For me, it was all about the Tennessee Williams Film Collection on DVD this week (A Streetcar Named Desire, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, The Night of the Iguana, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Sweet Bird of Youth, Tennessee Williams South and Baby Doll). There were other releases including Delicatessen, The Long, Long Trailer and Modern Romance. Oh yes, and some new films you probably don't need to be reminded of.
Next week I'll review the big ol' Special Edition of The Poseidon Adventure, the Criterion Edition of Yasujiro Ozu's Late Spring and that horror called Rumor Has It--a movie I had to run back into my bedroom to continue watching after pausing for the fight in my alley (I'm not joking--it was a parking stand-off) that was infinitely more interesting. And soulful. And funny.
As for now, three obsessions:
1. Nightmare Alley Poor Tyrone Power. The dashing looker and talented actor so wanted to expand his image from just the period costumed, swashbuckling hunk of filmdom but was given the chance only a few times. In The Razor's Edge and Witness for the Prosecution, he was superb. But his best, deepest performance by far was in the dark, mini masterpiece Nightmare Alley. Directed by Edmund Goulding and adapted from carny expert (and drunk and later, suicide victim) William Lindsay Gresham's novel, the carnival noir finally made its way past the bootleg market and on to DVD last year.
Since getting a copy around Christmas, I've watched the picture about seven times--three in the last two weeks. I'm not entirely certain why I can't get enough of Power as carny scammer turned big time mentalist other than my fascination with anything carnie, the gorgeous, ominous cinematography and simply the desire to watch Tyrone Power go from sexy young buck to crazy geek. And I mean geek in the real sense of the word. I wish he'd lived long enough to make more movies like this. He died at age 45--and on a film set.
3. Suddenly Last Summer Since I just burned through my Tennessee Williams box set, I returned again to another Williams adaptation, the crazed, deliciously vicious Suddenly Last Summer. Katharine Hepburn plays wicked (she should have more often) as Violet Venable, a New Orleans widow unnaturally obsessed with her "poet" son Sebastian who died while vacationing with gorgeous niece Catherine (Elizabeth Taylor--in a see-through white bathing suit). Hepburn's Violet is not just impeccably formal and insanely eccentric (she comes down to greet people in an elevator and has a garden filled with creepy plants) she's downright evil with a fixation on her son that's more than Oedipal. Violet tries (in vain) to convince Catherine's shrink (a haunted, but strikingly effective Montgomery Clift) to lobotomize the poor girl, but he's not so sure. Considering the woman went "nuts" after watching her vacation mate get cannibalized by a group of angry minors, her behavour is pretty normal. Since I suffer from insomnia, I often watch a movie, one I've seen multiple times, while going to sleep so I can just close my eyes and listen. I frequently choose this movie for the long speeches but if I do fall asleep, I always wake up to Liz unleashing that bloodcurdling scream: "Heeeeelp!" I need to re-think my bedtime stories.
3. Link Wray on Musik Laden 1977 It's no secret that I worship the now deceased Link Wray. But this may be one of the coolest things I have ever seen (watch it--watch it!). Supremely badass. And for a near book length essay on Wray, check out Jimmy McDonough's eye-opening profile on the "Rumble" man.