Friday, November 12, 2010

The Siren by Request


Once in a while someone asks the Siren to write about a particular movie. Like the one friend who wants a flapper movie, any old flapper movie, and another friend who wants the Siren to write up Demolition Man (he hasn't lost his mind, the Siren told him she likes that one). The Siren's usual flip response is that she doesn't do requests. She isn't trying to be difficult, honest. It's just that the Siren scrambles to maintain posting around here and besides, she has the cinematic attention span of a cocker spaniel, always rushing from one obsession to the next.

Now we have the holidays coming up, the season of giving, and the Siren had a thought. Maybe she should spend December writing about things other people want, as a change of pace, instead of assuming that everyone will be thrilled to bits to read about Joan Fontaine or Constance Bennett for two weeks running.

So here's the big idea. Email the Siren (address is in her profile) or leave a request in comments. Twitter or Facebook message works too, or even Western Union--the Siren has always wanted to get a telegram. One movie per person please, one she hasn't written about before. Please make it something that is either easily available, or that you happen to know is hanging around the DVR or the DVD closet chez Siren (maybe because you, um, sent it to her).

The request line closes at 8 pm EST, Thursday Nov. 18th. Sometime that evening or the next day the Siren will print out the results, toss them in a hat (yes, a real hat, circa 1950, it's velvet and it has a feather) and draw four. And over the next few weeks the Siren will write 'em up. The total of four is designed to match her usual once-a-week posting pace.

The Siren isn't going to limit this to her favorite eras, but please, do remember her delicate sensibilities. Wags requesting the likes of Cannibal Holocaust or Freddie Got Fingered will not be taken seriously. And listen, if you're dying for another George Sanders movie, speak up, don't be bashful…

121 comments:

THE FUTURIST! said...

"And listen, if you're dying for another George Sanders movie, speak up, don't be bashful…"


* blush *

The Siren said...

But The Futurist has to be specific! Which one doll?

Tony Dayoub said...

David Lynch's LOST HIGHWAY

Gloria said...

George Sanders film I'm dying for (with a catch) request sent through the mail,

And... hum! Anybody else for post about Now, Voyager? I'd love taht, too

Peter Nellhaus said...

The Phenix City Story, please. And if you are totally adverse to Phil Karlson's portrayal of Alabama in that bygone era, than a review of one of the DVDs I've sent you that are hidden in the deep recesses of your closet.

KC said...

I actually do want a Sanders flick--A Scandal in Paris.

Bill said...

"If you covered him with garbage, George Sanders would still have style ..."

From an old song by The Kinks called Celluloid Heroes. A great love song to Hollywood.

"...And those who are successful, be always on your guard. Success walks hand in hand with failure along Hollywood Boulevard."

X. Trapnel said...

Bliss would it be to luxuriate week-by-week in the Fontaine fountain, but the oeuvres complete de Danielle Darrieux would be very heaven. Madame de... has come up repeatedly in various contexts but has never been a main subject. It is inexhaustible; like the sun, it gives forever.

Also Odd Man Out.

Vanwall said...

"Letyat Zhuravli"?

Simon Abrams said...

FUNERAL PARADE OF ROSES. Because it's playing at Brooklyn's mysterious Spectacle Theater, where apparently the inmates have taken over the asylum and are programming up a storm of eccentric and amazing movies. No one I know has gotten in or out of this single auditorium theater alive but you can check out their schedule at spectacletheater.com/.

I'm intrigued by this place because this week they're showing: RED PSALM, DAY OF THE DEAD, MY MAN GODFREY and FUNERAL PARADE OF ROSES. Oh, to have so much free reign and so little sanity. My dream calling.

kenjfuj said...

I, for one, would be fascinated to get the Siren's take on one of my favorite films of all time, Wong Kar-Wai's Fallen Angels!

bryanD said...

Forbidden Games!

Those two tracking shots! The one early (the pet dog in the stream) informing the finale: Surely that little girl gets helped...or does she?

Even the 11-year-old stinking brat version of myself was somewhat troubled by that most un-pat of endings.

Flickhead said...

You could assemble a YouTube clip of all of Sanders' reaction shots to Peter Sellers in A Shot in the Dark -- they're priceless!

Mike said...

Delurking to propose Moonfleet. Mentioned here on a few occasions, but not discussed at any length.

I was set to suggest Spirit of the Beehive, but upon checking to make sure you haven't already discussed it, I'm delighted to find you have! Briefly, but probably long enough to be disqualified here.

But I'm just a lurker, and anyway the opportunity to read about Joan Fontaine or Constance Bennett for two weeks running (2 actresses largely unknown to me before I found your site) is pretty much why I come here.

Mark said...

I've just discovered your blog (thanks to Jim Emerson at Roger Ebert's site), and I'm thrilled at the prospect of catching up on the writings of a soul so in tune with my own vis-a-vis "old movies".
As for this request, I don't know if you've written about it before, but I'd love to see what you do with David Lean's "Brief Encounter". Thank you!

panavia999 said...

Ah, Siren, I am in a business where telegrams are still sometimes sent, and they are sent by mail these days and don't look like in the movies. They are not delivered by uniformed boy on a bike, who asks you to sign for it with a pencil which he pulls from behind his ear, then thanks you for the 25 cent tip!
:-)

Kent Jones said...

Siren, forgive me if I'm suggesting something you've already written about, but two titles come to mind: WENT THE DAY WELL and STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET.

Lynn said...

I won't ask for a specific movie, but can anyone here among you old movie buffs tell me what is wrong with TCM's HD channel? Well, what I mean is that they don't seem to want to be high definition. Sometimes they show the movie teensy tiny in the middle of the screen and sometimes it's "old TV screen" size with white dotted lines at the top of the screen. Yes, I realize they specialize in classics but we can't use classic TV sets from the 1940s anymore -- if any are left somewhere.

Happy Miser said...

Taken direct from Siren's Alterna-List 6/25/07: The Big Clock.
And this week's Big Screen Classic: Ball of Fire.
OOPS, that's two.
DISQUALIFIED! Not?

Mat said...

Since the hat you're drawing the requests from is velvet, let's go with Blue Velvet.

By the way, how do we know the hat drawing won't be rigged? I don't know - can The Siren be trusted?

Mat

DavidEhrenstein said...

Stunning pic of J-L G and B.B.!!!!
Obviously they wer rehearsing the set up for the opening shot as she's fully clothed.

My favorite Wong Kai Wei is (as you might expect) Happy Together

DavidEhrenstein said...

Wong Kar Wai

Laura said...

I'd love to see your take on the 1960 VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED starring our beloved George. I already knew and liked Mr. Sanders quite a bit from seeing him in ALL ABOUT EVE, REBBECCA, and yes, JUNGLE BOOK (playing the sexiest cartoon tiger ever), but this little sci-fi film is what really sparked my Sanders obsession. And I'm not even a Sci-Fi fiend or anything! VILLAGE was an atypical film for him to do, both in genre and in the type of character he played. Yet the film is really well made and his performance is beautiful, in my opinion.

Plus, the film has Martin Stephens as one of the wee weird ones, man. That little kid is King o'Creepy. He holds his own.

Happy Miser said...

Laura- I was tempted to nominate Village of the Damned, as well, because of the Siren's and my love of all things Sanders.

deoinvicto said...

Flesh and the Devil with Gilbert and Garbo?

Salty Dog (Bill) said...

McCarey's MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW is my suggestion.

Nora said...

As much as I love Village (and I really, really do), I'll go with Mr. Sanders in Lancer Spy (1937). The film is perhaps not an artistic achievement, but fun entertainment with some great backstage stories. GS gets to play two roles, does most of his own stunts (Siren, he duels sans shirt - does that help?) and he really tries (this is his brief pre-total disdain for acting period).

Simon said...

Then again, if we were reading this, we do want to hear about the like...

Nonetheless. I could use some Tarantino analyzing.

And, because I can't find a review of this for the life of me, One Day Like Rain.

60s-era Natalie Wood...Ingmar Bergman...etc...

You get the point.

The Siren said...

Collecting all of these, you may be assured. Meanwhile I am endlessly amused and quite gratified that, given the opportunity to range through cinema history, I am still getting so many George Sanders requests.

Also, I recently learned to my boundless delight that my regular readers include a 22-member George Sanders fan club in the Heartland of America, most of whom lurk, but several of whom are threatening to send requests. That may skew the odds just a smidge. However, apparently many of them also dig Fontaine and Bennett, not to mention Herbert Marshall, George Brent and Randolph Scott, so who knows exactly what may hit my inbox. I can't wait to find out.

Happy Miser, the Siren wrote up The Big Clock a long while back (http://bit.ly/96wXfT) so she'll put you in for Ball of Fire. Someone else requested that too. I see no problem with duplicates.

Mat, I am thinking that I will have the titles drawn by somebody else. If Glenn Kenny's wife is available I may draft her, as Pompeia has nothing on Glenn's LW (that's short for Lovely Wife).

Mike, I've also gotten a couple of emails along the lines of "What's WRONG with two weeks of Joan Fontaine or Constance Bennett?" and this also warms my heart. But please, "just a lurker"? I am hugely grateful to anyone who comes here and reads my ravings, whether or not they venture into comments. And I'm particularly grateful to anyone who thinks two weeks of Constance is a great thing.

Tonio Kruger said...

I'm kinda curious to find out what the Siren thinks about Ulysses...

The Siren said...

Lynn, I haven't had those particularly problems, and I am pretty pathetic in the AV department. But a couple of times when I DVR'd something from TCM in high-def it didn't record, and that spooked me.

Deoinvicto, I did write up Flesh and the Devil for a Goatdog blogathon (I miss that man). Here you go. Feel free to request another; I do love Garbo's silents.

Simon, I'm not sure I can make Funeral Parade of Roses! Although that theater sounds like a blast. Maybe I will put you down for Inglorious Basterds, because I haven't seen it and it involves nitrate. Is that cool?

Trish said...

I like Ann Sheridan, damn it. Thus, my pick is Nora Prentiss.

Simon said...

Nitrate? Hell yes.

Steve Paradis said...

"A Canterbury Tale"
The pure, undistilled essence of the Archers.
An untranslatable foreign film in English.
And virtually unknown in the US.

gmoke said...

According to my search, you've mentioned Buster Keaton once and then only in relation to the Talmadge sisters. I'd like to see you take on Buster and, in particular, "The Cameraman," his last auteur production.

Noel Vera said...

"My favorite Wong Kai Wei is (as you might expect) Happy Together"

Favorite Wong Kar-Wei, favorite gay film, lots and lots of reasons to favorite it...

Lino Brocka's Insiang. Now I need to find the time to mail the DVD.

cgeye said...

I'd like to hear about George Brent films where he was dynamic and *awesome* -- no second banana material allowed, please.

Or, the same for Brian Aherne movies -- JUAREZ, of course, is allowed.

Or, one pre-code movie that's still great but obscure.

Rockysds said...

Has the Siren ever written about Claude Autant-Lara's films at length?

A good number of his films have seen the light of day on dvd in France this past year. Le rouge et le noir and Occupe-toi d'Amélie both with the divine Danielle Darrieux have been released, along with a trio of films through Gaumount's new "on demand" service, but unfortunately none of these have English subtitles.

But my pick for the Siren does have English subtitles: Le diable au corps, which is probably my favorite of the too few Autant-Lara films I have seen so far.

I'm not sure importing from France falls under "easily available", but should it be drawn from the hat, I would gladly donate a copy.

Arthur S. said...

Just to make the film better known, it's out on WARNER ARCHIVE...
King Vidor's AN AMERICAN ROMANCE. Vidor deserves to be better known and this film can make people more curious.

Or maybe Wim Wenders' happiest film - ALICE IN THE CITIES

G.A. Redman said...

How about a more modern film that deals with a past movie like Clint Eastwood's vastly underrated adaptation of Peter Viertel's WHITE HUNTER, BLACK HEART.

I've always wanted to see the George Sanders / Ingrid Bergman requiem for a marriage JOURNEY TO ITALY (aka STRANGERS), but good luck finding it.

-Gary

Flickhead said...

G.A. Redman, Voyage to Italy is available -- in a good, clear transfer -- from Amazon for sixteen bucks (less if you order it from one of their alternate sellers). Click here:

Journey to Italy

Tom B said...

Would love to see a write-up of the Good Fairy. Sullavan, Eric Blore, Herbert Marshall, Sturges and Wyler - who could ask for anything more?

Unless you could manage to review something - I'm not choosy! - of Chevalier's work at some stage. He seems somewhat forgotten and I doubt his contemporary reputation is all that high, but oh my, he's a wonder to behold when he gets going.

Jeff Gee said...

The Laird Cregar Society of Upper Black Eddy, PA, would like to suggest "Hangover Square" (although there was an inexplicable late surge for "Charley's Aunt" with Kay Francis from some of our corresponding members in New Jersey).

G.A. Redman said...

"G.A. Redman, Voyage to Italy is available -- in a good, clear transfer -- from Amazon for sixteen bucks (less if you order it from one of their alternate sellers). Click here"

Ooooo. Thanks for the link.

DavidEhrenstein said...

Viaggio in Italia is an immesely important film. The alienated couple played by Sanders and bergman is Antonioni avant la lettre. Godard was over the moon about it, and its influence pops up in any number of his films.

Peter, the star of Funeral Parade of Roses went on to play The Fool in Kurosawa's Ran

Gloria said...

Steve,

"A Canterbury Tale" is not that untranslatable: it's "veddy, veddy" English, of course, but I -an utter foreigner/barbarian- enjoyed it a lot (Well, anything by the Archers"

The Siren knows that the film on top of my Sanders list is Renoir's This Land is Mine, where we get the not very usual sight of George emoting (and, of course, a terrific performance of our lad Charles)... But let's say that I enthisuastically rise my hand for Viaggio in Italia, among some other commenters.

Also, you must be already overloaded for suggestions for the full year (at least) , but if any day you feel like doing a Naruse, add When a Woman ascends the Stairs, Lightning or Floating Clouds... Or anything, albeit non-Naruse, sporting the lovely Miss Takamine

(I'm ready to donate copies required for viewing)

marco_nj said...

Trouble in Paradise? You've mentioned it a couple of times in passing, but I'd love to read your thoughts in a post dedicated to it.

Kent Jones said...

Since when is A CANTERBURY TALE "untranslatable" and "virtually unknown" in the US? It's a great film known to plenty of people, easily available in a beautiful edition from Criterion.

Gloria, what is the name of that incredible Naruse film with Mifune? It's the only one they made together.

Gloria said...

Kent,

I was aware of Mifune having worked with Naruse, but I haven't been able to see any of their joint ventures, which, according to Imdb are: Tsuma no kokoro (1956) (a wife's heart) and Ishinaka sensei gyojoki (1950)

(I thought there was another one, but it was actually the only time Hideko takamine and Akira Kurosawa worked together: Uma (Horse, 1941)... Yo see, I mistook directors and their respective fetish performers)

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

"Only Angels Have Wings" (1939). I enjoyed Sheila O'Malley's (http://www.sheilaomalley.com/)recent birthday tribute to Jean Arthur and her mention of a couple scenes in this film. I'd love your take on this movie.


And I would herewith like to state my profound disappointment in panavia's revealing that we no longer live in a world where telegram delivery boys perform their duties on bicycle, nor do they receive 25 cent tips. Just leave me with my illusions, please. And if there is no such thing as the Tooth Fairy, I do not wish to hear about it.

Arthur S. said...

I suppose the humour of A CANTERBURY TALE is too "English" which is why people think it's foreign. Personally I found it less "English" than "I Know Where I'm Going!" which has always been the hardest to like of Archers' films for me, despite Roger Livesey and Wendy Hillier! Now I like it of course.

By the way, Viaggio in Italia is available in a good DVD courtesy of the British Film Institute, it's on Region 2. Considering the number the Criterion Collection did on Rossellini's neorealist and history films, I expect a Ingrid and Roberto boxset in the offing, their complete collaboration somewhere down the line. It amazes me how generations of Ingrid Bergman fans have not seen her best work on film becausr of sheer unavailability.

Still it is far and away George Sanders' best performance, Ingrid Bergman is at her most gorgeous and it would be her best film if she had not also made EUROPA 51.

Antonioni himself admired the film though he said that the films of Rossellini which he liked best was PAISAN and the film about St. Francis.

For the French New Wave, Voyage to Italy was the birth of modern cinema and the greatest Italian film, even if it is in English!!!

Trish said...

I feel out of place here amidst the love for George Sanders. I admit that while he is a reliable and sometimes amusing actor, he is also frequently annoying. I don't swoon for him. Blasphemy, right? Yes, I know. ;-)

La Faustin said...

Ooh! Ooh! THE STORY OF TEMPLE DRAKE!

It’s showing tomorrow, November 14, at 1:00 p.m., as part of MOMA’s “To Save and Project” festival; a curator reports the restored version is “spectacular” (Karl Struss!). Otherwise, a somehow appropriately smutty copy is available on Youtube.

I was introduced to this film by a terrific post by your pal David Cairns (http://dcairns.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/jack-la-rue-sexual-outlaw/), but I crave the Siren’s perspective on:

Miriam Hopkins!
A Hollywood dream/nightmare of the South!
An Old Dark House sequence that thrashes from horror to farce to wet dream and around again!
Female desire and shame!

(Special note to Kent Jones: lay off poor Jack La Rue, will ya?)

Fingers crossed!

Yojimboen said...

Last Christmas, after years of hunting, I finally got my hands on The Saint’s Double Trouble with our George playing two roles, The Saint and his nemesis Boss Duke Piato; the delightful thing about the movie is that George makes absolutely no effort to differentiate between the two characters, he plays them identically (he barely changes his hat), and it’s a joy to watch his casual arrogance.

(TCM has now brought out the film as a double-bill DVD with The Saint in London - which is almost as fabulous.)

It’s perverse I know, but George is always at his best for me when he’s clearly phoning it in.

MrsHenryWindleVale said...

The Wise-directed "Born To Kill," perhaps, for the Claire Trevor fans among your readership?

Kent Jones said...

Gloria, it's A WIFE'S HEART I'm thinking of. Quite a movie. But most of Naruse is pretty special.

La Faustin - ummmm....I can't even remember when I said or wrote something about him. The strange thing is that the guy is now basically known for two movies, with very similar stories, playing very similar roles. And as hilariously (but lovably) terrible as I think he is in TEMPLE DRAKE, I find him extremely touching in MISS BLANDISH.

Trish said...

Mrs. HWV -- a wonderful suggestion for fans of Claire Trevor AND Lawrence Tierney.....

The Derelict said...

More George Sanders!

And on that note, I'm putting in a second vote for Hangover Square.

Or Douglas Sirk's Lured. :D

Laura said...

I remember from a past thread that you're not a fan of Loretta Young, but I'd love your take, pro or con, on one of my favorite pre-Codes, Loretta's MIDNIGHT MARY, directed by William Wellman. It's a fast-moving film with a rather different Loretta than you might be expecting. I think it was Jeanine Basinger who wrote of that film "This isn't your grandmother's Loretta Young." :) It's part of the Forbidden Hollywood Vol. 3 DVD set.

Or alternatively, I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING! which is mentioned in passing in a comment above. I was introduced to that movie a year or two ago and fell in love with it. It's always interesting to read someone else's insights!

Best wishes,
Laura

Karen said...

Oh, geez, I hope we're not limited to one?

I can't do it!

The photo for this post is from Red-headed Woman, isn't it? That's one of my favorite Harlow films--and it has Chester Morris, whose profile I love!--so that could be one....

I'd also like to add my own favorite Powell/Pressburger, A Matter of Life and Death, aka Stairway to Heaven, which I don't think you've covered other than in comments.

Also: Rouben Mamoulian's City Streets, starring Sylvia Sidney and an almost impossibly beautiful Gary Cooper, and including some stunning directorial choices. I don't know if it's available, but I have no doubts that my fellow salonistes could come up with a copy.

Also: Trouble in Paradise, for reasons too obvious to mention.

And finally: The Happy Time, both because it is delicious and because I was in part responsible for your seeing it.

Exiled in NJ said...

The young and the mature Jean Simmons:

So Long At The Fair

All The Way Home

Flickhead said...

...but only if the Siren is hip to Jean's indescribable, boundless beauty. No need to have my illusions shattered.

The Siren said...

Flickhead, the Siren adores Jean Simmons and has said so!

Karen, yes, it's only one--I'm putting you down for The Happy Time.

Flickhead said...

{whew!}

(wipes forehead)

Karen said...

Only one! Ack!!

Well, if I'm allowed to, I'll root for you to choose So Long at the Fair from Exiled's rasher of Simmons. That's just a fabulous piece of work and Jean is EXQUISITE.

Trish said...

Yep, Midnight Mary is a great role for Loretta Young. Equal to the work given to Stanwyck, Davis and Crawford at that time. And Loretta does a fine job with it...

Yojimboen said...

Karen, the almost impossibly beautiful Mr. Cooper in City Streets.

in which his character name is, bless his cotton socks, "The Kid".

Vanwall said...

If you go with Jean Simmons, my vote is for "Uncle Silas".

MrsHenryWindleVale said...

> the almost impossibly beautiful Mr. Cooper.

Truer words words were never typed. Speaking for myself, though, I gravitate toward the Cooper of "General Died At Dawn" or "Desire"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxWXCmMoxpE

... although, of course, in "General" one gets the comic pleasure of hearing Clifford Odets dialogue seemingly designed for manic young John Garfield emerging from GC's quite unlikely yap.

Karen said...

Oh, bless you, Yojimboen!

As I've mentioned before in these comments, I saw City Streets at Film Forum and, in that very scene you linked to, which is the first time that Cooper is seen, the audience let out an audible and simultaneous gasp. Seeing that reveal and close-up on a big screen--oh, man, there's nothing like it.

Jenn said...

I would love to read your take on Manhatten Melodrama. Gable, Powell and Loy ahhhhh........

Noel Vera said...

Something way out of your comfort zone, Siren (well, not Cannibal Holocaust). Maybe from a country whose films you've never seen.

Though if you like Sirk, if you like women's melodrama, maybe with neorealist urban slum ambiance, my choice is right there, I think.

Skimpole said...

Oooh, this sounds fascinating. There are so many possible choices. How about "Death in Venice"? Post-Leopard Visconti doesn't get enough respect.

taci said...

The Thin Man - let's have some fun!

Flickhead said...

Could it be time for Siren to check out Performance?

Helena said...

Um, I feel a bit presumptuous chipping in with my requests, as I generally lurk but can't contribute. But I would dearly, dearly like to read your review of Bullet in the Head, just because I have tried twice (as a devotee of Tony Leung rather than John Woo) to watch that movie and just cannot get through the first half hour without making 'nyaargh' noises and switching it off.

Could I also second suggestions for Naruse, specifically, Sounds of the Mountain? And since Wong Kar Wai has been suggested, how about In the Mood for Love.

Otherwise 'The Good Fairy.'

But whowever wins, the result will be a treat.

jsom said...

I would love for you to write up 'A Bell for Adano' but I don't think that is available on DVD so my official request will be 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn'.

Quirky Character said...

Any William Holden movie that you have not covered yet will be most welcome. I have finished my private Holden festival, and would like to know what you think about, say, The Counterfeit Traitor (1962), or any other movie of Bill The Most Wonderful.

DavidEhrenstein said...

Yes, be certain to check out Performance! More timely than ever what with Keith Richard's memoir Life just out. Colin McCabe's BFI essay/book has all the skinny on this modern classic -- the film from which ALL British gangster flicks proceed.

tomoe said...

Yes, please! How about The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry? (Sanders)

Daniela said...

Has someone already been able to validly cast his/her vote for “I Know Where I'm Going!”? If not, I'd be more than glad to do it.
In case that's already been taken care of, I would ask for some Chabrol. How about “Les Biches”?
And a big YES to Inglorious Basterds – I'd love to get The Siren's view on that one.

It's hard being limited to one. I find myself already picking out titles for Xmas 2011...

Flickhead said...

David, as I’m sure you know, Keef has absolutely nothing nice to say about Cammell in his book.

Meanwhile, Sony/Columbia released the Cammell-scripted, pre-Performance psychedelic heist film Duffy (co-starring James Fox!) on DVD-R. Here’s my review.

The Rush Blog said...

How about the two movies that Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda did together called "THE MAD MISS MINTON" and "THE LADY EVE"?

DavidEhrenstein said...

No surprise that keith had nothing good to say about Cammell as he wasn't allowed on the set and was deathly afraid that Mick was stealing Anita from him.

Petty theft of course in that Anita (then as always) went her own way. (She has recently popped up in Stephen Frears' scandalously ignored Cherie.)

I had the great pleasure of meeting cammell back in the 80's as he was doing his own publicity for his teriffic -- and barely known -- thriller White of the Eye. First and last time I ever met a filmmaker handing out press materials at a screening. He was quite pleased that I knw nearly everything these was to know about him. But as Barbara Steele says (and she knew him from WAY back in the day) "Oh he was a dark one." Brilliant, yet at some level clinically depressed and always on the verge of suicide-- a verge he eventually gave into. I gather he saw death as a "trip."

Nice piece on Duffy I saw it when it came out and could sense that there was a genuinely hip movie buried somewhere underneath it. The best thing about the film was it brought Cammell to James Fox -- and the rest is MAJOR cinematic history.

Gareth said...

Definitely right within your comfort zone, but you've mentioned this several times without ever allowing yourself to dive in:

Footlight Parade

Gloria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gloria said...

Helena, I am at times (Naruse-wise) so takamine minded that I overlook films with other excellent Japanese actresses: In Sound of the Mountain, Setsuko Hara is so good, all smiling and bearing outside, all aching inside: However, if in that film she's not far from the model musume she plays in Tokio story, in her other Naruse film Repast (Meshi, 1951, she's a bit more non-conformist (more in the Takamine brainwave, so to say)

Flickhead said...

David, thanks for the Duffy compliment.

Agree with you about Cherie -- have you seen that one, Siren?

DavidEhrenstein said...

The return of Whit Stillman!

Tom Shone said...

I'd like to suggest something from the following list: the original Assault on Precinct 13, American Gigolo, Reds, Aliens, Something Wild, Dead Calm, The Last of the Mohicans, Ronin, or The Contender. Whichever appeals.

B said...

I absolutely love Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast's Topaze (what especially sticks in my memory are the classroom scenes) and if you like it too - would like to see you shine your spotlight on it (if you haven't done so already).

A movie I have never managed to find but would like to hear your take on is "A Zoo In Budapest".

I recently discovered Criterions Eclipse set of Hiroshi Shimizu films - all brilliant, but maybe I'd put "Ornamental Hairpin" at the front of the list.

Kent Jones said...

Gloria, Hara is also in DAUGHTERS, WIVES AND A MOTHER. A great film.

Trish said...

I used up my request, so I'm hoping someone asks for Beat Girl.

Tom Shone said...

After due consideration, the film I would most like to read the Siren on is Michael Mann's Last of the Mohicans

Gloria said...

Darn! I forgot that one, Kent!

And I am more than ashamed as I saw it and was rather struck by it: I suffered so seeing Hara as the woman who can't say no... And Tatsuya Nakadai is gorgeous in that one!

Skimpole said...

This isn't directly related to this post, but since you once asked, "Senso" on DVD, next February.

Trish said...

Last of the Mohicans is an honest to goodness guilty pleasure.

Vanwall said...

Tatsuya Nakadai films would be good choices, I'd recommend the Human Condition series, but that's really three films, altho it is fantastic work. For a one shot, I'd Kihachi Okamoto's "Dai-bosatsu tōge",(Sword of Doom) with Nakadai and Mifune, a truly fascinating look at personal visions of honor and dishonor.

Yojimboen said...

Although not a vintage melodrama, its claim to that classification isn’t in doubt – let’s just call it a member of that family. I believe you have voiced a liking for it, but (as they say out there in Murka) I could sure feature hearin’ you talk about my favorite movie of the decade – the movie that almost out-Sirks Sirk, Far From Heaven.

DavidEhrenstein said...

Beat Girl ? FABULOUS! Edmond T. Greville (the Edgar G. Ulmer of France) directing Adam Faith Gillian Hills (the other bird on the purple paper in Blow-Up), Noelle Adama and -- as if that weren't enough -- David Farrar of Black Narcissus fame.

The late visconti in need of attention is Conversation Piece. A beautiful piece of "filmed theater" a la Mankiewicz it stars Burt Lancaster (as Visconti's alter ego yet again), Silvana Mangano, Helmut Berger and two very cute young young actors (male and femal respectively) whose names I forget. Unable to stand or sit Visconti directed it lying on a cot (as Sternberg did with The Shanghai Gesture)

An elderly professor long retired from the world finds he's being invaded by it when a well-do-do woman (guess who) enconses her boytoy (well DUH!) in the apartment above him and he's visited by her son and daughter for three-ways.

And that's just the opening!

gmoke said...

"In 1979, Brando proposed to film director Cammell (Performance) that they collaborate on a China Seas pirate story. Brando improvised scenes and Cammell wrote a 165-page treatment; in 1982, Cammell worked the same material into an incomplete novel. Brando dropped the project, but Cammell's widow revived it after Brando's death, and Knopf's Sonny Mehta hired David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film) to gather the extant materials and finish the book. The stylish result will delight readers who love movies, Marlon Brando, sea stories, Chinese pirates or adventure tales."

The novel is called _Fan-Tan_.

Flickhead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
VP81955 said...

Have you finally seen "The Smiling Lieutenant," nearly five years after you mentioned you hadn't seen it in your Miriam Hopkins entry? It's vintage pre-Code Lubitsch, with Maurice Chevalier and a young Claudette Colbert as well. Jazz up your lingerie!

The Siren said...

I am here, scribbling down requests furiously, but drowning in work!

Also, I'm gonna need a bigger hat.

Yojimboen said...

David, leave us not forget Beat Girl (aka Wild for Kicks) was a break-through movie for several soon-to-be icons: Christopher Lee as sleazy as he ever got, the wistful Peter McEnery, the smoking pre-Saturday Night and Sunday Morning Shirley-Anne Field and an unbilled pre-Poor Cow Carol White.
(Adam Faith gets A for effort, but not much more.)

Gillian Hills - a lovely girl - was actually very good, she certainly delivered more than was asked of her – her look (hair and pout) was pure Bardot/Demongeot and she pulled it off very nicely.

But the delight is a 21-yr-old Ollie Reed (looking about 15) who is billed as “Plaid Shirt”. He may have been aiming at Gérard Blain in Les Cousins (or vice versa; they were contemporary releases).

The opening is just a wonder to watch.

Trish said...

David, Yay! THE David Farrar, also of The Small Back Room and Solomon and Sheba. ;-), which also features our very own George Sanders, still reliable, still amusing and offering a very silent film-style performance.

Trish said...

And how about the John Barry Seven? David and Yoji, I watched Beat Girl and The System aka The Girl-Getters back to back. Wow! So refreshing coming from the era of Frankie and Annette...

Yojimboen said...

As a public service – no, no don’t thank me – Beat Girl in its grotty entirety.

(Double-click to enlarge screen.)

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bryanD said...

This thread has wended itself into basic films territory (at least George Sanders has petered out! Do.not.get.GS.) so I will put in a second request for Forbidden Games (1952) along with Ponette (1996), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), and/or Rules of the Game (1939).
(Yes, the French do films best overall...that's a good topic, too. Note how Ponette is not maudlin, if you dare.)

I agree with those further up, that Mann's version of Last of the Mohicans is excellent. Had Mr Mann resisted those unfortunate artillery hit camera close-ups---cue the gymnasts!---it would have been perfect. As it is, a little mental editing keeps it an A.

Also, "Yohimboen" reminds me of Yojimbo. Great flick! (Too Bad about Throne of Blood.)

Finally, my basic pick: Casino.
IS it the best mafia flick ever? I think so. Followed by Mean Streets and The Godfather. The Godfather Part2 is fatally flawed. Goodfellas: good but hinky.

Actor retrospective? Howabout James Mason? Just typin'...

Good blog.

DavidEhrenstein said...

My favorite director in the whole damned world, Patrice Chereau played the French general in Mann's The Last of The Mohicans

I recently devoted an entire day to Chereau's art at Dennis Cooper's blog.

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David Stafford said...

Picnic

DavidEhrenstein said...

"Aren't they graceful? You used to dance like that, Flo."

MovieMan0283 said...

No doubt you're overwhelmed by requests by now, and I don't intend to add to them in the last 1h10m window of opportunity (though I'll heartily second the first two suggestions as the most compelling, Performance and Forbidden Games are also intriguing possibilities).

Rather, I'm dropping in just to gape at that banner picture and lodge my commendation: sweet Jesus, what a picture!

This'll probably get lost in the shuffle, but where'd you find it?

johnconverse said...

Just one? NO!!

For George Sanders, might I suggest "The Private Affairs of Bel-Ami?

I bet you've already covered Cisco Pike.

Cutter's Way/Who'll Stop The Rain - greatest 60s-hangover double-bill ever!

Act of Violence.

and a buried treasure: Running Hot (1984) aka: Highway To Hell (in UK), stunningly nihilistic and headlong love-on-the-run movie starring Eric Stoltz and the long awol Monica Carrico

and yes, The Phenix City Story

La Faustin said...

The SUSPENSE ...

Killdaggy said...

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gmoke said...

Cutter's Way got Santa Barbara of that time very, very well. What a surreal place it was.

Flickhead said...

Cutter's Way also provides a few minutes with Baroness van Pallandt, once part of the Nina & Frederik singing duo, later just Nina ("Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?" from On Her Majesty's Secret Service). After she split from hubby Floris Nicolas Ali, Baron van Pallandt in 1969 (who'd later be shot dead drug trafficking in 1994), Nina hooked up with Clifford Irving in Ibiza and can be glimpsed in Welles's F for Fake.

Jeez, Siren, Cutter's Way gets my vote, too. Great performances from Jeff Bridges and John Heard; expert direction by Ivan Passer; and a fascinating score by Jack Nitzsche mixing theremin and glass harmonica. "It's always good to have a little Bone around the home," as Alex would say.

ParamedicX said...

1984's Reckless with Aidan Quinn and Daryl Hannah. geatest. 1980's. dance. scene. ever.