I guess I just can’t stay on task… My original plan was to watch horror movies exclusively during the month of October, alternating between modern horror and classic horror. As mentioned in a previous post, that plan fell through.
Althought I did watch several horror films – most of which you’ll see here, but also some in Part II – I also found time to step away from the scary stuff. More next time, but for now, here’s Part I:
Wild At Heart (1990)
Directed by David Lynch
Produced by Steve Golin, Michael Kuhn, Month Montgomery, Sigurjon Sighvatsson
Screenplay by David Lynch, based on the novel by Barry Gifford
Cinematography by Frederick Elmes
Edited by Duwayne Dunham
Casting by Johanna Ray
Music by Angelo Badalamenti
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Propaganda Films
Universal Pictures UK Blu-ray
The David Lynch Project Part VI
While my friend K and I have been working on our David Lynch project, it seems as if each film is preparing us for the next one. K and I watched Blue Velvet back in April and after nearly a six-month hiatus, we’re back. It’s never a good idea to try to label a David Lynch film as any one thing, but if you were to call Blue Velvet a noir mystery (two things), I think you’d have to call Wild At Heart a romantic fantasy. Or a romantic crime fantasy. Or a romantic crime fantasy thriller. Or…
Sometimes the closer you live to the site of a film festival, the harder it is to participate in it. Although I live less than an hour’s drive from the AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center, I was only able to attend two days of Noir City DC. Yet in those two days, I saw some amazing films and met some wonderful people. My wife and I are planning on flying out to San Franscisco in January to attend at least part of Noir City 14. (I’ll be there for the noir; my wife – not a film fan – for the sightseeing and hiking.)
For anyone considering the next Noir City DC, rest assured that the festival is well-run, organized, and very user-friendly. The main theater is simply gorgeous, a spacious art deco masterpiece that you could spend hours examining. The two smaller theaters – although nowhere near as extravagant as the main viewing hall – are clean, comfortable and inviting. All the threater employees I encountered were nothing less than friendly and helpful.
Now on to the films I saw on Sunday, October 25:
Murder by Decree (1979)
Directed by Bob Clark
Produced by Bob Clark, René Dupont, Robert A. Goldston, Len Herberman
Screenplay by John Hopkins
Based on characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle and the book The Ripper File by Elwyn Jones and John Lloyd
Cinematography by Reginald H. Morris
Edited by Stan Cole
Music by Paul Zaza, Carl Zittrer
Canadian Film Development Corporation, AVCO Embassy Pictures
I find that most people – even Sherlock Holmes fans – have never heard of Murder by Decree. They don’t know that it stars Christopher Plummer (below right) as Holmes and James Mason (below left) as Dr. Watson, don’t know that it’s one of the most atmospheric Jack the Ripper films, and don’t know that the supporting cast consists of such exceptional talents as John Gielgud, Geneviève Bujold, Donald Sutherland, Anthony Quayle and Susan Clark, to name just a few.
What they might know is that the film was directed by Bob Clark, who also directed the Porky’s movies, which might understandably be enough to keep them away from a Clark-directed Sherlock Holmes film. (Those people should be aware that Clark also directed the 1983 holiday favorite A Christmas Story.) Yet Murder by Decree remains a very good thriller/horror/mystery that shouldn’t be ignored this Halloween or any other time of the year.
Derek and I had the great pleasure to interview Jonathan Case recently about his new graphic novel from Dark Horse called The New Deal. You can hear that interview here, where we discuss not only Case’s new book, but also the award-winning true crime graphic novel Green River Killer: A True Detective Story with art by Case and written by Jeff Jensen. The book has just been reissued in trade paperback. Hope you’ll give us a listen!
(Photos: Jonathan Case, Dark Horse Comics)
While October offered few film noir releases, the outlook for Noirvember is a bit better, although some of these releases come from Europe, so you’ll need an all-region Blu-ray player (which I highly recommend) for those titles. Let’s get started…
Woman on the Run (1950)
Directed by Norman Foster
Produced by Howard Welsch, Ann Sheridan
Screenplay by Norman Foster, Alan Campbell
Based on a short story by Sylvia Tate
Cinematography by Hal Mohr
Edited by Otto Ludwig
Music by Arthur Lange, Emil Newman
In his book Film Noir FAQ (2013) , David J. Hogan writes, “At this writing, Woman on the Run is commercially available, via a poor print, on budget DVD. A good print is hidden in a vault somewhere. Let’s find it.” (p. 293)
That’s exactly what Eddie Muller set out to do. Continue reading
Eddie Muller began his speech at the AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center by showing a film clip by Serena Bramble, a young lady who made this montage when she was 18 after having seen only a dozen or so films noir. “It’s better than any of those montage clips they show at the Oscars,” Muller said, and he was right.
Tonight, president and founder of the Film Noir Foundation Eddie Muller will be appearing at the AFI Silver to present “The Shadowy History of Film Noir.” This event also kicks off the Noir City DC Film Festival.
Unfortunately I’ll only be able to attend the Muller presentation and the opening night movie Woman on the Run (1950), but I’m super-excited to be able to be in the presence of the “Czar of Noir” and view a film noir I’ve never seen before. I’ll report more after the event.
I’m not sure how I feel about horror movies. My original plan was to spend the entire month of October alternating between modern horror films and classic horror, but then I decided to just watch a lot of everything. Halfway through October, I’ve come to some sobering conclusions about horror films: