Preview of Coming Attractions


Remember how I was going to revisit all the directors I’ve devoted a week to? I still have Preminger, Borzage, Milestone and oh, several others to do. I got interrupted by Edinburgh Film Festival but I’m going to get back into it.

And I’m going to do a week on Seventies Sci-Fi movies. And television. Your suggestions are welcome. You can probably guess some of the things I’m going to tackle, but I’d love to hear about what you’d be interested in. It’d be great if there’s some stuff I haven’t seen.

And I’m going to bring back Film Club — where you are all invited to watch a movie and then I’ll do a big blog post on it and we can discuss it. So I have homework for you — can you all get ahold of THE KNACK…AND HOW TO GET IT, please? This was the first film I ever wrote about on Shadowplay and I like revisiting it. It’s like a great smorgasbord of film style. Paul Schrader likes PERFORMANCE and THE CONFORMIST to nick from, I like THE KNACK.

And I’m hoping to make a short film soon — more on this as it develops. I have Big Plans.



21 Responses to “Preview of Coming Attractions”

  1. 70s sci-fi film recommendations? And they have to be Shadowplay-esque…How about Jerzy Zulawski’s “On the Silver Globe?” (or do you count that as 80s because that’s when it was finished?) There’s “The Ultimate Warrior” with Yul Brynner & Max Von Sydow, which manages to be strange and formulaic.
    “Z.P.G” or Zero Population Growth is an attempt at intelligent sci-fi with some great design work from Tony Masters.
    There’s a rather fun quirky Czech sci-fi film called “You Are a Widow, Sir” by the rather unfun unquirky (if what I’ve read is true) Vaclav Vorlicek

    As for TV, Star Maidens? They’ve put an episode of Ian Hendry’s comedy Don Quixote in Space “The Adventures Of Don Quick” up on youtube. Also that right wing Edward Woodward sci-fi “1990”

    Look forward to seeing “The Knack” again. I just wish it didn’t have that title! I can explain *that scene* (careful watching shows exactly what Lester and Ann Jellicoe intended. It’s cruelly satirising Tolen’s attitude. It could’ve been clearer but it’s buried under so much more information. But the title makes friends assume it’s going to be another “brown” about “birds” and “confessions”

  2. Star Wars. Nobody writes about Star Wars.

  3. My votes are for Philip Leacock’s DYING ROOM ONLY (1973) and Giuliano Montaldo’s CLOSED CIRCUIT (1978) – best two TV movies I’ve seen lately.

  4. Lots of great ideas already.

    We’ll get into that issue with The Knack. I will post a few possible talking points before the big day tp suggest possible avenues of debate.

    I do have a Star Wars post I wrote years ago and never published for fear it would end my so-called career. The time may have come.

    Since I was just writing about a Leacock film, and Richard Matheson is a favourite, Dying Room Only must clearly be checked out. Fiona will insist.

    Have never even heard of Don Quick, and the Czech film sounds interesting and I never made it through ZPG but could try again.

    I actually wrote about Circuito Chiuso for Sight & Sound, and might get away with reprinting the piece here since it’s years old. It was quite a good little piece, I thought…

  5. The Knack features the motion picture debuts of three of the most beautiful and fascinating women who ever breathed: Charlotte Rampling, Jacqueline Bissett and Jane Birkin.

    Charlotte is seen pouring a glass of water down her wet-suit in the skiing scene. Jackie is in line with a group of other beauties at the “Rory McBryde” event at Albert Hall, and Jane appear first borrowing a chair form Colin early in the credit sequence. She later rides off with Tolen on his motorbike. Off-screen she ran off with the film’s composer John Barry — her first husband.

    As for directors you haven’t deal with I say go FULL OTTO with Skidoo

  6. Skidoo is quite something. I finally have it in widescreen, so it seems possible. Though I’ve never made it through Advise and Consent or The Cardinal.

  7. henryholland666 Says:

    You mentioned recently that you’d do a bit about “Yesterday’s Enemy” with Stanley Baker and a cast of dozens, would love to hear your thoughts about it.

    “Look forward to seeing “The Knack” again. I just wish it didn’t have that title!”

    It makes me think of this:

  8. Advise and Consent is very much worth getting through, for Laughton’s magnificent last performance if nothing else. Lately it’s been referenced in relation to current Washington D.C. back-stabbing.

    The Cardinal is very beautifully made , with a great Jerome Moross score and supporting performances by Romy Schneider and John Huston. But Preminger’s treatment drove Tom Tryon out of acting altogether. He became a successful novelist and a story from his book “Crowned Heads” was adapted by Billy Wilder into one of his most underrated late-period gems.

  9. John Huston had a very funny story about Preminger’s direction of Tryon. It can’t be altogether true, though… or can it?

    Tryon’s The Other also became an interesting film.

    I’ve still to watch Yesterday’s Enemy but I was just talking about Val Guest today… maybe it’s time…

  10. Most of the insane 1967 Casino Royalewas directed by Val Guest.

  11. henryholland666 Says:

    Speaking of Preminger….

    I watched “Angel Face” last night as part of TCM’s film noir series. My esteem for Robert Mitchum went up even further after I read this at IMDb:

    “When Robert Mitchum got fed up with repeated re-takes in which director Otto Preminger ordered him to slap Jean Simmons across the face, he turned around and slapped Preminger, asking whether that was the way he wanted it done. Preminger immediately demanded of producer Howard Hughes that Mitchum be replaced. Hughes refused”

    Jean Simmons was treated horribly by Hughes and Preminger on that set. Bastards. I liked the movie well enough, the cars and the Los Angeles locations were the highlights for me.

    Also watched a terrific movie with Mitchum called “The Locket”. A bit risible with the psychological explanations for the lead character Nancy’s motives, but I really liked the direction of John Brahm, who I only knew from the Laird Cregar films “The Lodger” and the nutso (in a good way) “Hangover Square”.

  12. John Muller Says:

    You already covered SILENT RUNNING in 2011, but Universal’s other extraordinary science fiction film from the 70s is COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT, written by James Bridges and expertly directed by Joseph Sargent. Well worth a look.

  13. Jim Cobb Says:

    Isn’t THE LOCKET the film which has a flashback within a flashback?

  14. When you get to ’70s science fiction, I’d love to see you cover Tarkovsky’s “Stalker”, which I think lives a bit in the shadow of the more widely known “Solaris”.

    Also “The Man Who Fell To Earth”.

  15. Angel Face is a great favorite of Jacques Rivette’s. You can see its influence on the harsh atmospherics of Paris Nous Appartient and the more colorful yet equally ominous ones of Duelle

  16. The Locket has a flashback within a flashback WITHIN a flashback. A Russian doll noir.

    Brahm is an underrated expressionist wizard — type his name into the search bar here and you’ll find a number of appreciations. His career runs from a 1936 remake of Broken Blossoms to 60s TV shows including The Twilight Zone, and he was still coming up with weird, unsettling and beautiful compositions until the end.

    I think I wrote about Angel Face during Preminger Week. I prefer Fallen Angel, though…

    I’d love an exat breakdown on who did what on Casino Royale. I know Huston did the dull Scottish scenes in Ireland. Guest was next man in. Ken Hughes did my favourite stuff, the Indian dance number and the Roeg-shot expressionism in Berlin. McGrath struggled with Welles and Sellers, and got replaced by Parrish. Guest, I think, did the ending and who knows what else?

    We just watched The Man Whe Fell to Earth so that one can be counted on.

  17. Guest did the OTT climax and all the Woody Allen scenes

    I don’t think I’ve liked a Guest film since “The Day the Earth Caught Fire” (though I’m open to suggestions) but Allen certainly saw something in him. After Casino, Guest was Allen’s first choice to direct his starring vehicle “Take the Money and Run” he turned it down. Allen’s second choice: Jerry Lewis. They both admired each other’s work. Lewis claimed Woody Allen’s comic persona was what Lewis himself was really like. But in the end he also turned it down.

    Doing “Take the Money” might have revitalized either director’s career. Or just killed off Woody’s.

  18. The ultimate flashback movie is The Saragossa Manuscript.

  19. Guest had a huge history of working with British comedians, from the 30s to the 80s eventually. Woody Allen would have been the ultimate feather in his cap.

    I recommend Hell is a City highly.

  20. The source novel from that is undoubtedly influenced by the Thousand And One Nights, which has tales within tales within tales. I quite like the technique.

  21. John Muller, sorry for missing your comment. But look:

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