Archive for Donald Cammell

Red Red Roeg

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on November 30, 2018 by dcairns

Red Red Roeg from Colin McKeown on Vimeo.

Enjoy Colin McKeown’s video essay/supercut/mashup on the them of red in the film of Nicolas Roeg — and in some of the films he shot as cinematographer. These are fair game as, after all, Roeg was responsible for getting the directors’ and designers’ colour schemes onto celluloid, and as they may also have inspired his own thinking about colour later. Same for PERFORMANCE, co-directed with Donald Cammell, with Roeg taking charge of the camera side while DC worked with the actors.

Some great links and action cuts and audio/video conjunctions here! And what a rich filmography to play about in.

Red forms a link, if you like, between Nic Roeg and Michael Powell, and also positions both filmmakers on the opposite side of the artistic as well as colour spectrum from Ken Loach, who won’t have it in his films — due to some personal traumatic associations, I believe, so I’m not knocking him for it. But Roeg was the kind of guy, I think, that if red had some traumatic, MARNIE-style associations for him, he’d have used MORE of it.

I keep having to rewrite my sentences to put him in the past tense.

Just watch, in a week or two he’ll be back in the eternal present tense, like Powell.

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The Schlong Goodbye

Posted in FILM, literature, Mythology with tags , , , , , , on December 4, 2010 by dcairns

Extract from an unwritten novel ~

“Say, what is this Golden Lingam anyway?” asked Sam Spayed.

“It’s an artifact of supreme occult power. Both the Temple of Satan Arisen and the Order of Lucifer want it for their rites,” said Gluttman.

“What is it with LA and these crazy sects? I thought this was about Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan? The guy’s a devil worshipper, AND movie crazy. Played his Satanic Highness in that Polanski flick, didn’t he?”

“These parties aren’t official Church of Satan. Too crazy for that. Splinter groups, and they’re both gunning for the Linga. If you’ve got your hands on it, you can name your own price.”

“How would I know it if I saw it?”

The fat man rolled his cigar and began to expand — on his subject, that is. “The Golden Lingam started as a golden statuette cast from the erect penis of Rudolph Valentino. The actor’s early death and the resultant mass hysteria charged the item with power.”

“You don’t say.”

“But I do say!” Gluttman puffed a blue plume of smoke across the room. “Purchased by another Latin lover, Ramon Novarro, the item acquired further energy when Novarro was murdered by rough trade, who either bludgeoned him with its onyx base, or choked him to death with the shaft — accounts vary. Sex and death and public adulation make for powerful voodoo, Mr. Spayed. The year was 1968. Polanski was making Rosemary’s Baby, and LaVey told him about the Lingam. The director purchased the item, intending it to go towards LaVey’s fee, but the men quarreled and LaVey is rumoured to have cursed the filmmaker — a serious matter, since an earlier curse had resulted in the death of Jayne Mansfield. Within a year, Polanski wife and several friends were dead, slain by a gang that included one former disciple of LaVey’s church, and one star of magician Kenneth Anger’s film Lucifer Rising, Bobby Beausoleil. It was sheer chance that Polanski had delayed his return from Europe and wasn’t at home, but still official accounts discount the significance of satanism and cinema (though the Manson family lived in a ranch formerly used as a movie studio) and claim that Polanski was not an intended target.”

“Holy smokes,” remarked Spayed.

“Very UNholy smokes, dear boy. The original five-foot Pole must have figured something out, because he offloaded the Lingam on a business partner, Victor Lownes, smuggling it through customs in his pants. But Lownes got wise to the very unheimlich aura around the thing, and mailed it back, writing, ‘I am returning this life-sized statue of yourself. No doubt you can find some other “friend” to shove it up.’ When Polanski returned to LA to shoot Chinatown, he offloaded the cock on Donald Cammell, a Kenneth Anger crony, just to spite LaVey. Cammell tried to tame the dark forces around the penis, and he was the right guy to do it: sex and magic and cinema combined. Born under a camera obscura. But he wound up blowing his brains out, reenacting a scene from his own movie, PERFORMANCE.

“The gold prick dropped from view. Some say LaVey had it, some say Forrest J Ackermann. Either way, both are dead now and the Lingam is back in circulation. Sometime in the last few years it acquired a coating of black lacquer, and was being passed off as a likeness of an erect Jimi Hendrix.”

“And this is the reason three people are dead? The movie exec, the Hollywood madam and the body double?”

“Why certainly! Power like this accrues in very few objects. Valentino’s manhood was worshipped by millions, and the statuette is a real totem of that. Then blood was spilled, legends gathered — all anyone wants in this town is power, fame, the love of beautiful men and women. The Lingam promises all that. Sex magic is the ladder to the top. The stuff wet dreams are made of.”

To read more of Camera Obscena, simply pass into the next parallel universe and order a copy from Amazon.

That Riviera Touch

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on May 20, 2009 by dcairns

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The new Forgotten is online over at The Auteurs’ Notebook, even though my editor, Danny Kasman (whom I had the pleasure of at last meeting when I was in New York) is busy in Cannes, covering some kind of little festival they’re having over there.

This week’s column is on THE TOUCHABLES, an obscure piece of ’60s frippery co-authored by Edinburgh-born* cult auteur Donald Cammell.

*Born underneath the Camera Obscura, appropriately enough, on the historic Royal Mile.