Archive for The Late Show: The Late Films Blogathon


Posted in FILM, Politics with tags , , , , , , , on December 6, 2018 by dcairns

The Late Show expands over to The Notebook with a new edition of The Forgotten, in order to consider Bernard “Mad” Vorhaus’s SO YOUNG, SO BAD, the quote quickie king’s penultimate film, his last US one before the blacklist slammed the door in his face. Girls in prison! Tracking shots into empty rooms! Careful with that fire hose! Here.

Stars Victor and Muriel Laszlo, Altaira Morbius and Googie Gomez.

Plus, we have new entries! Friend and collaborator Scout Tafoya weighs in on THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND at Apocalypse Now, with an individual approach I just loved, swerving midstream to also encompass Bud Boetticher’s last western.

And another friend, Jaime N. Christley, takes a radically different approach to the same/a similar subject at his Filmsaurus, here. Both are must-reads, I promise you. Tears in my eyes.

And we have another MUMMY limerick, because you can never have too many MUMMY limericks (apparently).

Tomorrow: more links (I hope) and a new edition of The Shadowcast!



Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2018 by dcairns

An actual blog entry for the blogathon — Peter Nellhaus looks at a Shadowplay favourite over at the always stimulating Coffee, Coffee and More Coffee — H.G. Clouzot’s perverse and haunting last feature, LA PRISONNIERE.

In addition to that welcome news, we’re happy to bring you an older post by Mimic Hootings, commemorating AN INNOCENT WITCH, the last a late film of Gosho Heinosuke, here. It fits right in, so who cares if it’s five years old? Sink into an atmospheric bit of film writing!

And finally (for now), here’s the first contribution from Limerwrecks, celebrating in song the demise of the Universal MUMMY series with THE MUMMY’S CURSE. And again here and here and here Finally, he rests! Or does he?

The Frozen Moment

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2018 by dcairns

I was looking at THE DEVIL’S OWN, the remarkably non-excellent late Alan Pakula thriller, which has a very impressively staged, if overblown and morally indefensible, street battle at the start. Amid all the mayhem, Pakula (and editors Tom Rolf & Dennis Virkler) freeze the action with a quick, beautifully-composed shot of a corpse. It fractures the all-movement flow of the edit and injects an icy feeling that partially redeems the scene from its gung-ho pyrotechnics.

It also rang a bell with me, and I found myself trying to figure out whether Pakula had pinched the idea from some other film I’ve seen.

The first thing that came to mind was this shot from John Milius’s DILLINGER ~

It has a similar look, but it appears at the end of the scene so it has a different, less disruptive effect. I had an instinctive suspicion that there was a common source both Milius and Pakula were swiping from, and I knew that I KNEW that source, if I could but remember it.

I started wondering if, given Milius’s tastes, the answer might be Kurosawa. I remembered these shots, in RAN (another late-ish film, and one ABOUT lateness, old age) ~

Kurosawa intersperses the apocalyptic battle that occurs midway in this film with static snapshots of the slain, their busy, living former comrades hurrying past them in foreground or background. He takes you out of the desperate action and briefly drops you into a more contemplative, restful space. Called death.

But RAN was made some time *after* DILLINGER, so couldn’t be the influence. THE SEVEN SAMURAI seemed a possibility, reminding me that it’s been far too long since I watched it. But I couldn’t actually remember such a shot used in such a way, so that couldn’t be the specific thing I was remembering.

Then I did a class on Orson Welles for my 1st year students, and there it was, in CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT ~POSITIVELY the shot I was trying to remember, coming as a sudden, shockingly still interruption of the hand-held chaos of the celebrated and influential Battle of Shrewsbury sequence. By coincidence, the appearance of THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND reminds us that Milius and Welles apparently knew each other at least well enough for the latter to parody the former as a character in his movie-world movie. And I can well imagine Milius and Pakula admiring CHIMES enough to borrow an effect without particularly paying attention to what the effect was FOR.

Welles actually pulls this trick twice. Each time, the shot contains furiously racing characters but our eye goes to the face of the fallen man, and the camera’s stillness puts us in sympathy with him, not those running about madly behind him.

But it’s still possible that this touch is to be found in earlier battles by Kurosawa OR — a distinct possibility, this — Eisenstein. If anybody knows for sure, point me in the right direction.