Archive for Steven McNicoll

Bande-Dassin

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2021 by dcairns

Our copies of TALES FROM THE URBAN JUNGLE, Arrow new Jules Dassin box set, just arrived.

It contains both BRUTE FORCE and THE NAKED CITY, plus a booklet with

Fiona and I contributed a video essay, edited by the estimable Stephen C. Horne, and I made my first audio commentary, assisted by brilliant actors Steven McNicoll and Francesca Dymond, who enact unused script extracts by Malvin Wald & Albert Maltz — also in the mix are movie trailers, documentary extracts, old-time radio, TV… a melange of audio to create a sense of the media world from which TNC emerged, and to mirror the film’s extraordinary soundtrack of narration and semi-diegetic vox populi… It was kind of a ridiculously complicated way to make a commentary track, and a ton of work, but I hope somebody enjoys it.

The set also includes a booklet with terrific new writing but also Richard Brooks’ simply WONDERFUL elegy for producer Mark Hellinger (this is really a shared Dassin-Hellinger set). Worth the price of admission alone.

https://amzn.to/2QStC6s

Laughter in the Dark

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2020 by dcairns

We received our copies of THE MAN WHO LAUGHS and BUSTER KEATON 3 FILMS (VOL 3) from Masters of Cinema.

Fiona and I wrote a video essay for the former, and I did the latter with an excellent assist from Miranda Gower-Qian. Stephen C. Horne edited both, brilliantly — since we were on full lockdown, this had to be done remotely but with a little back-and-forth of uploaded edits, this was managed smoothly.

MAN WHO was a particularly ambitious job — we enlisted actor friends Steven McNicoll and Fran Dymond to perform extracts from the Victor Hugo source novel and interviews with the principal filmmakers — Conrad Veidt, Mary Philbin, Olga Baclanova, Paul Leni…

Both pieces are around half an hour rather than the usual twenty minutes we’re generally paid for — ideally, we want to make video essays that are proper little films… it’s been a slow process of chiseling at the outlines of the video essay, expanding it outwards…

Buy them at the links below, support Shadowplay!

The Man Who Laughs (Masters of Cinema) Blu-ray [2020]
Buster Keaton: 3 Films (Volume 3) (Our Hospitality, Go West, College) (Masters of Cinema) Limited Edition Blu-ray Boxed Set [2020]

The Sunday Intertitle: Laugh and Smile

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , , on June 7, 2020 by dcairns

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Masters of Cinema have announced some upcoming releases I’m mixed up in.

Firstly, for Paul Leni’s THE MAN WHO LAUGHS, Fiona and I wrote and voiced a substantial video essay, The Face Deceives, edited by Stephen C. Horne. It being lockdown, we had to communicate with Stephen remotely, but he’s something of a genius and the results are… dazzling. We also got Steven McNicoll, who did voice work on my OLD DARK HOUSE piece, Meet The Femms, and Fran Dymond, to voice extracts from Victor Hugo’s source novel and interviews with the filmmakers, and the result possibly extends the video essay form a wee bit…

Secondly, the third volume in MoC’s Buster Keaton series is coming, so Stephen and I get to vid-essay OUR HOSPITALITY, GO WEST and COLLEGE in a piece called A Window on Keaton. And I invited the magnificent Miranda Gower-Qian along for an interview about Keaton’s work with his family, and the role of The Girl in his pictures.

Here’s a tiny but lovely preview ~

Incidentally, I have assembled all the discs I’ve worked on in a stack in the hall. I was hoping by now it would be as tall as I am (somewhere under six foot, I’m not sure) but it’s still straining towards shoulder-height. But then I got the idea of toting up the running times of all my video essays, in an approximate way, and it came to more than ten hours, longer than the first series of Lodge 49, a beautiful TV show you should check out. So that was heartening — maybe height of product is the wrong way to assess one’s accomplishments? I mean, where would F. Scott Fitzgerald be if he’d used that method? And where, in fact, is he?