I’ve got mine

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on October 12, 2019 by dcairns

On the new Blu-ray and DVD from Criterion you too may enjoy the sight of my terrible face asking questions at Bill Forsyth’s kindly, tolerant face.

Plus much more — four vintage TV documentaries, a commentary track, an essay by my coleague at Edinburgh College of Art, Jonny Murray.

And the film — which is rather wonderful. If you’ve never seen it but you trust me — get it!

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Lucifer

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on October 11, 2019 by dcairns

Started watching DARLING LILI — I’m on a Blake Edwards kick. WHAT DID YOU DO IN THE WAR, DADDY? led to THE PARTY which led to SKIN DEEP and before you know it… well, I don’t know what shows more extreme depths of morbid curiosity that watching SKIN DEEP. (It was kind of rewarding, though.)

So, DL begins with Julie Andrews, Edwards’ wife of course, singing a lovely number called “Whistling in the Dark” (not the They Might Be Giants tune) amid dazzling anamorphic flares and halations upon the lens. It’s like a portal into J.J. Abrams’ wet dreams.

Then she launches into “It’s a Long Way to Tiperary,” “Pack Up Your Troubles,” which has the line “While you’ve a Lucifer to light your fag…” — a Lucifer being a brand of match and a fag being a cigarette. Anyhow, on that last syllable, THIS happens ~

Timing Rock’s credit to land exactly on the word “fag” — it CAN’T be an accident, and even if it were, who’s minding the store? Given that Edwards suffered continual interference from Paramount and was basically locked out of the edit (his own, decades-later director’s cut is 29 minutes shorter than the roadshow version), this is either the work of some not-so-merry prankster or a fuck-you Mona Lisa mustache doodled by the director on his own creation. But aren’t there people paid to look at edits? Surely the word in question is MORE likely to pop out for an American viewer?

Edwards’ work tends to be quite gay-friendly — lots of sympathetic gay characters, jokes which are smutty without being nasty. There were even longstanding rumours — well, more like speculations –about the Edwards-Andrews marriage at least partly being one of convenience. One can even, without too much strain, read movies like 10, THE MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN and SKIN DEEP as “protest too much” smokescreens on the one hand and gender-swapped confessions on the other.

Who knows? With regard to this unique jape-slur, Edwards is gone, as is editor Peter Zinner, who only cut two unsuccessful Edwards films before going on to THE GODFATHER.

I seem to recall somebody — and it may have been the less-than-reliable F. Gwyneplaine MacIntyre — telling me something about “Edwards and Andrews fag-baiting Rock Hudson on DARLING LILI” — but that may have been an obscure reference merely to this credit, or just the usual MacIntyre baloney. Anybody know anything?

Two For The Ride

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , on October 10, 2019 by dcairns

I’m jealous of Clive Donner — everyone talks about how extremely lovable Alan Bates and Denholm Eliot were, and here he gets them both in one film.

NOTHING BUT THE BEST came to mind, having occupied zero space in my watch list, after I stumbled on a copy of Backstory 4 — interviews with screenwriters of the sixties, seventies, eighties — and read the Frederic Raphael interview. This sounded like the one to see, and it’s very enjoyable.

Over at The Forgotten.