Archive for David Cairns

Smash and Grab

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on April 29, 2011 by dcairns

“Wonderful package for fans of the film and Dassin – along with the Masters of Cinema Antonioni packages this is one of the best Blu-rays to come out of the UK so far this year. Absolutely recommended!” ~ DVD Beaver.

Jules Dassin’s RIFIFI comes out in BluRay and dual format editions from Arrow Films on May 9th, and with an original essay by me — which puts me in the company of Francois Truffaut, Alistair Phillips and John Trevelyan, whose writings on the film are extracted within the same booklet.

This one was a pleasure and a challenge to write about: I love Dassin, and had the opportunity to relate RIFIFI to his other work in a way that’s rarely done. Too often it’s taken for granted that his lesser-known films aren’t any good, and that consequently there’s nothing to be learned from comparing them with his hits, neither of which assumption is true. I wouldn’t make any great claims for CIRCLE OF TWO, but the rest are of value.

Pre-order here —

Rififi [Dual Format Edition DVD + Blu-Ray]


The Production Designer

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on March 2, 2011 by dcairns

Look out! The result of a long-term plan bears fruit, as the latest issue of The Believer hits stateside newsstands. Cradled within its crackling leaves, a new piece by me, detailing the work of William Cameron Menzies.

You can buy it via Amazon here ~

The Believer, Issue 79: March/April 2011 Film Issue

Thanks to David Bordwell and Glenn Erickson for their trailblazing work here and here and here and here.

I have a cold

Posted in FILM with tags , on December 1, 2010 by dcairns

But the sore throat it started with is fading a bit. Maybe it’ll be a quick cold.

I will just mention that the still above reminds me of a curious fact. While location scouting CRY FOR BOBO, from which the image derives, ace cinematographer Scott Ward and I trekked around Pilrig Cemetery to find the right spot for Bobo’s funeral. Avoiding the nasty office building overlooking one side, I settled on this view because of the big pipe-things jutting from the wall. During the take we actually stuck smoke bombs in each of them, hoping for a little Ridley Scott atmosphere, but you can’t really see it.

What was weird is that the real grave on the left was for somebody called Cairns, and the grave on the right was for somebody called Watson (my partner’s surname). This seemed both deep and creepy.

Years later, I went back there to take a photograph as evidence, belatedly, but both the office buildings and the pipes were gone, removing all landmarks. I was forced to circumambulate the graveyard, like Eli Wallach in THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY, only with a less fey running style. Yet although I could find several Cairns tombstones and several Watson tombstones, I couldn’t find any together. I suspected they all got moved about during the construction work that had removed the adjoining structures. I pictured a gigantic chess game involving the use of forklift trucks and Google Earth.