Archive for Craig Keller

Rockin’ Good News

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on September 9, 2010 by dcairns

At last it can be told!

I’ve contributed essays to the forthcoming — very forthcoming — BluRay edition of WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER? from the excellent people at Eureka Masters of Cinema. The project was hatched in secrecy and darkness, so I’ve only just discovered that I share my duties as extra feature with Joe Dante, which makes the whole thing even more thrilling. Now I can introduce myself as his “unwitting collaborator.”

The Amazon product description is a febrile triumph in itself, and worth quoting in full. Do I detect the hand of Master of Cinema mastermind Craig Keller?

“Unsold on celebrity? Congested with consumption? Addled by status? You’re in The World, kiddo, brought to you by Frank Tashlin “Because Someone’s Got to Live in It.” And now a brief word on our latest fine product, the one that gives you the answer to that nagging question: Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? Ladies and gentlemen, no-one does straight-and-narrow quite like Tony Randall, and we guarantee his turn as lovable ad-man Rockwell P. Hunter will leave you in so many stitches you’ll be just silly with sc-HAH-rtissue! And speaking of tissue: once you see Jayne Mansfield bob and weave as starlet Rita Marlowe, the ambidextrous angel who takes Hunter under her “wings” to launch his agency into the $trato$phere, you too will coo her trademark “ooo”! But that’s not all! You’ll also get Ms. Joan Blondell, star of Nightmare Alley and of Opening Night, who rounds out the package as Ms. Marlowe’s assistant and handler as they say in Paris, quel package! Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? proves that love CAN be manufactured (how else could we get our Blu-rays in your hands??), and finds Frank Tashlin doing what he did better than everyone else: Frank Tashlin’!!! Trust us when we say we here at The Masters of Cinema Series are simply over-the-moon to be presenting Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? for the first time on Blu-ray anywhere on the planet. – Gorgeous high-definition transfer of the film in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio – New and exclusive video introduction to the film by director Joe Dante (Gremlins 1 & 2, InnerSpace, Looney Tunes: Back in Action) – Vintage Movietone short which captures Jayne Mansfield on tour promoting the film – Alternate music & effects track with a different musical score for the opening of the picture and other ‘temporary’ effects-placement – Original theatrical trailer – Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hearing-impaired – 44-page booklet featuring two new essays by film writer David Cairns, and an exclusive 2003 interview about the film with Tony Randall conducted by Ethan DeSeife.”

Get it! Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? [Masters of Cinema] [Blu-ray]

Remember, if you buy it via my Amazon link, it costs you nothing extra, but I get a little tiny percentage of the proceeds.

I will now be offline until, perhaps, Friday night, since I’m going to be in Dublin meeting with producers. A new edition of The Forgotten will appear at the Daily Notebook sometime today, so please drop by and check it out. I’ll link to it when I get back.

Fame!

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on October 30, 2009 by dcairns

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Excitement by mail, in spite of strikes by postal workers who might fairly be characterized as “disgruntled,” I received a handsome package across my threshold today, the new Eureka! Masters of Cinema box set of Fritz Lang’s MABUSE trilogy. I had not ordered said item — this was a free gift in recognition of my having contributed a tiny piece of writing to the booklet accompanying THE THOUSAND EYES OF DR MABUSE, the widely-derided yet oddly excellent third film in the series.

My subject — Fritz Lang’s wooden monkey, Peter — is perhaps an unconventional one, but hey, to quote  Charles Nelson Reilly, “It’s that kind of show.”

You can look forward to more appearances by myself within the glossy folders of your future purchases, all part of my ongoing plan to live in a big house, wear expensive jewels, and eat regularly.

Contribute to my financial wellbeing by following the link below and making your puchase (of MABUSE or anything else) –

The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Box Set [DVD] [1922]

Big thankyous to MoC and the divine Craig Keller.

A Floury Scarf

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2008 by dcairns

At the end of Dreyer’s VAMPYR (spoiler alert) the evil doctor (a fore-clone of Professor Abronsius from Polanski’s THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS) is famously smothered under an onslaught of flour. We can look back to Griffith’s A CORNER IN WHEAT and forward to Peter Weir’s WITNESS, but seems to have been thought up independently, after a visit to a plaster factory got Dreyer thinking about WHITE.

Personally, what I like is the way he takes his scarf off as he’s being smothered. Like that’s going to make him more comfortable. “Blimey, it’s — kaff! kaff! — warm in here,” he could almost be saying. This is the kind of weirdness that makes VAMPYR so memorable, and it suffuses everything from the design (this is perhaps THE great wallpaper movie) through the photography (the sharp interiors and deliberately light-fogged exteriors) to the camera moves (which follow the actors about but don’t respond to their every hesitation: the camera keeps drifting as the actor pauses, then catches up). This is the kind of stuff that gives the film its particular oneiric sway.

Incidentally, my friend Robert tells me he just dreamt he was co-starring in a remake of Chan-Wook Park’s LADY VENGEANCE alongside the artist formerly known as Prince. I resolve to dream a movie tonight so I can compete with that epic at the box office of the subconscious. I’ll let you know if I succeed.

The marvellous Eureka Masters of Cinema DVD of VAMPYR comes stuffed with extras, including a commentary by Guillermo del Toro which begins “Just imagine a fat Mexican has come to your house and you have to listen to him talk,” and Craig Keller’s sweet documentary about Dreyer’s leading man, Baron Nicholas de Gunzberg, who helped finance the film as well as appearing in it (he’s a very effective, unusual actor, and his money obviously didn’t stink either). Baron Nick’s later status in American fashion, as mentor to Calvin Klein, was news to me, and a delight.

Between love and madness lies obsession.

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