Monday, October 01, 2012
Tay Garnett: Light Your Torches and Pull Up Your Tights
The Siren has written before about director Tay Garnett: his marriage to actress Patsy Ruth Miller, and his script for and direction of One Way Passage, which the Siren would unhesitatingly cite as one of the best films of the 1930s. And since the 1930s was a great film decade, period, well, you do the math. The Siren has enormous regard for The Postman Always Rings Twice (Garnett on the set above, with the poor unphotogenic creatures who were his stars), thinks Trade Winds, where Joan Bennett went brunette, is a pip, and so is China Seas, thinks a large number of Garnett's many, many other films are subject for further research, as a great critic used to put it.
All this, and Garnett wrote a corking autobiography, called Light Your Torches and Pull Up Your Tights, after the on-set directions he got as an extra in a historical epic. The Siren has, as we all know, read way too many Hollywood memoirs so believe her when she says that this is one of the liveliest, most enjoyable and original you will ever pick up. If you can pick it up, that is. It's out of print.
Now his daughter Tiela has embarked on a project to get the book back into circulation, and at the same time resurrect her father's memory with the public. The Siren hasn't pointed out Kickstarter campaigns before, and has no plans to make a habit of it, but she can't resist this one, because the book really is wonderful. (David Cairns thinks so too; he calls it "magnificent," not an adjective he slings around with abandon.) If Tiela gets sufficient funding, she plans to write a coda to her father's book. The Siren hopes it will fill out the story of his lifelong love for the mysterious Joan Marshfield, which forms such a romantic throughline that would have fit perfectly in one of Garnett's own movies.
The description of the project is here.