Archive for Arrow Films

Wagons, who?

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2021 by dcairns

My copy of Eureka! Masters of Cinema’s JOHNNY GUITAR Blu-ray arrived yesterday, chunky and resplendent with extras, including the video essay I made with Chase Barthel and featuring Jessica Martin as Joan Crawford, Jeff Johnson as Philip Yordan, Isaac Brooks as Nicholas Ray, and my crudely-animated plasticine sculptures of same. Also an interview I conducted with Ray’s widow Susan, covering Ray’s memories of the traumatic shoot, and his lessons as teacher.

The best writing I found on the film to drawn upon was by the late James Harvey in Movie Love in the Fifties, and, especially, by V.F. Perkins, who later collaborated with Ray on an unmade feature project. Must get his book.

Furthermore, Shadowplayer Tony Williams just sent me this link to his review of Arrow Video’s MAJOR DUNDEE, for which I also did a video essay, edited by Stephen C. Horne. Many thanks! Glenn Erickson, who contributes several of the disc’s best features, also reviewed me favourably here.

And I have THREE more exciting projects at various stages of development which I can’t talk about yet. Except to emphasise how exciting they are.

The Oeuvre

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on July 20, 2021 by dcairns

The stack of discs I’ve worked on now comes up to my lower lip.

All my DVD and Blu-ray extras, listed:

Indicator Noir #3 — THE DARK PAST (Rudolphe Maté) — text essay

KOSMOS (Andrzej Zulawski) — Kino Lorber — short video essay

For the Criterion Collection, first the text essays:

STAGECOACH (John Ford)

DAY FOR NIGHT (Francois Truffaut)

THE 39 STEPS (Alfred Hitchcock)

Pierre Etaix box set (essays on all the films)

Jacques Tati box set (essays on all the films)

THE EXECUTIONER (Luis García Berlanga)

And now the Criterion video essays:

A HARD DAY’S NIGHT (Richard Lester) incorporating interview with Lester

CARNIVAL OF SOULS (Herk Harvey) featuring Fiona, Stephen R. Bissette and Anne Billson

THE AWFUL TRUTH (Leo McCarey)

SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS (Preston Sturges) featuring Bill Forsyth

THE LADY EVE (Preston Sturges)

GOOD MORNING (Yasushiro Ozu)

ONE-EYED JACKS (Marlon Brando)

THE KID BROTHER (Ted Wilde)

GHOST WORLD (Terry Zwigoff)

and LOCAL HERO (Bill Forsyth) interview with Forsyth

For Arrow Films, text pieces first

RIFIFI (Jules Dassin)

INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (Philip Kaufman) featuring interview with Kaufman

WARNING FROM SPACE (Kôji Shima)

SO DARK THE NIGHT (Joseph H. Lewis)

LOST IN PARIS (Dominique Abel & Fiona Gordon)

The noir box set featuring DARK MIRROR (Robert Siodmak), THE BIG COMBO (Joseph H. Lewis), SECRET BEYOND THE DOOR (Fritz Lang) and FORCE OF EVIL (Abraham Polonsky) features a text essay on the Siodmak, and visual essays on the Lang and Lewis.

on to video essays now:

THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (Roger Corman)

THE COMEDY OF TERRORS (Jacques Tourneur)

THE BELLS OF ST MARY’S (Leo McCarey)

BORN YESTERDAY (George Cukor)

THE APARTMENT (Billy Wilder)

The Marx Bros at Paramount, two video essays, one on the films, one on the brothers

BOB AND CAROL AND TED AND ALICE (Paul Mazusky)

BICYCLE THIEVES (Vittorio De Sica)

THE SHELTERING SKY (Bernardo Bertolucci) with Fiona

MAJOR DUNDEE (Sam Peckinpah)

Weird Wisconsin: The Bill Rebane Collection feature-length documentary WHO IS BILL REBANE?

Jules Dassin: Tales from the Urban Jungle features a unique commentary track on THE NAKED CITY and a video essay on BRUTE FORCE, with Fiona

For Eureka! Masters of Cinema, starting with the text pieces

Dr Mabuse DVD box set (Fritz Lang), short piece about Lang’s toy monkey, Peter

A LETTER TO THREE WIVES (Joseph L. Mankiewicz)

MADAME DUBARRY (Ernst Lubitsch)

Lubitsch in Berlin, two pieces

IF…. (Lindsay Anderson) featuring interview with Brian Pettifer

WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER? (Frank Tashlin)

FEDORA (Billy Wilder)

THE LOST WEEKEND (Billy Wilder)

THE GANG’S ALL HERE (Busby Berkeley)

SECONDS (John Frankenheimer)

I did two video intros, under protest:

HAROLD AND MAUDE (Hal Ashby)

TOO LATE BLUES (John Cassavetes)

Video essays for MoC follow:

MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA/Dziga Vertov box set

THE OLD DARK HOUSE (James Whale)

DIARY OF A LOST GIRL (GW Pabst) narrated by Fiona

Fuller at Fox: video essay on all Sam Fuller’s Fox films (save CHINA GATE, alas), featuring Samantha Fuller

MICHAEL (CT Dreyer)

DRAGON INN (King Hu)

A TOUCH OF ZEN (King Hu)

THE FATE OF LEE KHAN (King Hu) with Anne Billson

RAINING IN THE MOUNTAIN (King Hu)

LEGEND OF THE MOUNTAIN (King Hu)

Buster Keaton Complete Shorts

Buster Keaton 2

Buster Keaton 3

A NEW LEAF (Elaine May)

CLOAK AND DAGGER (Fritz Lang)

THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW (Fritz Lang)

DER MUDE TOD (Fritz Lang)

HOUSE/HAUSU (Nobuhiko Obayashi)

Early Murnau box set

THE SON OF THE SHEIK (George Fitzmaurice)

KWAIDAN (Masaki Kobayashi) with Fiona

THE GOLEM (Paul Wegener & Carl Boese) with Fiona

THE MAN WHO LAUGHS (Paul Leni) with Fiona

THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD (Martin Ritt)

THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (Robert Weine)

THE HANDS OF ORLAC (Robert Weine) with Fiona

Coming soon: JOHNNY GUITAR (Nicholas Ray) and THE LOVE OF JEANNE NEY (GW Pabst), the latter another collaboration with Fiona.

So, apparently Masters of Cinema have been our most prolific employer and I’ve done more on Fritz Lang than on anyone else.

Shadowplay Goes West

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , on July 1, 2021 by dcairns

Two more video essays —

For Arrow, I wrote and narrated and Stephen C. Horne edited a piece for the MAJOR DUNDEE restoration, entitled inevitably I suppose MOBY DICK ON HORSEBACK. If R.G. Armstrong’s famous phrase causes you to picture a top-heavy, untenable situation on the brink of collapse, that would not be entirely inappropriate. MAJOR DUNDEE is major Peckinpah but universally acknowledged to be flawed. But Peckinpah’s flaws are always interesting.

The main thing I wanted to avoid with this piece is weighing in too heavily on whether Peckinpah’s vision of the film would have resulted in a triumph had he been allowed to finish it the way he planned. I always get a bad feeling when anyone pretends to know whether footage none of us have seen would transform a film. It’s legitimate to ask whether perhaps the Indian raid intended to open the film was poorly filmed owing to time pressures, but unless you have awfully compelling witnesses — and even then — I don’t think you can draw any conclusions for sure.

My other western vid essay is on JOHNNY GUITAR, as contrasting a subject as you could hope for. Chase Barthel is editing this one. I was in the process of planning this one when I woke up one morning from uneasy dreams, mulling over how I was going to make Plasticine models of the characters. As I slowly woke up fully, I realised this would be madness.

A little while later, I decided to do it.

Well, Truffaut calls JOHNNY GUITAR “a dreamed western.” This will be in part a dreamed video essay.