Monday, August 17, 2009

Viewing Log #7: Our pig's world [8/10/09 - 8/16/09]

by Ryland Walker Knight

la seine

  • The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp [Powell & Pressburger, 1943] # Despite the propaganda, there is a critical eye towards tradition. Love the conceit about Kerr playing three ladies, and Wolbrook's tenderness is perfect; Livesey's got stuffy down pat to the point where I don't know how much he's acting.
  • The Flight of the Red Balloon [Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2007] # A year later, at home by myself (with myself a little more), and I love it even more. About as lovely as can be. One of those movies you don't need to say anything about; just watch it. Cheers. Chin-chin.

  • Terrace of Unintelligibility [Phill Niblock, 1985] Damned lovely. More back here.
  • The Dirty Dozen [Robert Aldrich, 1967] Somehow, I'd never seen this beast. It was worth the wait. As ever, Cass is my hero: so hip, so cool, so fearless (so to speak). Also, he's a ham. (Love Bronson, too, for what it's worth.)

  • The Big Heat [Fritz Lang, 1953] So brutal, full of real pain. All those doublings and violent reversals make you dizzy, almost. Fitting the opening credits show over a fuzzy spiral background. I should watch it again; I want to.
  • Macao [Josef von Sternberg, 1952] Gloria Grahame is sexier than Jane Russell (I've never been into her) and Robert Mitchum acts tough real well. Obvious. The real crazy ideas here are about documentary. A real treat, if all over.
  • Sylvia Scarlett [George Cukor, 1935] The first Kate and Cary pairing, and the first time I've really heard him use his Cockney heritage. Though it's a little sweet, the film is a fun look at her, chiefly, and gender as a costume. Too bad our now-famous pair (Cary was still starting to pick up steam in the machine) weren't allowed more chemistry, but, you know, it's a fun first step towards the rest, like Holiday.

  • The GoodTimesKid [Azazel Jacobs, 2007] Andrew Grant sent me a copy of this and I enjoyed its limber go-nowhere antics. Love that the ship stays moored—a terrible haven, however impenetrable, from the kicks and screams of love outside.

  • The Ghost Ship [Mark Robson, 1943] Questions of dominion and grace, and communication, plague these men. There's a fear of tyranny apt to the time, but it's also cool to think about the power of the director over against the power of the producer, especially in these Lewton pictures, as part of and partial to the cinema's constitutional power over the viewer, and our desire to escape that relationship.

—Finding a tune

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