Linx & shorts
Poster via Wrong Side of the Art
“And here we need to stress one quite remarkable thing: an American film has begun (in the famously developing city of Phoenix — a miracle of new urban life) in which the hopes and desires of two mature people are overshadowed by lack of money and social freedom. Look at a hundred other films from the ‘50s and you will not find the same cramped air. As a rule, the rooms are larger and brighter than they would be in reality, waiting to be filled by the hopes and energies of the era. Most films of the ‘50s are secret ads for the American way of life. Psycho is a warning about its lies and limits.” David Thomson has his detractors — are they jealous? — but he’s one of the very few working writers I’ll happily devote time to. His new book, The Moment of Psycho: How Alfred Hitchcock Taught America to Love Murder captures, in less than 165 pages, the essence of the picture and the times in which it was made. (In quiet surroundings, you could joyfully devour it in one afternoon.) Here he’s talking about Sam and Marion, each in their thirties, him doling out alimony while cleaning up his father’s debts, she a potential hooker with a ticking biological clock. That two such honest, horny, down-and-out characters were portrayed minutes before the age of Camelot demonstrates the script’s wisdom, while the film was instrumental in redirecting the cinema.
Ripped to the tits: From Nelhydrea Paupér at the National Affairs Desk: “Actor Elmore ‘Rip’ Torn was arrested Friday night for allegedly breaking into a Main Street bank intoxicated, armed with a loaded revolver.” More sordid details @ The Register Citizen.
“VHS tapes have a long history of amazing covers. Entire books have been written about them and movies were even banned in the UK based just off the imagery on the covers alone (called Video Nasties).” Color me clueless; the 80s sucked. However, if you’re deluded enough to believe there were such a thing as the halcyon days of VHS; if you remember Gorgon Video as a major player; if you think clamshell packages were The Shit, then get your crazy self a copy of 2009’s fairly decent horror flick, The House of the Devil in the retro exclusive VHS edition. Old Skool cinephiles take note: the movie costars Mary Woronov.
“Today was the day, back in 1999, that the world was deprived of Lili St. Cyr, when she died of heart failure at the age of 80. Her life at the end was quiet — just her and some cats in a modest Hollywood apartment — but during the 1950s she burned up burlesque houses from coast to coast as the most famous, beautiful, and artful exotic dancer in America.” A remembrance of stripperdom’s crème de la crème @ Pulp International.
“Of course, it’s hard now for many young film lovers to imagine, but there really was a time when there was no Internet Movie Database or Wikipedia. The movie reference books available were either incomplete or prohibitively expensive. Just looking up an actor’s filmography could mean a trip downtown to the library.” Stephen Whitty takes trip down memory lane (East Coast edition) sure to bore Gens X, Y and Zee via the New Jersey Star Ledger, where he also extols the virtues of my beloved Siren.
“I’m always a suspicious Sid when it comes to new technologies, especially since I understand all too well the post-modern industrial concept of “planned obsolescence” (Apple’s silent motto), which is why cassette tapes I have from the 70’s play and sound fine but some of my compact discs from the 90’s are unplayable. That’s why I have a nice turntable and LP collection. I sometimes prefer the analog over the digital. I like to collect VHS tapes and laserdiscs still, particularly out of print movies and miscellania that will never make it to DVD (Roger Vadim’s Pretty Maids All in a Row and Grampa’s Sci-Fi Movies trailer collection comes to mind). So I was skeptical of the Blu-ray versus HD DVD war, content with my tapes and DVD’s. But I needed to see for myself and so the first Blu-ray film I ever watched was Baraka and was duly blown away by the image depth and clarity. I’m still unsure how much detail is too much, but with a visual landscape poem like Baraka, nothing is too much.” Weighing the pros and cons, from Tati to Bond, @ Technicolor Dreams.