Blindspot Series 2016: Persona (1966)

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Persona (1966)
Written, directed, and produced by Ingmar Bergman
Cinematography by Sven Nykvist
Edited by Ulla Ryghe
Music by Lars Johan Werle
AB Svensk Filmindustri
Hulu streaming (1:24)

The basic story in Persona is fairly simple: a famous actress Elizabet (Liv Ullmann, below right) has suddenly and for no apparent reason stopped speaking. A young nurse named Alma (Bibi Andersson, below left) is charged with caring for Elizabet. That’s the simple version.

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Seconds (1966) John Frankenheimer

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Seconds (1966)
Directed by John Frankenheimer
Produced by Edward Lewis (John Frankenheimer, uncredited)
Screenplay by Lewis John Carlino
Based on the novel Seconds by David Ely
Cinematography by James Wong Howe
Edited by David Newhouse, Ferris Webster
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Paramount Pictures
YouTube (black-and-white; 1:37)

Before the Criterion Collection’s release of Seconds in 2013, the other two films in Frankenheimer’s “paranoia trilogy” – The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Seven Days in May (1964) – were no doubt seen and discussed more frequently due to the nature of their subject matter (political assassination and the Cold War, respectively). Yet Seconds transcends (but does not necessarily discount) politics and national issues, focusing on concerns primal, universal and eternal. As unlikely as it may seem right now, there may come a day when we don’t have to worry so much about the issues raised in the first two “paranoia trilogy” films, yet those raised in Seconds have the potential to haunt us to our last breath.

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Playing Favorites #7: “Try a Little Tenderness” – Otis Redding (1966)

(originally posted August 9, 2007)

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“Try a Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding (1966)
Written by Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly and Harry M. Woods

By the time Otis Redding was cajoled into recording “Try a Little Tenderness,” it had already been recorded by Sam Cooke, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and even Bing Crosby. The song, after all, had been around since the 1930s, but Redding’s manager Phil Walden thought it would be a good “weeping ballad” for Otis in 1966.

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