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About spadeneal

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  1. Just a quick note to TCM: it's been awhile, but thanks for "Tormented." That really worked for me. spadeneal
  2. I was delighted with the cartoon program on the 21st -- the UPA, Fleischer features, Stathes collection and all of it. And I enjoyed Jerry Beck's interaction with Robert. A strong choice, and please, let's have more. spadeneal
  3. Thanks TCM for all of the fantastic horror fare this October, covering the range of the bad, the mediocre, the good and the great. The range of offerings was very strong this year, including several things I had either never before seen or hadn't seen in so long it was like watching a new film. Thanks from the bottom of my classic horror loving heart. spadeneal
  4. I finally saw The Magician. I think Crowley would have been flattered by Wegener's demonic, determined performance but he also would have been disgusted that the character was explained away as a mere mental patient towards the end of the film. I liked The Magician very much; to me it is clear that it had a profound influence on Dracula, Frankenstein and White Zombie in terms of certain details, situations and atmosphere; it is a seminal horror film, even though it is unclear whether Ingram et al meant it to be a horror film -- imdb lists it as "Drama - Fantasy - Romance." Alice Terry's performance manages to be both melodramatic and minimal at the same time; not the best combination of elements but it didn't bother me. It was helpful to have seen White Zombie as many times as I have -- Madge Bellamy simply does a better job of maintaining an aura of being under hypnosis. Wegener was as monolithic as I expected him to be, but he is playing a monster -- albeit in human form -- and that's kind of what the role needs. The set dressing and incidental detail was as good as anything I've seen in Ingram, which is very good. This movie, though, looks as though it's had its heart cut out of it, much as Wegener's character wanted to do with Alice Terry. There are a number of ragged cuts that suggest some rearrangement of scenes and at least one shot appears to be an out-take; Ivan Petrovich gets a little tripped up simply walking away down a corridor, the sort of thing that gets reshot or left out as a matter of routine. Likewise there is a lengthy title that covers Dr. Burdon's search for Haddo and Dauncey from Paris to Monte Carlo; I'll bet you all of that was shot, and that what we see is merely the end to the search. We also didn't see Haddo's alleged marriage to Dauncey -- certainly Ingram would have shot that unless the party totally ran out of money. That their shoot in Nice lasted seven months suggests otherwise. My theory -- and if there is confirmation of this, I haven't encountered it -- is that Ingram submitted the finished film at his usual length of 120+ minutes and that MGM trimmed it down to 83. The treatment of Von Stroheim's Greed of course comes to mind, but it suggests that at least at MGM the idea of producers trimming to improve the pace of a film was evolutionary; they would get better at it later, but somehow in the 20s the idea of pulling out whole scenes, eliminating characters and disrupting the narrative flow seemed acceptable. It's just a pity that the films on which MGM was learning the process happened to be silent masterpieces that we cannot get back into an original form. Nevertheless, the visual style and subject matter of The Magician connects Rex Ingram to Tod Browning, Victor Halperin and yes, James Whale; something I wouldn't have thought of at all without seeing it. That, combined with the fact that my 16-year-old daughter said it was "totally cool" seems to indicate that The Magician needs not to be as obscure as it is. I liked the score too; some predictable quotations were used, but they worked and it fit well with the film. Thanks TCM for bringing this one out of the mothballs! spadeneal
  5. TCM thanks for Booked for Safekeeping; that was totally, totally great and I didn't know it existed. My dad was a detective sargeant in New Orleans in the late 70s, and I think he will be as blown away by this little film as I was. spadeneal
  6. > {quote:title=Metropolisforever_0 wrote:}{quote} > I seriously doubt most "lost" films are really lost. As the Metropolis discovery proves, most people don't even bother to report these "lost" films to film preservation societies. I'll bet you a million bucks that 4 Devils is sitting in some guy's barn in God-knows-where... I mean, how does TV Guide have a [review|http://movies.tvguide.com/devils/review/123655] of it? And numerous people have reported its alleged whereabouts. > > Numerous films have been lost and found... A Page of Madness (1926) (in the director's own garden shed), Richard III (1912) (in a projectionist's collection), In Nacht Und Eis (1912) (in a private German film library), Frankenstein (1910) (in a film collector's possession), Metropolis (1927) (in a museum in Argentina), The Passion of Joan of Arc (in the janitor's closet of a Norwegian mental asylum(!?)), ect. The list goes on and on. If they can find the original 1957 version of Shadows (1959), they can find anything. > > Message was edited by: Metropolisforever_0 That is SO optimistic, Metropolisforever_0. The ratio of what survives from the silent era to what has been lost is insignificant -- it's like less than a tenth. Sure, things do continue to turn up, and we should be thankful that they still do at such a late date. But we'll never have anything approaching what would be comprehensive for the silent era, and its been a long, long time since we've seen a new Selig film turn up for example -- the output of whole studios have been lost. spadeneal
  7. Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster, with King Kong vs. Godzilla a close second. Mothra is also a strong favorite. I like both versions of the original Gojira, and I've heard that Raymond Burr was very pleased to have been involved with breaking the big dragon into the US. But I would agree with the earlier poster in that he was seen to better advantage in almost anything else, except perhaps the dismal Gorilla at Large. spadeneal
  8. My Favorite is _The Tingler_, but I'd love to see some of Castle's early work, particularly _Klondike Kate_ (1943), a vehicle starring Ann Savage and Tom Neal made two years before _Detour_. Sure, it's Columbia, but TCM does show Columbia pictures from time to time. Castle was a great showman and he knew how to make a picture; his autobiography is fact-challenged, but a great read. spadeneal
  9. The print quality of "Things to Come" tonight is by far the best I've ever seen. And I can make sense of most of the soundtrack. Amazing! It's like seeing a wholly different movie. Thanks! spadeneal
  10. > {quote:title=joefilmone wrote:}{quote} > The movies lacked the proper dreadful atmosphere which is a key to Lovecraft's style. There have been dozens of Lovecraft related films in the last 20 years or so, but you seldom hear about them or see them. When it was new I thought _ReAnimator_ (1985) was really good but the ReAnimator thing seems done to death by now. I had read that a major studio was developing _At the Mountains of Madness_ for 2009 release and I was very happy, as that is one of the most readily cinematic of Lovecraft's works. But I've heard nothing about it in awhile and suspect the project has been shelved. _Die Monster Die!_ is such a handsomely designed film; so beatifully filmed with terrific set dressing and even good - for the era - visual effects. Karloff is unwell, yet trying his best to project a characterization worthy of his high standards and occasionally getting there. Nick Adams is - well - Nick Adams, but he's doing his best here and I think had he lived he would have matured into a terrific character actor. Suzan Farmer, though, is absolutely hopeless, and that's one key element among a crucial few that helps to drag down this otherwise fine picture. From a Lovecraftian standpoint, though, Die Monster Die ain't much. In the 1960s, Lovecraft had only yet reached a very small and elite literary audience, and it is a little surprising that this reached the screen so early. It doesn't make sense to us to move _The Colour Out of Space_ out of its midwestern farm setting and into an old dark house with Boris Karloff, but the latter was the more realistic option given the resources that AIP had to fall back on. At least it's a bit closer to its source story that some of the Poe adaptations AIP did, which in some cases were like 1 percent Poe and 99 percent anything else that you could imagine. spadeneal
  11. I caught if from *Cynara* to when the tape ran out and I don't know when that was. *Cynara* was a beautiful film - I wished I had more attention to pay to it. However, *A Notorious Affair* was great; that was an ideal role for Basil Rathbone, and the handling of the story was very advanced and adult. Kay looked GREAT in that riding outfit, boy. You don't see Lloyd Bacon's name kicked about much in reference to being a very artistic director. But there was a lot of "art" in the movie -- this picture must have been seen by Orson Welles, as he recrated elements from the little montage which follows the title that reads something like "Reaping the benefits of fame..." almost exactly in *Citizen Kane,* though spread over into different scenes. spadeneal
  12. Thanks for the tip. I'm not so curmudgeonly that I won't try it. Sounds good. spadeneal
  13. Gee, I hate to be the fella who throws cold water over this Bob Cummings lovefest, but I'm like the old folks -- I have a hard time "loving that Bob," and in fact, can barely stand him. He's just too cheeky and ingratiating for my taste, not to mention someone who has that Bill Murray-ish quality of playing himself no matter what role he is in. In *Saboteur*, which is a film I like for its set pieces more than for the film itself, he literally gnaws on the scenery in that closing courtroom scene; it's almost like a Bugs Bunny parody of someone doing a scene like that. I can't endure *The Petty Girl* - this brand of wink, wink, nudge, nudge sexy comedy makes a Charley Drew record seem almost taciturn by comparison. I start lookin' at my loafers, waiting for my lunch to reappear. I caught an episode of *Love That Bob* on over-the-air TV when I lived in Los Angeles; there was a small public TV station that showed different old, obscure television shows every Friday I think. It was okay -- didn't really float my boat. By all means, if you do love him, go ahead -- he needs fans. I just don't happen to be one of them. spadeneal
  14. I just got done, about a month ago, scoring six very short silent films that added up to about 22 minutes. In the past I've used records, played live piano (not well) and used - in the 80's - a digital guitar to score silent movies. This time I wrote it all out in conventional notation and played it back with what chintzy MIDI I have & synched it up. I "cheated" in some respects, re-editing films, cutting titles to uniform length etc - really making "art films" out of some of the source films. I showed the new program in Cincinnati this past August, and it was a big hit. And I'm really thankful for that, as it was an INCREDIBLE amount of work. I'm a pretty speedy composer, or at least I like to think so. I couldn't believe how busy I was scoring even three minutes of silent film. It's like three hours work to one minute of film. I kid you not. Just imagine what it would be like doing a feature, or even jamming to one. I appreciate Rosa Rio, Lee Erwin and Gaylord Carter and pretty well grew up watching silents scored by Carter and/or William Perry. I'm amazed that they could do it live. For younger audiences, though, such scores come off with too much baggage attached. The experience of taking in a silent with live theater organ or well-played piano can cure that problem, but I think we're to the stage now where the conventional silent movie score is not universally seen as the best possible solution in every case. I certainly appreciate Mont Alto's score for "The Delicious Little Devil" over the rinky-dink piano and sound effects that used to accompany comedy shorts in the 60s. There are many silent films I've seen that had scores that I didn't like, and I usually just turn the sound off. I like watching silent films silent; I can imagine my own music, or just study the photography, cutting, acting, whatever. It is not practical to show them that way on television; you must have sound of some sort. There are places where young avant-garde or industrial musicians play to a silent film once a month; playing music the average silent film buff won't dig, But their audience is mostly made up of young folks who otherwise don't generally see silent films, there for the musicians' sake. This type of screening is helping very much in building interest in silents among the young; this is essential to insuring a future for the medium. This activity, and aspects of its style, spills over into some of the scores you hear. My feeling that such music has equal potential to pass or fail as a conventional Robert Israel styled score. It's not an inconvenience to hit the "mute" button and play a CD, or just to watch the film silent. No matter how you deal with it, bear in mind that it's really very hard work for a musician - whether you're Alloy, Mont Alto, Maria Newman, John Zorn, Donald Sosin, Jon Mirsalis, Philip Carli, Larry Marotta or me, there's nothing easy about it. I applaud anyone who tries. spadeneal
  15. The Phrase "underground films" goes back at least 50 years; Parker Tyler wrote a book called Underground Film in 1966. Then it more exclusively dealt with abstract art films and experimental filmmakers like Kenneth Anger and Andy Warhol. Now I'm not even sure it has a distinct meaning, as it pulls in all of the "Incredibly Strange" drive in fare of the 60s and 70s and other kinds of semi-pro, independent but commercial fare. There is a huge difference, I think, between Anger's _Inauguration of Pleasure Dome_ and _The Wasp Woman_ though they were made basically in the same era. Both are wonderful films that deserve to be better known, but that's about all they have in common, except that they are considered "underground." spadeneal
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