I meant to get another book review done this week, but it’s been surprisingly hectic hereabouts. So here’s a little Zasu Pitts and Constance Bennett plus Basil Rathbone as a cad in Sin Takes a Holiday. Art Deco bonus points for design!
Here’s Zasu and Thelma Todd:
Cindy Sherman’s surreally effective film starring the amazing Carol Kane
There are a few holes in my film diary: an embarrassing one has now been remedied. Criterion has an absolutely mesmerising release of Louis Malle’s Elevator to the Gallows with the radiant Jeanne Moreau. I swear there’s not a frame that doesn’t sing. Of course there’s the fine soundtrack by Miles but you probably already knew that. If you haven’t seen it — or haven’t seen it lately — it’s about time, don’t you think?
The first filmed version of ‘grandmother of noir’ Elisabeth Sanxay Holding’s The Blank Wall. More recently there’s The Deep End. Both interesting in what they use and what they leave out. The novel is terrific. Teaching it again in the spring.
Join the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and agonise over your art. Ken Russell directs a fabulous cast, full of eye-searingly vivid images. Just what you need.
I’d heard about this Skolimowski film for some time, especially from the Folk Horror folks. I had vague memories of reading about The Shout somewhere back in the day, but only recently got a copy to watch. Yes, the premise is a little silly — no more so than Experiment IV though, and with a likewise stellar cast. A sound that kills: a fascinating concept. The opening scenes on the dunes are eerily creepy and the film maintains an undercurrent of unease that’s quite powerful. I want to read the Robert Graves story it’s inspired by and see if it’s just as English. So much of the plot relies on people in uncomfortable situations unwilling to be frank about their discomfort. Francis Bacon images punctuate the sound studio in the farm house. The sound track is by former Genesis folk Michael Rutherford and Tony Banks, but don’t let that put you off. This is my favourite scene:
Keep an eye on your buckles, folks.
Fabulous version of the MR James story with Michael Hordern, directed by the esteemed Jonathan Miller and featuring the Norfolk coast.