Cinema is just a form of masturbation.

Fiquei intrigada porque diabos essa frase aparecia em todos os lugares como se fosse algum ensinamento profundo e queria saber o real contexto em que foi dita. Então, descobri a tal afirmação do Dirk Bogarde numa edição-coletânea da Penthouse (ah, a ironia!) que constava tal entrevista. Penthouse: Have you had this attitude all along, orContinuar lendo “Cinema is just a form of masturbation.”

I feel naked without a moustache.

Major Patrick Leigh Fermor versão Bogarde-Lord Byron ‘Kissing a man without a moustache was like eating an egg without salt.’ The seductive and priapic major’s moustaches had been long, curly and waxed. Point Counter Point – Aldous Huxley, 1928 The seductive and priapic major’s moustaches had been long, curly and waxed. foi a frase maisContinuar lendo “I feel naked without a moustache.”

Centenário de Ronald Neame

In a directorial career stretching for over forty years, Ronald Neame proved to be a reliable and versatile commercial film-maker but also one who defies easy categorisation. Efficient and craftsman-like, his films are well made but have lacked the individualism seemingly required to achieve auteur status. Instead he has been the epitome of the mainstream studio director, a model of professionalism whose output has often mirrored the ups and downs of the industry.
He was born in London on 23 April 1911. His father was the noted portrait photographer and film director Elwin Neame and his mother the actress Ivy Close. After his father’s early death in a car accident, he had to leave public school and went to work for an oil company. With his mother’s help, he entered the film industry at the Elstree studios of British International Pictures in 1927 and worked his way up from clapperboy to focus puller and eventually cinematographer. He photographed many quota quickies in the 1930s, along with a number of George Formby vehicles at Ealing. He established a solid reputation, winning his first Oscar nomination for his work on Powell and Pressburger’s One of Our Aircraft Is Missing (1942). With Major Barbara (1941), he began an association with the film’s editor, David Lean. He worked initially as his director of photography on three Noël Coward projects (he was nominated for a second Oscar for Blithe Spirit in 1945). In 1943 they founded the production company Cineguild with Anthony Havelock-Allen which operated under the Rank umbrella. After a fact-finding trip to Hollywood on behalf of Rank, Neame switched to producing and scriptwriting, making important contributions to Lean’s two Dickens adaptations and to the classic romance Brief Encounter (1945), picking up further Academy Award nominations in these new roles. Unfortunately, his partnership with Lean ended rather acrimoniously when Lean took over the direction of The Passionate Friends (1948) from Neame.
He made his debut as a director for Cineguild with Take My Life (1947), a more than competent Hitchcock-style thriller which showed Neame’s technical skill as a film-maker. Throughout his career his work was uneven, so that the routine action hokum of The Golden Salamander (1949) was followed by the excellent sub-Ealing comedy The Card (1952) featuring Alec Guinness. Based on Arnold Bennett’s novel, it is a sympathetic account of the nefarious rise of a humble clerk as he finds various ways to take advantage of the hierarchies of the British class system. Neame showed a real lightness of touch handling comic subjects, spinning out the thin premise of The Million Pound Note (1953) with some style and again drawing a fine performance from Guinness as an idiosyncratic painter in his pleasing adaptation of Joyce Cary’s novel The Horse’s Mouth (1958). In the 1950s he also made the intriguing wartime espionage tale The Man Who Never Was (1955), as well as having a brief, unsuccessful stint in Hollywood where he was eventually replaced as director on The Seventh Sin (1957).
Neame’s liking for non-conformist characters reaches its height in his most acclaimed film Tunes of Glory (1960), a compelling barrackroom melodrama which also shows his skill in handling actors; here he is rewarded with memorable performances by John Mills and Alec Guinness as the two officers engaged in a violent clash of personalities. Like The Horse’s Mouth, it was made for his own production company Knightsbridge Films. His 1960s output continued to be extremely variable. It included two Swinging London films, the amiable caper movie Gambit (1966) with Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine and the instantly dated risqué comedy Prudence and the Pill (1968), on which he worked uncredited. He directed Judy Garland in her last film, I Could Go on Singing (1963), and had another spell in the States where he completed two unremarkable projects, Escape from Zahrain (1961) and A Man Could Get Killed (1966). The best-received work from this period was The Prime of Miss Jean Brody (1969). This popular adaptation of the stage version of Muriel Spark’s novel provided Maggie Smith with a show-off role which duly won her an Oscar, but the film has considerable difficulty dealing with the essential theatricality of the story and characters.
After the middling musical Scrooge (1970) with Albert Finney in the title role, Neame took up permanent residence in Hollywood, eventually becoming an American citizen. He was responsible for establishing the ‘disaster movie’ genre with the immensely successful The Poseidon Adventure (1972), although he followed it with one of the worst examples of this cycle, Meteor (1979). He also made two enjoyable, lightweight pieces with Walter Matthau, Hopscotch (1980) and First Monday in October (1981). The best of his limited British work in this period is the tautly effective thriller The Odessa File (1974), from Frederick Forsyth’s bestselling novel, with Jon Voight uncovering a Neo-Nazi group. Nothing can forgive the atrocious sex comedy Foreign Body (1986) which looks like a relic from another era. His final film was The Magic Balloon (1990), a children’s adventure designed to show off the new ShowScan widescreen format which consequently only had a limited release.
Throughout his career Neame was always a smoothly professional film-maker, adopting an unostentatious approach which relied greatly on his actors and which frequently left him at the mercy of the script. When these were good he produced highly effective films which often showcased outstanding acting performances. Even on his poorer commercial assignments there is an ability to serve the narrative no matter how inadequate this might be. His achievements, which include his active role in the industry union ACT and with the British Society of Cinematographers, were recognised with a BAFTA Fellowship and the CBE, both awarded in 1996.

Guide of British Film Directors – Robert Shail

Michael Gough (1917 – 2011)

Top-dúzia de cortar os pulsos por ter que deixar certos filmes de fora: Nota: E o cara está no elenco de um dos filmes que mais gostaria de ver, mas o dito ainda não me chegou às mãos e nem sequer sei se ainda existe cópia em algum lugar, o único verdadeiramente dirigido pelo Pressburger,Continuar lendo “Michael Gough (1917 – 2011)”

Cem anos de Basil Dearden

Basil Dearden was born on 1 January 1911 in Westcliffe-on-Sea as Basil Dear. His youthful interest in amateur dramatics led to him entering the theatre as an actor, but he quickly moved behind the curtain to become a stage manager. In 1931 he went to work for theatre producer Basil DEAN as his general stage manager, subsequently making the same shift into films that DEAN had, joining him at Associated Talking Pictures (ATP) whereDean was studio head. He changed his name to Dearden to avoid any confusion with his boss. When Michael Balcon took over the ATP studios at Ealing, Dearden remained. During the late 1930s he worked on a number of Ealing films, including five George Formby vehicles, usually as writer or associate producer. His directing career began on three comedies featuring another of Ealing’s music hall stars, Will Hay, with Dearden co-directing with Hay.
His first solo effort was The Bells Go Down (1943), which paid tribute to the wartime heroism of the Auxiliary Fire Service. The film’s art director was Michael Relph and his meeting with Dearden marked the beginning of a remarkable collaboration which was to last nearly thirty years. As a director-producer-writer team they became the most prolific film-makers working at Ealing. It was, perhaps, their role as studio workhorses that led to a rather poor critical reputation, with commentators dismissing their work as routine, well-meaning but dull. In retrospect, this assessment of their Ealing output seems inadequate. There are films which certainly fit the 1940s Ealing ethos in terms of adopting a realist style and dealing with contemporary issues, but Dearden and Relph frequently showed a preference for subjects which raised wider moral issues. The Captive Heart (1946) is a moving POW film, whilst Frieda (1947) deals sympathetically with the prejudice facing a German woman who, through marriage, finds herself living in postwar England. The Blue Lamp (1949) tackles juvenile crime within an exciting thriller format (a technique that was to become a trademark), but is best remembered for Dirk Bogarde’s intense performance as a young tearaway. A number of their films deal with the difficulties of postwar readjustment, from the melodramatic The Ship that Died of Shame (1955), through the documentary approach of Out of the Clouds (1955), to the crime caper The League of Gentlemen (1960). The latter was made after the demise of Ealing, but within its genre narrative offers a remarkably cynical depiction of a group of ex-soldiers who find themselves discarded in postwar Britain.
However, the sober realism that predominates in these films doesn’t tell the full story of Dearden’s output in this period. Notable among his other films are the gloriously melancholy costume piece Saraband for Dead Lovers (1948), with its sumptuous colour cinematography and rich production design, and the whimsical comedy The Smallest Show on Earth (1957), which pays nostalgic tribute to the magic of film-going in a style close to the tradition of the Ealing comedies. Dearden also provided a section for Ealing’s macabre portmanteau film Dead of Night (1945). Another reason for Dearden and Relph’s poor standing may have been this eclecticism, which didn’t sit comfortably with the strictures of the auteur theory.
In the late 1950s Dearden and Relph embarked on a series of ‘social problem’ films which explicitly tackled topical themes within a deliberately audience-pleasing entertainment format, often using the crime genre. Sapphire (1959) was among the first British films to deal with racial tensions, while Victim (1961) was groundbreaking in depicting the way that homosexuals were subject to blackmail under contemporary laws. The film was credited with being central to the subsequent decriminalisation, and eventual legalisation, of homosexuality. Violent Playground (1958) again dealt with juvenile delinquency and Life for Ruth (1962) focused on an ethical clash between religious fundamentalism and modern medicine. These films, which have become intrinsically associated with Dearden and Relph, drew a good deal of criticism on the grounds that their timid liberalism failed to fully address the complexity of the issues involved, and that the attempt to frame the topics within fairly conventional storylines drained them of any sense of conflict. The recent, and more sympathetic, reassessment of their work has tended to place the films in context, showing the risks they took in making a film like Victim, as evidenced by the fact that it effectively ended Dirk Bogarde’s Rank contract.
Their later films shifted on to safer ground, but still threwup a number of interesting items including the spectacular epic Khartoum (1965) and the modest, but neatly executed, supernatural thriller The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970), with Roger Moore as a dull man whose exciting alter ego is released in a car crash. In a ghastly irony,Dearden’s career was brought to a premature end when he died as the result of a car accident on 23 March 1971. Dearden’s considerable output is certainly uneven, particularly in the early 1950s, so it’s unsurprising that some critics dismissed him as all too typical of the restraint and mediocrity which has sometimes beset British cinema. However, his work has gradually been given more of the due it deserves. The sheer variety of his output shouldn’t obscure the consistency of his concern withmoral issues tackled within clear social settings.

British Film Directors: A Critical Guide – Robert Shail

Mann, Diaghilev, Mahler, Powell, Visconti, Russell

Serge Diaghilev and Thomas Mann never met, it seems. Yet the life of one and the imagination of the other overlapped to an obviously extraordinary degree. Coincidence is our term for concurrence that is not consciously willed and that we cannot explain in any definitive sense. However, if we retreat from the restrictive world of linear causality and think in terms of context and confluence rather than cause, then it is undeniable that there were many influences – to begin with, those of Venice and Wagner – at work on the imagination of Mann and Diaghilev, two giants of twentieth-century aesthetic sense, influences that led one to create a certain fiction and the other actually to live strikingly near that fiction.
Moreover, one must ask whether Mann’s story was any less real than Diaghilev’s life. Heinrich Mann, in review of his brother’s novella, saw that the central issue of Death in Venice was “Which came first, reality or poetry?” In his “Life Sketch” of 1930, Thomas Mann spoke of the “innate symbolism and honesty of composition” of Death in Venice, a story that, he asserted, was “taken simply from reality.” Nothing was invented, he claimed, none of the settings, none of the characters, none of the events. Tadzio, it has since been established, was in fact a certain Wladyslaw Moes, a young Polish boy on holiday in Venice. Jaschiu was one Janek Fudakowski. Aschenbach bore a distinct resemblance to Gustav Mahler, who died in 1911. Thomas Mann, whose art as a whole is striking in its fusion of autobiographical and imaginative experience, called his novella “a crystallization.”

Rites of Spring: the Great War and the birth of the Modern Age – Modris Eksteins

Professor David Huxley’s laborious, licentious spotted-leopard labor day film quiz

1) Classic film you most want to experience that has so far eluded you. 2) Greatest Criterion DVD/Blu-ray release ever 3) The Big Sleep or The Maltese Falcon? 4) Jason Bateman or Paul Rudd? 5) Best mother/child (male or female) movie star combo 6) Who are the Robert Mitchums and Ida Lupinos among working movieContinuar lendo “Professor David Huxley’s laborious, licentious spotted-leopard labor day film quiz”

Filmes bacanas de cada ano que o cinema viveu: 1965

1- Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!/Mudhoney/Motor Psycho (Russ Meyer)Ôpa ôpa ôpa! Russ Meyer em dose tripla naquele ano. 2- Monitor: The Debussy Film (Ken Russell)Debussy, Ollie, Russell e um maluquete adorador de Wagner que gosta de atirar em gatos. Basta. 3- Ipcress – Arquivo Confidencial (The Ipcress File, Sidney Furie)A pergunta é: como o Sidney FurieContinuar lendo “Filmes bacanas de cada ano que o cinema viveu: 1965”

Filmes bacanas de cada ano que o cinema viveu: 1966

1- O Incrível Exército de Brancaleone (L’ Armata Brancaleone, Mario Monicelli)Antes de Monty Python houve Mario Monicelli & Co. Top 5 melhores comédias de sempre, sátira política ácida e obra prima da linguagem cômica. Este blog deveria se chamar Brancaleonando e não Quixotando em homenagem a personagem ainda mais patética do que o próprio Quixote.Continuar lendo “Filmes bacanas de cada ano que o cinema viveu: 1966”

Filmes bacanas de cada ano que o cinema viveu: 1971

1- Morte em Veneza (Morte a Venezia, Luchino Visconti)Meu primeiro Visconti ainda na tenríssima idade e seria quase nulo mencionar o tamanho da marca deixada em mim, numa época em que ainda há a sinceridade do gostar, sem afetação externa de fulaninhos dizendo ser Visconti um dos maiores do mundo. Mais do que Thomas MannContinuar lendo “Filmes bacanas de cada ano que o cinema viveu: 1971”

25 atores – Parte 3