Archive for the FILM Category

All Souls Day

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on July 23, 2016 by dcairns

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Criterion’s Blu-ray of CARNIVAL OF SOULS is out, and getting good reviews, some of which favourably mention my video essay, REGARDS FROM NOWHERE. Fiona thinks it’s the best extra feature I’ve made to date — nothing to do with the fact that she’s in it, as a disembodied voice — that would tend rather to damage her estimation of the product. She’s one of a trio of guest stars, also including regular Shadowplayer Anne Billson and comics artists Stephen Bissette, who add their own distinctive thoughts and memories to the mix.

Editor Stephen Horne and I were also delighted to be able to fold into the mix extracts from filmmaker Herk Harvey’s industrial films made for Centron. All this adds richness –generally, the best vid essays are the once with layers of stuff, or a novel approach, and this one was lucky enough to have both. See also my piece on A HARD DAY’S NIGHT where I had my interview with the director, behind-the-scenes material of the filming and premier, and the mighty Rita Tushingham on VO. Currently pondering how to get some of that richness into my latest work for Criterion… currently all I have to play with is the film and its trailer…

Criterion’s extras, including mine, are available on the UK release of AHDN also:. Buy here and support ShadowplayA Hard Day’s Night: 50th Anniversary Restoration [Blu-ray]

Attack of the Clonebaugh

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on July 22, 2016 by dcairns

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So, I did a foolish thing. Following a conversation at Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna, I flashed on the fact that there had been no biography of Josef Von Sternberg. His magnificent autobiography, Fun in a Chinese Laundry, is too idiosyncratic to really count. I proposed the idea to a friend in publishing. And learned that, in fact, there had been a biography just a couple of years ago. Oops.

Of course it’s by John Baxter, who has practically monopolized the field of director bios. I checked it out — it’s not bad.

I was amused to learn that, while Sternberg was making army information films during WWI, his Germanic name apparently causing no problem at all, character actor Gustav Von Seyffertitz underwent a name change in order to be able to get work. What would Gustav Von Seyffertitz consider a reasonable, plausible pseudonym?

The name he went for, G. Butler Clonebaugh, is kind of memorable, I guess. Except that of the three film he used it on, it was spelled correctly just once, the other times manifesting as Clonbough and Clonblough. Which are both clearly far inferior names. Except that I can’t find any evidence that Clonebaugh even IS a name: it hasn’t been attached to anybody on the internet except Seyffertitz. Even the name Seyffertitz is more common.

Fun fact: You never see Gustav Von Seyffertitz and C. Aubrey Smith in the same shot. This is because of the superstitious fear shared by both men that if they met, their profiles would permanently interlock like the mosaic-creatures in an Escher print.

You can buy the Baxter bio: Von Sternberg (Screen Classics)

The Collins Sisters

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on July 21, 2016 by dcairns

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Over at The Notebook, the latest edition of The Forgotten examines a late work by a great filmmaker, and finds it not-so-great but still, ou know, of interest.

Multiple images of Joan Collins are ALWAYS of interest.

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