Archive for Charles Vanel

Judge Not

Posted in Comics, FILM, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2016 by dcairns


Based on HANDS OVER THE CITY and CADAVERE ECCELLENTI (ILLUSTRIOUS CORPSES), Francesco Rosi might be cinema’s greatest architectural filmmaker.

The Italians have always been good at space and locations — it was they, aided by filmmaker/engineer Segundo de Chomon, who developed the first purpose-built dolly so they could explore gigantic sets in three dimensions. Rosi not only selects stunning environments and frames them elegantly, hi tracking shots make us feel we’re there, awestruck.


The film opens in a catacomb full of mummies, where we meet not-quite mummified Charles Vanel, his face a crumbling McArthur Park cakescape of time’s ravages. Moments later he’s dead, the film’s first prestigious stiff (managing an impressive fall for an 83-year-old). One is inclined to resent the film for offering us Vanel and then snatching him away, but then we get a little more of him in flashback, and stunning environment after stunning environment. Plus a dazzling fashion show of 1970s men’s spectacles. Max Von Sydow’s are particularly alluring.


Someone is killing judges! The conspiracy plot and film stock switches anticipate JFK, and a discussion about the miracle of transubstantiation made me posi-sure that Alan Moore saw this before writing V FOR VENDETTA. Rosi’s copper, just as dour as Moore’s, is played by the great Lino Ventura, who looks like he maybe bought his nose from the same smashed cartilage vendor as Vanel.

Library porn, Rosi style ~


The Sunday Intertitle: Van the Man

Posted in FILM with tags , on November 29, 2015 by dcairns


Since I made reference to Charles Vanel’s novel use of titling in his feature directorial debut/swan song DANS LA NUIT in Thursday’s edition of The Forgotten, I thought I’d show you examples. Anyway, I’m running about today on account of a film I’m making (yay!) so I have no time to do more.

Above we see the big decorative title cards which separate and announces the film’s major sequences. Nothing new there. But below we see the rather novel SUBtitle approach used for the very few bits of dialogue. These allow the exposition to be delivered without cutting away from the scene.


The nasty yellow German subs are courtesy of Arte and we can’t do a thing about them.

Night Moves

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on November 26, 2015 by dcairns


Charles Vanel directed one feature film. Learn more in this fortnight’s Forgotten, over at the Notebook. Link.