Archive for Peter Falk

The Easter Fools’ Day Intertitle: Lon Chaney Big

Posted in FILM, MUSIC, Mythology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2018 by dcairns

Yeah, sometimes the calendar makes the satirist’s job too easy.

Fiona has announced that we need to see READY PLAYER ONE today — something about it being a kids’ film with geeky references for the over-forties (or over-fifties in our case) — so it looks like we’re doing that. Sadly we missed THE POST which was the proper grown-up Spielberg film for this year — we did manage to make it to Filmhouse for a screening but sadly five hundred other grown-ups had the same idea first. So I feel we may be seeing THE WRONG FILM. I also want to see ISLE OF DOGS but, to quote Peter Falk, “You’re sick, I’ll YUMA ya.”

Our intertitle is from my favourite film of all time — it’s THE BEST FILM THERE IS, folks — HE WHO GETS SLAPPED — because the date seems to demand a martyred clown picture. And Lon Chaney was recently enjoyed in Bo’ness. He’s quite something on the big screen. I still dream of Jane Gardner getting to score this one. That would be REALLY something.

A friend, who was experiencing Chaney for the first time in THE PENALTY, thought he had a Jack Nicholson quality. He certainly does the lowered-chin malevolent glower, known as the Crazy Kubrick Stare, to perfection. It’s like the Lauren Bacall Look, but with added menace. Though I doubt Chaney, like Bacall, was doing it to steady himself against a nervous tremor. And Kubrick is known to have used the line, when directing Vincent Donofrio in FULL METAL JACKET, “Make it big. Lon Chaney big.”



Burl, Interrupted

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on January 7, 2011 by dcairns

Couldn’t resist.

Burl Ives at the end of Nick Ray’s WIND ACROSS THE EVERGLADES. I remember trawling through Gypsy Rose Lee’s biography, Gypsy and Me, (written by her son by Otto Preminger) in search of movie anecdotes, and the account of WATE was very entertaining. According to the book, after completing the first shot of the first day’s filming, Ray called for champagne, and the set turned into a party. “Gypsy” didn’t approve of drinking at work, so she went in search of the producer (Budd Schulberg). She found him at the bar. There was no point complaining, so she went to her dressing room and lay down and waited to be called. No call came. No more shooting was done that day.

As the shoot went on, the Everglades took their toll — crewmembers were hospitalized with snakebites, fungus grew inside the film magazines, and Ray’s drinking became more of a problem. Reputedly, the film’s ending, from which the above image comes, was shot by “whoever was around” — Schulberg certainly did some of it.

In spite of all this, I find the film pretty enjoyable and interesting. Ray probably did not have it in him to make an uninteresting film, and Ives and his cronies (including Peter Falk and a variety of other gurning plug-uglies) successfully turn it from an eco-parable into a pirate movie.

Now That’s Weird…

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , on August 29, 2008 by dcairns

I write a birthday piece for Ben Gazzara. In it, I reference the work of science fiction author Ursula K. LeGuin. I suspect I’m the only person in history ever to do this, but there you go. The piece sparks a warm exchange of memories about Gazzara and other members of the John Cassavetes informal repertory company.

Today, one day later, I wander into a second-hand bookshop and find, without looking for it, a LeGuin paperback, City of Illusions.

The main character of this novel is called Falk.



“There’s just one thing that still kinda bothers me…”