Archive for Fiona Watson

Laughter in the Dark

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2020 by dcairns

We received our copies of THE MAN WHO LAUGHS and BUSTER KEATON 3 FILMS (VOL 3) from Masters of Cinema.

Fiona and I wrote a video essay for the former, and I did the latter with an excellent assist from Miranda Gower-Qian. Stephen C. Horne edited both, brilliantly — since we were on full lockdown, this had to be done remotely but with a little back-and-forth of uploaded edits, this was managed smoothly.

MAN WHO was a particularly ambitious job — we enlisted actor friends Steven McNicoll and Fran Dymond to perform extracts from the Victor Hugo source novel and interviews with the principal filmmakers — Conrad Veidt, Mary Philbin, Olga Baclanova, Paul Leni…

Both pieces are around half an hour rather than the usual twenty minutes we’re generally paid for — ideally, we want to make video essays that are proper little films… it’s been a slow process of chiseling at the outlines of the video essay, expanding it outwards…

Buy them at the links below, support Shadowplay!

The Man Who Laughs (Masters of Cinema) Blu-ray [2020]
Buster Keaton: 3 Films (Volume 3) (Our Hospitality, Go West, College) (Masters of Cinema) Limited Edition Blu-ray Boxed Set [2020]

Feet of Clay

Posted in FILM, Mythology with tags , , , , on February 1, 2020 by dcairns

A stash of Blu-rays just arrived from Eureka! Masters of Cinema — all releases I’ve worked on in my capacity as video essayist. I’ll talk about them in three separate posts.

(Also: I repainted the floor. Need to clean it though.)

DER GOLEM comes top of the pile since I collaborated on it with Fiona. We each wrote and narrated part of the commentary and supervised the edit, performed with typical skill by Stephen C. Horne. I’m trying to monetize Fiona’s brain — her ADHD traits make her a particularly dogged researcher, and she turned up tons of stuff here that doesn’t usually get mentioned, including a key collaborator on the film, Marlene Moeschke, who has tended to be written out of the history of this classic film.

2019-08-15 17.52.50

The Sunday Intertitle: A Collaborative Medium

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2019 by dcairns

Rabbi Loewe is a collaborative medium, summoning the demon Astaroth in DER GOLEM.

Masters of Cinema is releasing Paul Wegener’s epic about a great man with feet of clay, and I’ve done a video essay with Fiona for it, our first real collaboration of this kind. She read the narration of my DIARY OF A LOST GIRL piece but this time she’s co-writer and we read the VO in turn. Her researches turned up a crucial, forgotten female collaborator on the film.

Incidentally, the film is restored from the long-lost negative, and looks much, MUCH better than the YouTubey frame-grabs I’ve been forced to use here.

The movie is also going to be playing UK cinemas around Halloween, so don’t be surprised if it gets another Sunday Intertitle during Project Fear, our Euro-horror blogathon. The Blu-ray streets on November 18.

This was actually my second collaboration of this kind: Masters of Cinema are also releasing King Hu’s taut and exciting THE FATE OF LEE KHAN, and I co-wrote a video essay with the sublime Anne Billson for that one. Released on October 21st and available for pre-order.

Just a week later, on October 28th, FOX AT FULLER hits the shops, again with a video essay by me. This time I got Samantha Fuller to read her father’s words, which she does magnificently, so I seem to be sharing VO duties a lot recently. I’m reminded of the late Leonard Cohen’s observation on the effect of a female backing singer accompanying his voice: “Some dismal quality is neutralised.”

Jon Robertson produced all three discs, Stephen Horne video edited the essays on THE GOLEM and THE FATE OF LEE KHAN, and Timo Langer edited FULLER AT FOX.