post, if you don’t have my email.



And we have a first entry — David Ehrenstein applies his wits to F FOR FAKE, one of Orson Welles’ last movies as director, and another that is sometimes cited as his greatest film. Here.

My own first piece deals with a truly hard-to-see, unconsidered final film, from the wonderful Frank Borzage. Here.

Christine Leteux was our researcher on NATAN, is Kevin Brownlow’s translator, and in her own right she’s the author of the first book on Albert Capellani and the splendid French-language film blog Ann Harding’s Treasures. She’s traveling at present, researching her next book, but gave me permission to link to a relevant piece from AHT — TUMBLEWEEDS was William S. Hart’s last directorial gig and feature starring role. Ici.

Eddie Selover casts a not-unsympathetic eye over two swan songs from 1930s divas, Marlene Dietrich’s JUST A GIGOLO and Mae West’s jaw-dropping SEXTETTE. Here.

Marilyn Ferdinand at Ferdy on Films looks at a film I only just realized exists, the 1934 version of THE SCARLET LETTER, which was Colleen Moore’s last feature. Here.



Every Shadowplay blogathon must contain an intertitle. Here.

Over at Mostly Film, Paul Duane raises the tone with an entry on EMMANUELLE V, tragically Walerian Borowczyk’s last gig, but finds some bizarre merit. Here.

Tim Hayes looks at SPAWN not as a naff superhero flick but as a late Nicol Williamson film and gets fascinating results. Here.

We have a scintillating line-up of guest Shadowplayers this year, and the first among them is Judy Dean, who looks at James Mason’s last screen appearance in THE SHOOTING PARTY. Here.



Imogen Smith, a regular star writer at The Chiseler, revisits Anthony Mann’s last western, which is also a late Gary Cooper, and elegiac as hell. Here.

Regular Shadowplayer Simon Kane waxes mysterious about Tom Schiller’s first, last and only theatrical feature, aptly titled NOTHING LASTS FOREVER, also the cinematic swan song of Sam (“Professor Knickerbocker”) Jaffe. Here.

My own Tuesday piece takes a brief look at Peckinpah’s THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND, both version. And there’s a song! Here.

Gareth McFeely looks at the final feature of the late Georges Lautner, in a particularly timely tribute. Here.



Filmmaker Matthew Wilder looks at Billy Wilder’s unloved BUDDY BUDDY and, uniquely, finds something to admire. Here.

From Scout Tafoya, a typically ruminative and emotive valediction to Raul Ruiz. Here.

My post deals with a late Richard Lester, the largely ignored/forgotten FINDERS KEEPERS, which actually has some great slapstick. Here.

Louis Wolheim’s last movie, the 193o railroad melodrama DANGER LIGHTS, is examined by The Man on the Flying Trapeze. Here.



Nobody Knows Anybody, the Spanish cine-blog, considers the career of Alfredo Landa in the light of his final work. Yonder.

As part of the ’68 Comeback Special, I consider a late film by Albert Finney, made early in his career. Confused? Now you know how CHARLIE BUBBLES feels. Here.

Critica Retro assesses the charms of Louise Brooks’ oddball last picture. In Portuguese — try auto-translate, or try reading Portuguese! Aquí.

Two from Jeremy Rizzo, on Howard Hawks last, RIO LOBO, and Kubrick’s semi-posthumous puzzle box, EYES WIDE SHUT. Here and here.



Michael Pattison on what MAY be Tsai Ming-Liang’s final movie. Here.

A tip of the hat to THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE at No Man’s Land. Here.

Our own David Melville Wingrove illuminates the trailing end of Rex Ingram’s mighty career. Down here.

John Greco tackles the knotty problem of William Wyler’s last work, a film I love unreasonably. Here.

Stacia at She Blogged By Night weighs in on HER TWELVE MEN and Douglas Shearer, brother of the more celebrated Norma. Here.

And Tony Dayoub offers a close reading of three scenes in GIANT, the last film of James Dean. Here!

Daniel Riccuito, editor of The Chiseler, considers Jean Epstein’s last short, LIGHTS THAT NEVER FAIL aka LES FEUX DE LA MER. Here.

prairie home.preview


Dennis Cozzalio of the legendary Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule joins the blogathon for the first time with a joint look at the final films of two old masters: Altman and Penn. Here!

Seijun Suzuki’s wild, pop-art penultimate pic inspires this Shadowplay gallery. Here.

Guest Shadowplayer Ted Haycraft reflects on one of the biggest, boldest and bloodiest final films, ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA. Here.

Grand Old Movies tips the hat to Marie Dressler. Here.

Late Bresson via Philip Tatler IV at Diary of a Country Pickpocket. Here.

The Girl with the White Parasol covers Frank Borzage’s second-last film, CHINA DOLL. Here.


Unable to recognize too much of a good thing, I keep going with John Frankenheimer’s last theatrical release, REINDEER GAMES. Here.

Chandler Swain revisits Losey’s STEAMING. Here.

Scout Tafoya’s second blogathon post details the last film to end them all, PP Pasolini’s positively final SALO. Here.



24 Responses to “The Late Show”

  1. […] is an entry in The Late Show: The Late Movies Blogathon hosted by […]

  2. […] pleased to join David Cairns’ Shadowplay for his annual blogathon. This year’s theme is The Late Show, and it’s a celebration of neglected late films of favorite filmmakers and actors. Here, we […]

  3. Jenny Eardley Says:

    Was a bit worried as I’m using library computers and the tots are having their songtime (this doesn’t stop the bloke next to me swearing at his computer and banging his mouse on the desk though), don’t want to cancel Christmas for them.

  4. It’ll be interesting to see how many participants go for the NSFW version and who opts for the ever family-friendly Kubrick.

  5. Happily, Wally did bounce back from EMMANUELLE 5 to write and direct one more feature, the rather more Borowchicky LOVE RITES.

  6. Same year — are we sure which came first? I would trust you if you say you know!

    It may be that some of his episodes of soft porn euro TV show Serie Rose came later too. Harry Kummel also helmed some, to his shame.

  7. Hello, David — I may be late to the party, and you may choose to have your bouncer eject me, but I just thought I’d mention a post I wrote about Louis Wolheim’s final film, “Danger Lights.” It is here:

    If you feel inclined to include it, thanks.

  8. It is included! I will link to it forthwith, and thanks! And that’s without even reading it, which I will now do.

  9. Hi David! My post on Alfredo Landa is now up – and I do get around to discussing his final film eventually. Honest.

  10. Thanks! Have added a link — looking forward to reading it when I escape from work!

  11. david wingrove Says:

    Had never heard of Overland Raiders before – in Portuguese or any other language. Poor Louise Brooks does NOT look happy in those stills!

  12. Perhaps she’s thinking “This is the end.” But it wasn’t, entirely.

  13. […] This  article is my contribution to Shadowplay’s The Late Show: THe Late Movies Blogathon. You can find other great offerings by just clicking here. […]

  14. Here’s my post for the blogathon:

    Thanks again for hosting. Now that I’m done writing, I finally get to go read everyone’s entries!

  15. John Greco Says:

    David, attached is the link to my contribution to the blogathon.

  16. […] post is Grand Old Movies’ contribution to The Late Show Blogathon, running from December 1-7, 2013, and hosted by David Cairns’ Shadowplay blog. For a list […]

  17. Here’s my Grand Old Movies entry for the Blogathon, Marie Dressler; I’ve linked the post to your page; here’s my post’s direct link:

  18. Thanks! Linked. Beautiful tribute!

  19. I posted a review of Frank Borzage’s penultimate film China Doll, here:

    Thanks for hosting the blogathon!

  20. […] Blogathon master-post is no longer pinned to the top of the blog (using science), but it’s here. It links to every single post, here and elsewhere, that appeared in the blogathon. Or you can use […]

  21. […] also provides one of the highlights of David Cairn’s 4th Annual Late Show Blogathon (dedicated to films at or near the end of their director or star’s career), examining the […]

  22. […] may well be the final entry in David Cairns epic Late Show Blogathon. It’s been an immense pleasure taking part and reading all the many-splendored accounts of […]

  23. […] is an entry in The Late Show: The Late Movies Blogathon hosted by […]

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