I finally watched The Noah, a film I had heard about many years ago. The Noah is directed by Daniel Bourla, it stars Robert Strouse in a one man tour de force performance. He plays an Army Sergeant, who also happens to be the last man on Earth after a nuclear holocaust. Strauss washes up on an island that was once a Chinese communist military base.
He immediately begins taking inventory and building a latrine. His Army training keeping him active in the face of his insane predicament. I think the film was shot in Puerto Rico on the island of Vieques, the same island Peter Brook shot Lord Of The Flies on a few years earlier.
Strauss invents an imaginary friend named Friday, all is well until Friday comes up with Friday Ann, an imaginary girl friend. Then all bets are off, Strauss is jealous of Friday and his girl and so they disappear, leaving Strauss alone.
Happy Birthday Noah!
Here’s the thing about this film. When I first started working in Editing, it was through the auspices of a guy named Frank Host, one of the nicest people ever to grace our planet. Frank was Afro American, he grew up in Harlem. A super intelligent, talented person, he was working in an office when some of the filmmakers working there noticed him and gave him a shot at working in a cutting room. Now this was back in the 50’s. There were very few, probably no Afro American film editors at that time. But some progressive minded filmmakers had recently moved to N.Y.C. from Hollywood to get away from the McCarthyistic Communist witch hunts and some of these open minded people were willing to give a young Black man a chance. Frank told me he worked for a guy named Irv Fagin, an editor who had been a member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and fought the Fascists in Spain.
Maos in The Moonlight
Noah Or Moses?
Anyway there were three Black editors of that period that I knew of, Frank, John Carter ( who’s still going strong) and Hugh Robertson ( a good friend of Frank’s who worked with DeDe Allen among others). Frank told me about this film he worked on called The Noah. He described scenes from it and talked about the director, Daniel Bourla, and what a talented guy he was. How he had struggled to make this independent film, against enormous odds and in a constant state of financial turmoil. Frank finished working on the film, I guess Mr. Bourla ran out of cash and the film languished in obscurity. But then I see from the IMDB that it was finished in 1975, I’m not sure when Frank worked on it but I think it was a few years earlier.
So when I see the film Frank is mentioned as a member of the editorial staff but the main credit goes to another guy. He probably was the last guy to work on the film. Did he undo all of Frank’s work? Re-cut the film from dailies? Was any of Frank’s editing used in the final film? Mysteries of the Film Credit Process. As with many things on Planet Earth the guy who gets the credit is not always the guy who did the work or had the idea.
I just heard from a very talented filmmaker in London named Darren Statman. He sent me a link to a trailer for his short film One Night With My Porn Star. I was impressed, great photography, cool editing, beautiful images, very atmospheric. The power of the Internet, to connect the people of Cinema from all corners of the globe. Check out the trailer, I’m looking forward to seeing the film!
Here’s a little behind the scenes footage that demonstrates how we did our poorman’s process shot in my film One Night With You. Joe Montgomery met a couple of old time Hollywood Cameramen and learned a lot of the techniques perfected during the film noir days. This is one of them. You get to see the set up and then the final scene. Check it out!
Shock! John Phillip Law is dead, he was only 70. No word on what he died from. Daniele Luppi told me he saw him at a party a few months ago. He was in some classic films, Mario Bava’s Danger Diabolik,Giulio Petroni’s Death Rides A Horse, Roger Vadim’s Barbarella, Dennis Hopper’s The Last Movie and many, many others.
He got his big break in Norman Jewison’s The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming! and he was excellent in that film.
I recently heard he had a huge estate in the 60’s, a silent film star’s mansion that he called The Castle. He’d let visiting artists and musicians stay there, people like Bob Dylan and Andy Warhol. His wife at the time ( Lisa Law) came out with a book about that scene called Flashing The Sixties. Well, he’s finally got his angel wings.
Danger Diabolik title sequence with music by Ennio Morricone!
My old pal Michael Sullivan, the MadMan of Manhattan, animator , filmmaker, actor par excellance ( check out his performance as Lamy Homo in Bob Downey’s blasphemous epic Greaser’s Palace) But now after years of secret Alchemical work in his dusty attic somewhere on 29th street, in the shadow of the Empire State building, he has brought forth his epic creation, The Sex Life Of Robots! Here’s an article he sent me about it. More to come in the future!
If you want to read the article and see hi-rez images go here: TRIX ROSEN, download a zip file and check it out.
I just got word from the great Spaghetti Western Database that MGM is finally releasing Sergio Corbucci’s masterpiece Navajo Joe. This is an early vehicle for Burt Reynolds, he plays the title character , an Indian who doesn’t take any guff from anybody. He also does all his own stunts and is very impressive in that department. Also the score by Morricone is incredible, featuring the vocal talents of Alessandro Alessandroni’s amazing choir, I Cantori Moderni, and Gianna Spagnulo’s wild, earthy solos in particular. Also of note is Alessandroni’s incredible baritone electric guitar playing. Parts of this score were used to great effect in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, for example when Uma kills Bill with the 5 point palm exploding heart technique and Bill staggers off to die. Here it is courtesy of YouTube:
But back to Navajo Joe, it has an incredible ending, you’ll have to check it out for yourself, kind of abstract but incredibly moving. Here’s the trailer.
Tomorrow, Friday May 2nd Sergio Leone’s epic masterpiece Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo will screen at the NuArt Theater in Los Angeles. They will show the uncut version with 20 minutes of deleted footage. The original cut of the film was 3 hours long. Chris Mankiewicz told me that he was a VP for United Artists at the time and it was his job to cut the movie down for an American release. He went to Leone and gave him the bad news. Leone grudgingly gave his OK but only on the condition that Chris use Nino Baragli, the film’s original editor. Chris agreed and made the cuts with Nino. Leone approved and that’s the version we all grew up with.
The Circle Of Death
Cut to a few years ago, John Kirk head of restoration for MGM contacted Triage Motion Picture Services, it seems an original uncut print of GBU had turned up at a Customs House in Italy. A print of a film had to be submitted to a government office to get a stamp of approval so it could be distributed. So using this as a guide I was called in by Triage to recreate as closely as possible to the original a new version of the film, using the best elements available and putting it in synch. Also rescoring one scene with a cue from an LP of the soundtrack. It was a real puzzle but I got it put back together with John Kirk, Tony Munroe, and Paul Rutan Jr. of Triage. That’s the version screening at the NuArt tomorrow. So go check it out and look for my name in the end credits!