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The Return

I’m back in business (or whatever this is) after being down for a few days. My ISP decided to change servers without warning, and apparently these things take time. But from now on your experience of will be even more fast paced and generally scintillating than ever, thanks to the shiny new technology that is now in place. I hope.

Apologies to everyone who was inconvenienced by the outage. Now’s the time to let fly with those pent-up comments.

Where were we?

67 comments to The Return

  • Kent Jones

    Nicolas – “It must be the sun…”

    C. Mason Wells – maybe you’re right. But I think it’s more a matter of a faulty concept

    The Criterion CAV disc is tremendous – the script, storyboards, Carringer’s commentary and an audio essay, excerpts from the silent version (PAMPERED YOUTH), and the radio version.

    Alex – as chance would have it, I started my Lewton film with a clip from AMBERSONS and the Selznick story.

  • Kent Jones

    Cyd Charisse is dead…

  • Brian Dauth

    Cyd Charisse can never truly die.

  • i missed that (those) in Blaze Starr Goes Nudist, though having spent a good bit of time in queens, i’d say making it appear like a grotesquely (more likely, de-)populated lunar surface doesn’t seem like that considerable a cinematic challenge.

  • Brad Stevens

    “some marginal interesting films in the sub “b and z” genre like Michael Winner’s “the mechanic””

    It should be pointed out that the main reason THE MECHANIC is so interesting is that it was originally going to be directed by Monte Hellman, who supervised the writing of the screenplay. Many of the film’s more ambitious touches, such as the dialogueless opening ten minutes, reflect the aesthetic tastes of Hellman far more than they do those of Michael Winner.

    By the way, this is a great wesbite. I only just discovered it thanks to a brief mention by Blake Lucas in one of his recent posts to ‘A Flim By…’.

  • Kent Jones

    Hi Brad. You’ve raised an interesting point. There are many films that were carefully developed by a filmmaker who subsequently left the project, but the traces of whose whose creative spirit remained in the finished product. A.I. is an obvious one, I guess NIGHT PASSAGE would be another. Regarding Hellman, FAT CITY is a fascinating example. It’s a great film by a(n) intermittently great filmmaker, but it’s unlike any other Huston film, before or since.

  • nicolas saada

    Boorman developed “A simple Plan” I understand. And Fritz Lang worked on Archie Mayo’s “Confirm or deny, from a story by Fuller. And Spartacus has a lot of Mann’s stuff in it.
    There could be a great thread about films we could call “unfinished business” works.

  • Brad Stevens

    I believe that some of Lang’s footage remains in CONFIRM OR DENY, as well as in Mayo’s MOONTIDE. Mayo’s THE HOUSE ACROSS THE BAY includes a scene by Hitchcock.

    Monte Hellman directed several scenes in AVALANCHE EXPRESS, and about two thirds of SHATTER without credit.

    John Boorman was supposed to direct THE LAST RUN. The film was then started by John Huston (he directed the opening scene), then completed by Richard Fleischer.

    Abel Ferrara was supposed to direct NEVER DIE ALONE. Watching that film was a painful experience for me, since I could imagine what Ferrara would have done with it.

    VENDETTA (officially directed by the late Mel Ferrer) was begun by Max Ophuls, and contains some thematic/stylistic traces of his contribution.

    Akira Kurosawa has one scene in TORA, TORA, TORA.

    Orson Welles directed his own scenes in DAVID AND GOLIATH, one scene in THE SOUTHERN STAR, and most of BLACK MAGIC/CAGLIOSTRO. The latter is a remarkable film with numerous Wellesian touches.

    Then, of course, there’s Von Stroheim’s contribution to MERRY GO ROUND. And the scenes Nicholas Ray shot for various Howard Hughes productions.

  • Kent Jones

    I meant flms like THAT LADY IN ERMINE, that had been developed by one person and then fallen into someone else’s hands, but which still bear the mark of the original filmmaker. VENDETTA was, like DESIRE ME, a stew of different filmmakers’ contributions, including those of Preston Sturges and, obviously, Howard Hughes.

  • Dave K

    I’d say one of the best examples of that is “Winchester 73,” which was initiated by Lang but filmed by Mann and has strong characteristics of both directors.

  • nicolas saada

    Well wasn’t Preminger’s “Laura” initially developed by Rouben Mamoulian ?
    And what of “Come and get it” ? Is it a Wyler/Hawks stew ?

  • michael worrall

    Nicolas wrote: “Boorman developed “A simple Plan” I understand.”

    I was unaware of that. Boorman was also in development with “Final Analysis” for which he had a play or pay contract. From what I heard, Richard Gere’s disagreements with Boorman resulted in Boorman walking and Phil Joanou replacing him.

  • Kent Jones

    Preminger was the producer of LAURA and it was really his baby from the beginning. He tossed out everything Mamoulian shot and made the movie he’d always wanted to make. He’d been banned from directing by Zanuck after walking away from KIDNAPPED, and manoeuvered his way into producing LAURA, and he probably didn’t make things easy for Mamoulian.

    Yes, Boorman developed A SIMPLE PLAN.

  • michael worrall


    If memory serves me right, Film Comment had a piece on Boorman during the release of “Beyond Rangoon.” I wrote my undergrad thesis at SUNY Purchase on John Boorman, which was actually read by him. I believe “Beyond Rangoon” is criminally underrated and a major film by Boorman in auteurist terms. At some point I hope at add a full chapter on “Beyond Rangoon” to my thesis.

    I also believe that “In My Country”, which was dumped by Sony Pictures and dismissed by mainstream critics, was one of the strongest films of 2004. The film had a very different style then Boorman’s other films, particularly in the framing.

    Does anyone know if “The Tiger’s Tail” has a distributor?

  • The Tiger’s Tail was picked up by Outsider Pictures, which had planned an April release. Looks like it got pushed back to August.

  • Kent Jones

    Yes, THE TIGER’S TAIL keeps getting pushed back. A shame. I wonder if they’ll wind up just releasing it on DVD?

  • Brad Stevens

    THE TIGER’S TAIL had a UK theatrical run, and was released on DVD here last year. The film is obviously quite striking, but with a disturbing undercurrent of misogyny (the mother must be ejected from the narrative so that father and son can bond).