Archive for Sight and Sound

The Situ

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2019 by dcairns

In bed to save on heating because it’s COLD. Momo will probably snuggle up later when he’s finished shouting. Fiona’s going out to meet a friend.

I’m going to listen to the rest of the Jovanovich testimony which is HOT STUFF. If you’re not following this, you should be — exciting viewing. It occurs to me that the Republican pols, those not entirely dead to all moral feeling, are in HELL and have been all through this presidency, having to make excuses for this guy who represents the opposite of the “values” they claim to espouse. Good. Their troubles may be about to end, just not in the way they would choose. But I make no predictions. I live by the tenet, “Things can always get worse.”

Still, life in the Shadowplayhouse is fairly pleasant, we went to see the film billed as THE IRISHMAN which, when you get in to see it, turns out to be called I HEARD YOU PAINT HOUSES. First switcheroo of that sort I’ve seen since Polanski’s THE GHOST (according to UK posters) had a fancy end creds sequence in which it announced its title as THE GHOST WRITER.

And I picked up this month’s Sight & Sound, which asides from boasting articles from pals Hannah McGill and Pamela Hutchinson, features two favourable mentions of yours truly on the same page: my video essay for THE BELLS OF ST MARY’S is, apparently, “highly engaging” and part of a “divine set of extras” while the one I did with Anne Billson for THE FATE OF LEE KHAN is “effervescently enthusiastic”. Stephen C. Horne edited both pieces.

I’ll say some nice things about the Scorsese next week. It is not to be missed.

A Stahl is Born

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on December 23, 2018 by dcairns

“Retrospective screenings at Bologna and Pordenone have done much to build enthusiasm for Stahl’s work, which this book is intended to build on. It’s a towering piece of research, uncovering as much as can be known about the filmmaker’s somewhat mysterious life: Stahl left no archive, and his early life is a virtual blank, though with exciting rumours of criminal activity. If the biography is unavoidably skeletal, the filmography emerges fully fleshed-out at last: for the first time, Stahl’s silent films, those that survive, have all been screened and reviewed with intrepid reporters Pamela Hutchinson, Lea Jacobs and Imogen Sara Smith covering archival holdings , and co-editor Bruce Babington assembling as full a portrait as is possible of the many lost films.”

That’s me, writing in the new Sight & Sound, about The Call of the Heart, a marvelous new book about the cinema of John M. Stahl (buy it here). My first book review, really. I like book reviewing, I think. I not only get a free book, I get an incentive to read it, instead of merely adding it to the teetering pile disfiguring the accommodation with its crooked shadow.

Anyway, the book is a must for Stahlgazers, and features writing by a number of hands previously admired in this organ. Hopefully it will raise the underrated auteur’s profile and hopefully we’ll get more opportunities to see his films screened.

Good Humor

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on July 15, 2017 by dcairns

I have an article in the new Sight & Sound — for the Primal Screen column on silent film, I’ve contributed a piece on the Marx Bros’ only silent, the long-lost HUMOR RISK. Since the film doesn’t exist and nobody alive has seen it, I was forced to use my imagination…

The piece came out of a conversation with Pamela Hutchinson of Silent London at the Boone’s Hippodrome Silent Film Festival, and from my Marxian researches for my twin video essays which can be seen on the Arrow Academy release of THE 4 MARX BROS AT PARAMOUNT.