Archive for Masters of Cinema

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.

The Sunday Intertitle: The Life-Awakening Word

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on August 18, 2019 by dcairns

The answer: Eureka! Masters of Cinema can.

These Gothic script English-language intertitles will soon be replaced by the original German jobs when we get to see the 4K restoration from the film’s rediscovered negative. This will also give us better camera placement — it’s basically a different film from the the English-language edition that’s been available all these years. Two cameras recorded the action, one for the German release and one for foreign territories, with the German one naturally taking priority for the prime viewing position.

I’m curious as to whether we’ll now get to see any of the missing camera movement or special effects which co-director Carl Boese recalled in his interview with Lotte Eisner. I suspect a lot of that is just faulty memory, but maybe not?

The phase “Thessalonian sorceror” would make a pretty good shibboleth.

The Fox and the Lion

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on August 14, 2019 by dcairns

Dorothy McGuire does her impersonation of a mournful lion in THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN. Beautiful/absurd conjunction via Jean Negulesco.

I’m told David Thomson has called Fox’s 50s output “the antithesis of cinema”. This movie, despite Cinemascope, attractive locations, big stars and a director who could be positively experimental at times, might seem to bear him out. It’s lovely but dull. The above is the only exciting image I could glean from it.

But I’m about to start on a project which should conclusively blow his argument out of the water. A video essay for THIS —