Archive for Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman

Vlad to meet you, hope you guessed my name

Posted in Fashion, FILM, Mythology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2018 by dcairns

Good morning, I’m Francis Ford Coppola and I’m speaking to you from the Bohemian community of North Beach, and I’m going to talk to you a little bit today about my connection to Dracula.

Not really, of course! I’m not Francis Ford Coppola, I’m not actually speaking to you from North Beach (never been, no idea how Bohemian it is), and I have no actual connection to Dracula. But I was thrilled to see that the DVD of Francis Ford Coppola’s BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA has a feature on the menu labeled Watch BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA With Francis Coppola. Nothing could thrill me more that to watch this beautiful, silly film, in the company of its director, though I suppose I’m slightly afraid that he’ll call me a whore to help my motivation, as he did to Winona Ryder. But I can take it!

How is this visionary illusion created? First, by an apparition of the Great Man in a violently pink shirt, appearing before us as if from the tomb. He talks at you from the screen, as if he can really see you. He knows it’s morning!

At 1:19 we get Uncle Francis’s first factual error when he says that John Carradine plays Dracula in FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN. But kudos for being bold enough to admit that Carradine was his favourite screen Dracula. That’s just insane. But already BSD is making more sense to me.

So join with me on this adventure, I will tell you some of my thoughts concerning why I made it in the way I did

How I Did It by Victor Frankenstein

and hopefully share those experiences with you.

Then he goes away and the film plays, but his disembodied voice continues to eerily comment on the action, as if he were sitting beside you in the darkened auditorium, ruining his own movie. Oh no, if he calls me a whore in this setting I’m not sure I could handle it. I confess, I mainly wanted to join Uncle Francis on this adventure to see how long it would take him to say something funny, and he already has before the commentary even started.

Did you know that in the original Columbia Pictures logo it was Irene Dunne that was photographed standing there holding the torch?

WOW! Literally the first line, spoken over the logo, is a factual error! Though it’s nice to get an Irene Dunne reference into a Dracula film. THE AWFUL TOOTH? And I guess an Evelyn Venables reference wouldn’t have the same cachet.

Uncle Francis launches into a history lesson at this point. I don’t know as much as he does about this time and place — the backstory of Vlad Tepes — but I’m going to assume he’s making one Irene Dunne-type mistake every eight seconds, if that’s OK with you.

I love the imagery in this sequence, though it’s slightly uneven — maybe TOO MUCH BEAUTY? But hats off to the shadow puppetry. Bold. Taps foot waiting for Uncle F. to say something I can fact-check.

This prologue was pretty much created after the fact by my son Roman

Okay, that’s nice to know. Hats off to Roman and filmmaker/VFX artist/titles guy Gary Gutierrez.

Sudden sound change and Uncle Francie launches into a sentence that sounds like a continuation of a missing thought —

So when the young actress Winona Ryder

Glad he’s explaining who she is.

came to see me and the purpose of our discussion was really about the fact of how she had dropped out of working on GODFATHER III, you know

I think Winona may have had an ulterior motive in arranging that meeting.

Winona was supposed to play the young daughter of the GODFATHER III story and when she came she didn’t feel well and she basically withdrew from the film leaving me in a tough spot for GODFATHER III.

But I’m not bitter. I’m definitely not going to call her a whore.

Much later we talked about it and I didn’t want to have a grudge against a young person so I tried to be nice to her and say “Yes I understand what happened,”

I’m a bad person for finding all this funny. I in no sense foresee this relationship turning sour owing to Francis’s subconscious rage at the young whore actor Winona Ryder.

and she said, “Well, good, because I have this script of DRACULA, would you consider doing it?” and of course that was a magic word to me

Maybe the trouble with this sequence — and the film as a whole (or one of them) — is that it’s full of beautiful shots that don’t necessarily cut together, and these shots are quite extreme — they all feel like CLIMAXES — and they break into much more conventional coverage and create an odd, stop-start effect, rather like me with the pause button transcribing Uncle Francis Ford Coppola’s words of wisdom.

I agreed to do it, it was really sort of putting my life back together after some of the big financial setbacks that I had had, which was what led me to make the third GODFATHER and the DRACULA picture and kind of stabilise my life at that time when it had been pretty rocky.

This works particularly well as a commentary while a visibly inebriated Gary Oldman is pledging his soul to the Devil and drinking from a golden goblet of stigmata-juice. I’m running out of hats to take off but this astonishing frankness deserves a fresh head-baring.

Still on the prologue and costume designer/genius Eiko Ishioka gets a mention. After the young actress Winona Ryder and son Roman, but still, prominently up there, which is good. Now it’s late, and I have an edit tomorrow, so I’m going to have to say

TO BE CONTINUED

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The ’68 Comeback Special

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2013 by dcairns

petu

Well, I said I’d eventually come up with something interesting to do on those alternating weeks when The Forgotten isn’t running…

Dave “Scout” Tafoya recently staged the Totally Illegal Film Festival, in which he brought together the movies programmed at the abortive 1968 Cannes Film Festival — all excepting two, which appear to be lost for the time being. Even Menahem Golan doesn’t know where to find a copy of his entry, TUVIA VESHEVA BENOTAV (DST looked him up and asked him), and Michel Cournot’s only film, LES GAULOISES BLEUES, seems likewise vanished in the mists of time. If anyone out there can locate a copy, we’d be very grateful (and so might Mr. Golan).

I helped Scout scout out copies of some of the remaining films, and we live in hope that the project will be taken up by someone with the resources to really do it on a grand scale — possibly the Cannes Film Festival. Apparently they were making noises about this back at their fiftieth anniversary, and in a few years it’ll be the fiftieth anniversary of Cannes ’68, which would seem a good time to do it…

Since then, Scout has created a series of Cannes video essays, revisiting the ’68 debacle in this one.

And now, Scout and I are coming together to present a series of posts, each Thursday, authored by each of us in turn (with The Forgotten appearing on the Thursday’s when I don’t post — I’ll link to that as usual and to Scout’s posts at the same time). We’re going to blog about all the films that were supposed to screen that fateful year, starting this week…

fmeets

Meanwhile, over at LimerWrecks the Surly Hack and I continue to work our way through Universal’s Frankenstein saga in doggerel form. Latest efforts authored or co-authored by me are here, here, here, herehere, here, here, here, and here. And we’ve still only reached FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN.

As usual, ace editing and imagery by horror host Hilary Barta.

The Daily Notebook and the Annual Film Festival

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2013 by dcairns

charleybowershead

Edinburgh International Film Festival has commenced!

But first, The Forgotten, and a silent clown / special effects genius awaits your discovery (with video) over at The Daily Notebook.

Screening today in Edinburgh, I AM BREATHING, the emotionally devastating — but ultimately life-affirming and often funny — documentary by my friends Morag McKinnon and Emma Davie (6pm, Filmhouse 1). It deals with the slow death of an exact contemporary of mine from Edinburgh College of Art, Neil Platt, who was diagnosed with motor neuron disease. He wrote an amazing blog about his approach to the end, and left this filmic record of his existence partly as a way for his infant son to eventually know him.

Also showing (8.55, Cineworld) another friend’s film, DUMMY JIM by Matt Hulse, which I haven’t yet seen but I’m sure going to. I trust the sensibility. Hope to see some of you there!

What else? Oh yes — limericks of FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN, here and (co-authored) here. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the site!