Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Candlewood Isle Film Fest continues the Third Saturday of Every Month with homemade dinner and a movie at the Clubhouse.

Last night, we saw The 1962 Manchurian Candidate, which varied our pattern in previous months of viewing collaborations between directors and their spouses. 

Les Diaboliques stars Vera Gibson-Amado, Henri Clouzot’s wife.

Under Capricorn is scripted by Alma Reville, Alfred Hitchcock’s wife.

Meet Me in St. Louis stars Judy Garland, Vincent Minelli’s wife.

The Great Gatsby should have starred Ali McGraw, producer Robert Evens’ wife, had she not run off with Steve McQueen... Instead it starred Mia Farrow, the former wife of Don't Drink the Water playwright Woody Allen.

Rachel Rachel stars Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman’s wife.

Here are my notes on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, a book enhanced by a 1974 movie, of which I watched at least 70%.  It runs 2 and a half hours, in 4 reels, flat and red, 1:3 to 1, well-cropped, in 16mm perhaps to run during airplane flights across the Atlantic.

It is first and foremost a Robert Evens golden age of Paramount production (1968 through 1976). Ali McGraw, his wife, was to play Daisy until she left him for Steve McQueen.

Francis Ford Coppola already wrote the script, then directed the Godfather I and II, the Conversation, and Finiah’s Rainbow, while Robert Evens held onto the script.

Nelson Riddle adapted the music.
Ralph Laren worked Way Too Hard for the credit he received but it is his movie, too. 

I read the book in high school.  I saw the opera at the MET.  I held the prettily packaged soundtrack to this 1970’s movie in my hands.  That’s the extent of my patchy Gatsby appreciation, until Monica ordered an Ebay print as my Christmas present.

An impeccable cast for the delivery of content consists of Sam Waterson, Bruce Dern, Karen Black, Mia Farrow and Robert Redford (5’8”). 

Its British Director also made The Innocents.”

Gatsby is a purist.  Everyone together is not worth one of him.
There’s a problematic issue, never hit and run.

The Robert Evens bloodbaths are somehow always more violent and upsetting than anything depicted today.  First there is the lingeing over the details of warmth, beauty and luxury (He wants us to smell the pasta.).  

There’s another transgressive moment, too, where Karen Black puts her bloodied hands into her mouth after putting them through a shattered window. 

The languorous pace is heavy with poetic Fitzgerald crafted words.  The text rewards thought and attention with illuminating life experience. 

Rachel Rachel is Paul Newman’s wife’s movie.  Our version is in 16mm Technicolor (from Films Incorporated).  By the time it arrived I forgot why it was initially interesting, because Fairfield County area provided its location.  People who attended the screening remembered its production and knew members of the cast. 

It introduces the exceptional range of Joanne Woodward, in a production directed by her husband.  His next collaboration with her was only as producer.  It’s They Might Be Giants, a Sherlock Holmes windmill of a movie with a memorable supermarket scene near the end, which is currently missing.  Ms. Woodward plays Watson to George C. Scott’s Holmes.  

It was this production's connection to They Might Be Giants that sold me.  

This movie has a lovely conclusion.  Why further impose upon the hospitality of the buyer? When Ms. Woodward leaves her childhood home she takes along her mother.  The change is gonna do them good.  ..  

The April 18th, 2015 Candlewood Isle Film Fest featured pizza made from scratch, the 16mm condensed digest of The Spider Woman with Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce and Gail Sondergaard  and, for the feature, The Manchurian Candidate, delivered in the form of a one-gigabyte mp4 file.

The modern television screen that rendered the file refreshes so rapidly (60 times a second) that it made the 24 frame film movement look as smooth as a live video broadcast.  Do you remember when movie theaters were mostly projecting darkness, between which our eyes had to carry one image to the next?  This persistence of memory theory has been debunked, but I still think that traditional film projectors display mostly darkness between the flashes of transparencies… Our eyes are just not sensitive enough to read the flickering. 

Frank Sinatra’s two foiled presidential assassination movies are The Manchurian Candidate and Suddenly. 

My impression gleaned from wikipedia research is that he didn’t buy up these movies and suppress them, it’s simply that the movies weren’t that popular and weren’t remembered until 25 years later.   It turns out, that the New York Film Festival returned Manchurian Candidate to the screens in 1988, when I originally saw it. 

To paraphrase my second favorite moment, it is:  They will pay.   I asked for a trained assassin and never imagined they would give me you.  (Ms. Lansbury’s actual concluding line: “… when I take power, they will be pulled down and ground into dirt for what they did to you. And what they did in so contemptuously under-estimating me.”)

And the other great scene is in the pressroom when a shouting match opens between the drunken senator and a defense department head, while the news cameras run (and while Frank is acting as a publicity manager?)  The overlap of TV coverage caught within the larger movie frame seems groundbreaking.   

Laurence Harvey, a man from Lithuania, with a Chinese manservant who looks strangely like

The author, Richard Condon, also wrote Prizzi’s Honor. He’s a great storyteller with a rampant imagination.

I also saw John Frankenheimer’s Seconds and The Island of Brando as Dr. Moreau.  I like his Moreau movie, with Brando’s Eleanor Roosevelt routine… Moreau’s Horrors!  This version from 1996 added dictatorial implants.  All the mutating population needs to do to revolt is to pull them out.  According to L. Ron Hubbard we should do the same.