Archive for Howard Hawks

Outfoxed

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on January 23, 2020 by dcairns

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For the second installment of Forgotten by Fox, I examine the tattered fragments of Howard Hawks’ THE CRADLE SNATCHERS, maybe his most Hawksian early work outside of A GIRL IN EVERY PORT.

There are three young guys in it: the wilting wallflower, the square joe, and the lecherous “sheik.” From the character name (Howard + bird) we may be able to guess with whom the director most closely identified.

Here you go.

Grail Enquiries

Posted in Fashion, FILM, literature, Mythology with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2019 by dcairns

My line on EXCALIBUR has long been that John Boorman decided, boldly but perhaps unwisely, to make an Arthurian epic as if MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL had never happened.

I came up with a new line today while showing clips to a student who’s embarking on a mythic fantasy short: it’s like Boorman maybe DID know there was such a thing as The Ridiculous, but bet that he could break on through it to the other side. But possibly there’s nothing on the other side of The Ridiculous except more Ridiculous, going on forever, getting ever more ridiculous.

Hopping through the film for frame-grabs though, my God it’s beautiful. Though the muddy bits are the most Pythonesque, and the glossy bits are kind of sixties-hippy-meets-disco, so it’s all silly all the time, maybe it plays better in episodes, or even moments, than as a whole.

Remember Hawks’ “I don’t know how a pharaoh talks”? Remember also that Fritz Lang was offered the chance to remake DIE NIBELUNGEN at the end of his career, and turned it down on the basis that the dialogue would be impossible. EXCALIBUR would make a great silent movie.

I had just watched Daniel Aronofsky’s NOAH, which has some nice fake time-lapses but otherwise was not entertainingly bad as I’d hoped, but kind of depressingly bad, and I’d also shown clips from Polanski’s MACBETH, and the thing all three films have in common is really mannered performances. EXCALIBUR looked particularly ropey, except for Nicol Williamson who has the benefit of a sly wit. You can’t not think of LORD OF THE RINGS (which Boorman had wanted to make), and my feeling is what makes that movie/series watchable in spite of all the excesses (which are its ARCHITECTURE), is it has lots of interesting actors who can step outside the clichés of the Epic Style. Peter Jackson has always liked big, ALL-CAPS, cartoony performances, but there are understatement specialists and eccentrics dotted all through LOTR and yet there’s also an acceptable house style that keeps things just unified enough.

But one can’t help but dream of what a Boorman LOTR would be like. Like a Jodorowsky DUNE or a Ken Russell CLOCKWORK ORANGE.

The Chicago Way

Posted in FILM, MUSIC, Politics, Television with tags , , , , , , on February 14, 2019 by dcairns

SCARFACE stars Louis Pasteur; Molly Louvain; Pendola Molloy; the Duc de Richlieu; Surat Khan; Spats Colombo; Fishbone; Hjalmar Poelzig; Count Mancini; Freedonia’s Secretary of War #1; with Kitty Packard, Montague L. ‘Monty’ Brewster, and Sandoni.

THE ST. VALENTINE’S DAY MASSACRE stars Cable Hogue; Quiller; Mike Hammer; Freeman Lowell; Dr. Eldon Tyrrel; 2nd Lt. Michael Shannon O’Rourke; Armand Duvalle; Seymour Krelborn; Walter Paisley; Jake Gittes; Sweet Sue; and the voice of Colossus.

THE UNTOUCHABLES stars Wyatt Earp; Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein; Robert ‘Duke’ Anderson; Farley Mowat; Terry Benedict; Ava Paige; and Sheriff J.W. Pepper.

The St. Valentine’s Day Podcast: