Archive for Sight and Sound

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.

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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

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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 Amazon.fr.

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