The Disney Hall Of Dr. Caligari

Written by Joe D on October 31st, 2011

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Well I went to Disney Hall to see the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari accompanied by Clark Wilson on the mighty Disney Hall Organ. What a disappointment! Some moron left the lights on in the concert hall, this is a movie, they are supposed to be screened in the dark, if you don’t understand that fundamental rule of showmanship DO NOT screen films in your facility. Also although Mr. Wilson is a very good performer, the music was WAY TOO LOW! By that I mean it wasn’t Loud Enough! Here is an instrument the size of a giant Sequoia and played at less than the volume of a single trumpet. What a waste! I wanted to hear and feel the thundering bass of that magnificent instrument, some clown homogenized the hell out of what should have been an enjoyable evening. Also the tickets were WAY TOO EXPENSIVE! On top of which they charged an $8.50 fee per ticket for ordering online, then $9 to park. The audience was 99% white, Occupy Wall Street should occupy this concert Hall. Frank Gehery, this was a travesty of what your amazing space and instrument should be used for. One last note, Mr. Wilson gave a speech before the screening on the history of live music accompanying silent films and how some of the more famous organists wound up in Hollywood composing music for studio pictures. He mentioned Carl Stalling, who worked at Warner Bros. writing music for their cartoons. But Carl Stalling did not write Powerhouse as Mr. Wilson stated, it was written by Raymond Scott, composer and synthesizer inventor.

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The late, great Raymond Scott

More Orson

Written by Joe D on October 27th, 2011

Here’s a 16 part BBC doc on Welles. Check out the footage of Welles entertaining WWII troops with his magic act.

Orson Welles and Fritz Lang’s Stars

Written by Joe D on October 25th, 2011

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I was out walking on Vine Street the other day, on my way back from lunch when what do I see but Orson Welles Star! On the famous Hollywood walk of Fame!
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Then I notice that his Star is right next to Fritz Lang’s! Two Giants of Cinema right next to each other!
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Special Thanks to Zach Fine for the photos.

Orson Welles Voodoo MacBeth

Written by Joe D on October 17th, 2011

macbeth1.jpgHere is a newsreel of Orson Welles production of Macbeth. Produced by the WPA and called Voodoo MacBeth because Welles set it in Haiti with Voodoo priests as the Three Sisters, it was a resounding smash, toured the nation and put Welles on the road to stardom. I used to frequent a bar/restaurant on 8th Avenue around 55th st.in NYC. It was called Le Coq Au Vin, a charming place run by a great guy, Jojo. One evening I was talking to an older woman at the bar, she was working at The Metropolitan Opera as a costumer, she told me she had worked at The Mercurey Theater with Orson when she was young and had worked on Voodoo MacBeth.

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The Hearst Building on 8th Avenue, The fancy glass tower was added a few years back. It’s a luxury high rise, home to such luminaries as Michael Mann

I also met an older gent there who had worked on Movietone Newsreels, (The bar was about a block away from Hearst Movitone HQ on 8th), Funny, considering Citizen Kane’s fake newsreel opening and Orson’s relationship to WR Hearst.

Orson Welles Last Interview

Written by Joe D on October 16th, 2011

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I just ran across this on Youtube the other day. Orson Welles last interview, on the Merv Griffin show. I guess Orson was friendly with Merv, he was always on his show.  I had heard that Orson was at a fancy banquet, left went home and stopped at Pink’s hot dog stand on La Brea. Then he went home with two chili dogs, ate them and expired. A little research reveals the source of this myth, supposedly Welles held the record for hot dog consumption at Pink’s - 18 of them!

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But here he is on TV  about two hours before he passed. Check it out, see the great man in his last moments on planet Earth.

Pasolini’s Arabian Nights

Written by Joe D on October 12th, 2011

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Another rare discovery on Netflix streaming, the 1974 Grand Prize Winner of the Cannes Film Festival, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Arabian Nights or Il fiore delle mille e una notte. I saw this film on it’s initial release back in 1975 in NYC and this is the first time I’ve watched it since then, I started watching it around midnight last night and couldn’t turn it off, I was so caught up in it’s mystic spell of storytelling, just like the caliph who can’t bring himself to kill Scherezade because he wants to hear how her story turns out.

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It took a lot of courage for Pasolini to travel to these exotic locals (Yemen, Ethiopia, etc.) for one he was homosexual and in some of these places at that time that was punishable by death. He got the creme de la creme of Italian film artisans to work on the film, costumes-Danilo Donati, Set Design- Dante Ferretti, Editing- Nino Baragli, Music Ennio Morricone, Camera-Giuseppe Ruzzolini.

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Pasolini and his intrepid crew penetrated hermetic societies, filming in locations that had never been seen by Western audiences, these places are like something out of a dream, it imbues the film with a sense of poetry and magic, bringing the intertwined tales of the Arabian Nights to life in a primal, savage, beautiful way. It is interesting to compare it with Korda’s Thief Of Bagdad,they both spring from the same source and have similar scenes, the prince transformed to an animal, discovering a princess in her garden, taking on a beggar’s clothing, but Arabian Nights tells the tales in a more authentic way, truer to the original. Pasolini was fascinated with the early roots of the novel, picaresque tales of travelers, collections of anecdotes that gave rise to the novels form. The Decameron and The Canterbury Tales come to mind, storytelling at it’s most basic interpreted by a 20th Century poet. A beautiful work of Art by a great artist. Check it out.

Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari to screen at Disney Concert Hall

Written by Joe D on October 11th, 2011

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Robert Wiene’s Expressionistic masterpieceThe Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari will screen Sunday October 30 at Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeies. Robert Clark will accompany the film live on the massive organ. I have been wanting to hear that instrument since it was built and here is the perfect chance. Frank Gehery’s design was nicknamed the Box Of French Fries and you can see why.

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Fritz Lang was supposed to direct this film but it didn’t work out. Robert Wiene did an excellent job.

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Fritz was busy directing Die Spinnen. Conrad Veidt starred as Cesare the somnambulist. He later played Nazis in Hollywood films like Casablanca where he was Major Strasser.

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It’s very cool that a film that influenced film design so strongly , cited by many as a major influence on Film Noir with it’s painted shadows and highlights, should screen at a Temple of Artistic Design, the Disney Concert Hall.
The only drag about this whole thing is that the tickets are too expensive. Halloween is a children’s holiday and what kids can afford tickets to this. They really should have free recitals of organ music for children and underprivileged people here. Music is a gift to all humanity not just rich patrons. Exposing youngsters to sound like this can only improve the quality of life for all denizens of our globe. Let’s hope it can happen.

The Libertine

Written by Joe D on October 9th, 2011

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Here is another Netflix find,The Libertine. An Italian sex film from 1968, directed by Pasquale Festa Campanile (writer of such classics as Rocco and His Brothers and The Leopard) starring the lovely Cathrine Spaak and Jean-Louis Trintignant, it features a wonderful jazzy score by Armando Trovaioli. The sets are super groovy 60’s Italian style modernity. Frank Wolf appears as a dentist and Phillippe LeRoy as a tennis instructor, both of these actors were in a lot of Italian films from that period. Wolf’s most noteworthy role is in Once Upon A Time in the West as the doomed patriarch. LeRoy is featured in Fernando DiLeo’s Milano Calibro 9 as a killer out for revenge. Check it out for some super cool 60’s fun.
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Sergio Corbucci!

Written by Joe D on October 6th, 2011

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Continuing my Netfliix streaming discovery theme today I present for your delectation two Westerns by the Ultra Violent, Ex cartoonist Sergio Corbucci. The Mercenary starring Django himself, Franco Nero, Tony Musante, in a semi Tomas Milian role as a Mexican revolutionary and Jack Palance as the evil fop, Curley.
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Featuring a score by Morricone and his frequent collaborator Bruno Niccolai, and some of the best most operatic whistling by Alessandro Alessandroni, a must see for fans of the genre.
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Also my favorite Corbucci western { That’s right I prefer it to Il Grande Silencio) Navajo Joe.


Spoiler Alert! This is the end of the movie! Don’t watch it!

Burt Reynolds at his best, another incredible score and for me one of the greatest endings ever! See it now! I warn you it is violent but hey that’s part of the other Sergio’s charm.

Jean Rollin on Netflix

Written by Joe D on October 4th, 2011

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Dear Fans Of Film Forno I have decided to post interesting films I come across while rummaging around the Netflix streaming archive. Here’s an easy way to see films that were very hard to see for a long time and to start off my list I choose the films of Jean Rollin.

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Unfortunately M. Rollin died last year, he had languished in relative obscurity for a while but was on the verge of a re-discovery when he passed. His semi- erotic fantasy/vampire films are worth checking out. even if it’s only to see what one can do with a castle, a beach, nude girls and very little money.

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These films are unique and charming, the violence is underplayed and the erotic, fantastic aspects of these tales takes the fore.I recently watched Shiver Of The Vampire which feels like it may have inspired The Rocky Horror Picture Show. They share a lot of similar elements. Last night I watched Rollin’s first vampire movie,The Rape Of The Vampire, shot in glorious B&W, it was interesting, but I must confess I prefer Shiver with it’s garage band psychedelic score.

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Netflix also has Lips Of Blood by Rollin, I haven’t checked it out yet but I will. So here’s your chance to view the work of a semi-obscure independent filmmaker, an obsessed visionary that returned to the very same beach to shoot the climax for almost all his films. Check them out.

See The skinny hippie vampire chick emerge from a Grandfather’s Clock at Midnite!