Rick’s Journal — MY FILM CAREER
MEANWHILE – back at UCLA
Hugh Gray brought Jean Renoir to us as well. I sat in the third row of a small projection room. I was that close to one of the world’s greatest living men. And the great man was down-to-earth, close to self-deprecatory, but aware, I don’t doubt, of the timeless quality of his body of work. Time proves him right about that.
He was generous in the question and answer session after he spoke. We of course asked him about Grand Illusion and Rules of the Game; but I easily recall the most surprising thing he said — that, for him, the most beautiful films ever created were the silent films of Hollywood in the twenties. I am sorry now that I did not ask him if he meant to refer to Hollywood’s silent era in general of if by noting the twenties, he meant to exclude the films from the previous decade.
It must have been Arthur Ripley, our directing prof, who brought George Seaton to us as guest speaker. (He twice won the Academy Award for adapted screenplay: The Miracle on 34th Street and The Country Girl.) Seaton was debonair, tailored and in manner sophisticatedly reserved. I remember only one point that Seaton made, and I will be grateful if any of my readers can comment on it. He spoke about music as background in film, something he considered crucial to successful film making.
He then said that almost any dramatic music — I do think he said almost — that almost any dramatic music will work with any dramatic scene; that if you play the music against a playing scene, the music and the scene will rise in tension together and dramatically merge and climax.
He really said that.
NEXT Friday POST August 18
See you OUT and AT the movies,