Archive for Noel Black

Blue Donald, Green Donald

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on August 12, 2017 by dcairns

Donald Sutherland being blue in INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (Philip Kaufman, great).

Donald Sutherland being green in A MAN, A WOMAN AND A BANK (Noel Black, blah).

It isn’t easy, being green.

Why does Donald Sutherland change colour? Is it the proximity of Brooke Adams in both films?

And what happened to Brooke Adams? I look her up and find she’s working steadily, and not in trashy stuff either, which is nice, but odd, since I haven’t seen her in a film since 1985.

I love Kaufman’s BODY SNATCHERS. I wrote an essay with a mini-Kaufman interview for the Arrow Blu-ray. There’s something really sweet about how Donald’s carrying a torch for Brooke in the early scenes. And their relationship is the best thing in AMAWAAB, a strangely aimless caper movie disfigured by a cheesy score. But it also has Paul Mazursky with his ovine appearance concealing a lot of neurotic jitter — a wuss in sheep’s clothing.

That expression doesn’t make sense, by the way: sheep don’t have clothing.

“I had hoped to be appointed to the first Venus rocket.”

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2008 by dcairns

“I once foolishly performed an abortion on a peach tree.”

Boy, PRETTY POISON, that’s some film. You should definitely rush out and get ahold of a copy, definitely. If anybody gets in your way, BRUSH THEM ASIDE LIKE INSECTS.

Well, it shouldn’t be necessary to go that far, it’s just my gentle way of suggesting you should bump it to the top of your rental lists, that’s all. Good to see it without knowing TOO much about it, so you’ll just have to trust me. I think I can tell you that –

1) Anthony Perkins is released into the community after a long time in an institution. But this is not Richard Franklin’s PSYCHO II.

2) He begins a relationship with high-school girl Tuesday Weld. But this is certainly not LORD LOVE A DUCK.

3) Said relationship gets… complicated. But this is not ANYTHING ELSE.

Dan Sallitt has more to say HERE. It’s spoilerific but seriously worth reading once you’ve seen the film. Or you can do as I did: read the post, forget most of the plot points over the course of a year, then see the film and have it be a lovely surprise. But that’s kind of time-consuming.

Noel Black, far from prolific but clearly rather interesting, directs. The years after the decline of the studio system and before the “new Hollywood” seem peppered with misshapen gems like this. Lorenzo Semple scripts, and it shows another side to him from the campy Batman show and FLASH GORDON script. I love both those things, but the slide from quirky screwball to noir here prefigures Jonathan Demme’s SOMETHING WILD (my fave Demme?) and is probably more deep, dark and interesting. Anyway, Demme’s is the only other film I can think of that achieves this exact genre-shift (although Nicholas Ray’s IN A LONELY PLACE actually kind of touches on comedy to begin with before heading for the shocking dark) and they’d certainly go great together.

Like Tony Perkins and Tuesday Weld! They have chemistry! Fiona observed this, and I agree: they’re very different players in every respect, but both good and seemingly instinctive and they pay keen attention to each other. Their reactions to each other are so genuine we have to believe they’re into each other.

Fiona rated Tony’s pick-up line as the best ever. Accosting Tues in a phone booth: “Don’t say a word act perfectly natural we’re under surveillance. Rendezvous tonight bring this object. Spring Street movie house eight p.m. seventh row balcony left side aisle got that? Make your phone call don’t look after me.” And with that he is off.

“You WOULD go,” asserted Fiona.