Archive for December 20th, 2008


by Sam Juliano

Controversy has raged for decades over whether film directors should maintain the essence of the plays that are being adapted for the screen, or whether they should open up such works for the sake of cinematic purity.  There has never been an easy answer to this dilemma, and it seems to matter little, whether the said helmer chooses the first or the second option.  In other words you’re damned if you do or damned if you don’t.  Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Robert Anderson’s I Never Sang For My Father are two works that spring to mind, but the equation can be applied to many others, including Williams’ Streetcar and The Glass Managerie, and some Shakespeare adaptations.  If a director is bold, he aften loses grip with the material and compromises its power.  If he chooses to keep the work fully intact he is criticized for being unimaginative.     

John Patrick Shanley’s critically-praised Broadway play, Doubt has fallen victim to the same kind of second-guessing, and again the conflict has been resurrected.  Shanley’s stage play was minimalist; the new film based on it (both written and directed by Shanley) doesn’t really open anything up outside of some seasonal transitional shots which are strictly the territory of film.  But the decision is a wise one, as the drama here would lose its edge if the focus shifted to style.  “Staginess” isn’t quite the same kind of criticism as it was years ago , as the contemporary thinking supports the notion that to gain one thing is too lose another.  The price is too steep.  The director takes a pass on expanding the parameters of the original script and chooses not to use fancy camerawork.      (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(France 1947 85m) not on DVD

And no itinerary!

p/d  Pierre Prévert  w  Pierre Prévert, Jacques Prévert, Claude Accursi  ph  Jean Bourgoin  ed  Jacqueline Desagneaux  m  Joseph Kosma  art  Alexandre Trauner

Maurice Baquet (Teddy), Martine Carol (Isabelle Grosbois), Etienne Decroux (Mikhail), Pierre Piéral (The Grand Duchess of Stromboli), Annette Poivre (Marinette), Marcel Pérès (Innkeeper), Max Revol (Abel Renardot, detective), Sinoël (Grandfather Piuff), René Bourboin (Grosbois), Fernand René (priest), Jacques-Henri Duval (Grim), Lucien Raimbourg (Duroc),

As Lennon & McCartney once wrote, roll up for the mystery tour!  The biggest mystery now being why the Prévert brothers’ fantasy isn’t better known.  Jacques himself is well-known, arguably the finest of all French screenwriters, a pivotal figure in the career of various directors, not least Marcel Carné.  Pierre, however, remains in aspic, a figure known only to particularly gruff old film buffs who tap the side of their faces and wink at the very mention of his name.  They may never have seen his films, but they know of him and of his reputation. (more…)

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