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World Domination Tour 2011 Continues

We’ve fueled up the tour bus, printed an extra supply of souvenir t-shirts and laid in a couple of cartons of Red Bull as Kehrfest rolls on this week with two thrilling personal appearances. Yes, it’s your chance to get a copy of “When Movies Mattered” personally defaced by the author! On Friday, Sept. 16 I’ll be heading up to Emerson College in faraway Boston to introduce a double bill of Raoul Walsh’s pre-code comedies “Me and My Gal” and “Sailor’s Luck” at the Bright Family Screening Room of Emerson’s Paramount Center. Showtimes are 6 and 8:15 pm, with more information here.

Also on Friday, BAMcinematek in Brooklyn begins a series of six films drawn from reviews in the book, starting with Albert Brooks’s brilliant comedy “Lost in America” at 6:50 and 9:30 pm. On Monday, Sept. 19, BAM will screen a rare print of Otto Preminger’s great and final film “The Human Factor” at 4:30, 6:50 and 9:30 pm; assuming I don’t get lost in the Atlantic Avenue subway station, I’ll be at the 6:50 screening and attempt a q and a session afterwards. The series continues with Kenji Mizoguchi’s “Story of the Last Chrysanthemums” (Tuesday, Sept. 20, 6:30 and 9:15); Blake Edwards’s “10” (Monday, Sept. 26, 6:50 and 9:15), Manoel de Oliveira’s “Francisca” (Tuesday, Sept. 27, 7 pm) and Alfred Hitchcock’s “Family Plot” (Wednesday, Sept. 28, 6:50 and 9:30). More details here.

As always, I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. Please do drop by if you find yourself in the vicinity.

83 comments to World Domination Tour 2011 Continues

  • Barry Putterman

    On the other hand Alex, if it is just 1938, then maybe another world war is just a year away. Blacker than noir speaking that is.

  • Alex,
    STAVISKY is a remarkable film. Especially like the moving camera shot of the pyramid.

    As for the 1938 comparison, as Paul Krugman wrote in his blog today, “this too shall pass!”
    So we all should hang in there.

  • Tom Brueggemann

    It’s a weird thing for an auteurist to try to find a non-director’s voice in a film, so I’m trying to come to terms with the first half of Alfred Cutt’s White Shadows, written, ADd, edited and art directed by Alfred Hitchcock, shown at the Academy theatre tonight.

    First on the event – not sold out like the Upstream screening last year – lots of empty seats. Some walk outs when reminded it was an incomplete film. More walkouts after the two shorts.

    Introduced in the crowd – Veronica Cartwright, Ed Lauter, Diane Baker. Not a huge surviving cast member LA resident Hitch veterans to be honest.

    Norman Lloyd (walked right by him, he really doesn’t look a day over 80; sadly his wife died just a few weeks ago) and Eva Marie Saint were to be part of the panel (I didn’t stay) – the latter was to read the synopsis of the rest of the film.

    The 1914 Mabel Normand short (she directed was fun); the 1924 Monty Banks two-reeler Oil’s Well suggests that he is someone to research more – not Harold Lloyd level, but somewhat similar.

    Anyway, here’s what seemed notable about the main event – the female lead(s) – two sisters, one disappears, the other searches for her in the vice dens of Paris, so there was a theme of duality going on; also the well-brought up girl going bad; also in the production design, the centerpiece set was a “bohemian” night club in Paris, with a very significant set of stairs descending for the outside doors to the “underworld” of decadence. (The print ends in the second extended scene there – it looked like it was getting interesting).

    I’m sure others can and will find more of note, but at this point, a curiosity, not (this hadn’t been suggested) some sort of major rediscovery.

  • Just wanted to say I saw our host’s presentation of THE HUMAN FACTOR on Monday at BAM and really enjoyed it. (I asked the question about Iman but unfortunately had to leave before getting my copy of the book signed.) BAM had to use a (good) French-subtitled print, proof of how the movie has disappeared from view here. Would love for the MGM Limited Edition Collection (if applicable) to pick it up for MOD release.

    The movie has one of the best-ever final shots of any director’s career, of the telephone dangling from its receiver. Preminger’s career had been a telephone hanging off its receiver for a decade, so it means something more than just a great way to cap that particular film. What are other significant final shots we can think of from directors’ careers? I suppose Barbara Harris’ wink at the end of FAMILY PLOT is another; didn’t see it at BAM but I think it ends with that.

  • Robert, sorry I missed saying hello Robert, but thanks very much for coming by. It was a good turnout for a film that esoteric, and that final shot is still as devastating as ever.

    And Tom, thanks for the report on “White Shadows.” I hope it turns up here before too long. Sometimes a little hype is necessary to get attention for revival premieres, though it sounds like it may have backfired in this case.

  • Brad Stevens

    “What are other significant final shots we can think of from directors’ careers?”

    It’s not technically his final film, but the shot of John Cassavetes waving goodbye at the end of LOVE STREAMS never fails to reduce me to tears.

  • Tom Brueggemann

    Barbara Harris (likely representing Hitchcock) winking at the audience in the final shot of Family Plot.

  • Jim Gerow

    Don’t forget Anne Bancroft’s final words at the end of Ford’s 7 WOMEN.

    My thanks also to Dave for making it possible to see THE HUMAN FACTOR. That powerful ending shot is prefigured in the beautiful Saul Bass opening title card which is one of the few remnants of the earlier Preminger style.

    And following some of the Netflix discussion, this week I decided to switch from Netflix to Blockbuster because of the availability of a number of titles not carried by the red envelope. My first DVD currently on its way–Preminger’s SUCH GOOD FRIENDS. They also carry all the new Criterion titles on DVD or Bluray at no extra monthly charge. Anyone considering Blockbuster can try it free for a month. No doubt Qwikster will always be around to come back to, right?

  • Robert Garrick

    I’m stunned that there were no U.S. copies of “The Human Factor” available for BAM. I saw a perfect (and non-subtitled) copy at the AFI Theatre (in the Kennedy Center) maybe fifteen years ago; I’m not sure where they got it.

    The film isn’t that old. I remember watching Preminger talk about it with Tom Snyder on the “Tomorrow Show” in 1979.

    Film is disappearing so quickly. I’m haunted by something Joseph McBride wrote at this site a few years ago, during a discussion of “The Searchers.” He was talking about the deteriorating prints of the film, and the lack of a single VistaVision projector on planet earth, and then he said: “It’s not the film it used to be.”

  • Robert Regan

    Not, as I recall, the final shot of the film, But in the last shot on film of Robert Donat, he looks into the camera in close-up and says, “We shan’t, I think, be seeing each other again.” And, of course, he was dead at 54 before The Inn of the Sixth Happiness was released.

  • Brian Dauth

    Final shots of SLEUTH and …ALL THE MARBLES (and I am in great agreement with Brad’s mention of LOVE STREAMS).

  • Not to be forgotten is Bert Lahr wandering around the stage picking up and examining props in his last shot at the end of “The Night They Raided Minskys”.

  • The Fanciful Norwegian

    …the lack of a single VistaVision projector on planet earth…

    Not that it does much good for an average shmuck like me, but Paramount apparently still has a VV projector in one of their screening rooms.

  • Alex


    Just trying to view the brighter side. Didn’t mean to end on one of those Borzagian notes with sun beams breaking through the clouds.

    Mike Grost,

    Not sure which Krugman blog you got “this too shall pass” from. Last one I’d read had written “cCatastrophe looms.” (On the other hand, U.S. and European markets –including out key currentseismograph, the CAC 40– finished up today.)

  • Barry Putterman

    Alex, I’m all for looking on the bright side. So let us consider that 1938 was just as good a film year as 1939 and Hitler had not yet invaded Poland. A picture far more pacific than the ending of any Borzage movie I can recall.

  • Tom Brueggemann

    This goes back to the mid-80s, and is one of tragedies of my life. I booked the Fine Arts Theatre in Chicago. We were playing the Universal Hitchcock revivals, and they wanted to show them in Vistavision someplace. We had a huge projection booth (necessary for installing the projectors, which had special requirements). They sent the top people from Boston Light and Sound out to check on us. They found that the keystoning (the angle from the 2nd balcony booth) was too great to provide a proper image. Thus, no chance to experience this.
    So anyway, back then at least the projectors still existed.

  • Stephen Bowie

    The resident Robert Mulligan cult seems to have largely collapsed following Kent Jones’s regrettable exeunt; however, THE NICKEL RIDE now has a DVD release date of November 22. Looking forward to finally seeing it.

  • Barry Putterman

    Good gravy Stephen, Kent’s exeunt is indeed regrettable, but what ever gave you the impression that interest in Mulligan is a cult or that it has herein disappeared!?

    The news that THE NICKEL RIDE is being released on DVD is most welcome and I am certain that joy will reign supreme on this site when it occurs.

  • Patrick

    Final shots of 7 WOMEN, THE 1000 EYES OF DR. MABUSE.

  • L’ATALANTE, THE DEAD, CET OBSCUR OBJET DU DÉSIR, SLEUTH, L’INNOCENTE, OFFRET (LE SACRIFICE)… trying to remember the final images of LE PETIT THEATRE DE JEAN RENOIR (Le Roi d’Yvetot) and FANNY OCH ALEXANDER (the bishop’s ghost?)…


  • Brad Stevens

    The last shot of Hawks’ RIO LOBO shows an injured John Wayne walking away from the camera, being supported by Sherry Lansing. It’s an extremely appropriate final image, especially considering that Lansing would go on to become a studio executive associated with the generation of filmmakers who replaced Hawks.

  • Joseph H. Lewis’ last known work is the episode THE MAN FROM NOWHERE (1966), in the TV series THE BIG VALLEY. It is his 106th known film. (New Lewis TV shows are still being discovered, and his filmography is unsettled.)

    Here is the account of its last shot, from my web-book on Lewis:

    The final shot is also a camera movement. It looks out through a narrow door: a sign that Lewis’ options are narrowing, and his filming world is coming to an end.

    The shot includes many Lewis techniques, almost as if Lewis were planning a final shot for his career:

    At the start, we see one door nested within a view of another door: a two-level deep staging.
    Jarrod (Richard Long) moves from the background of the frame to the foreground.
    He crosses from outdoors to indoors, through the barn door.
    The camera moves to the other side of the barn. Later, the camera will move back to the door, in a reverse of the original move. This is an example of Lewis’ paired camera movements, here all in one shot.
    We hear the heroine first as a voice, but we don’t see her.
    Then she appears, but she and Jarrod face in the same direction, so they are not looking at each other.
    The end of the shot includes one of Lewis’ beloved wagon wheels.

    The finale is somber, even bitter. The heroine confesses guilt, like both the hero and women in The Big Combo, and Lucas McCain on his knees in Face of Yesterday. The heroine, who has failed in her quest to find real life, promises Jarrod she will keep on searching. A commitment to a difficult goal, as a farewell to the cinema.

  • Stephen,
    Hope you can bring your TV expertise to bear, on unearthing and analyzing Robert Mulligan’s vast work for television.

    THE NICKEL RIDE is my favorite Mulligan film. It is a strange, surreal work. It is not a conventional crime film. It is more like an avant-garde play, like TINY ALICE (Albee) or THE GHOST SONATA (Strindberg). It has a rich use of bright color.

    One of the many episodes Mulligan directed for the TV show SUSPENSE has emerged on DVD. This is F.O.B. VIENNA (1953). It is already a work looking forward to THE NICKEL RIDE (1974). Hero Walter Matthau is immersed in a strange, miasmic situation, full of moody atmosphere, incomprehensible events, and slow propulsive camera movements.

    I heard Mulligan speak after a preview of SUMMER OF 42, in 1971. He expressed great pride in his TV work, especially the color broadcast of THE MOON AND SIXPENCE.
    Mulligan also wore a spiffy white Mod suit, like the hero of THE NICKEL RIDE to come.

    Time Magazine in 1959 on THE MOON AND SIXPENCE: “the play’s bright scenes, brilliantly colored, were as bold and carefully constructed as the Gauguin masterpieces they were meant to match. Strickland in the South Seas was an eloquent portrait of the developing artist and the degenerating man. The combination of camera work, scene design, direction and acting was an example of television at its greatest.”

  • Alex

    Stephen Bowie,

    It’s my impression that past releases of THE NICKLE RIDE have all bee unfortunate cuts. Am I correct thinking this? Is the new release likely to be one more in line with Mulligan’s intentions?

  • Brad Stevens

    Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward’s book FILM NOIR gives a running time of 114 minutes for THE NICKEL RIDE. The only version I’ve seen runs 99 minutes, which is the running time more usually listed. Mulligan’s BLOODBROTHERS certainly exists in a number of different cuts.

  • “It’s a weird thing for an auteurist to try to find a non-director’s voice in a film, so I’m trying to come to terms with the first half of Alfred Cutt’s White Shadows, written, ADd, edited and art directed by Alfred Hitchcock, shown at the Academy theatre tonight.”

    Although the credits for “The White Shadow” screened at the Goldwyn last Thursday credited Hitchcock solely for the scenario other sources credit Michael Morton as sole screenwriter, and yet others credit Hitchcock and Morton as collaborators.

    Most interesting and Hitchcockian is the conceit of one twin sister posing as the other, suggesting that the twins taken together make up a single personality.

    The art direction on the interiors is very rich and shows Hitchcock’s use of metonymy, and the set he created for the night club is very detailed and atmospheric.

  • Stephen Bowie

    Mike, Mulligan directed most (all?) of SUSPENSE starting in August 1952 and going through the end of the series in 1954. So quite a bit of his work is represented in the three volumes of DVDs from that show. I have a fair amount of his later live TV work too, but as to sitting down and really studying Mulligan’s early style amid all that, well, it’ll probably have to wait until after I win the lottery. I know at least one scholar who’s working on something along those lines, though.

    Dunno about the DVD of THE NICKEL RIDE. It’s Fox licensing to Shout Factory, it’s a double-feature with Frankenheimer’s lamentable 99 44/100% DEAD, and it’s not Blu-ray. So basically I’d expect to get whatever Fox had on the shelf. Is there any handy documentation on the recutting of NICKEL RIDE and BLOODBROTHERS (and how complete is the Warner Archive disc of the latter)?

  • Brad Stevens

    “BLOODBROTHERS (and how complete is the Warner Archive disc of the latter”

    At 116 minutes it’s probably complete. The original UK video release was cut by something like 20 minutes – perhaps the US VHS was the same.

  • mike schlesinger

    “Mike Schlesinger might recall that Cinecon also recently showed Neill’s THE NINTH GUEST, which I would add to his major achievements.”

    Roy’s or mine?

    Seriously, I requested that Grover Crisp move NINTH GUEST up on the preservation list–he graciously complied–just so we could screen it at Cinecon. (And you don’t know how close it came to not making the cut, but I won’t go there.) Neill does a tremendous job of keeping the film visually exciting (lots of foreground objects), considering that after the first few minutes the action is confined entirely to the apartment.

    One more thing: Best. Clock. Ever.

  • Barry Putterman

    Well Mike, let’s just say that THE NINTH GUEST was a major achievement for Neill, and showing it at Cinecon was a triumph for you, Grover and the entire Cinecon team. May these triumphs never end!

    Indeed, if we turn to the next thread, we see highlighted one of this year’s Cinecon triumphs, THE SERGEANT.

  • Shawn Stone

    Sony’s Screen Classics by Request will be issuing THE BLACK ROOM on DVD-R thru Warner Archive next week.

  • THE BLACK ROOM is already available in an inexpensive Sony box set, “Icons of Horror–Boris Karloff,” that’s still in print. (The latest fashion in MOD is to “unbundle” boxed titles on DVD-R, but the set is a better value.)