Archive for Sight and Sound

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.


I haven’t seen anything.

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2016 by dcairns


What do you expect? I’ve been filming all week. But now we’ve wrapped and I plan to catch up with THE REVENANT and HATEFUL EIGHT and some nicer older movies.

Above is a frosty image from Lev Kuleshov’s 1926 icecapade PO ZAKONU, because it reminds me of the hardships we faced out on a freezing hill.

Meanwhile, Sight & Sound have published their lists of best DVDs of the year —

Regular Shadowplayer Anne Billson and Trevor Johnstone both list DRAGON INN, to which I contributed a video essay.

Philip Concannon and Sam Wigley go for A NEW LEAF, which has another vid essay by me.

Sam Dunn and Neil Sinyard include SECONDS, which has a text piece I wrote.

David Thompson cites DIARY OF A LOST GIRL — another video essay, written by me and narrated by Fiona.

Michael Brooke and Philip Kemp each include WOODEN CROSSES, again from Masters of Cinema, produced by Bernard Natan.

Most exciting of all, Pamela Hutchinson of The Guardian and Silent London lists NATAN itself, the documentary I made with Paul Duane and which is available from

It’s official — I have been working too hard.



Print the legend

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on October 12, 2012 by dcairns

I make my Sight & Sound debut in the November issue, on sale NOW —

A whole page of ME, on Giuliano (GRAND SLAM) Montaldo’s CLOSED CIRCUIT, a film I discovered while digging up rare gialli for The Daily Notebook. Thrilling and mildly lucrative as it is to be in S&S, it’s a slight regret that I can’t, thus far, embed video in it. They’ve tried, but couldn’t get it to work. Something to do with the pixels interfering with the weft. So here’s a clip to serve as an accompaniment to the piece, and hopefully encourage you all to rush out and buy it.

I could and probably should tell you all about the film to make sense of this climactic moment, but I’m intrigued what will happen if you watch it cold, especially if you don’t speak Italian. Once you get the article it’ll all make (kind of) sense —

Circuito Chiuso from David Cairns on Vimeo.

I’ll just say that it’s sort of like THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO as a giallo.

In other news, two limericks on the pressing subject of monster brains — One and Two — in collaboration with the gray matter of rhyme-wrangler Hilary Barta.