Hugh A. Robertson,Frank G. Host, Carl Lerner, Pablo Ferro, Midnight Cowboy

Written by Joe D on December 12th, 2020

This is a crazy combination of people but what the heck it breaks down like this: I got into filmmaking by attending a one time Manpower funded program at T.U.I. (the Theater of Universal Images) in downtown Newark,N.J. (my hometown). The editing teacher was a great guy named Frank G. Host. We became friends and he got me my first job at Editor’s Hideaway on 57th and Madison Ave. in NYC. A commercial editing facility. Anyway Frank was always talking about his old friend Hugh Robertson, how they had started out together.  (there were very few Afro-American film editors at that time, John Carter was another.) Frank got his break from some leftist types from California , who fled the Hollywood Anti Communist witch hunts and were willing to give a young talented Black guy a break. Hugh worked for the great editor Carl Lerner, a priogressive person who went on to direct Black Like Me, about a white reporter who takes an experimental drug that turns him Black so he can see what it’s like to live as a Black person.

so these two friends were at the cutting edge of Black Filmmaking in the US. Frank got drafted and was stationed in Paris, luckily missing out on being sent to Korea. Then he attended the Sorbonne Film School on the G.I. bill, meanwhile Hugh A. Robertson continued to work in NYC, eventually landing the editing job on Shaft and  Midnitght Cowboy,then directing some films.  I had never met Hugh or even seen a picture of him until running across this intervbiew on YouTube posted by the ultracool Black Film Network. So I finally got to see him and hear him speak. Here it is.

It also just so happens that my old pal Pablo Ferro worked on Midnite Cowboy as 2nd unit director. Pablo told me he shot a lot of the psychedelic party scene in that film and here it is

Robert Aldritch’s Ulzana’s Raid

Written by Joe D on December 10th, 2020

Here is the trailer for one of my favorite Westerns, Ulzana’s Raid. I got turned on to this amazing movie by none other than Quentin Tarantino, who also loves the film. He gave me a VHS or maybe a Laser Disc to watch, I later saw it at the New Beverly as well. I found a review Quentin wrote and it is a brilliant piece of film criticsim, full of his personal insights into not only this film but film history as well. Here is the link to the review. Check it out.

Interview with Jean Rollin

Written by Joe D on December 3rd, 2020

Here’s an interview with Vampire film maker Jean Rollin. A unique character in The History Of Cinema. Very Cool stories of his influence, especially the serials! Dr. Satan! Check it Out!

Jean Rollin- The Nude Vampire

Written by Joe D on November 26th, 2020

Here’s a scene from Jean Rollin’s Nude Vampire. It is so cinematic, no dialog, just images and music and sound effects. So atmospheric. Let it be a lesson to filmmakers out there. Rollin had a talent for creating creepy atmospheres out of nothing, a unique voice in Cinema. He fell on hard times with the closing of movie theaters in the 80’s and had to make porno films. I’ve never seen any but I bet they are different. I just ordered a box set of his films from France, I’ll report on them soon.

Wu Tang Clan Presents- 18 Jade Claws of Shaolin

Written by Joe D on November 23rd, 2020

RZA has singlehandedly elevated the Cinese Kung Fu Film to an accepted Art Foem. I told him they were going to screen The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter at The Museum Of Modern Art in NYC. He was happy. Anyway Check this one out, I hadn’t ever heard of it so we can thank the Film Lovers of the WuTang for turning us on to this one.

Bob Downey ( A Prince)

Written by Joe D on November 10th, 2020

Here is a great interview with the superfantastic Bob Downey, father of Robert Downey,Jr. I know Bob very well, we worked on a lot of projects together and he really is a Prince. The folks at the ReelBlack Vault in Philadelphia did a great job on this interview, I’ve talked to Bob about his films many, many timess and these guys got him to reveal a lot of incredible information, stuff I knew about but never heard it so clearly expressed. Bob loves Philadelphia, he made several films ther with Max Raab, an old friend, they were planning a documentary when Max died. Anyway enjoy this wonderful interview and maybe check oput some of Bob’s films. I think Greaser’s Palace is on Amazon Prime these days.

Shintaro Katsu- Zatiochi Sings!

Written by Joe D on October 28th, 2020

I bought the Criterion Collection Bluray Zatiochi box set, it is great. I am going to write a piece on it soon, maybe even rate them! In the meantime here is the star of the Zatoichi films, Shintaro Katsu singing Unchain My Heart. He loved to sing, when his brother, Tomisaburo Wakayama, star of LOne Wolf and Cub, sang a song for a Lone Wolf film, Shintaro got angry and told the filmmakers to take it out. I guess he didn’t want his brother straying onto his musical turf. They did not remove the song and you can hear it in the film still. Anyway here is the great Shintaro Katsu singing. Enjoy.

King Tubby ! The Roots Of Dub!

Written by Joe D on October 14th, 2020

If you like Rap music, Hip-Hop, remixes then you should know it all started with King Tubby, a Jamaican electrical engineer/Artist. Working in a small studio he built in his mother’s house he changed music all over the world by creating Dub Plates, remixes of songs mainly without the vocals and using echo, EQ and reverb in a new unique manner. What a genius!  Certain artists not only create great works, they also create whole new Genres of Art. I’m thinking of people like Fritz Lang, Mario Bava and King Tubby. Here is a documentary about him. Check it out, mon.

Thelonious Monk- American Composer

Written by Joe D on October 6th, 2020

A Young Thelonious Monk playing at the legendary Minton’s, where BeBop was born. Dizzy Gillespie ripped off his look.

Here is a cool documentary on the great composer/musician Thelonious Monk. I always liked Monk but it was after working with Bob Downey that I really became a Super Monk Fan. Because Bob loved Monk, as a young guy in Grennwich Village he was in aqwe of the great Maestro. He saw him walking doen the street one time and was so im pressed by his bearing, his coolness, his genius. He told me he even got a job as a waiter at the 5 Spot, where Monk had a long residency and worked up the nerve to say hello to Monk one evening in the kitchen. To which Monk reponded, “Where’s the fucking orange juice!” I edited a film for Bob called Hugo Pool and we got Danilo Perez, a great Pasnamanian pianist to record a Monk influenced score for it. Anyway I coulsd go on and on about Monk but here watch this doc for yourself and dig the man in action.

La Camarista

Written by Joe D on September 26th, 2020

 

 

Lila Aviles-Filmmaker

 

Here is a very cool new film that is really worth checking out. La Camarista (The Chambermaid) is the story of a hard working young single mom that works as a chambermaid in an upscale hotel in Mexico. The subtle performances really make this film great, the commentary on the class system, done in a naturalistic almost invisible manner. So well done. Lila Aviles, the director is talented, she is an actress and directs theater and you can tell from the acting. Real characters, no fake stereotypes waltzing around the screen. All The Actors are great especially the title character ,Gabriela Cartol and Teresa Sánchez as Minitoy. Here’s the trailer:

Antonio Margheriti

Written by Joe D on September 19th, 2020

Here is a short documentary about the great director,Antonio Margheriti. Margheriti was a very prolific director, who did a lot with very little money. His cheap Italian Sci-Fi films got American distribution, a big deal back in the ’60s. He made every kind of film,Horror, Sci-Fi, Action, Cannibal, Westerns, Hercules, he did it all.

Mullholland Drive Analysis

Written by Joe D on September 10th, 2020

Here is a great analysis of Mullholland Drive. This London Girl really breaks it down for you. I suggest you watch the film before watching this but if you have seen the film you will enjoy this. I know I did.