Archive for Jean Negulesco

Eventful Horizon

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2021 by dcairns

Nova Scotia! Where they build so close to the horizon line they have to put fences along it to stop people falling off.

The clifftop settings of Jean Negulesco’s JOHNNY BELINDA are so striking — this is a mysterious director, alternating between visually striking films like this, and sometimes wildly experimental ones like his episode of O. HENRY’S FULL HOUSE — and really boring stuff like pretty much all his Cinemascopic output (BOY ON A DOLPHIN is supported only by Sophia Loren’s gravity-defying breasts). He was a skilled channeler of the Warner Bros house style — this is my favourite of those I’ve seen. Anyone have any recommendations?

JB was also of interest because of the presence amid the writers of Irma Von Cube, who, apart from her wonderful name was a collaborator of Anatole Litvak’s during his early career in Europe. Her credits are sporadic but I should check out her Schumann biopic, SONG OF LOVE, directed by Clarence Brown.

It’s the story of a deaf girl who grows upon a poor farm, unable to communicate, then a new doctor teaches her sign language. But it throws in rape and murder, with typical Warners excess.

Jane Wyman is fantastic in this. Jan Sterling, a one-of-a-kind, is great too. Lew Ayres is as lovely a character as 1948 movies could conceive, though perhaps a little mansplainy for modern tastes, puffing the pipe of self-satisfaction. But it’s a much better variation on that kind of figure than THE DARK MIRROR, say, where his pipe-puffing comes with an overlay of smug misogyny.

I associate Negulesco’s triumph here with his skills as a graphic artist: the low horizons are a great gift to him. Credit also to cinematographer Ted McCord (TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE) and production designer Robert Haas (THE MALTESE FALCON).

Maiden Voyage

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on April 1, 2020 by dcairns

Vol. II of The Shadowcast begins with a voyage on the unsinkable Titanic. There will be shuffleboard, and dancing in steerage.

Dress warm.

Here.

 

Swapping Deckchairs

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2020 by dcairns

Nice of Brian Aherne, in the Jean Negulesco TITANIC, to proudly display the name of his favourite Bob Fosse film.

Though I would have put him down as more of a LENNY man.

Working on a new Shadowcast, or at least talking about doing so… I realise if we’re going to make this podcast thing a success we’ll have to make some actual podcasts… thinking of theming it around movies about the Titanic. There are quite a few. We’ll just talk about the ones we’re interested in. Probably these:

ATLANTIC. EA Dupont, Britain, 1929. Stars Thomas Cromwell; Princess Flavia; Sir Henry Baskerville; Harry Blump, the Window Washer; Needle Nugent; Detective Frank Webber; Gen. Mercier; Emily Hill; Duke of Orleans; and One-Round

The Nazi TITANIC. Gervert Selpin, Germany, 1943. Stars Léone; Chef von Scotland Yard; Elephant Keeper Kellerman; Inspector Groeber; and Inspector Karl Lohmann.

TITANIC. Jean Negulesco, USA, 1953 which stars Waldo Lydecker; Martha Ivers; Jonathan Hart; Louise Kendall; Moe Williams; Maximilian I of Mexico; Ishmael; Cousin Albert Van Cleve; Lord Alfred Douglas; the Dear One; Herod the Great; and the voice of Klaatu.

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER. Roy Ward Baker, Britain, 1958, Which stars Douglas Bader; Cmdr. Fortune; John Quincy Adams; Pussy Galore; Hylas the Glaswegian argonaut; Don Jarvis; Ieuan Jenkins; David Copperfield; Illya Kuryakin; Chief Inspector Tim Oxford: Argos the Surrey Argonaut; Peter Coffin; Dickie Winslow; Catweazle; Lenin; Prof. Bernard Quatermass; Takyan; Det. Chief Supt. Charles Barlow; Q; Prince Otto; Sandy Youth; Norm; Tumak; Vivian Darkbloom; the Duke of Wuertemberg; Captain Winston Havelock; and Boba Fett.

And I guess we won’t be able to entirely avoid James Cameron’s TITANIC (USA, 1998) which stars Rick Dalton; Young Iris Murdoch; The Phantom; Annie Wilkes; Strawberry Alice; Margaret Waverton; Private Hudson; King Theoden; Henry Niles; Herbert Arthur Runcible Cadbury; Reed Richards; Jeremy Secker; Pontius Pilate; and Captain Winston Havelock again.

Why, it’s Captain Smith! The real one, seemingly. The little white blotch to the right of his head seems to be where somebody’s scratched out the name of another ship, for what reason I’m uncertain. All through this documentary short, frequently mislabeled as SAVED FROM THE TITANIC, the names of ships are erased.

The real SAVED FROM THE TITANIC is, I believe, lost. It was the first Titanic drama, released in 1912 to cash in quick, and it starred a real survivor of the disaster, Dorothy Gibson.

Well, you can’t really blame her for trying to salvage something from the experience.