Archive for The Big Combo

The Big Box Set

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2017 by dcairns

Thrilled to be a part — or several parts — of Arrow Academy’s Four Film Noir Classics box set. I have provided video essays on Fritz Lang for SECRET BEYOND THE DOOR (House of Lang), and Joseph H Lewis for THE BIG COMBO (Wagonwheel Joe), both in collaboration with editor Timo Langer. Those were huge fun and should serve as helpful intros to the filmmakers work while hopefully providing interest and entertainment even to those who are very familiar with their oeuvres. For the hardback booklet (can a hardback be a booklet?) I wrote a piece on Robert Siodmak and THE DARK MIRROR, which puts me alongside pieces by Tony Rayns, Michael Brooke and Andrew Spicer, which is pretty good company to be in. I feel like a fraud!

This means the only film in the set I didn’t get to talk about is Abraham Polonsky’s FORCE OF EVIL. Awww, why not? I love that film!

Momo the crazy Tonkinese did nose this set onto the floor, but the incident wasn’t captured on camera. You’ll have to take his continuing enthusiasm for my work on faith.

The set is available now ~ here.


Film Directors with Everything Off: La Bruce

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2013 by dcairns


Bruce Robinson goes porno in KLEINHOFF HOTEL.

“I’ve never seen it. It was basically high-class pornography. A Baader Meinhoff terrorist on the run — me — checks into a hotel to kill himself. Meanwhile, for whatever reason, this beautiful French woman in the next room is watching this man through a crack in the adjoining door, and she decides that she wants to fuck him. [Italian accent] ‘Try and get an erection, Bruce.’ I’m like, ‘Fuck off! Get an erection, with fifty people standing here?’ One lunchtime one of the prop men comes up to me with a box that looks like it contains duelling pistols, and there are all these fake dicks in there and he wants me to strap one on. I thought, ‘Christ almighty! I’ve been to drama school! No!’ It was a very rude film. Lots of ridiculous sex scenes that were the most unusual things I’ve ever done.”

From Smoking in Bed, Conversations with Bruce Robinson, edited by Alistair Owen.


Yeah, the film really isn’t very good. Robinson already had his writing career up and running, though, so this was virtually his swan song to acting.

On to nobler things, such as Universal horror limericks! We’ve been chronicling the adventures of the SON OF FRANKENSTEIN in rhyming form over at Limerwrecks, and my contributions are here and here , while I sing the praises of Joseph H Lewis’s THE BIG COMBO here , here, and especially right here (continuing the oral theme from above).


Posted in FILM, Painting with tags , , , , , on January 21, 2013 by dcairns


Firstly, here’s a LAURA limerick. While you’re over there, check out limericking king Hilary Barta’s rhymes, many of which sport titles by myself. And here’s my latest, on that naughty scene in THE BIG COMBO.

Secondly, as some of you have already discovered, I’m contributing an essay (a MASSIVE essay) to the forthcoming Criterion box-set of Pierre Etaix movies (for pronunciation clue, see title of this blog post). The set also features cover art by the man himself, an accomplished graphic artist (he designed Tati’s silhouette as used in Hulot publicity material from MON ONCLE on) — as my editor at Criterion points out, it’s a very sweet image: the clown is presenting his films to the world.

Rather than seeing Etaix as a sort of satellite of Tati, I see him as the missing link between Jerry Lewis (a friend and collaborator) and Woody Allen (and admirer). The set is available for pre-order and is HIGHLY recommended. Unseen in decades, the films reach out to greet you like old friends.

My previous Etaix piece.

On Blu-ray: Pierre Etaix (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

On DVD: Pierre Etaix (Criterion Collection)