Saturday, May 29, 2010

In Memoriam: Dennis Hopper, 1936-2010



Dennis is a demonic artist, like Rimbaud. -Brooke Hayward

Don't look for the Siren to be posting at length about the extravagantly gifted, unique, decade-spanning Dennis Hopper, who died today, aged 74. The reason is simple: nothing she could ever hope to write would approach what Matt Zoller Seitz already said with his video appreciation.

RIP, Mr. Hopper.

27 comments:

Vanwall said...

I was gonna say something a minute ago on another post, but I had feeling you'd be posting something specific. We will not see his like again. His Frank Booth is an amazing creation.

DavidEhrenstein said...

Here's one specific thing: The Last Movie is highly underrated (to put it mildly)

My friend Tosh Berman, who co-starred with him and Taylor Mead in Andy Warhol's Tarzan and Jane Regained Sort Of has said he was like a member of his own family -- the even crazier uncle.

My favorite Dennis Hopper moment is the last act of Apocalypse Now when Martin Sheen arrievs at Brando's compund and Hopper is there to greet him. My first thought: "Well of course -- who else?"

Yojimboen said...

Hear hear VW, Hopper and Lynch created one of the most terrifying characters in cinema.

Perhaps now we'll see some serious reappraisals of his work, like The Last Movie; Out of the Blue and Colors.

Notwithstanding his sometime insane life-style, he outlived Dean, Mineo and Wood.

DavidEhrenstein said...

The luck of the draw, Yojim. Or maybe he was never quite as reckless as he would like to have everyone believe.

Terr Garr says he was really always just interested in money.

After Nick Ray took Natalie Wood's virginity Hopper took over for a spell.

He worshipped Dean, though it's hard to see why as acting came easily to him and he had no need of "technique."

But then neither did Dean who was basically Louise Brooks come back as a gay boy.

Mineo was just plain unlucky. In the wrong place at the wrong time he was murdered. Sad for at that period in his life he was putting his career back together as a director and sometimes actor on the stage. He was touring with a production of P. S. Your Cat is Dead and keeping a young actor named Don Johnson on the side.

Wonder whatever became of him.

And I wonder what Daria Halprin's up to these days too. There' a new documentary out about her mother.

Flickhead said...

Siren, ever see Hopper in Curtis Harrington's Night Tide? On paper, it reads like a cheap AIP spook flick; the finished product, however, is quite poetic. The cast includes Gavin Muir and the woefully overlooked Luana Anders, who later appeared with Hopper in The Trip (she was Fonda's waitress in the discotheque) and Easy Rider (skinny dipping with Hopper, Fonda and Sabrina Scharf at Luke Askew's commune).

Arthur S. said...

My favourite Hopper moment is Wim Wenders' ''The American Friend'', he's quite incredible in that film, especially in his scenes with Nicholas Ray and Bruno Ganz.

And David E. is quite right about ''Apocalypse Now''...who else?

DavidEhrenstein said...

Also in Night Tide -- Cameron. An artist and a noted Wiccan, her most famous film appearance was in Kenneth Anger's Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (in which Curtis played Cesare the Sonambulist)

Noel Vera said...

I like how Hopper cut through Costner's hundred and eight million dollar bullshit: "Golly gee, a single tear rolls down my cheek."

If Cameron ever had the balls to put him in his oversized video game, I'll bet Hopper could've cut him down to size.

bitter69uk said...

I want to see Night Tide so badly -- looks haunting and fascinating. It's unavailable on DVD in the UK. Have seen the trailer for it on youtube: as far as I'm concerned all films should feature beatniks playing bongos while a girl dances wildly! And the glimpse of "Cameron" is genuinely eerie.

bitter69uk said...

Out of the Blue looks so interesting too. I love Linda Manz. Once again, not available on DVD currently in UK.

Vanwall said...

Eerie moment:

Last night I walked into Taschen's store at the Grove, and the ginormous book of Hopper's collected photographs was front & center, open to page one, with his autograph hauntingly clear.

Flickhead said...

Another interesting film w/ Hopper: Americano, which should speak to the dreamer in some of us. At least for me it does. It co-stars Hopper's daughter.

Yojimboen said...

Night Tide is an odd duck of a film, focusing as it does on the, at the time, quite feminine beauty of 24 yr-old Dennis Hopper (see above banner pic).

It’s a tentative, innocent work, Curtis Harrington’s first feature, in sunny black and white, filmed on a shoestring on and around the Santa Monica pier (and carousel). Given that Harrington had shot and acted for Kenneth Anger, it’s not too big a stretch to see echoes of Anger’s Fireworks in it, but the overall mood is gentler, more welcoming, almost like a Norman McLaren documentary.

Although it seems more than slightly fey – Hopper in his skin-tight Navy whites looks like a non-muscular character by Tom of Finland – it is at base a charming (hetero) love story between a lonesome sailor and a maybe mermaid. Young Dennis Hopper is heartbreakingly sweet in this, his first leading role – the diametric opposite to Frank Booth.

The Siren said...

It will surely surprise no one that my deepest fondness is for Hopper in his young, beautiful and vulnerable Method phase. But what hit me about Matt's superb video essay was that while I certainly appreciated Hopper's talent and was always very happy to see his name in the credits, I had never thought of him as a deep personal favorite. I watched Matt's piece, and thought, "Well, why the hell HAVEN'T I?"

Yojimboen said...

You sensed that one day he was going to join the Republican party?

The Siren said...

HA. Now you know very well that I would have to jettison many deep personal faves if that were my basis...like James Cagney, whom I will give up for no one. Hopper just did as he damn well pleased right up to the end, that's how I sees it.

Yojimboen said...

I know politics and religion have no place in polite blogversation; but just this once?

I secretly envy Republicans. Life must be so much easier unburdened by introspection or conscience.

The Siren said...

Oh Y., please don't! Otherwise I have to throw the floor open to my GOP readers and invite some Sean Penn jokes, and that way lies madness...

Yojimboen said...

Abject contrition, dear lady, it shan't recur. ;-)

Vanwall said...

No politics, please - we are, after all, discussing flickering images here, regardless of distasteful personal lives or not. Hopper is one of the Great Subversives, no matter how he voted. I agree with M Flickhead, tho, "Americano" was an elegiac little charmer of a film.

M Yo, were in the same Taschen store as me last nite? The other massive tome on display was their Tom of Finland tribute. Altho The cover painting looked nothing like Hopper.

Yojimboen said...

If it was the Taschen in the Grove, it wasn't me. They won't let me back in the Grove.
Long story.

WV: hommoshow, I kid you not.

Karen said...

When I heard that Hopper had died, I felt that the '70s were truly dead and buried. I suppose I shouldn't feel that way, with Nicholson still around, but he seems to have let that period go completely in his path towards self-caricature. But Hopper? He never seemed to lose that crazy fire burning inside.

I miss him far more than I expected to.

DavidEhrenstein said...

I wouldn't sell Jack short. He's a very lively character and I'd venture to say he still has a few surprises in him. I see him around town a lot and he's still Jack.

And that ain't nothin.'

Yojimboen said...

Ssme semi-off-topic reviews of Sex and the City2 to cheer us all up:

(Our David leads off with a bases- empty homer.)

Yojimboen said...

Take two.
With the link this time.

Some semi-off-topic reviews of Sex and the City2 to cheer us all up:

(Our David leads off with a bases-empty homer.)

X. Trapnel said...

A story I like: Cukor absently murmuring "Yes, yes, of course" to Dennis Hopper's threat that "WE [the Easy Rider generation] ARE GOING TO BURY YOU [old-time Hollywood]!

slc2466 said...

I definitely was drawn to the beautiful, vunerable Hopper of Giant, probably the first role I saw him in- little did I know this man would go on to provide some of the most haunting sequences I've seen on film via his terrifying work in Blue Velvet- he went to some truly dark places in that one, and his work was so disturbing the Academy was afraid to nominate him for it (which is really a compliment to his daring, unconventional take on Frank- he was too real in the part for the ultimate in mainstream hosannas to be throw his way). Of course he got the nod that year for competent work in the feel good, audience-friendly Hoosiers.