Archive for Arrow Films

That Man ‘Ees Crazee

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on November 15, 2014 by dcairns


Such is the title of my essay in the booklet enclosed with each copy of Masters of Cinema’s Blu-ray of THE GANG’S ALL HERE, available NOW. Also featuring a piece by Karina Longworth and a commentary track by Farran Smith Nehme (the Self-Styled Siren) Glenn Kenny (Some Came Running) and Ed Hulse.

I’m trying to achieve excellence in titling, but remain hit-0r-miss. Fiona pronounced Picturewise, the title of my Richard Lester video essay, “terrible,” although it is a word used by Victor Spinetti in A HARD DAY’S NIGHT. On the other hand, my video essay on DIARY OF A LOST GIRL, available to pre-order below, is called Naked On My Goat, and I don’t think the paying public deserves any better than that, even if anything better was conceivable by the human mind. I think You Must Become Caligari is quite a strong title, and my essay for WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER? was called I Must I Must Increase My Bust, which makes me smile anyway.

For Lubitsch’s MADAME DUBARRY I contributed a piece called Who Wants to be a Milliner?, a terrible pun of which I am inordinately proud.


The Return of Etaix, for the Pierre Etaix box set is not as strong a title as the piece itself, and certainly nowhere near as strong as the set. The Complete Jacques Tati has a piece called Things Fall Together which is a kind of sequel to an earlier piece called Things Fall Apart, Beautifully, on the Criterion website. 39 Steps to Happiness is self-explanatory, just about.

Mick Travis and the Chamber of Secrets, for IF…. is maybe a little desperate, but I was trying at least. The accompanying interview with supporting performer Brian Pettifer is triumphantly called Small Parts Inspection. My piece on THE LOST WEEKEND is called The Lost Weekend, which shows, frankly, a lack of inspiration which I fear shows in the piece. RIFIFI got one called I’m a Crook at Heart, for which credit goes to director Jules Dassin because he said it. Also for Arrow, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (Philip Kaufman version) got a piece called We Came from Outer Space, which is interesting at least, and my video essays for that company are Through the Pale Door (THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, title take from a line in the story) and… but maybe I can’t announce this one yet.

My best DVD essay title may be my first, for STAGECOACH. Taking the Stage is a pretty simple name, but it works on two levels and isn’t too cute. Ford might have allowed it.

I am about to start a new piece for Criterion but if I told you what the essay was called, some of you would guess the film and it ain’t announced yet.


Diary of a Lost Girl [Masters of Cinema] Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD)

Out Now:
The Gang’s All Here (1943) [Masters of Cinema] [Blu-ray]
If…. (Masters of Cinema) [Blu-ray] [1968]
Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? [Masters of Cinema] (Dual Format Edition) [Blu-ray] [1957]
The Lost Weekend [Masters of Cinema] (Blu-ray) [1945]
MADAME DUBARRY [Masters of Cinema] (1919) [Blu-ray]

The 39 Steps (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Stagecoach (The Criterion Collection)
A Hard Day’s Night (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD)
Pierre Etaix (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
The Complete Jacques Tati [Blu-ray]

Rififi [Dual Format Edition DVD + Blu-Ray] [1955]
Fall of the House of Usher [Blu-ray]
Invasion of the Body Snatchers [Blu-ray]

There are also two video intros for Masters of Cinema but they don’t have titles, so it just says David Cairns on the DVD menu, which is quite startling if your name is David Cairns or you know somebody called David Cairns.

Harold And Maude (Masters of Cinema) (Blu-ray) [1971]
Too Late Blues (Masters of Cinema) (Dual Format Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD] [1961]


Falling for the House of Usher

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on October 15, 2013 by dcairns


By clicking here

Fall of the House of Usher [Blu-ray]

you can buy a fine Blu-ray of Roger Corman’s THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER featuring, among many marvelous extras, a little video essay I put together with the mighty Timo Langer. My ambition is to become a Great Video Essayist. I’m not there yet, one has to start somewhere.

Nothing else lined up to see print just now, though I just got a review copy of a disc for Electric Sheep — and I think I know what my next film will be.

All this jet-setting (Telluride-Pordenone-Lyon!) BTW, is made possible by the fact that a feature script Fiona and I wrote ages ago finally went in front of the cameras and we got paid a chunk of our fee (some of it we had when in what is known as development, some is deferred). More on that later…

Burning Down the House

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , on August 21, 2013 by dcairns


I have contributed a video essay to Arrow’s dazzling new Blu-ray of THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER — sharing space with Jonathan Rigby, Joe Dante and Tim Lucas, which is pretty fine company to be in. If you enjoyed PIECES OF PETULIA then you’ll… perhaps also enjoy FRAGMENTS OF THE HOUSE OF USHER. What next? CHUNKS OF CHARIOTS OF FIRE? GOBBETS OF GODZILLA? Only time will tell.

As with the PETULIA essay, editor Timo Langer deserves mucho credit for his editing skills, and thanks are also due to Francesco Simeoni at Arrow for commissioning the thing and offering helpful feedback throughout.

The essay is ten minutes long — my only regret was that I’m a little critical of Richard Matheson’s screenplay, not expecting him to die just before the thing came out. And anyway, one never knows if screenplays are flawed due to the writer or due to rewriting by other hands or what. I seem to recall an interview where Matheson said he wasn’t too pleased with the end product and considered putting his pseudonym on it, Logan Swanson, “who has really written some awful junk.”

In fact, the script is mainly quite nifty and allows Vincent Price plenty of opportunity for eyebrow arching.

You can buy the little beauty here: