And you can see it on Netflix! A documentary about the legendary Maxwell Street in Chicago, a Sunday carnival, flea market fish fry, outdoor dancehall, preacher zone, crazy place that’s long gone. You can see the amazing, reclusive Robert Nighthawk performing on the street, although I was bummed that they cut away from him whenever he played a solo, it’s too bad because he had one of the most unique electric slide guitar styles of all time. I didn’t know the editor personally, the late Howard Alk, but I worked on the Isle of Wight documentary with his collaborator Murray Lerner. They did Festival together and I believe Alk edited Reynaldo and Clara, Bob Dylan’s foray into directing. Anyway check it out, See the man with a chicken on his head, the 2 fingered guitar player, Robert Nighthawk, and many other vanished attractions!
I just watched Dark City, a film noir I’ve never seen, it was on Netflix streaming! An interesting film, released by Paramount, starring a very young Charlton Heston and Lizabeth Scott. Directed by yet another protege of Max Rhinehart, William Dieterle.
He was famous for wearing white gloves while directing, he made the monumental Hunchback Of Notre Dame starring Charles Laughton,the great Devil And Daniel Webster and Portrait Of Jennie, the film that David O. Selznick drove him insane over. But nevertheless Dieterle was a Cinematic Poet 1st class. I discovered several more interesting noirs that I will list soon, including an HD version of Stanley Kubrick’s early outing Killer’s Kiss, check out the opening scene shot in the demolished/rebuilt Penn Station in Manhattan.
Another Netflix streaming find! Emir Kustarica’s first film Do You Remember Dolly Bell?, a magical start to a great series of films by this unique director. Coming across like a mashup of Fellini. Godard, and early Milos Foreman, but already revealing the personal touches that make Kustarica so great. His obsession with hypnotism, and hypnotizing animals in particular. The super cool Italian rock and roll music, the 1959 film screened at the Social Center, Europe By Night. This film features a striptease by a performer named Dolly Bell, and a local girl, is named after her by her pimp. The way of life under Communism, the idealistic father who calls meetings at the dinner table and has the youngest son take minutes. The rock band, started by the Party members for the good of the community. A wonderful film, unfortunately the copy on Netflix looks like a bad VHS but still it’s better than nothing. Check it out, a good time is guaranteed for all.
Another Netflix streaming find, Boccaccio’70, a 60’s Italian omnibus film featuring 4 stories from 4 Italian directors, Vittorio De Sica, Federico Fellini, Luchino Viscounti, and Mario Monicelli. This is a beautiful film, made by great film Artists and Artisans, shot in and around Rome in 1961. so everything looks super cool. Technicolor images that burst off the screen, incredible music by 3 Titans of Italian film music, Piero Piccone, Armando Trovaioli, and Nino Rota. Starring among others Anita Ekberg in Fellini’s Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman spinoff
and Sophis Loren at possibly her most beautiful! Maybe the sexiest woman of all time! You have to see her in this film. I saw this film many years ago at the Bleecker Street Theater, and now thanks to Netflix and my home theater I see it again projected on a large screen, I am speechless at how great it is to be able to watch films projected at home. In this case I never thought I’d see this film projected ever again. It’s not like revival houses are running it every year. But it is worth seeing. And I get to practice my Italian, a double bonus. Check it out 4 stories of Love, Eros, from 4 maestros, created in Roma at the peak of the Italian Film Renascence. Stupendo!
A while back I posted a trailer for this film Determinism, Now the filmmaker Sanlit Majumdar has written in to inform me that he posted his film on Youtube. And he’s in negotiation to make another film. Good Luck amigo.
Here’s a fascinating comparison of two takes from Keaton’s Opus Steamboat Bill Jr,. You can see how well rehearsed the actors were. All those years learning elaborate physical routines on Vaudeville circuits paid off. Check out the salesman that pops in from time to time. Kino is releasing Blurays from new HD transfers of Keaton’s films, I ordered the shorts collection and as soon as I get it I will post about it.