29 August 2006

Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger

For anyone with even a passing interest in Powell and Pressburger I wholeheartedly recommend a visit to The Powell and Pressburger pages. The site is run as a labour of love by Steve Crook for it's members i.e the community to promote Powell and Pressburger screenings, DVD and book releases, they've also organised events, not just the location walk for 'A Canterbury Tale' which I attended last Sunday but they've also been to the Scottish Island of Mull where 'I Know Where I'm Going' was filmed.

The Powell and Pressburger Appreciation society - The Powell and Pressburger pages, link.

Coming attraction: Jack Cardiff in conversation

Top; Jack Cardiff, Middle and bottom 2 images from 'Black Narcissus' (1947).

Thanks to my new friends at the Powell and Pressburger appreciation society for the heads up on this one. Ian Christie will be in conversation with Jack Cardiff, Wednesday 20th September 2006 at the National Gallery, Sainsbury Wing.

The National Gallery site, with online booking, link.
Details of other forthcoming attractions on the Powell and Pressburger pages, link.
Jack Cardiff on IMDB, link.

28 August 2006

Real Location # 3 - Peeping Tom

Michael Powell's 'Peeping Tom' has several London based locations.

The first few scenes are filmed around Rathbone Place, off Oxford Street. The film opens with Mark Lewis (Carl Boehm) and a prositute at Newman Passage at the Rathbone Street entrance. The doorway can be seen today.
The newsagent's Mark visits to photograph model's is at the corner of Percy Street and Rathbone Place, suprisingly there is a lot less signage than there was over thirty years ago when the film was shot.

IMDB entry for 'Peeping Tom', link.
Map of Rathbone Place area, link.

Entrance to Newman Passage.

Corner of Percy Street and Rathbone Place.

Time Out - London On Screen season

Showing at 25 cinemas all over the capital.

Time Out London On Screen season, link.

A visit to Chillingbourne, Kent

Chilham aka Chillingbourne in Kent (pictured) is one of the locations for Powell and Pressburger's 'A Canterbury Tale'.

Yesterday I joined Paul Tritton author of 'A Canterbury Tale - Memories of a Classic Wartime Movie', Steve Crook from the Powell and Pressburger Appreciation Society, at least one cast member, several people from the surrounding area that remember the film being made and approximately sixty other enthusiasts of the film for the annual 'A Canterbury Tale' Location Walk.

Once I have some photos developed I will post them here. In the meantime, I understand from Paul that the building to the left of this image (in the tudor style) which is in the square in Chilham was where the bus comes to collect Alison Smith (Sheila Sim) in the film.

21 August 2006

Friz Freleng

Meanwhile on the film blogosphere several film bloggers celebrate the birthday of Friz Freleng. Go to Hell on Frisco Bay for a full list of contributors.

Being completely ignorant to Friz Freleng I had not planned to contribute to this blog a thon. That was until I heard on Radio 4 this evening that here in the UK Tom & Jerry cartoons are about to be censored. I dashed home to see if Tom & Jerry were one of Freleng's creations. They weren't...

Read the full Tom & Jerry censure story on BBC News, link.
See the film blogosphere's Friz Freleng blog a thon at Hell on Frisco Bay, link.
IMDB entry for Friz Freleng, link.
Wikipedia entry for Tom & Jerry, link.
Wikipedia entry for Friz Freleng, link.

Alan Bell, RIP

Alan Bell

Thanks to my friend Ken of The Rehearsal Rooms for making me aware of Alan Bell's passing. I hadn't heard of him before but it seems he'd worked with Jospeh Losey (picture above from 'Accident') Nicolas Roeg and Lindsay Anderson amongst several others.

Obituary in today's Independent of Alan Bell, link.
IMDB entry for Alan Bell, link.

20 August 2006

Gene Tierney

Film and stage beauties # 11: Dorothy Mitchell - Hedges

Reverse reads:

A series of 54, No. 30, Dorothy Mitchell-Hedges.

A series of real photographs now being issued with Black Cat Medium Cigarettes. Carreras Ltd (ESTD 1788) Arcadia Works, London, England.

19 August 2006

Coming attraction: Portrait of an Artist

The National Gallery main site, link.
Portrait of an Artist microsite, including film listings, link.

16 August 2006

Anna Magnani

Photograph by Larry Shaw.

13 August 2006

Coming attraction: The Edinburgh International Film Festival

Jack Lemmon in Save the Tiger (1973).

The Edinburgh International Film Festival starts tomorrow. An article in this months Sight and Sound caught my eye. As part of the festival they have a season called 'Other Voices from The New American Cinema'.
The programme includes; Across 110th Street, Busting, Cockfighter, Dark Star, Electra Glide in Blue, God Told Me To, Head Over Heals, Little Murders, Loving, Mickey and Nicky, Night Moves, Save the Tiger, Scarecrow, Smile, Taking Off, The Crazies, The Driver, The Gambler, The Hired Hand, The Last Detail, The Laughing Policeman, The Spook Who Sat by The Door, Where's Poppa? and the headliner They Might Be Giants.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival, link.
Sight and Sound magazine, link.

12 August 2006

Born on this day: Samuel Fuller

"When you're in the battlefield, survival is all there is. Death is the only great emotion." - Samuel Fuller, The Guardian, 26th February 1991.

IMDB entry for Samuel Fuller, link.
Wikipedia entry for Samuel Fuller, link.

The Typewriter, the Rifle & the Movie Camera

I re-watched this documentary from 1996 earlier today; Fuller's answers to the questions posed by Tim Robbins (the interviewer) offer us some insight to this film maker, who lived an extraordinary life and as the documentary points out had already had two career’s before he even made his first film.
The main theme, for me was that Fuller was a superb story teller, and the quotes below re-enforce this:

Robbins “Your first experience in battle where you actually shot someone. What went through your mind?”
Fuller “Well the thing that went through my mind was that I was alive and he was dead, that’s number one…”
Although Fuller's response might read like flippant wise crack he goes on to tell Robbins how its the face of "number one" that haunts you the more you kill, he is deadly serious and we believe him, he was in battle and brought this authenticity to his war films.

Tim Robbins “What makes a good film?”
Samuel Fuller “Story!”
Robbins “What makes a good story?”
Fuller “A story!”

IMDB entry for ‘The Typewriter, the Rifle and the Movie Camera', link.
Peter Tonguette's review of 'The Typewriter, the Rifle and the Movie Camera' on Senses of Cinema, link.

Dream double bill # 17 'Shock Corridor' and 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'

This week's double bill couples Samuel Fuller's 1963 film 'Shock Corridor' with 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' (1975) directed by Milos Forman. Both films take place inside psychiatric hospitals and give us an insight to what life might be like on the inside and to a certain extent the outside.

IMDB entry for 'Shock Corridor', link.
IMDD entry for 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest', link.
Rick McGrath article on 'Shock Corridor', link.

The pre-title quote from 'Shock Corridor' (1963).

'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' (1975).

10 August 2006

Film and stage beauties # 10: Jackie Day

Reverse reads:

A series of 54, No. 27, Jackie Day.
A series of real photographs now being issued with Black Cat Medium Cigarettes. Carreras Ltd (ESTD 1788) Arcadia Works, London, England.

Coming attraction: Eros

I'd not even heard about this, according to IMDB it was made in 2004 so I'm not entirely sure why it's taken two years to reach British screens. According to the advertisement the release date is 22nd September.

IMDB entry for Eros, link.

08 August 2006

Coming attraction: Volver

Londoners might not be used to seeing Penelope Cruz like this, she is currently on every other bus stop advertising L'Oreal cosmetics with a very different look.
I snapped this image at a local town hall in the village I was staying in on my recent Spanish trip.
The UK release is August Bank Holiday weekend.

Image of Pedro Almodovar and McNamara given to me by Olga Tellez, link.
An interesting article by Michael Atkinson in which he writes a brief career overview and discusses a New York based retrospective on The Village Voice, link.

07 August 2006

More on 'A Canterbury Tale'

I heard back from Paul Tritton today, the details of the walk are posted below, link.

I also couldn't resist posting some images of the film, in part to whet my own appetite.

Further details from Paul Tritton on the location walk for 'A Canterbury Tale'

"It was a new football we agreed on, wasn't it? You've earned it"

Our annual location walk for devotees of A Canterbury Tale will be held at
Chilham (aka ‘Chillingbourne’) near Canterbury
on Sunday, August 27, 2006
Meet at Chilham Railway Station at 2 pm
Our first location stop will be Chilham Mill, where the ‘battle on the river’ scene was filmed in September 1943. We hope to be given permission to go inside the mill and see where ‘Bob Johnson’ and ‘Peter Gibbs’ rewarded ‘Leslie’ and ‘Terry’ for finding the evidence that proved that ‘Thomas Colpeper JP’ was the glueman.

We will then walk to ‘Julliberrie’s Grave’ (the location for the ‘pow’wow’ scene) and Chilham Square, from where we will follow the Chilham Millennium Heritage Trail and discover locations that featured as ‘Chillingbourne’ in several key scenes.

The walk will be led by Paul Tritton, author of A Canterbury Tale – Memories of a Classic Wartime Movie and Steve Crook of the Powell & Pressburger Appreciation Society.

No need to book. Just turn up. Nothing to pay but please give generously to our collection in aid of Kent Kids Miles of Smiles Holiday Respite Home.

Getting there. Find Chilham on www.streetmap.co.uk. If travelling by car, park at the station, in the village car park off Taylor’s Hill, or wherever on-street parking is allowed. If you will be travelling by rail, normally there is a train at 13.10 from Ashford International and at 13.22 from Canterbury West, arriving at Chilham at 13.31 and 13.40 respectively. Please check with http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ before your journey because engineering works sometimes disrupt Sunday services. If you arrive late, follow the waymarked ‘Stour Valley Walk’ from the station to the mill and join us there.
We hope to complete our walk by 5pm. The Chilham Jazz Picnic begins at 6pm. If you would like to attend this event, visit http://www.ashford.gov.uk/events/august.asp for details.
This is a Powell & Pressburger Appreciation Society event.
For more information about this walk visit
or contact mailto:paul.triton@btinternet.com. (tel 01622 741198)

Born on this day: Nicholas Ray

IMDB entry for Nicholas Ray, link.

Wikipedia entry for Nicholas Ray, link.

Jonathan Rosenbaum's overview of Nicholas Ray on Senses of Cinema, link.

David Thomson on Nicholas Ray in The Guardian, link.

Also born on this day; Syndey Howard and Ann Harding.

06 August 2006

From the archive: Privilege (Pan Books x 631)

Front cover reads:

Paul Jones and Jean Shrimpton star in the new, controversial film from Universal Pictures.
John Burke from and original screen-play by Norman Bogner.

Inside reads:

By the same author in PAN books:

Dr Terror's House of Horrors
That Magnificent Air Race
Tales of Unease (Edited by John Burke)
The Hammer Horror Omnibus
The Power Game

Reverse reads:
Paul Jones as he appears in a scene from the new Universal release 'Privilege'. The film which also stars Jean Shrimpton is a John Heyman/Peter Watkins production for World Film Services Ltd. and Memorial Enterprises Ltd. Music by Mike Leander and Mark London; associate producer Timothy Burrell; written by Norman Bogner with additional scenes and dialogue by Peter Watkins. Produced by John Heyman, directed by Peter Watkins.

Link to earlier post of Paul Jones sings songs from 'Privilege', link.

The Maysles Brothers

BBC4 has come up trumps, starting tonight there is a short season of films directed by the Maysles Brothers:

10.30 Albert Maysles - the Poetic Eye, a documentary in their 'Storyville' season.

11.00 Meet Marlon Brando.

Monday 7th August

10.30 Gimmie Shelter

Tuesday 8th August

10.30 Grey Gardens

Wednesday 9th August

10.30 Salesman

05 August 2006

Born on this day: John Huston

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

'The Maltese Falcon' was I think the first film of Huston's I saw, I enjoyed it immensely so I thought I'd post some images from the opening sequence here.

BBC are showing three films this week to celebrate the centenary of Huston's birth.
BBC2 today at 14.45 'Heaven Knows Mr Allison'.
BBC2 Sunday 6th August at 23.30 'The Asphalt Jungle'.
BBC1 Wednesday 9th August 00.00 midnight 'The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean'.

IMDB entry for John Huston, link.
Wikipedia entry for John Huston, link.
That Little Round Headed Boy's 100 reasons to remember John Huston, link.

04 August 2006

Gene Tierney

Film and stage beauties # 9: Patricia Dawn

Reverse reads:

A series of 54, No. 26, Patricia Dawn.
A series of real photographs now being issued with Black Cat Medium Cigarettes. Carreras Ltd (ESTD 1788) Arcadia Works, London, England.

Not impressed so far

Film Four, previously £6 per month on subscription changed to Freeview effective 23rd July. I'd previously paid for this channel and although it wasn't perfect it was one of the best fil-um channels we had. In the past three months they have showed several Bergman's I'd never seen, 'Port of Call', 'The Rite', 'Summer with Monika',' After the Rehearsal', 'From the Life of the Marionettes' as well as Shohei Imamura's 'Profound Desire of the Gods' and Sezuki Seijun's 'Gates of Flesh'.

I suppose my point is this, they were showing at least some films that for the most part were not readily available and for that I was very grateful and happy to pay my six quid. Now I fully understand that their business model didn't stack up and they had to commercialise and take advertising and that those advertisers need to sell products during prime slots which explains why the 9pm slot is loaded with films that are going to pull in the punters but can't we at least have some of the 'rarer' films for want of a better word on late at night? We were promised a 'Roberto Rosellini season', on the insert in Time Out (above) that covers the period 23rd July to 20th August all I can see is 'Rome, Open City' and 'Journey to Italy', no complaints there except can't the programmers dig a little deeper and show more and at least one Rosellini UK TV viewers haven't been able to see for a while?

Right now I'm quite disappointed with Film Four. I hope they can redeem themselves and there are a few more gems they can unearth for the film fans who frankly aren't that bothered by this sort of list. If Film Four need some help finding films or suggestions from viewers then I'd be happy to help.

Coming attraction: A Scanner Darkly

I know nothing about this other than it's animated, Keanu Reeves is in it, oh and Richard Linklater is the director. I just checked IMDB to get the link and I see it's based on a Philip K Dick novel. It's due here Friday 18th August.

IMDB entry for A Scanner Darkly, link.

02 August 2006

A Canterbury Tale

"A script can only create nests in which magic may settle." - Emeric Pressburger, 1980.

Earlier this evening I caught the end of BBC Radio 4's daily evening arts programme; Front Row. They sometimes have film related stuff, tonight they had two, firstly a review of 'The Notorious Bettie Page' which opens here on Friday and there was a feature on 'A Canterbury Tale' the wonderful Powell and Pressburger film from 1943. Specifically a book written by Paul Tritton and the tours he offers of the locations used in the film.

This seems to me a delightful way of celebrating this wonderful film, which for everyone I know who has seen it thinks it's a truly great film, perhaps not as widely seen as 'The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp','The Red Shoes' or 'A Matter of Life and Death' but every bit as interesting as any of their films together. Hearing the programme certainly made me want to find out more about Paul, the book, and ultimately the tour.

I'd posted on here earlier this year that film location tourism in the UK had taken off in part due to the Harry Potter franchise and 'The DaVinci Code' but this is a tour that, according to what I heard on the programme appeals to the film buffs, the fans of Chaucer, the fans of the English countryside.

I believe that this years walk takes place on Sunday August 27th at 2pm but am awaiting confirmation from Paul on this.

A Canterbury Tale - Memories of a Classic Wartime Movie by Paul Tritton, further information and details of how to buy a copy on The Powell and Pressburger Pages, link.
On location with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's 'A Canterbury Tale' Guided Walks with Paul Tritton, further information and contact details for Paul, link.
IMDB entry for 'A Canterbury Tale', link.
BBC Radio 4's Front Row, link. NB if you are quick you will be able to hear tonight's programme via the 'Listen Again' function of the Radio 4 site. Sadly this programme isn't available via podcast, yet.

Dream double bill #16 ‘Kustom Kar Kommandos’ and ‘Mean Streets’


Personal reflections on ‘Kustom Kar Kommandos’, digging into Bill Landis’s book on Kenneth Anger and how the use of music in Anger’s films inspired Martin Scorsese.

My first exposure to an avant garde film or film maker was a season of Kenneth Anger films augmented with the work of other film makers including as I recall Jean Genet’s ‘Un Chant d’Amour’. The season was shown over three evenings that travelled the UK’s regional film theatre network in either the late 1980’s or early 1990’s.

The programme notes acknowledged that amongst the so called avant garde film makers Anger’s style of film making was the one that had been most easily adopted and assimilated into mainstream cinema and promotional music videos. Martin Scorsese said “…Vernon Zimmerman, who later made ‘Unholy Rollers and ‘Fade to Black’, had a loft in the Village where he showed ‘Scorpio Rising’. It had been banned, but the shocking thing about it wasn’t the Hell’s Angels stuff, it was the use of music. This was music I knew, and had always been told by our professors at NYU that we couldn’t use in student films because of copyright. Now here was Anger’s film in and out of the courts on obscenity charges, but no one seem to be complaining that he’d used all those incredible tracks by Elvis Presley and Ricky Nelson. That gave me the idea to use whatever music I really needed.” (From Scorsese on Scorsese, quoted in Bill Landis’ ‘Anger – The Unauthorised Biography of Kenneth Anger’ (published by Harper Perennial, 1995).
For the purpose of this avant garde blog-a-thon I would like to create a dream double bill using the Anger short ‘Kustom Kar Kommandos’ and Scorcese’s ‘Mean Streets’ as it would demonstrate how the avant garde influenced the mainstream.

“The material I’m filming is teenagers in relationship to machines. And so my film is ostensibly about teenagers and drag racing and kustom cars.” - Kenneth Anger, interview with ‘Spider’ Magazine, 1965 quoted in ‘Anger’ by Bill Landis.
I’d originally seen ‘Kustom Kar Kommandos’ before I’d read or heard about either of the Hollywood Babylon books. I didn’t really know anything about Anger the film maker or Anger the person. Anger had submitted a proposal for a film to be called ‘Kustom Kar Kommandos’ to the Ford Foundation (as in the Ford Motor Company). According to Landis’s book; ‘Anger instead used the $10,000 grant as living expenses and to re-edit his earlier films.
Commenting on the three minute version of the film we know today Landis further asserts that that Anger even admitted to a journalist that “I don’t think the Ford people are going to be very pleased with what I did with their money” and that this version of the film was essentially a teaser with more to come and unsuccessfully attempt to further raise funds to develop the film. Anger claimed ‘Kustom Kar Kommandos’ was an expensive film to make and that Anger, ever the self publicist would present to a journalist a blood splattered T-shirt from a fatal custom car crash.

It almost goes without saying that Anger was not at all happy with the prospect of Landis’s book, in the introduction Landis tells us that Anger “…issued a proclamation on his special “magical” Puck Promotions stationary stating that I was “an avowed enemy...”...”. From what I’ve read of Landis’ book (I confess only to dipping into parts of it) he paints a picture of hustles, legal battles, shock tactics, obsessions and I am sure much more if a reader was to dig deeper. One thread that also comes out in the book, which I would recommend to anyone even with only a passing interest in the subject matter is the rift between the avant garde film makers, Jonas Mekas, founder of Film Culture Magazine is alleged to have said that there was a “conspiracy of homosexuality” and that Anger was the ringleader. Another area the book touches on is the relationship with Alfred Kinsey who in the process of his research had acquired a copy of Anger’s ‘Fireworks’ and it seems essentially acted as a father figure to Anger. The book is highly readable and in just researching the parts about ‘Kustom Kar Kommandos’ I learnt a lot more about Anger than I had known, I haven’t even read around a longer film or his relationship with other film makers such as Stan Brakhage or people like Crowley, Beausoleil, Jagger and many other references who literally litter the pages of Landis’s book.

So how would a double bill work? Well I have to admit it’s the first one I’ve thought of that is essentially a short coupled with a feature and if I’m honest you could show ‘Kustom Kar Kommandos’ alongside not only ‘Mean Streets’ but ‘Whose that Knocking at My Door’ (which I haven’t seen but understand Anger’s influential use of music can also been seen) but ‘American Graffiti’ alternatively ‘Scorpio Rising’ alongside either ‘Faster Pussycat Kill, Kill’ or ‘The Wild Angels’ or any number of late 60’s biker films. Anger certainly had a gift for understanding the power of cults and how to harness their attractive power both for his benefit and the draw they would have on audiences.
What I like about Scorsese’s opening sequence in ‘Mean Streets’ is the use of the Super 8 or handheld footage and uses this with ‘Be My Baby’ by The Ronettes to introduce his main characters to us, as he himself said Anger paved the way for him and others to do this.

Watch Kenneth Anger's 'Kustom Kar Kommandos' supported by the Ford Foundation and seemingly featuring a customised Ford car on You Tube, link.
IMDB entry for 'Kustom Kar Kommandos', link.
IMDB entry for 'Mean Streets', link.
Bent Clouds review of 'Kustom Kar Kommandos', link.
Jonas Mekas interview with Brian Frye on Senses of Cinema, link.
Kenneth Anger article on Senses of Cinema by Maximilian Le Cain, link.
Top 20 best uses of pop music in a Martin Scorsese film by Phil Dellio, link.
Kenneth Anger reference on The Kinsey Institute website, link.

Links from today's blog-a-thon
Tom Sutpen's historical overview on If Charlie Parker was...link.
Girsh Shambu discusses Joseph Cornell, link.
Michael Guillen's The Evening Class interviews Dominic Angerame of Canyon Cinema, link.
That Little Round Headed Boy looks at Promotional Video’s and explores the relationship with the avant garde, link.
Tom Hall looks at Clare Danes 'L'Intrus' on The Back Row Manifesto, link.
Maurice Lemaitre's 'Ganeden' is explored at Strictly Film School, link.
Murbak Ali's Supposed Aura looks at Arthur Lipsett, link.
'Pink Elephants on Parade' at Brendan Bouza's Five Year Plan, link.
Zach Campbell's Elusive Lucidity on Christopher Maclaine, link.

01 August 2006

'Kustom Kar Kommandos', directed by Kenneth Anger.

Anger's trade mark ending.