Archive for Masters of Cinema

Joseph Keaton Jnr. and Friedrich Wilhelm Plumpe

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on November 16, 2016 by dcairns

dsc_0106

Recently received.

I made video essays for both of these fine collections from Masters of Cinema. With Timo Langer as editor I created THAT’S SOME BUSTER!, riffing on ideas from Walter Kerr’s magisterial The Silent Clowns. Stephen Horne edited WHAT WILL YOU BE TOMORROW?, which is mainly about THE LAST LAUGH but draws on the vast panoply of Murnau movies available from MOC.

The Murnau collection is essential if you’ve seen some of the major classics but are less familiar with TARTUFFE, SCHLOSS VOGELOD etc. The Keaton set is a real upgrade, incorporating newly discovered alternative versions of THE BLACKSMITH and MY WIFE’S RELATIONS. Both sets come with booklets that are both lavish and scholarly.

dsc_0109

Both are available to buy now: if you use the following links, I will get thruppence!

Early Murnau – Five Films (Schloß Vogelöd, Phantom, Der Letzte Mann, The Grand Duke’s Finances, Tartuffe) (Masters of Cinema) (Blu-ray)

The Complete BUSTER KEATON Short Films 1917-1923 (Masters of Cinema) (Blu-ray)

More Christmas shopping opportunities from Shadowplay shortly.

Non-Fiction Film Thing

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on April 30, 2016 by dcairns

DSC_0338

Masters of Cinema’s stunning new Dziga Vertov set, photographed on the rich brown leather background of my couch. If you rush out and buy this, you get not only MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA, but all of Vertov’s other major works, providing not only valuable context, but a bunch of brilliant films some of which it might even be possible to prefer to the more celebrated title.

You also get a video essay written and sort-of-directed by me (Vertov deserves credit for all the shooting!) and edited by Timo Langer, entitled NON-FICTION FILM THING (Vertov’s subtitle description for his KINO EYE newsreel/essay works).

I urge you to acquire!

Property is theft: it makes you feel clever.

Use the link below when purchasing in order to benefit Shadowplay by a few sticky pennies:

Man with a Movie Camera (and other works by Dziga Vertov) (1929) [Masters of Cinema] Limited Edition 4-Disc Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD)

Side by Side

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on November 13, 2015 by dcairns

JeanDarling

Some people have died, and even though I don’t do obituaries here, really, I should mark their passing. Jean Darling, star of OUR GANG comedies, whom I sat next to at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival, in a seat I sort of scammed my way into through a kind of willful obtusity, passed away in September, aged ninety-three.

“Comedy is tragedy.”

And now Mike Sutton has died, much too young. I got to know Mike properly when he contacted me on Facebook, worried that we had both been commissioned to write essays for Masters of Cinema’s Blu-ray of John Frankenheimer’s SECONDS, and hadn’t known about each other so hadn’t conferred. I told him my piece was mainly about Frankenheimer and he was relieved because his piece was mainly about the book-to-film adaptation.

DSC_0238[1]

Now I hold the disc, and booklet, in my hands, and though there are a couple of overlaps — neither one of us could resist talking about how apposite Rock Hudson is in the role of a reinvented man, a human facade — I feel the essays compliment each other well. I’m pretty pleased with how mine came out. Mike’s is brilliant and heartbreaking. I’d known from his Facebook posts that he was battling oesophageal cancer, but didn’t realize the fight was this close to over. Knowing that, while you read his piece, which is full of sorrow and anger, like the film, like life, makes it all the more powerful.

“Seconds. Second lives, second chances, seconds ticking away in our hopelessly fragile, trivial little lives.”

vlcsnap-2015-11-12-20h45m31s58

That’s the first line. The last, describing Hudson staring out the window of an airliner, is ~

“Even before his new life collapses in on itself, one feels that he is already dying, looking at an empty sky, in the words of Philip Larkin, he is staring into “the deep blue air which shows nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.”