Seconds-Frankenheimer-James Wong Howe

Written by Joe D on March 18th, 2019

 

Last night I had dinner with an old friend, James Hong, we were talking and I mentioned the great camerman James Wong Howe, James Hong told me he was friends with James Wong Howe and what a struggle it was for him to become a cameraman in Hollywood. I was reminded of Seconds, a crazy film Howe shot for the great John Frankenheimer so here is the trailer. Check out Sweet Smell Of Success to see more of the camerwork of the great James Wong Howe.

And here is a little documentary about James Wong Howe

Mike Malloy’s Who Was The Rider On The Rain?

Written by Joe D on March 12th, 2019

Here is a short film by my pal Mike Malloy about a French Actor named Marc Mazza. He appeared in some great European films in the 60’s and 70’s including the magnificent Rider On The Rain by Rene Clement. Mike has really done an in-depth portrait of an almost unknown character actor, Bravo!

Francoise Truffaut’s Two English Girls

Written by Joe D on March 11th, 2019

 

Here is a kind of follow up to Jules and Jim, Truffaut’s earlier masterpiece about a love triangle. This film is also based on a novel and stars the wonderful JeanPierre Leaud, whom Truffaut had discovered as a boy and cast him in The 400 Blows. Truffaut released this film in 1972 but unhappy with the reaction to the film in France, he restored 20 minutes of footage right before he passed away in 1984. The restored version came out posthumously. I think this film is great, understated, poetic, romantic. Check it out, here’s the trailer to whet your appetite.

 

Lee Chang Dong’s Burning

Written by Joe D on February 4th, 2019

This is a great film, the story is simple, almost a genre detective structure but the nuances of character, class, Korean life, and memory weave a complex web that is fascinating and will stay with you for a long time after the film ends. You probably will want to watch it again and catch all the clues, I love films that don’t explain everything,that don’t spell everything out for the audience. Because mystery is a wonderful element in any artistic creation and the filmmaker that explains everything disrespects the intelligence of the audience. The characters are wonderfully drawn out, especially our three main ones, Jong-seo Jun plays Shin Hai-me, a young girls so full of curiosity about life, so charming, she’s like your first love, the cool girl you met in college.

Ah-in yoo plays  Lee jong-su, our hero, a would be writer, a kind of normal everyman with a deep soul, smarter than he seems at first glance, a young man pushed to the brink.

Steven Yeun is Ben, a rich sociopath, everything in life is a game to him.

I don’t want to say too much about this terrific film, just watch it for yourself. I guarantee it will affect you and make you think.  This is Cinema.

Patricia Gozzi!

Written by Joe D on February 2nd, 2019

 

Here is an interview with the amazing Patricia Gozzi. She was a child star of such cinematic power, unforgettable! Check out Jean Pierre Melville’s Leo Morin Priest with Jean Paul Belomondo and the masterpiece Sundays and Cybele.

Deadline U.S.A.

Written by Joe D on September 17th, 2017

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Here is one of the all time great newspaper movies. With Bogey, Ethel Barrymore and Kim Hunter. Written and Directed by Richard Brooks, based on the demise of The New York Sun, a paper that folded in 1931. I think it’s very relevant these days with all the attacks on the press and newspapers shutting down. We need newspapers and reporters to keep letting us know about all the crimes and corruption that infects our cities and government. And now you can watch it on YouTube.

Peter Sellers Interview

Written by Joe D on September 14th, 2017

Here’s an interview with the amazing Peter Sellers. Star of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, he played Dr. Strangelove and several other parts in that film.
I know several people that worked on that film, Pablo Ferro, who did the incredible title sequence and Ray Lovejoy, he was the assistant editor on Strangelove. He was bumped up to editor on Kubrick’s next film, 2001, a Space Odyssey. He worked with Kubrick for many years.

Jean-Pierre Melville, Paul Meurisse, Lino Ventura – Interview – Le Deuxieme Souffle

Written by Joe D on February 3rd, 2017

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Here’s a great interview with Mellville, Ventura and Meurisse as they made Le Deuxieme Souffle. I think Melville was difficult to work with, suing everyone including his own actors! You can pick up on the subtext in the actors interviews. From what I hear Ventura and Melville would not even speak to each other on Army Of Shadows. But he was a great filmmaker.

Le Gros et le maigre (The Fat and the Lean) – Roman Polanski – 1961

Written by Joe D on March 24th, 2016

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This is a great short by the ultra-talented Roman Polanski. It really demonstrates what an amazing physical actor he is, Chaplinesque. Featuring music by the super genius Krzysztof Komeda.

The Making Of The Misfits

Written by Joe D on February 22nd, 2016

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Here’s a wonderful documentary about the making of The Misfits, a classic B&W film. What an amazing collection of talent! Arthur Miller, John Huston, the cast, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Monty Clift, Eli Wallach, Thelma Ritter, the brilliant crew including the genius cameraman Russell Metty and the spectaculer editor George Tomasini.

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Russell Metty with Orson Welles

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The Great George Tomasini
What a group. Out in the middle of nowhere making an existential Western. Wow, I wish I could have been there. I first saw this film back on the WOR Million Dollar Movie, it fascinated me as a young movie nut. I loved Marilyn and I had never seen Gable in a movie like this. The incredible cinematography blew me away, especially the mustang catching sequence. Metty had shot such masterpieces as Orson Welles Touch Of Evil, Douglas Sirk’s Magnificent Obsession, Kubrick’s Spartacus, to name a few. George Tomasini was best known for his work with Hitchcock, including, Vertigo, Psycho, Rear Window and North by Northwest. One of the greatest editors of all time. Anyway here is Part one of the doc. Check it out.

The Man Who Fell To Earth Soundtrack

Written by Joe D on February 2nd, 2016

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Here’s a great little documentary about the soundtrack to Nic Roeg’s The Man Who Fell To Earth starring David Bowie in his greatest role. I always really liked this soundtrack, John Phillips came through big time.

Video Essay: The Man Who Fell to Earth from Film Comment on Vimeo.

Murder, My Sweet

Written by Joe D on January 20th, 2016

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I love Raymond Chandler’s writing. It was one of the things that made me want to move to Los Angeles. Here’s a movie based on Chandler’s novel Farewell My Lovely. They changed the name to Murder, My Sweet because it was Dick Powell’s first non-singing, dancing role and they didn’t want the public to think this was a musical. I always liked this movie, it’s Studio filmmaking at it’s crazy noir best.
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Some excellent montages credited to Douglas Travers, classic stuff, the sequence with the ever smaller doors influenced the opening of The Twilight Zone and there are some great opticals, whenever Marlow gets slugged he falls into an optically printed pool of inky blackness spreading out by his feet.
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There’s also double exposed frozen smoke over a section of the film, that image was taken right out of the book and it works nicely.
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Also Moose Malloy (Mike Mazurki) is revealled reflected in the window glass of Marlow’s office by the blinking of an sign on the exterior of the building. A nice touch.
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The set-ups can feel a bit hackneyed but I still enjoy the hell out of this flick. The sequence at the fake sanatarium is priceless and oft repeated in other films. it is interesting to compare this film with D.O.A., both are bookeneded by the protagonist telling his story to a police detective at the station house. Murder is a studio production, RKO to be exact, D.O.A. is an independant film made mainly on location, with a lot of on the street photography, kind of proto New Wave. Anyway if you haven’t seen it you’re in for a fun time. It’s a classic tale, Chinatown rips it off, every L.A. detective movie was influenced by it. The one change I didn’t like was making Florian’s bar a white joint. It’s on Central Avenue and is a Black owned bar in the book. It makes the scene of Marlow and Malloy trying to get info on Velma even better, more tense. I’m sure the Black actors could have used the work!