Karel Zeman’s On The Comet

Written by Joe D on December 29th, 2019

Here is a condensed version of a film by the great Czech animator Karel Zeman. Joseph E. Levine bought the rights to Zeman’s Fabulous World Of Jules Verne in the early 60’s and released it in the US, exposing millions of American kids to it’s magic. See it in Mystimation! A roto-gravure effect where lines were added to images imitating illustrations from the 1800s. Hers’s the American trailer and a documentary on Zeman. Enjoy!

Putney Swope

Written by Joe D on September 18th, 2019

 

They restored Putney Swope and re-released it! It’s playing in several theaters in Los Angeles right now. I first saw it many years ago at a midnight show at the Park Theater in Caldwell, N.J. It blew my mind. Check it out if you can. I know and worked with the writer/Director Robert Downey Sr. He is a great guy, a prince. Funny and charismatic and an all around great human being. Meeting him made my career in films, I owe him a lot. So here is a trailer for Putney Swope, it was a big hit when it came out in 1969. Same time as Easy Rider.

Amazon Prime has a ton of Spaghetti Westerns

Written by Joe D on August 8th, 2019

 

If you want to catch up on your Spaghetti Western watching look no further than Amazon Prime. I guess they acquired the FilmRise catalog and have a whole slew of Italian Westerns from the 60’s. I’ve watched A Pistol For Ringo, The Return Of Ringo, Cemetary Without Crosses, Django Kill, and last night a crazy one with Lou Castel called Requiescant. But there are a ton on there. You can watch The Great Silence, The Grand Duel, Navajo Joe and many others. So saddle up companeros and tune into Westerns on Prime.

Godard! The image book

Written by Joe D on June 20th, 2019

Giuletta delgi Spiriti

Written by Joe D on May 4th, 2019

Here is a great behind the scenes view of maestro Federico Fellini directing Giuletta Delgi Spiriti, his first color film. Photographed by the amazing Gianni DeVenanzo, a true genius. The thing that gets me is how cheap everything looks in this footage, you see all the tricks that go into making a fim but when you watch the real movie, it all looks so amazinf=g! so beautiful, you can’t believe it’s the same thing. Watch this, then watch the movie and see for yourself the magic of movie making.

Here’s the final version of the scene.

 

Lynch Meetas Lucas

Written by Joe D on April 5th, 2019

 

Check out this great animation while you can

Funeral in Berlin

Written by Joe D on March 27th, 2019

The Spy Who Wore Glasses

Here’s the trailer for a Michael Caine movie: Funeral in Berlin. Follow up to The Ipcress File, Caine’s answer to 007. Featuring the great Oskar Homolka, star of Hitchcock’s Sabotage.

The Nicholas Brothers

Written by Joe D on February 9th, 2019

Check out this dance number from Stormy Weather by the incredible Nicholas Brothers.

ROMA!

Written by Joe D on December 22nd, 2018

Alphonse Cuaron’s Roma is the best film of the year, probably the best of the last 10 years, it’s a masterpiece. It’s also my favorite of all his films . An amazing accomplishment, he is one of the very few filmmakers that is advancing the evolution of Cinema. He has picked up the mantle of Orson Welles long takes and run with it. You are so absorbed in what’s happening on the screen you don’t notice that there hasn’t been a cut in a long time. No one since Welles has been as good at this, I think Welles came to it from Radio, rehearsing actors so the dialog was fast and furious without the need for editing to pace it, he got the actors to get the right timing then filmed it, sometimes with spaectacular camera moves , Ambersons, Opening of Touch Of Evil, but other times with barely any camera movement, I’m thinking of the scene in the Mexican boyfriend’s apartment, where Quinlan and Vargas have an argument with the suspect while Quinlan’s sidekick Pete finds the dynamite offscreen in the bathroom. An amazing scene no cuts, plays just like a Radio Play.

Cuaron does this kind of thing perfectly if not better! The scene in the delivery room what a tour de force and so emotionally powerful. The scene on the beach where the camera cranes like 50 feet in just above the waterline. Masterful.

There are so many great things in this film, Cuaron also picks up something from The Double Life Of Veronique, in that film the heroine is passing through a square in Prague or some Eastern Euro City, there is a student demonstration going on that breaks out into a riot, but it’s all in the background. Cuaron stages a student riot similarly and to great effect.

This is a period film and it’s done beautifully, one shot in particular blew me away as Cleo runs down a busy street chasing after her young charges, she crosses a big boulevard and the camera tracks with her, revealling a vista of period cars and people and city life that is astonishing! Another gem is when Cleo takes a bus ride to an amazing crazy barrio , the buildings are just tacked together from whatever as around, a guy is shot out of a cannon in the background, you have to see it for yourself. I just recently rewatched Ermano Olmi’s masterpiece The Tree Of Wooden Clogs, a great film about tenant farmers in Italy 100 years ago. All non actors in the cast yet it is great, moving, real.

Cuaron has done the same thing, made a compelling , supremely watchable film with basically an amateur cast. There are some great actors, the woman who plays the mom is terrific. But she just makes the others better.

 

Libo and Idrector Alfonso Cuarón

Finally I must say there is something Cuaron does that no one else can do. He makes films that seem shorter than their length! I don’t know what magic he posseses, but these films are over in the blink of an eye, and they’re over two hours long! I first noticed it with Gravity, but in Roma, it’s the same thing. Incredible. So watch it, you will love it. It should win every award out there, it’s in a class by itself. Bravo!

Jazz On A Summers Day

Written by Joe D on December 5th, 2018

Here’s a great music film directed by Aram Avian and Bert Stern, Aram was a terrific editor who became a director. This is an influential music documentary filmed at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival. Aram Avakian edited The Miracle Worker and Mickey One among other films. A great editor.

Day For Night Vs. Contempt

Written by Joe D on November 22nd, 2018

I just watched Truffaut’s Day For Night, a cool flick. It moves at a pretty fast clip, does not allow you to disengage, which is a good thing in a movie. I don’t think the chemistry between the actors is all that convincing but c’est la vie. It struck me that it’s similar to Godard’s Contempt (Le Mepris) a film within a Film, best by troubles, affairs on the set, relationships dissolving, both starring international sex symbols. And they both end in Tragedy. And the music in both films is by the same composer, Georges Delarue. Also the music is used in a fairly repetitive manor, which I have to say Truffaut, maybe unconsciously, copped from Godard. It’s like Godard’s use of music. Little snatches of the same bit of Vivaldi that repeat at ceratin points, not as radical as Godard’s  music but influenced by it.

 

It’s funny, theses two filmmakers were best friends but had a big falling out in 1968. Although I did read a letter Godard wrote to Truffaut asking for the rights to Breathless, Trauffaut had a writing credit, more of a condition imposed by money people than an actual intellectual contribution, Godard neede money, he wanted to sell the rights to Breathless, Truffaut signed off but didn’t want to be friends.

Another similarity, B.B. swims naked in Le Mepris, unforgettable imagery, her blond hair and tanned body slipping through the blue Mediterannean waters , so beautiful. There is a sequence in Day For Night where a blonde secretary swims in a pool at a motel, the camera is above her on a platform, a similar angle to the POV from Le Mepris. Was this an unconcious desire of Truffaut’s to capture some of the allure of Le Mepris? Who knows.

Both films end with Death by Automobile Accident that leaves the Fate of their respective films in jepoardy. Another thing Jack Palance and Jean Pierre Aumont dress in a similar kind of Preppie way. They sort of look alike, their hair styles kind of match.

Godard’s film is uncompromisingly Arty and I mean that in the best possible way, an unconventional masterpiece. Truffaut’s is more of a crowd pleaser. This is not meant as a putdown. But it doesn’t have (at least for me) the wild creative juice of say, Shoot The Piano Player.

Pablo Ferro’s Clockwork Orange Trailer

Written by Joe D on November 20th, 2018

Here you go, from the master of Quick Cuts, Pablo Ferro, his Clockwork Orange Trailer!