Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Daisy Kenyon 1947
Romantic semi-noir girlie girl movie about a love triangle set in a long ago Manhattan and starring a way too old Joan Crawford in the lead role. Joan was a whopping 42 when she took on this part that should have been played by an actress in her late 20’s or early 30’s (Gene Tierney would have been perfect) and the great Leon Shamroy films her in lots of semi dark rooms with lots of shadows and just the right lighting to hide her age. And as luxurious as the cinematography is, it doesn’t work. The story concerns Joan who is a busy commercial artist who is also busy having a long time affair with a married rich lawyer played by the attractive and underrated Dana Andrews. His marriage is a wreck but he’s hanging in there because of his two young daughters played by the very good Peggy Ann Gardner and the appealing Connie Marshall. Married to Ruth Warwick a harpy from hell, who is mistreating the girls especially the younger one with beatings and neglect. Into the picture comes returning somewhat shell shock vet. Henry Fonda (also too old for this part) who takes up with Crawford and falls madly in love with her. They marry but there are complications brewing from Andrews who stills wants Joan, and finally opts for a divorce from harpy Warwick. Their scenes together are really the most compelling because there is so much contempt and disgust between the two of them that they make you sit up and take notice. The film is slick and glossy and Otto Preminger, an unlikely director for this sort of film does a decent job at directing, but I just could not buy Crawford in this role or believe that these two guys would be madly in love with her. She’s her usual shoulder pad lipstick slashed self and her looks are starting to take on that hard as nails facade that got worse and worse as the decade wore on. Daisy should have been played by a sweet young thing, vulnerable yet strong, and Crawford is about as vulnerable as a mack truck. Filmed on the 20th Century Fox backlot with a nice feel for New York City in the late 40’s and with an especially nice process shot of the old Greenwich movie theatre in the village and beautiful cinematography, this is a hit and miss film that is brought down by miscasting and a rather ordinary plot.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Let's Not Go To The Movies
Thursday, October 21, 2010
The Hoodlum. 1951.
Loking like it was shot in a shoebox with a budget of $2.00, this gritty little B reunites the scary Lawrence Tierney with Max Nosseck who directed him in 1945’s terrific Dillinger. Clocking in at 61 minutes the story is tough, rancid and minimal. Tierney is a no good small time gangster who when the film opens is attempting to get out of jail on parole with the help of his weepy and trusting mother who throws herself at the parole board and begs for mercy for her son who she thinks is a good boy. Yeah right. As soon as Tierney gets out he’s giving everyone problems including his good natured and straight brother (played by Tierney’s real life brother Edward) who reluctantly gives him a job in his gas station. Tierney is soon plotting a complicated bank robbery, rapes and impregnates his brother’s weepy and trusting girlfriend and is just plain nasty to everyone including the gas station customers who Tierney greets with a threatening “What do you want.” The crummy looking sets and the backlot street setup (which by the way I loved) suits this outsider film very well which is tight and claustrophobic. Nosseck who was born in Germany did three films with Tierney, and he deserves to be rediscovered as a true nervy, primitive and original filmmaker. The movie is also loaded with lots of low budget interesting character actors and actresses including two hot dames who take no prisoners and no crap from Tierney and the well known terrific bit player O.Z. Whitehead (with a name like this he better be good) who plays a creepy funeral home director. Unfortunately the dvd transfer looks like they held auditions for “So You Think You Can Dance” on it, which takes away from the total enjoyment of the film. This is the kind of film that Criterion should be restoring, and I’ll tell you I’ll take “The Hoodlum” over any of the processed sterile big budget blockbuster pieces of shit that Hollywood is shoving down our throats any day of the week.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
http://www.queersos.com/ Seeing this homeless young man made me sad, but also filled me with hope.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
This might be the most beautiful color film ever made. An ingenious interpretation of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, set in Rio de Janeiro during carnival. Put together by Marcel Camus with a groundbreaking score by Luiz Bonfá & Antonio Carlos Jobim which made Bossa Nova known throughout the world. I love this film in spite of the left pounding on it at the time of its release as condescending to Brazil and the poor people who live in the slums of Rio. No matter, the film does not glamorize the poor living conditions any more than a movie like Dead End made the slums of the east side look inviting. Its a superb mix of dance, music and riotous color and movement with elegant performances by the beautiful two leads Breno Mello and Marpessa Dawn who ironically died within weeks of each other in 2008. Also notable is Lourdes de Oliveira as Mira the jealous girlfriend of Orfeo who it seems is in constant motion throughout the film. And if the ending of the film doesn't make you cry don't come knocking at my door. This film is so beautiful it almost hurts. One of the ten best films of 1959.
Black Narcissus 1947
No this might be the most beautiful color film ever made. This is the one about all those nuns stuck in some remote palace in the Himalayas. The group lead by Deborah Kerr all have problems, but Kathleen Byron in a great performance as the demented sister Ruth takes the cake. Dreamlike and surreal this for me is the film of the year, in a great year for movies that saw among other things the apex of film noir. The film was entirely made in a studio with mattes and miniatures and this is a must see especially for artists but also of course for anyone who loves movies. The cast also includes an achingly beautiful Jean Simmons, along with Flora Robson, a very good-looking David Farrar and Sabu. Oscar winning cinemagtography by the great Jack Cardiff, and the new Criterion restoration is amazing.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I bought myself a camera 2
My Canon camera of 4 months is broken, and I had to send it off to the repair center.
Saturday, October 09, 2010
sculptures for the Hyper Real show
Realisms in Painting and Photography
October 22, 2010 – February 13, 2011
Opening MUMOK: October 21, 2010
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Unlikely Stories has just posted my art.
Unlikely Stories has just posted some of my paintings and photographs on their site. Very handsome production.http://www.unlikelystories.org/10/haber1010.shtml