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"Method of this work:
literary montage.
I have nothing to say only to show."
(Passagenwerk (1927 - 1940) - Walter Benjamin)

2005, May 25; 01:33 ::: Dracula A.D. 1972 (UK, 1972) - Alan Gibson

Dracula A.D. 1972 (UK, 1972) - Alan Gibson
image sourced here.

Dracula A.D. 1972 (UK, 1972) - Alan Gibson [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

"Dracula A.D. 1972," starring Christopher Lee as the titular vampire, is one bizarre film. It starts with a prologue set in the 1800s: Lee's Dracula is shown in battle with his nemesis Van Helsing (Peter Cushing). As the title indicates, the main body of the film brings Dracula into the 1970s, where he battles Van Helsing's descendant (also played by Cushing). Also along for the horror is a young Stephanie Beacham as the second Van Helsing's lovely granddaughter.

The film tries to blend traditional vampiric horror with 70s style youth culture: thus the elements of sex (discretely), drugs, and rock 'n' roll permeate the film. To early 21st century viewers, the swingin' music, outrageous mod clothes, hairdos, and wannabe hip slang ("Weird, man. Way out") of the young cast may come off as more campy than anything else, but it does make the film fun.

Lee is compelling as Dracula: articulate and elegant, yet feral. Unfortunately, his screen time is sparse; his amounts to little more than a small supporting role. The real star of the film is Cushing as the 20th century Van Helsing. The classy Cushing projects real intelligence and ability as his character. He brings total conviction to every scene, and has solid chemistry with Beacham (although I think his hands come a little too close to her bosom in a couple of scenes--watch it, "Grandpa"!). "Dracula A.D. 1972" may be far from the best of the many Dracula films, but Cushing and Lee make it worthwhile. --Michael J. Mazza via Amazon.com

via by http://groovyageofhorror.blogspot.com/

see also: Hammer horror - 1972

2005, May 25; 00:56 ::: Hippie dream shattered

This [1970] was at a point when the hippie ideal of peace and love lay shattered in the aftermath of Altamont and the Manson murders. --Greg Wilson

Altamont is a speedway in Northern California, near Livermore, that hosted a rock music festival in December 1969 which was marred by violence, including one murder.

The festival included the Rolling Stones and other bands (including the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane). About 300,000 people attended the festival, and the hope was that it would be "Woodstock West." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altamont [May 2005]

The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter (1970) - Albert Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin [Amazon.com]

To cite Gimme Shelter as the greatest rock documentary ever filmed is to damn it with faint praise. This 1970 release benefits from a horrifying serendipity in the timing of the shoot, which brought filmmakers Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin aboard as the Rolling Stones' tumultuous 1969 American tour neared its end. By following the band to the Altamont Speedway near San Francisco for a fatally mismanaged free concert, the Maysles and Zwerin wound up shooting what's been accurately dubbed rock's equivalent to the Zapruder film. The cameras caught the ominous undercurrents of violence palpable even before the first chords were strummed, and were still rolling when a concertgoer was stabbed to death by the Hell's Angels that served as the festival's pool cue-wielding security force.

By the time Gimme Shelter reached theater screens, Altamont was a fixed symbol for the death of the 1960s' spirit of optimism. The Maysles and Zwerin used that knowledge to shape their film: their chronicle begins in the editing room as they cut footage of the Stones' Madison Square Garden performance of "Jumpin' Jack Flash," and from there moves toward Altamont with a kind of dreadful grace. The songs become prophecies and laments for broken faith ("Wild Horses"), misplaced devotion ("Love in Vain"), and social collapse ("Street Fighting Man" and, of course, "Sympathy for the Devil"). Along the way, we glimpse the folly of the machinations behind the festival, the insularity of life on the concert trail, and the superstars' own shell-shocked loss of innocence.

Gimme Shelter looks into an abyss, partly self-created, from which the Rolling Stones would retreat--but unlike its subject, the filmmakers don't blink. --Sam Sutherland, Amazon.com

Gimme Shelter is the name of a documentary film directed by Albert Maysles and David Maysles, chronicling the Rolling Stones' 1969 U.S. tour, culminating in the disastrous concert at Altamont in which the Hells Angels provided security and a fan was murdered on film. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimme_Shelter [May 2005]

see also: 1969

2005, May 25; 00:20 ::: Hara Kiri, Charlie Hebdo (1960 - )

Carte officielle de con

Professeur Choron in a Hara Kiri photoplay
image sourced here.

Le magazine Hara-Kiri fut créé à l'initiative de François Cavanna et du professeur Choron entre autres. Ce journal satirique de tendance cynique, parfois grivoise, bénéficia d'un soutien télévisé discret de la part du réalisateur Jean-Christophe Averty (dont l'émission Les raisins verts participait du même esprit) et connut un succès relativement important en France, à l'histoire riche en publicités radiophoniques provocantes (« Si vous ne pouvez pas l'acheter, volez-le ») et entrecoupée de quelques interdictions.

Une lettre irritée arrive un jour au courrier des lecteurs, qui dit en substance : « vous êtes bêtes. Et non seulement vous êtes bêtes, mais vous êtes méchants ». Le sous-titre du magazine est immédiatement adopté : « Hara-Kiri, journal bête et méchant ». Dans chaque numéro, le professeur Choron (le siège est au 4 rue Choron) proposera le jeu bête et méchant du mois. --http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hara-Kiri_%28journal%29 [May 2005]

2005, May 25; 00:20 ::: Mad Magazine (1952 - )

MAD #30 (December 1956), the first issue to prominently feature Alfred E. Neuman.
image sourced here.

see also: EC Comics - French Hara Kiri magazine

2005, May 24; 23:49 ::: Bizarre nr. 14

Bettie Page, Bizarre nr. 14

2005, May 24; 23:41 ::: Mondo Bizarro

Mondo Bizarro (1992) - Ramones [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Mondo Bizarro (1966) - Bob Cresse
A faux travelogue that mixes documentary and mockumentary footage. The camera looks through a one-way glass into the women's dressing room at a lingerie shop, visits a Kyoto massage parlor, goes inside the mailroom at Frederick's of Hollywood, watches an Australian who sticks nails through his skin and eats glass, checks out the art and peace scene in Los Angeles, takes in Easter week with vacationing college students on Balboa Island, observes a German audience enjoying a play about Nazi sadism, and, with the help of powerful military lenses, spies on a Lebanese white-slavery auction. A narrator adds gravitas: "To the worm in the cheese, the cheese is the universe." --http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0188909/ [May 2005]

see also: mondo - bizarre - Ramones

2005, May 24; 23:05 ::: Bruegel: Seven Vices and a Virtue

engraving in the Bosch style - Brueghel (c.1525 - 1569)
image sourced here.

Bruegel: Seven Vices and a Virtue
Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s publisher, the splendidly-named Hieronymus Cock, issued a series of prints based on drawings by the artist on the theme of the seven deadly sins, or vices, around 1556-7. These images were scanned from my copy of Bruegel and Lucas van Leyden: Complete Engravings, Etchings and Woodcuts, edited by Jacques Lavalleye, published by Abrams, ca. 1967.

These compositions, crowded with grotesque and bizarre figures, clearly echo the work of that other Hieronymus, Mr. Bosch, aka Jeroen van Aken, ‘Maître de Bois-le-Duc,’ El Bosco. ‘It has been assumed that Bruegel’s chief reason for imitating Bosch in his graphic work was a commercial one: Bosch was simply more popular than Bruegel, and therefore engravings in the Bosch manner were more marketable than his own prints.’ Of course, Bruegel’s emulation of the elder artist’s style may have been as much an affectionate homage, as it was an opportunistic money-earner. -- via http://www.spamula.net/blog/archives/000560.html [May 2005]

2005, May 24; 22:04 ::: Mad Love (1935) - Karl Freund

Peter Lorre as Doctor Gogol in Mad Love (1935) - Karl Freund [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Beautiful Yvonne Orlac (Frances Drake) is the star of a Grand Guignol theatrical production; creepy Dr. Gogol (Peter Lorre) is infatuated with her, going into a swoon during her onstage torture scenes and sending mash notes to her dressing room. The doctor is devastated when she plans to leave the stage and go on tour with her husband, Stephen Orlac (Colin Clive), a concert pianist. Gogol buys Yvonne's wax figure and keeps it in his house, feeding his preoccupation with her as he slips further into madness. Disaster strikes, however, when Orlac's hands are ruined in a train accident; seeing his chance, Gogol locates Rollo, a knife-throwing murderer who has an upcoming appointment with the guillotine. The murderer's hands are affixed to the pianist's stumps, and soon Orlac discovers a newfound penchant for flinging knives with deadly accuracy. He quarrels with his father over money for his medical bills, and when the father turns up dead, Orlac is arrested for his murder. After rigging himself up with steel gloves and a grotesque neck brace, Gogol convinces the rather credulous Orlac that he is Rollo, complete with reattached head and metallic hands, and that Orlac is responsible for his father's murder.

Mad Love (1935) - Karl Freund [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Director Karl Freund's name will be familiar to fans of I Love Lucy; he became the chief cinematographer for Desilu Studios in the '50s, after an illustrious career that included Murnau's The Last Laugh and Lang's Metropolis. Teaming up with cameraman Gregg Toland (Citizen Kane, The Best Years of Our Lives), Freund made Mad Love into one of the most European-flavored Hollywood horror pictures of the '30s. The shot compositions are dominated by cathedral and arch shapes that recall the most inventive expressionist shadowplay of the time. Lorre's performance is a perfect descent into obsession and madness, his bulging, heavy-lidded eyes making him both sinister and pathetic as the crazed Gogol. Lorre's character is actually far more disturbing than the rather hoary tale of the murderer's hands. Drake and Clive, on the other hand, turn in some delightfully overheated performances (as does Three Stooges foil Ted Healy for comic relief). --Jerry Renshaw via Amazon.com

Peter Lorre, photecredit unidentified

Peter Lorre
Peter Lorre (June 26, 1904 – March 23, 1964) was a Hungarian-American actor known both for playing criminals (particularly psychopaths) and comic roles. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Lorre [May 2005]

see also: hand

2005, May 24; 18:46 ::: Decorative Art 70s

Decorative Art 70s (2000) - Charlotte P. Fiell, Peter Fiell [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From Library Journal
These two volumes reprint edited versions (from the Sixties and Seventies) of Decorative Art in Modern Interiors, which was originally published as the yearbook of the British journal Studio Magazine. As the editors point out, since its founding in 1893, the magazine was one of the first publications to promote good design by showcasing practitioners such as Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Charles Voysey. It continued its mission of presenting the latest in international design until the 1980s, when it folded. The two books are divided into chapters that cover the best of architecture, interior design, furniture, textiles, wallpaper, glassware, lighting, silver, and ceramics. They are illustrated with hundreds of photographs, and in some cases floor plans and elevations for buildings are included as well. While little or no information is given regarding the designers, architects, or firms responsible for the work, and indexing is not as comprehensive as it could be, for those looking for examples of how we lived in the "Swinging Sixties" (shag carpeting and all) and subsequent design trends of the 1970s, this is the place to look. For larger decorative art collections and academic libraries supporting design courses.Margarete Gross, Chicago P.L.

Futuro (2003) Marko Home [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

This plastic, ellipsoid, portable holiday hideaway is among the most striking samples of Utopian space-age design.

The Futuro house, initially designed by Finish architect Matti Suuronen as a mass-producible ski cabin, was introduced to the public in 1968. Its flying-saucer-like elliptical shape and plastic construction reflected the space-age optimism and utopian vision of the sixties, and attracted the world's attention. However, despite a global marketing campaign that included exhibitions and proposals for variants on the function of Futuro, it was destined for commercial failure, crippled by its quirky design coupled with the 1972 oil crisis, which tripled the price of plastic. Today, only thirty Futuros remain, primarily in Finland, Russia, Japan and the United States, used variously as gas stations, cafes, and art exhibits. This glossy book offers a detailed, fully illustrated history of the Futuro, as well as a retrospective journey into our recent futuristic past. Also included is an exclusive DVD featuring the 29-minute documentary film Futuro - A New Stance for Tomorrow, plus 45 minutes of rare amateur film and other archive footage. --via Amazon.de

"The Futuro house designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen was first introduced in 1968. Its flying-saucer-like elliptical shape still retains its appeal even today, reflecting the space-age optimism of the sixties and a utopian vision of 'a new stance for tomorrow'

images sourced here

see also: 1970s

2005, May 24; 18:46 ::: The 1970s

John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever (1977) [Amazon.com]

As big as Punk had become, Disco was the real money-spinner. Following the runaway box office success of the film ‘Saturday Night Fever’ it was now a global phenomenon and all of a sudden it was the Bee Gees rather than then O’Jays who defined the genre. This new found popularity would provoke a backlash, eventually resulting in the racist and homophobic ‘Disco Sucks’ campaign in the US, including 1979’s infamous ‘Disco Demolition’ at Comiskey Park Baseball Stadium in Chicago, when Rock fans indulged in a ritual record burning frenzy. Nothing quite so drastic happened in the UK, but Disco’s cool certainly suffered, with former enthusiasts quickly jumping ship and now finding refuge on the newly emerged Jazz-Funk scene (which still included Disco with a funkier edge). Greg Wilson [2004]

Related: disco music - dub music - gay pride - funk music - groovy era - hippie era - jazz funk music - New Hollywood - new wave music - porno chic genre - punk music - rap music - reggae music - sexual revolution - slasher film genre -

By medium: music in the 1970s - film in the 1970s

see also: 1970s

2005, May 24; 17:32 ::: Serge and Jane

Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin
photocredit unidentified

2005, May 24; 15:43 ::: Delphine Seyrig

Last Year at Marienbad (1961) - Alain Resnais [Amazon.com]
image sourced here.

see also: Delphine Seyrig - Last Year at Marienbad (1961)

2005, May 24; 15:43 ::: Klute (1971) - Alan J. Pakula

Klute (1971) - Alan J. Pakula [Amazon.com]

Klute (1971) - Alan J. Pakula [Amazon.com]

Jane Fonda came into her own with this Oscar-winning performance as an insecure high-class call girl who can't make it as a legitimate actress or model yet can't give up her addiction. She loves the control too much. But when she's stalked by a killer, she's forced to confront the darker aspects of her nature and profession. It's a complex and authentic performance and Fonda plays it cool and smart. Typical of early '70s films, Klute peels away social inhibition and hypocrisy with precision and candor. It's also typical of director Alan J. Pakula's intelligence and ability to work so well with actors. Donald Sutherland plays John Klute, the vulnerable detective trying to determine if his missing friend is the stalker and sexual deviant. This is the kind of moody, character-driven film so many of us miss today, even if the plot is pure hokum. --Bill Desowitz for amazon.com

Note: The Sanctuary, a seventies discotheque, is also shown in Klute, you can see Franciso Grasso in action for a couple of seconds.

Francis Grasso commented on Klute:

Jane Fonda filmed the movie Klute there. She had a big argument with Seymour and Shelley because they wouldn’t permit lesbians in the club. I’m the disc jockey in the movie, and I had like three weeks work, doing the whole thing. It was fascinating to watch. Only thing is I was doing double duty, I was showing up at the movie set at 7.30, driving home, to Brooklyn, walking my dog, shave and showering, going back to work, till 4 o’clock in the morning. It took its toll. --Francis Grasso via via DJHistory.com

Klute is a 1971 film which tells the story of a prostitute who assists a detective in solving a murder mystery. It stars Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, Charles Cioffi and Roy Scheider.

The movie was written by Andy Lewis and Dave Lewis. It was directed by Alan J. Pakula. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klute [May 2005]

Lobby cards are no longer used in theaters and rarely printed for today's films. These small posters (usually 11"x14" in a horizontal format) were generally produced in sets of eight, intended for display in a theater's foyer or lobby. A lobby set typically consists of one Title Card (TC), a lobby card of special design usually depicting all key stars, listing credits and intended to represent the entire film rather than a single scene; and seven Scene Cards (SC), each depicting a scene from the movie.

see also: film noir - 1971 - Jane Fonda

2005, May 24; 14:55 ::: Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession (1980) - Nicolas Roeg

Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession (1980) - Nicolas Roeg

After coaxing strong performances from pop music personalities in 1970's Performance (Mick Jagger) and 1976's The Man Who Fell to Earth (David Bowie), director Roeg found his next leading man in the unlikely form of Art Garfunkel, whose previous leading man experience was limited to two excellent Mike Nichols projects (Catch-22 and Carnal Knowledge). Both men got far more than they bargained for with Bad Timing, a notoriously troubled film which pushed all of its primary talent into very dangerous personal and professional territory. Reviled by its distributor, critically lambasted, and so extreme that both of its leads were desperate to be released from their contracts, this largely off-the-cuff study in sexual obsession pushes Roeg's trademark time-fractured editing to nearly unbearable extremes, creating a film still capable of wildly polarizing viewers.

Skipping back and forth through time, we begin as psychiatrist Alex Linden (Garfunkel) accompanies the nearly dead Milena (Russell) in an ambulance to the hospital. Catatonic from an overdose, Milena undergoes a tracheotomy and other medical ministrations while Alex looks on and recalls their stormy relationship, which began with a chance meeting at a party and soon degenerated into a series of psychologically violent games with sex and power becoming interchangeable. Two other men are also involved: Milena's much older husband, Stefan (Denholm Elliott), and during her operation, the investigating police officer (Harvey Keitel) who tries to account for over an hour of lost time between Milena's overdose and Alex's telephone call for help.

The actual opening of Bad Timing is one of the finest opening credits sequences ever filmed, as Roeg's gliding scope compositions capture Garfunkel and Russell studying Gustav Klimt paintings to the accompaniment of Tom Waits' "An Invitation to the Blues." This powerful curtain raiser has nothing to do with the film proper on a narrative level, but it perfectly sets the aesthetic tone; the images of male forms caressing slumbering women trapped in lavish, ornate fabrics are echoed in Roeg's own visual scheme (relying heavily on Klimt-like golds and browns) and the infamous final revelation (incorrectly referred to as necrophilia by many sources, though the distinction here is pretty thin), a truly startling sequence for two mainstream actors. The fact that Roeg and Russell actually fell in love during filming and were married shortly afterwards is rather staggering considering what his leading lady endures here; Russell was never this powerful on film again, though the two certainly tried again on film several more times. Garfunkel is adequate enough in the lead, with his eyes communicating a great deal during his more introspective moments, though one can only wonder what a more seasoned actor like, say, Robert De Niro could have accomplished with the role.

Interestingly, Bad Timing could be considered the first sexual warfare film to explore the concept of two people literally exhausting themselves to death (or at least coming perilously close); while Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and its like depicted relationships as a battle, Roeg's film creates a new terrain in which love is a consuming, destructive, time-swallowing force when the partners are essentially incompatible. One need only look at the following year's more overtly horrific Possession to see the difference (that film also uses the split of Communist and Western urban culture as an emotional mirror), or such later studies in sexual/emotional exhaustion as Bitter Moon and Crash, where empty thrills must consume a couple when their hearts have long since stopped beating.

Barely released on video in the UK and completely unavailable on home video in the US (with only occasional TV screenings late at night), Bad Timing (subtitled A Sensual Obsession in American theatres) nevertheless built up a strong cult following thanks to the video grey market. Unfortunately its astonishing scope framing was always subjected to clumsy panning and scanning, though Carlton's much-needed DVD undoes much of the damage with a striking, colorful transfer. Though regrettably non-anamorphic, the disc looks quite nice otherwise and even features optional English subtitles which also identify the dizzying array of pop, classical, and world music selections on the soundtrack (some of which, such as The Who's "Who Are You," could account for this film's home video tribulations). The film's running time has been the subject of speculation for years, with press materials listing it at 124, 122 and 117 minutes depending on the venue. The 117 minute length has been the standard one for years and is represented on this disc, though rumours abound concerning additional graphic footage shot but omitted at the last minute. Considering that this version already contains full frontal nudity and an unforgettable montage of Russell's throat operation intercut with her at the heights of passion, one can only wonder what might have landed on the cutting room floor. This is a film certainly worthy of a solid special edition with the participation of everyone involved, but for the time being this is the first watchable edition of Roeg's neglected classic available to home viewers. --http://www.mondo-digital.com/badtiming.html [May 2005]

Pan and Scan
In television, the term pan and scan refers to reproducing wide-screen films on narrow TV screens by selectively moving from one part of the screen as the action moves or the speaker changes. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_and_scan [May 2005]

2005, May 24; 12:55 ::: The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) - Roger Corman

The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) - Roger Corman [Amazon.com]
image sourced here.

Shot in two days by legendary B-movie king Roger Corman (House of Usher, The Raven), this 1960 cult classic inspired a long-running off-Broadway musical, filmed in 1986 with Rick Moranis and Steve Martin. Employed by Skid Row florist Gravis Mushnick (Mel Welles), the hapless Seymour Krelboined (Jonathan Haze) discovers that the weird Venus Flytrap hybrid he is raising not only thrives on blood, but also talks! Soon Audrey, Jr., named after his beloved co-worker (Jackie Joseph), is bellowing "FEED ME!", forcing poor Seymour to provide a series of unwilling "entrees"; Corman regular Dick Miller (A Bucket of Blood) co-stars. The young Jack Nicholson has a hilarious early role as a masochistic dental patient, Wilbur Force, while screenwriter Charles B. Griffith provides the voice of Audrey, Jr., and makes an unbilled cameo as a burglar. From the Back Cover

see also: Roger Corman - 1960

2005, May 24; 12:15 ::: Private Duty Nurses (1972) Roger Corman

Private Duty Nurses (1972) Roger Corman [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

see also: http://dyk3.homestead.com/files/The_Student_Nurses.html

After Roger Corman retired from directing in 1970, he started New World Pictures and invited a generation to indulge, repeatedly, in the cinema of student nurses, student teachers and women in prison.

New World pictures fall into several prominent genres, one of which, the "nurse film" (a subgenre of the "women’s picture"), New World practically created. There are motorcycle films (Angels Die Hard, Bury Me an Angel, Angels Hard as They Come); nurse, teacher, or stewardess films (The Student Nurses, Private Duty Nurses, Night Call Nurses, The Young Nurses, Candy Stripe Nurses, Fly Me, The Student Teachers); women-in-prison films (The Big Doll House, Women in Cages, The Big Bird Cage, The Hot Box, Caged Heat!); historical tits n’ ass (The Arena); horror films (The Velvet Vampire, Night of the Cobra Woman, Sweet Kill); blaxploitation (TNT Jackson, Savage); rural subculture dramas (Cockfighter, Big Bad Mama); and some well-known pickups (The Final Comedown, Fantastic Planet, Sweet Sweetback’s Badass Song, Cries and Whispers, Amarcord) --http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/27/cormaninterview1.html [May 2005]

see also: Roger Corman

2005, May 24; 12:06 ::: Gas-s-s-s (1971) - Roger Corman

Gas-s-s-s (1971) - Roger Corman

Taking a simple premise and rolling with it, the incredibly witty script (by George Armitage, who also penned DARKTOWN STRUTTERS and countless New World films for Corman) packs the films with kooky setpieces to keep it interesting and unique: a shootout where the gunmen shout out names of cowboy actors before shooting, with big names resulting in kills (”Gabby Hayes!,” “Tim McCoy!,” “Lee Van Cleef!,” “Jim Brown!,” “Gene Autry!,” “John Wayne!”) --http://www.dvddrive-in.com/reviews/t-z/wildinstreetsas6871.htm [May 2005]

The enemy dies when finally his adversary shouts "JOHN WAYNE!".

Roger Corman has made a lot of crap, and 'Gas-s-s-s' is in that pile. This is a painfully dated post-apocalyptic road comedy in which a scientific disaster leads to the deaths of everyone in the world's population over the age of 25, causing America to become sort of like the old west: lacking the guidance and authority of the over-25 set (this might stem from that ancient warning to never trust anyone over 30), young folks have formed their own outlaw communes and gangs in a mortal free-for-all. Sounds okay on paper, but the movie is unfunny and of very limited intelligence, feeling rather long for a mere 79 minutes, as a group of young people travel across the rural southwest in following an elusive figure who signs himself as 'The Oracle.' The outcome of this journey has a shred of theoretical resonance, but this movie is a goofy artifact of hippie culture that yields almost no pleasure, intended or incidental. --http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0065760 [May 2005]

see also: Roger Corman

2005, May 24; 11:04 ::: Silent Running (1972) - Douglas Trumbull

Silent Running (1972) - Douglas Trumbull [Amazon.com]

Silent Running (1972) - Douglas Trumbull [Amazon.com]

  • Silent Running (1972) - Douglas Trumbull [Amazon.com]
    After creating many of the innovative special effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey, Douglas Trumbull tried his hand at directing, and 1971's Silent Running marked an impressive debut. (In addition to creating the visual effects for Close Encounters of the Third Kind and directing 1983's Brainstorm, Trumbull later turned to the creation of high-tech cinematic amusement park rides.) One of the best science fiction films of the 1970s, Silent Running stars Bruce Dern as Freeman Lowell, a nature-loving crewmember aboard the Valley Forge, a gigantic spaceship in a small fleet that carries the last surviving forests of the Earth, which has fallen victim to overpopulation and ecological neglect.

    Freeman's name reflects his nonconformist philosophy, which runs counter to the prevailing recklessness of his three ill-fated crewmates, who are eager to jettison their precious payload and return to the bleakness of Earth. Before they can sabotage the forests, Freeman does what he must, and spends the remainder of his mission with three robotic "drones" as his only companions, struggling to maintain his sanity in the vastness of space. Dern is superb in this memorable role, representing the lost soul of humankind as well as the back-to-nature youth movement of the 1960s and the pre-Watergate era. (Appropriately, Joan Baez sings the film's theme song.) A rare science fiction film that combines bold adventure with passionate social conscience, Silent Running will remain relevant as long as the Earth is threatened by the ravages of human carelessness. --Jeff Shannon

    Silent Running is a science fiction movie made in 1972, directed by Douglas Trumbull and starring Bruce Dern as the protagonist Freeman Lowell. It was made with a very limited budget but has since achieved a cult following.

    The movie depicts a dystopian future, in which all plant life on Earth is extinct and only a few specimens have been preserved in greenhouse-like domes attached to a fleet of three American Airlines "Space Freighters" positioned just outside of the orbit of Mars. Lowell, a crew member aboard one of these ships, the "Valley Forge," is in constant disagreement with his other, human crewmates, who are anxious to return to a bleak and deforested yet familiar Earth. However, Lowell does have a better relationship with humanlike drones who are also aboard the ships.

    The science and technology depicted in Silent Running are not always plausible, and Trumbull's special effects are low quality even by the standards of the time (he had a larger budget in his later film Blade Runner), but the melancholy message is powerful.

    The soundtrack songs are performed by Joan Baez and the film score was composed by Peter Schickele. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Running [May 2005]

    Douglas Trumbull (1942 - )
    Douglas Trumbull (born 1942) is a film director and special effects supervisor.

    Trumbull's early work with NASA and the science film maker Con Pederson caught the attention of Stanley Kubrick who employed him to work on 2001: A Space Odyssey. Trumbull's outstanding contribution to the film was the stargate sequence which used a revolutionary camera design (see Slit-scan photography).

    In 1971, Trumbull directed the film Silent Running which utilised a number of unused special effects techniques developed for 2001. Silent Running was a critical success, but a flop at the box office due to poor advertising. During the rest of the early 1970s, Trumbull worked on a number of film projects that failed to get backing.

    In 1975 Trumbull turned down the offer to provide the effects for Star Wars but in 1978 contributed effects to Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In 1981 Trumbull directed the special effects for the film Blade Runner.

    In 1983 Trumbull finally got to direct a second major film, Brainstorm. The film was a showcase for a new film projection system called "Showscan", but the film was overshadowed by the death of Natalie Wood during production . Since that time, Trumbull has concentrated on developing technology for the exhibition industry and theme-park rides.

    Trumbull today is held in reverence as a pioneer of the optical and digital effects industry. He has been nominated for Academy Awards on five occasions and has received a life-time achievement Oscar. The majority of the completed cinema projects that Trumbull has been associated with have come to be recognised as classics, gaining audiences over time. His most conspicuous cinematic flop, Brainstorm, predicts the fascination of virtual reality while Silent Running reflected the emerging ecology movement of the early 1970s, and is today regarded as a science fiction classic. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Trumbull [May 2005]

    Joan Baez
    Joan Chandos Báez (born January 9, 1941 in Staten Island, New York) is an American folk singer and songwriter, known for her distinctive vocal style as well as her outspoken political views. Her family was Quaker, and her father Albert Baez, a physicist, refused lucrative war industry jobs, probably influencing Joan's political activism in the American and international civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960's to the present. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Baez [May 2005]

    see also: film in the 1970s - science fiction in film - 1972

    2005, May 24; 11:04 ::: Bulle Ogier

    Portrait de Bulle Ogier dans Le buisson ardent de Beccafumi
    image sourced here.

    2005, May 24; 00:49 ::: Kink in 1970s film

    Maitresse (1973) - Barbet Schroeder [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    The Night Porter (Italy-U.S.A., 1974) is a psychological drama set in Vienna twenty years after World War II. Charlotte Rampling is a concentration camp survivor. She checks into a hotel and finds that Dirk Bogarde, a Nazi who was her dominant lover, is working there as the desk clerk. They try to avoid each other, but they meet nonetheless and the passion rekindles. They resume their S/M relationship and barricade themselves in an apartment against the death threats of Bogarde's former war companions.

    The Story of O (France, 1975) came out the following year. Compared to the book from which it was adapted, it is erotic fluff - a cotton candy version of whips and chains. In all fairness, though, that was to be expected. The intensity of the book's scenes had to be toned down to allow it into mainstream theaters. The result is a tastefully mounted soap commercial for sexual submission.

    Next came La Maîtresse (France, 1976), which is still the hottest look at S/M on film. Gerard Depardieu plays a burglar who, along with a companion, breaks into an apartment. To their surprise, they find a full working dungeon and a vast assortment of bizarre leather equipment. The mistress (maîtresse) of the house soon discovers them. She takes Depardieu in hand and introduces him to the ways of sexual dominance. The result is a love story that departs far from the ordinary. Unfortunately, La Maîtresse did not become generally available on video tape. It is now seen in this country only occasionally at film festivals and art houses.

    Aside from those three features, American moviegoers had only sporadic peeks at kink prior to the Eighties. In Klute (1971), a twisted and pathetic sadist tries to kill a New York call girl, played by Jane Fonda. Any bondage during the story is off-screen and enters the plot only through dialogue. There was The Nightcomers (Great Britain 1971), an odd prequel of the Henry James ghost story "The Turn of the Screw." The movie itself is lackluster, except for a few racy bedroom scenes in which Stephanie Beacham is hogtied by Marlon Brando. At the end of the Seventies, a brooding Hardcore (1979) displayed S/M as an evil, freakish sideshow to Americana, as George C. Scott hunts for his missing daughter along a trail of porno films from Los Angeles to San Francisco. --http://www.uncommon-ground.org/movies.htm [May 2005]

    see also: film in the 1970s - kink - sadomasochism in film - Story of O (1975) - Maîtresse (1973)

    2005, May 23; 23:39 ::: The discourse of film theory

    Because of the relative newness of the film medium compared with other art forms--Thomas Edison's Kinetoscope peephole machines were first open to the public in New York City only in 1894, and the Lumière brothers first projected their short actualités to a paying audience in a cafe in Paris in 1895--film theory and criticism are dependent on a limited number of major texts, and the lines of their discourse can easily be traced up to the point when Structuralism and Poststructuralism had their profound effect on cultural history in general. From that point on, especially with the expansion of film departments and faculties at institutions of higher learningy and criticism proliferated at a rapid rate, and film journals became as much a place for heated debate on the issues of art and aesthetics as the learned journals were for essays on literature.

    Much of the discourse on cinema from the start is concerned with fictional narrative films, an emphasis that parallels the vast popularity of such works compared with the more limited and specialized appeal of the documentary and avant-garde film. For the first 20 years of motion pictures, film writing was largely descriptive and sometimes evaluative, but with the rise of the feature film, theory took its first pronounced steps with the appearance of two pioneer texts in English, Vachel Lindsay's The Art of the Moving Picture in 1915 (rev. ed., 1922) and Hugo Münsterberg's The Photoplay: A Psychological Study in 1916. Both of these works, the first by a poet and the second by a psychologist, consider this new medium in the context of other art forms. But whereas Lindsay is content to draw parallels between film and such other arts as architecture, sculpture, and poetry, Münsterberg goes much further in arguing for the unique properties of cinema by focusing in the first part of his work on the psychological responses of the viewer and in the second on the aesthetic properties of film as a mental creation. For him, film, by being freed from the constraints of real time and space as well as causality, is capable of being constructed with the free play of the viewer's mental life. --http://beaugrande.bizland.com/Cinema%20and%20discourse%20page.htm [May 2005]

    see also: film theory - discourse

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