SHORT TAKES

Death of Gilbert Taylor

The New York Times of August 27 reported the death of  photographer Gilbert Taylor.  His films included Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, Lester’s A Hard Day’s Night, Hitchcock’s Frenzy  and Lucas’ Star Wars.

The Times reports that Taylor felt Star Wars to be his best work.  But my favorite of his films remains Seven Days to Noon which coincidentally contains one of my five all-time favorite lines.  The landlady is showing her prospective lodger (and our mad bomber) the room she has available.  There is a large lump in the middle of the bed, and the landlady pulls back the spread to reveal her cat.  She explains:  “It’s Amber.  She’s forever in the beds.”

Vivien Leigh, Then and Now

We are offering a new essay about Vivien Leigh, in the form of a personal recollection.  Click on Vivien Leigh (next to Home), then click on the second link which discusses her fifth film Fire Over England (1937) in which she stars with Flora Robson and Laurence Olivier.

Vivien Leigh is Everywhere

…even in Jacques Derrida.  I was pleased and surprised to find her in the index of The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida by John D. Caputo (Indiana University Press, 1997).  His reference to her is but a mention as he discusses virtual reality and film and imagines a virtual Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable.  What was NOT surprising is that her name is misspelled in the index and the text.  The misspelling of her name is THE most common factor in any reference to Vivien Leigh.

Outstanding Acting

Two blogs ago I mentioned some acting in films currently playing.  I now add to that short list another ensemble, the cast of Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ The Kings of Summer.  In that earlier post, I mentioned Yaya Alafia in The Butler.  No reviews I have read of The Butler say anything about her except that she is in it.  Watch her eyes in the family dinner scene.  She’s terrifying.

Moody, Suspenseful and Beautiful to Behold

Le Havre is a simple story about Illegal immigrants in France where apparently there are immigrant settlements (tent cities) which are periodically bulldozed.  There are also camps for immigrants arrested.  Le Havre is about an African boy who escapes when his other family members are arrested upon arrival in France.  The simple story is made tense and thought-provoking by elliptical narrative, expert direction and a pace that gives characters and audience time to reflect.  The suspense is considerable as police pursue the boy and the neighborhood in which he is stranded rallies behind him.  An outstanding cast of French and Finnish players are marvelously believable in a stark setting superbly captured by director and photographer.

Le Havre
Aki Kaurismaki*
2011
screenplay by Ari Kaurismaki*
Photography Timo Salminen
*The last name should have an umlaut over the second a.

NEXT POST Friday, October 4

Until then,
See you at the movies,
Rick

            

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