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‘When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth,’ J.G. Ballard’s Hammer film
01.05.2017
08:49 am

Topics:
Literature
Movies

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“Ballardian” is a word that will only gain currency during 2017 and the years to come. If there were a stock market for words, I would be bullish on this one. Today’s jobs, homes, vacations, grocery stores, politicians, kinks, vehicles, riots, drugs, disasters, wars, and surgeries all seem to have come out of a Ballard novel.

But the feature that gave Ballard his first film credit (as treatment writer “J.B. Ballard”), When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970), is so uncannily prescient as to resemble raw news footage of the day after tomorrow. Watch it alongside any 24-hour cable network and you’ll see: it’s like the screenplay of Dinosaurs was ripped from the headlines.

In his last book, the autobiography Miracles of Life, Ballard recalled the meeting that gave life to the movie:

The first time I saw my name (even if misspelled) in the credits of a film came in 1970, with the British release of When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth. This was a Hammer film, a sequel to the Raquel Welch vehicle One Million Years BC, itself a remake of the 1940 Hollywood original starring Victor Mature and Carole Landis. Hammer specialized in Dracula and Frankenstein films, then much despised by the critics. But their films had tremendous panache and visual attack, without a single wasted frame, and the directors were surprisingly free to push their obsessions to the limit.

I was contacted by a Hammer producer, Aida Young, who was a great admirer of The Drowned World. She was keen that I write the screenplay for their next production, a sequel to One Million Years BC. Curious to see how the British film world worked, I turned up at the Wardour Street offices of Hammer, to be greeted in the foyer by a huge Tyrannosaurus rex about to deflower a blonde-haired actress in a leopard-skin bikini. The credits screamed ‘Curse of the Dinosaurs!’

 

 
Young brought Ballard up to date on the status of the project (“Raquel Welch would not be available”) and escorted him into the office of Hammer’s Tony Hinds, where Young narrated the entire story of The Drowned World for the studio boss. Hinds muttered something about water being “trouble” and asked Ballard for his ideas; the writer described a few that had occurred to him on the drive between Shepperton and Soho.

‘Too original,’ Hinds commented. Aida agreed. ‘Jim, we want that Drowned World atmosphere.’ She spoke as if this could be sprayed on, presumably in a fetching shade of jungle green.

Hinds then told me what the central idea would be. His secretary had suggested it this morning. This was nothing less than the story of the birth of the Moon–in fact, one of the oldest and corniest ideas in the whole of science fiction, which I would never have dared to lay on his desk. Hines stared hard at me. ‘We want you to tell us what happens next.’

I thought desperately, realizing that the film industry was not for me. ‘A tidal wave?’

‘Too many tidal waves. If you’ve seen one tidal wave you’ve seen them all.’

A small light came on in the total darkness of my brain. ‘But you always see the tidal waves coming in,’ I said in a stronger voice. ‘We should show the tidal wave going out! All those strange creatures and plants . . .’ I ended with a brief course in surrealist biology.

There was a silence as Hinds and Aida stared at each other. I assumed I was about to be shown the door.

‘When the wave goes out . . .’ Hinds stood up, clearly rejuvenated, standing behind his huge desk like Captain Ahab sighting the white whale. ‘Brilliant. Jim, who’s your agent?’

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘The Cat Piano,’ narrated by Nick Cave
01.04.2017
10:19 am

Topics:
Animation
Movies
Music

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The Cat Piano is an award-winning short animation directed by Eddie White and Ari Gibson and narrated by Nick Cave. For some odd reason the Wikipedia entry makes note not to confuse this with Keyboard Cat. So let’s not do that, okay?

A brief summary of the animation:

In a city of singing cats, a lonely beat poet falls for a beautiful siren. When a mysterious dark figure emerges, kidnapping the town’s singers for his twisted musical plans, the poet must save his muse and put an end to the nefarious tune that threatens to destroy the city.


 
Released in 2009, The Cat Piano won “Best Short Animation” at the Australian Film Institute Awards and “Best Music in a Short Film” at the APRA Screen Music Awards. The short’s bold animation style was achieved using Adobe Photoshop, with the artists drawing directly into the computer with Wacom tablets.

Watch it in its entirety, below:

 
h/t Coilhouse on Facebook

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘What’s The Matter With Helen?’ (or remembering Debbie Reynolds the DM way!)
01.03.2017
02:09 pm

Topics:
Movies
Occult
Queer
Superstar

Tags:


 
Okay, where do I begin?

First my respects to the amazing and kooky Miss Debbie Reynolds, a great and truly iconic Hollywood star.

Although most obituaries chose to skip over this (in every sense of the word) incredible moment in Reynolds’ career, What’s the Matter with Helen? is definitely worth a look. The film was directed by the bizarre Curtis Harrington, who began and ended his career by making the same short film version of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher. The first when he was just sixteen years old in 1942, and the second at age 73 in 2000. Like Kenneth Anger, Harrington started making short experimental films in his teens in the 1940s. He befriended Anger and was featured in his 1954 film Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome playing Cesare, the Somnambulist. Harrington would later shoot Anger’s Puce Moment.

The young Curtis Harrington was a charter member of the Hollywood underground which revolved around people like Anger, witchy artist Marjorie Cameron (the subject of Harrington’s short film “The Wormwood Star”), silent movie actor Samson De Brier and other druggy, gender-bending, rule-breaking free thinkers. Satanists, homosexuals, witches, freaks, drag queens, artists, murderers, millionaires and bums, the whole gamut of Hollywood Babylon as we know it today long before things of the sort became popular in the sixties. In the 1950s this was as far underground as Hell itself. The most amazing part of this is, of course, that so many of the biggest stars of the day were enamoured with these people, had to have them at their parties and had different levels of social (and sexual) involvement that will provide facts, info and weird stories to obsess on for decades to come. Unlike Kenneth Anger, Curtis Harrington headed for the hills (Hollywood, that is), and had a decent career making mostly odd horror films (and TV shows like Dynasty) while continuing to do his short experimental art films. What’s The Matter With Helen? is one of the best of his feature films.
 
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By 1971 there was a already an established trend in Hollywood horror films, dubbed the “Grande Dame Guignol Cinema,” it’s something that has also been called the “hagsploitation” or “psycho-biddy” genre. I refer to films like What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte and What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?. Although Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard could technically be said to be the first, the advent of the hag genre exploded of course with Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? starring the aging Bette Davis and Joan Crawford letting their hair (and their faces) down. Way down. Which was the entire professional requirement other than being a former leading lady. Since Curtis Harrington knew so many big stars from the 1930s and 40s who were growing into their fifties and wondering what to do with their careers, he made a few hagsploitation movies himself.
 
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Another thing Curtis Harrington had in his pocket by 1971 was his choice of the cream of the crop of old Hollywood’s wildest, weirdest and campiest actors, as well as some of new Hollywood’s most annoying child freaks, especially since the plot of What’s The Matter With Helen? included Reynolds playing a children’s tap dance teacher in 1930’s Hollywood. So many cheese-eating hamster hambones in this one.
 

 
To quote Shelley Winters:

It’s about two women during the thirties who run a school to turn out Shirley Temples, and in my next scene I have to stab Debbie Reynolds to death. Poor Debbie — they’d better not give me a real knife.”

Harrington’s cream of the crop, being the eccentric that he was, was just incredible. A who’s who of a pop culture obsessive’s dreams. On the top end of What’s The Matter With Helen?‘s credits we have, of course, Reynolds, Winters and future McCloud actor Dennis Weaver joined by the very old time super actor Michael Mac Liammóir (whose name had at least three different spellings), described in a IMDB bio as:

... a theatrical giant who dominated Irish theatre for over 50 years. Actor, designer, playwright and brilliant raconteur he was very much his own creation. He cut an imposing figure under the spotlight and in real life dressed flamboyantly wearing full make-up at all times and a jet black hairpiece. When he died in 1978 aged 79 The Irish Times wrote that ‘Nobody can assess the contribution that Micheal MacLiammoir made to Irish theatre’....Sir John Gielgud commented “Designer, wit, linguist and boon companion as well as actor, he was a uniquely talented and delightful creature.”

 
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As What’s The Matter With Helen?‘s credits roll they further reveal a string of incredible characters: Agnes Moorehead (who had an unforgettable Hollywood career but is mostly remembered as Endora on Bewitched), wild fifties (very) bad girl Yvette Vickers (Attack of the Giant Leeches, Reform School Girl, Juvenile Jungle, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, and more), and Timothy Carey (possibly the single most out there Hollywood actor in the history of film, who saved his money from movies like The Wild One, East of Eden, The Killing, Naked Gun, Rumble on the Docks, Poor White Trash/Bayou, Beach Blanket Bingo, Head and so many more, to make his masterpiece, The World’s Greatest Sinner with soundtrack by a young Frank Zappa. [Carey spent his later years going on TV talk shows and shooting a movie with his son Romeo called The Devil’s Gas about the importance of farting. Yes that’s what I said]. But beyond them, it also features Pamelyn Ferdin, the most annoying fingernails-on-the- blackboard child actress of the sixties and seventies (who turns up in odd films like The Christine Jorgensen Story and was seemingly on every TV show ever made back then such as My Three Sons, The Monkees, The Paul Lynde Show, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters and too many more to mention.)

What’s The Matter With Helen? was written by Henry Farrell who wrote both What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (most of these Hollywood hag films had titles that were full sentences or questions) the plot concerns a Leopold and Loeb-type thrill murder committed by the sons of two women who are drawn together by these horrible events. Destroyed by the trial, the shame and being attacked mentally and physically, they decide to run away to Hollywood, where they can change their names, reinvent themselves and start all over. There are quite a few amazing twists and turns in the story, gory murders (even a few bunny murders, the shame!), plus beautiful and weird cinematography that make it worth seeing more than once.
 

 
The insanity of some of the goings on behind the camera are legendary and hilarious. At first they couldn’t find a big name star to take the lead, but Debbie Reynolds eventually took the role of Adele. To quote her biography Unsinkable:

Eventually, Debbie Reynolds took the role of Adelle. She had a contract with NBC to be an uncredited producer of a film, so she chose this, taking no salary. “They put up $750,000 and hired Marty Ransohoff to be on the set, but I actually produced it.”

Incredibly—or not so incredibly considering who we’re talking about—Shelley Winters was in the middle of a nervous breakdown:

According to Reynolds, Winters’ psychiatrist advised her not to portray “a woman having a nervous breakdown because she was having a nervous breakdown! But nobody knew that, and so all through the film she drove all of us insane! She became the person in the film.” Reynolds witnessed Winters’s questionable mental status off of the set. The two had been friends many years before, and Reynolds offered to chauffeur Winters to and from the set. “I was driving one morning on Santa Monica Boulevard and ahead of me was a woman, wearing only a nightgown, trying to flag down a ride,” recalled Reynolds. It was Winters, who claimed, “I thought I was late.” According to a Los Angeles Times article published while the film was in production, Winters was so difficult on the set that the studio threatened to replace her with Geraldine Page.

More after the jump…

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
Cinemetal T-Shirts: Iconic film directors remixed with band logos
01.03.2017
11:20 am

Topics:
Fashion
Movies
Music

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Werner Herzog / Danzig
 
I feel like such a dum-dum for not knowing that these clever remix t-shirts of iconic film directors meeting band logos existed! In fact, they’ve been around since 2005! How the hell did I not know about this? Shame on me. A few of my Dangerous Minds colleagues even own a few.

Anyway, if you, like me, didn’t know about these film-geek meets “metalhead” shirts, they’re called Cinemetal T-Shirts and they’re manufactured in Los Angeles.

Before there were Cinemetal T-Shirts, film-lovers had no means of expressing their favorite auteur directors and musical tastes at the same time.

Well I guess now they do, huh? I really dig the Alejandro Jodorowsky / Judas Priest t-shirt, below.

Each one sells for $29.00 through the Cinemetal T-Shirts website.


Alejandro Jodorowsky / Judas Priest
 

Stanley Kubrick / Kraftwerk
 

Brian De Palma / Def Leppard
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
That time Grace Jones tried to ‘kidnap’ Dolph Lundgren from his hotel, at gunpoint
01.03.2017
10:23 am

Topics:
Heroes
Movies
Music
Pop Culture

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Grace Jones and Dolph Lundgren. Photographed by Helmut Newton, 1983.
 
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it until I can’t remember that far back—the 80s were a weird, wonderful decade. And a perfect example of how wonderful it was is the unexpected coupling of 6’5” actor Dolph Lundgren and enigmatic Jamaican-born powerhouse, Grace Jones.

Born in Stockholm, before he got into acting Lundgren was an accomplished scholar who by the time 1982 arrived had already received a scholarship to fulfill his Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Sydney in Australia. While he was in Australia, Lundgren worked security detail for musicians like Joan Armatrading, Dr. Hook and Grace Jones—and his chance meeting with Jones would turn into a four-year love affair. In 1983 Lundgren was the recipient of the prestigious Fulbright scholarship to the equally prestigious MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in Boston. According to Dolph he would arrive on the legendary campus on his motorcycle with a leather-clad Jones in tow. At Jones’ urging Dolph soon switched gears and headed to New York to study drama. He worked security at the Limelight nightclub until Limelight boss Peter Gatien caught him eating a sandwich in a stairwell and fired him. But thanks to Jones’ deep connections in the world of entertainment he landed his first acting gig with his exotic paramour in the last James Bond film to star Roger Moore, 1985’s A View to a Kill

1985 would be a pretty big year for the couple. Jones and Lundgren were immortalized together in a stunning photographic series by Helmut Newton that appeared in the July issue of Playboy magazine. Lundgren would then land the role of “Ivan Drago” in the 1985 film Rocky IV that would propel him to stardom. Sadly it wouldn’t be long before things got weird between the gorgeous duo and according to her 2015 book I’ll Never Write My Memoirs Jones’ recalled the moment when her beautiful union with Lundgren would begin to dissolve: after she showed up at his hotel in Los Angeles with a gun. Here’s more from Jones on how that went:

I actually had a gun. It seemed very natural that I would go and fetch Dolph holding a gun. I did so out of desperation — we had been together for years and had made this move to L.A., a place I absolutely loathed, against my better judgment, and then he comes back from being away and Tom [Holbrook, Dolph’s manager] blocks me from even saying hi. What is going on?

We turned up at the hotel, not to shoot anyone, but to make sure he came with us. We banged on the door of his room. Bang, bang, bang! I’ve got a gun! I’m screaming, “Let him out, you bastard!” It was as though Tom was holding him hostage and we had come to rescue him, hair flying, legs flailing, breasts heaving, guns flashing, music pumping. This was the kind of hysteria that took place in Los Angeles. In one of the many lives I never got to live, another Grace (one who never came true) shot Dolph there and then… And that was the end of the ballad of Grace and Dolph.

Later in the book Jones also tells the story of setting Lundgren’s clothes on fire. The couple called it a day before anyone got killed sometime in 1986. I’ve included images from the former power couple’s Playboy shoot as well as a nice assortment of other photos of the two canoodling back in the day that will remind you that love doesn’t follow any kind of rules, and should never have to be subject to them. Some of the images are slightly NSFW.
 

 

A photo shot by Helmut Newton of Jones and Lundgren that appeared in Playboy Magazine in July of 1985.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Is ‘The Tourist’ the ‘Greatest Screenplay Never Made’?
01.03.2017
09:27 am

Topics:
Movies

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01tourgig.jpg
 
Hollywood is where writers go to watch their screenplays die.

If they’re lucky their scripts will have a short, painless life: They’ll get made, the writer will get paid and then the results will get quickly buried which will allow the writer to move on to something better. If they’re unlucky, then they’ll waste their lives writing screenplay after screenplay that will never get made and see their best ideas plundered by studio execs to make yet another Hollywood monstrosity. Whichever fate, no writer comes out unscathed from Hollywood and the damage done can destroy lives.

Yet every screenwriter is a deluded optimist who believes that they’re going to be the one who will buck the system and be the next Anita Loos or William Goldman or Paul Schrader or Nora Ephron or Robert Towne or Quentin Tarantino. Even the next Shane Black. Writers who create their own autonomy with powerful, original and unique screenplays. It rarely happens, as producers and Hollywood execs do not understand the value of writing and think of scripts as something to be bought off the shelf and used for whatever the hell purpose they like.

When film critic Pauline Kael spent eighteen months working for Warren Beatty’s production company, she was shocked to discover that 98% of the best ideas never made it from page to screen but were thrown out like used Kleenex.

So let’s imagine what it would be like to write a screenplay that nearly every producer who reads it thinks it is the best script they’ve ever read. Now imagine those feral Hollywood execs fighting over it. And artist H. R. Giger creating designs for it—and let’s say Francis Ford Coppola optioning it with Hanna Schygulla or Kim Basinger or Kathleen Turner or even Madonna suggested as its star. Everyone loves your script. Everyone thinks it’s gonna be a hit. Then you realize these fuckers only want your script to cannibalize it into some other film. They’re too scared to make your movie because it’s too original, too clever, too damned good and too fucking weird. And then suddenly, the big hullabaloo stops. No one gives a shit about you or your script anymore. The calls stop. Hollywood is off after its next quick fix and you’re left wondering what the fuck that was all about?

This is kinda what happened to writer Clair Noto and her sci-fi screenplay The Tourist.

Everyone loved Noto’s screenplay—but no one had the guts to actually make it. Instead they wanted to make it into a “product” like every other homogenized piece of shit that comes out of Hollywood.
 
02tourhir.jpg
One of H. R. Giger’s alien designs for Noto’s ‘The Tourist.’
 
Begun in 1980, The Tourist tells the story of an alien who calls herself “Grace Ripley” stuck on Earth with a bunch of other extraterrestrials. Grace has morphed into human form and works by day as a high-powered business executive in New York.  By night she hangs out with her fellow aliens at a club called The Corridor where they have beautiful strange interplanetary sex and bemoan their lives exiled on this third rock from the Sun.

Noto’s inspiration for The Tourist came from fifties sci-fi movie The Day the Earth Stood Still, the story of alien coming to Earth with an ultimatum. Noto liked the idea of an alien walking among us, as she later explained:

I loved the whole idea of a man who could walk around in a boarding house in Washington, who was from another planet and you didn’t recognize his alienness. The idea of a human being who wasn’t a human being had been in my mind for a long time.

Noto’s script was a grown-up science-fiction story with strong female characters.

Grace Ripley, the determined alien fighting her private battles on a male-oriented world; Spider O’Toole, the alienated New Wave human; and even the guards of the Corridor, depicted as strong yet sexy women whose sensuality belied not only their true purpose, but their underlying strength.

 
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When the film was picked up by Hollywood, Brian Gibson was set to direct. Gibson had made his name directing BBC TV dramas like Dennis Potter‘s The Blue Remembered Hills and the Hazel O’Connor new wave movie Breaking Glass. Noto soon found she was to have no input in the film based on her screenplay:

When they took it away from me they were very nasty; like, ‘Fuck you. We’re going to put it together,’ and they couldn’t do it [Gibson] always looked like a jerk. To my face he was really nasty. I think he regretted it later on. I also think it damaged his career for along time. He couldn’t do anything.

Gibson went on direct Poltergeist II and The Juror. He died in 2004. As Noto later said:

The Tourist didn’t do anybody any good. It hurt me, it hurt a lot of people. [Producer] Renée Missel destroyed herself. You cannot do what people did with that material and not have some fallout. I couldn’t get Renée Missel on the phone. It was terrible, just terrible. She kept belittling the project saying, ‘Nobody’s even going to want to make this movie. Or if they would, it would be a cult movie that would play at midnight like Rocky Horror. Totally insulting about it. She would say things like, ‘I was the only person in town who didn’t like Star Wars.’ My feeling was that this is not a good situation.

 
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Artist H. R. Giger—the man who created the xenomorph for Alien—was brought into design the exiled extraterrestrials. Giger produced a series of illustrations. But Noto wasn’t even allowed to see any of Giger’s suggestions for her characters. As the situation became untenable, Noto used a get-out clause in her contract to call a halt to the project.

The script was then picked up by Francis Ford Coppola and director Franc Roddam—best known for the films Quadrophenia, Lords of the Discipline and devising the TV series MasterChef—was called in to give his input. Roddam loved Noto’s script, but he also understood how “a producer will take a piece and just say, ‘I own it and I’m going to do what I like with it.’”

Sometimes people have bought scripts and just said, ‘We’ll do the Paul Robeson story, but does he have to be black?’ I’ve actually heard that before. The real story of this piece is Clair’s attempt to protect her vision.

Clair is an extraordinary person. I often think of Clair as being one of the greatest cinematic talents who one doesn’t hear of.

More on the ‘greatest screenplay never made,’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Couch potato special: Feast on these classic TV movies now!
12.30.2016
09:28 am

Topics:
Movies
Television

Tags:

Are-You-In-The-House-Alone_600.jpg
 
Looking for something decent to watch while you wait for those ‘I Survived 2016’ t-shirts to arrive? Something suitably entertaining and thrilling to see out a bad year on a high? Then try these….

The much maligned TV Movie turned out a number of classics during its 70s/80s prime. Now Headpress has recently given the phenomena the attention it so richly deserves in a cracking new book Are You in the House Alone? A TV Movie Compendium 1964-1999 edited by Amanda Reyes.

Here, exclusively for Dangerous Minds, Reyes has selected six standout classic examples of the genre—and has provided a little introductory commentary too. The list include credits from the likes of none other than a young Steven Spielberg, Dennis Weaver, Valerie Harper and Charles Durning. And they’re all classics.

But best of all—you can view most of them right here right now. So without further ado, here’s Amanda to tell you about our first little feature…
 
1. Duel (1971)
 
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Amanda Reyes: Duel is the ultimate Movie of the Week. It was an early directing job for Steven Spielberg and he shows off some amazing directing skills in this tale about a man being chased by a creepy semi across a desert highway.

Everything is simple, pure and absolutely petrifying. Dennis Weaver plays the man on the run, and turns in an excellent performance. The script was written by the great Richard Matheson, and there’s not much I can say about this one except it’s very near perfect on every level.
 

 
Watch more classic TV movies, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
That time the most famous director in Mexico shot a film critic in the balls
12.29.2016
07:36 am

Topics:
Crime
Movies
Unorthodox

Tags:


 
Even if you’ve never seen one of Emilio Fernandez’s movies—even if you’ve never seen him in Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch or Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia—you’ve seen Emilio Fernandez. According to legend, he was the model for the Academy’s Oscar statuette.

Another legend attached to Fernandez is that he shot a film critic in the balls at one of his parties. Bob Dylan mentions this tale in Sam Shepard’s one-act play Short Life of Trouble:

BOB: You know, Emilio Fernandez used to shoot the critics that didn’t like his movies. At parties.

I first heard this story from the writer Barry Gifford after I tracked him down in Berkeley years ago. He’d heard it from the director and actor Alfonso Arau, who played the part of Herrera in The Wild Bunch. Like a no-nose bike seat, the account in Brando Rides Alone, Gifford’s book about One-Eyed Jacks, supports everything but the testicles:

Mexico’s most famous (along with Luis Buñuel)—certainly most infamous—director, Emilio Fernandez, known as “El Indio” because of his mother’s origins, made many unforgettable films, several featuring María Félix (Enamorada) or Dolores Del Rio (María Candelária, called by Beatriz Reyes Nevares “the classic and most memorable of all Mexican films”); he also directed a version of John Steinbeck’s story The Pearl/La Perla, starring Pedro Armendáriz. […]

Arau told me that after completing a new film Fernandez invited to dinner at his estancia the most prominent film critics from Mexico City. After dinner and undoubtedly many drinks, El Indio screened for them his latest effort, then solicited their opinions. One after another, the critics, stuffed and glowing from whiskey and Tequila, praised the film, telling their host what he wanted to hear, that it was his best to date, possibly another masterpiece, as moving as María Candelária. Then a journalist rose and begged to differ, not impolitely, but making clear his opinion that the new movie, while reasonably effective as melodrama, was not a particularly worthy addition to the maestro’s oeuvre. A silence fell over the room. El Indio, initially uncomprehending and a good two-and-a-half sheets to the wind, finally realized that he was being disrespected on his own turf and drew from beneath his coat a revolver. Without hesitating, he shot the disputatious fool, killing him in front of his fellow guests.

Arau said that for the offense of murdering a critic Fernandez was forced to spend some time in jail (where he was well treated), but since he was a national hero, and the insulting behavior of the deceased was compounded by the fact that at the time of the incident he had been availing himself of El Indio’s hospitality, the director’s sentence was cut short. Emilio Fernandez is a legend. (He died in 1986.) Nobody remembers the name of the dead critic.

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Holiday weirdness: Santa Claus battles the Devil to a psyche-rock soundtrack
12.24.2016
12:41 pm

Topics:
Animation
Movies
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:


 
40 psyche-pop tunes serve as the soundtrack for the extremely wacky Santa Claus (aka Santa Claus vs. The Devil) in a special Holiday mix from me to you.

The trailer narration of Santa Claus gives you a rough idea of the bizarreness that awaits the viewer:

Whether you’re in a cave, or behind a million mountains, Santa Claus sees you through his Master Eye, and invites you to his Magic Wonderland! See Santa Claus in his magic motion picture! Come past the doors of his towering castle, into a fantastic crystal laboratory, filled with weird and wonderful secrets; into his heavenly workshop, the most marvelous toy factory of all! Watch his battle with the mischievous demon who wants to get children into trouble! You’d better watch out!

 

 
There are so many disturbing elements to Rene Cardona’s film that it’s difficult to select just one. Advertised as “an enchanting world of make-believe”, it’s a surreal battle between Father Crimbo and Satan, who sends his minion, Pitch, to interfere in the spreading of comfort and joy. Prime nuggets? Pitch whispering to the young ‘uns that Santa’s actually a murderer (classy!) and Santa’s cloud-borne castle that looks less like a cheery base for making toys and more like something from a Bond villain’s architectural wet dream.

Enjoy the music. I don’t think you’ll miss the dialog. Happy Holidays.

01. “Is Anybody Home” - The Mirage
02. “Henry Adams” - The Frederic
03. “Princess Of The Gingerland” - Glitterhouse
04. “Travelling Circus” - The Epics
05. ‘Punch And Judy Man” - Pop Workshop
06. “Red, White And You” - Sounds Around
07. “The View” - Gary Walker and The Rain
08. “Tomorrow Today” - Kippington Lodge
09. “You’ll Find Me Anywhere” - Hi-Revving Tongues
10. Mix within the mix featuring The Groop, The Kinks,
    The Tages, The Exceptions, The Cyrkle, Frank Zappa,
    The Zombies, Mark Eric, The Sidewalk Skipper Band,
    The Beach Boys, Stained Glass, The Shaggy Boys,
    Free Design, Eternity’s Children, Summer Snow,
    The Counts, Johnny Cobb and The Attractions,
    The Family Tree (courtesy of FCR)
11. “What Are You Gonna Do” - The Summer Set
12. “Stop” - The Pan Pipers
13. “My Race Is Run” - The Motleys
14. “Buses” - The Hung Jury
15. “Alfred Appleby” - The Carnival Connection
16. “You Gotta Be With Me” - The Onyx
17. “Midnite Thoughts” - The World Column
18. “In The Land Of Make Believe” Jennifer’s Friend
19. “Walk In The Sky” The Crackerjack Society
20. “Your Way To Tell Me Go” - Plastic Penny
21. “Green Circles (Italian version)” - The Small Faces
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Tuxedomoon, Cult With No Name & John Foxx make music inspired by ‘Blue Velvet’
12.23.2016
01:22 pm

Topics:
Movies
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In 1985 a German photographer named Peter Braatz traveled to North Carolina and ended up filming a good deal of behind-the-scenes footage of the making of one of the best movies of the 1980s, David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. Diverging from what most people would have done, I’d say, Braatz declined to make a regular documentary and opted instead to make a free-standing work of art called “No Frank in Lumberton”—we wrote about it a while back.

In late 2015, as part of its “Made To Measure” series, Brussels-based label Crammed Discs put out an “original soundtrack” composed by Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name for the documentary Blue Velvet Revisited, a more recent reworking that Braatz forged from his original footage. In 2013 and 2014 Braatz came to realize that the contributions of Cult With No Name and Tuxedomoon would complement his images perfectly—in short order an agreement was made for the two groups to create a “joint soundtrack.”

Of the collaboration, Braatz commented:
 

In July 2013 I first heard the album ‘Above as Below’ by Cult With No Name. As the song ‘As Below’ came on I immediately had the idea to use it for my ‘Blue Velvet Revisited’ project, and to edit a trailer to the track that would showcase my footage.

...

I was keen to hand over the making of the soundtrack to one group of musicians, particularly as much of my film would have no dialogue. The soundtrack would need to carry the feel of ‘As Below’ throughout. Erik Stein revealed to me that the amazing trumpet part on ‘As Below’ was played by Luc Van Lieshout of Tuxedomoon, a group I also knew well and greatly admired. Because it was the trumpet part that I found so perfect, we soon pitched the idea of a joint soundtrack between Cult With No Name and Tuxedomoon.


 
Later on Braatz added a track by John Foxx, the original lead singer of Ultravox. Originating in the Bay Area, Tuxedomoon were one of the most important and influential bands of the post-punk movement. Self-described “post-punk electronic balladeers” Erik Stein and Jon Boux collaborate as Cult With No Name.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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