Thursday, May 24, 2012

TV Bites: The Hit

Terence Stamp's Scotch Pancakes w/Bramble Jelly

A version of this post appears at the Criterion Collection website

This is the fourth movie I've featured that was released in 1984, which like previous multi-film posts, I have no idea why this year is rearing its head so often. And it's my second Criterion post of films from 1984. The four are: Broadway Danny Rose, Paris, Texas, Blood Simple, and now The Hit. I'll leave this to my biographers to work out someday.

I have enjoyed this movie so much over the years. It not only grows, but continues to blossom, with every viewing. It's all so very Zen.

Since I first saw The Hit, I have been convinced that it was a third version of Ernest Hemingway's The Killers. (The first two versions - are availabe in a lovely box set by Criterion, hint hint.) In the first version (starring Burt Lancaster), the killers are in and out, and the story of why the man died without a fight is left to an investigator. In the second (starring Lee Marvin, John Cassavetes & Ronald Reagan), the killers go on an adventure to figure out why the man they just shot didn't put up a fight. This would be the third, in which the killers explore the subject with the victim before they kill him. In researching the film for this post, I found several other folks who feel the same way. (One fellow noted: "If Jean-Paul Sartre had adapted Hemingway’s The Killers, [such a movie] might play like this."

Now, about a decade ago, a dear friend of mine in London happened to mention to me he was going to interview Stephen Frears the following day. I begged him to ask Frears the one question I'd always wanted answered - was The Hit inspired by The Killers? The next day, I got my answer. Frears told my friend "Absolutely not." But, I still don't believe it and you won't convince me otherwise. But even if it wasn't conscious, even if Frears and Prince were unaware of, nor seen either version of the The Killers, it is still in my mind a further exploration of that story.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

For the Love of Film: The Film Preservation Blogathon III

What is this?

I am proud to take part in this year's For the Love of Film: The Film Preservation Blogathon. What that means is they=we=you are gonna be raising funds for the National Film Preservation Foundation's (NFPF) project, The White Shadow this week.

The White Shadow is a 1923 film "officially" directed by Graham Cutts but was the first film to be written and assistant-directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Long considered lost, the first three reels were discovered in a collection of unidentified American nitrate prints that had been safeguarded at a New Zealand archive since 1989. You can read more about the discovery of the film here.

From Ferdy on Film: "The good people at NFPF are committed to making many of the films they have rescued available for cost-free viewing by streaming them on their website. But online hosting ain’t cheap. NFPF estimates that it will cost $15,000 to stream The White Shadow for four months and record the score. It is the mission of this year’s For the Love of Film Blogathon to raise that money so that anyone with access to a computer can watch this amazing early film that offered Hitchcock a chance to learn his craft, with a score that does it justice."

The goal, as mentioned, is to raise $15,000 to stream this three-reel fragment online, free to all... and to record the score by composer Michael Mortilla.

Just click the image above and you can donate. Thanks!

Now.... As part of the Blogathon, all the participants (over 100 film blogs!) are offering posts on Sir Alfred. So, if you CLICK HERE, you'll be offered a choice of not one, but THREE! Hitchcock posts I've done (The Lady Vanishes, North by Northwest & The Birds), each with a tantalizing recipe to cook which will enhance your viewing pleasure. (Actually, you can read all three - it's more of a buffet than a single prix fixe thang.)

As Sir Alfred once said: “I'm not a heavy eater. I'm just heavy, and I eat.”

For other bloggers involved in the Blogathon this week - for those added Monday & Tuesday visit HERE, for those added today & tomorrow - click here.

As always, cook, watch, eat & enjoy!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

TV Bites: Citizen Kane

Hearst Castle Rich Biscuits w/Pear Honey

This is the third movie I've written about released in 1941. The first being The Lady Eve, then The Maltese Falcon, and now Citizen Kane. What an amazing year for movies, no?

And this is part one of my breakfast double bill. Not because you should watch these films in the morning, but that I've paired them both with two breakfast dishes. Though, feel free to snack on them at any time of day.

When I was at vocational film school (what we used to call it - not much on theory, but a lot of practicality), my film history teacher used to do "Citizen Kane Day." What that entailed was coming in at 10am watching the film from beginning to end. Take a lunch break. Watch the film again as she paused during each sequence, pointing out and discussing details, then take a dinner break, come back and watch the whole thing again with no pauses. A very memorable and educating experience it was.

So, let's just dive into it. I'm not trying to be lazy or anything here, but as has been remarked by many - there is probably no other film which has had so much written about it, analyzed, dissected, deconstructed, poured through, and poured over, no more so than Citizen Kane. You want analysis? Here you go.... pages and pages of it!

Maybe you want to hear from experts? Martin Scorsese? Steven Spielberg? Peter Bogdanovich? Francois Truffaut? How about Eric von Stroheim ranting?

Maybe you want to hear from some big time film critics? Pauline Kael? Andrew Sarris's rebuttal to Pauline Kael? Would you prefer Roger Ebert? AO Scott? How about Bowsley Crowther's original 1941 NY Times review?

Is that not enough? How about ex-presidential candidate Donald Trump (interviewed by Errol Morris!) speaking about the film?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tickets Available NOW!!! Raiders of the Lost Ark - June 9th!!

Time: Saturday June 9, 2012 · 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Location: Central Market North, 4001 North Lamar, Austin, TX

For my “Lucky” 13th Chef du Cinema class, I'll be presenting a 4-course meal paired with Steven Spielberg's classic action-adventure film Raiders of the Lost Ark. The film tells the tale of archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones who is hired by the US government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis in the 1940's.

The menu features recipes originally created by Harrison Ford's son Chef Ben Ford (of Ford's Filling Station restaurant in Los Angeles) and chosen by me as so each dish represents a location in the film.

(Nepalese) Shrimp Curry
(Peruvian) Warm Wheat Berry, Quinoa, & Mango Salad
(North African) Lamb Stew w/ Cauliflower Couscous
(American) Strawberry Shortcake