Vincent Price in William Castle’s ‘The Tingler’
Sam with lead star Prince Adu of Sean Baker’s ‘Prince of Broadway’
by Sam Juliano
Labor Day has come and gone, and some beautiful weather has emerged in the aftermath of an overestimated hurricaine that crossed the shores of North Carolina, before moving out to sea. The autumn season moves closer, and with it the launching of many cultural opportunities for those motivated to seek them out. Sports fans stateside of course have the last stages of the baseball season and the playoffs, while NFL troupers, can look ahead to Saturday for opening day.
Here at Wonders in the Dark, the long-awaited horror countdown is upon us, and Jamie Uhler, Troy Olson and Kevin Olson have posted a terrific introduction, and a promised official launching today. Meanwhile, Allan Fish’s continuing coverage of classic Japanese cinema has continued with a bevy of superlative capsule reviews, and Jim Clark penned another terrifically exhaustive essay, this time on Catherine Brelliat’s 36 Fillette.
On the cultural and movie front, I was again able to pull off a torrid week, though it is certain this will be the last one of this kind for a long time, what with school starting and other responsibilities to answer for. After nearly a year since my last procedure, it appears that my kidney stones have formed again. This spells a period of discomfort, that frankly I am not looking forward to.
With Lucille and Broadway Bob in tow I took in the off-Broadway production An Error of the Moon at the Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row on 42nd Street. The interesting show was a fictional portrait of the brothers Edwin and John Wilkes Booth, “rock stars” of their day. Edwin tells his tale of a man consumed by sexual jealousy, bitter sibling rivalry and the mad obsession that sparked the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Simple but effective staging, and two fine lead performances made this a reasonably engaging show of speculative fiction. (*** of *****)
Here’s what I saw and experienced this past week in movie theatres:
The Prince of Broadway **** (Friday night) Angelika Film Center
The Whistler ** 1/2 (Monday Night 8-30) William Castle Festival
Mark of the Whistler ** (Monday Night 8-30) William Castle Festival
Mysterious Intruder ** (Monday Night 8-30) William Castle Festival
Macabe *** (Wednesday Night) William Castle Festival
13 Ghosts ** (Wednesday Night) William Castle Festival
When Strangers Marry **** (Thursday) William Castle Festival
The Night Walker *** 1/2 (Thursday night) William Castle Festival
Let’s Kill Uncle *** (Thursday night) William Castle Festival
The Tingler *** 1/2 (Sunday afternoon) William Castle Festival
Late Spring ***** (Monday/Labor Day) Ozu Festival at IFC
Meeting director Sean Baker and lead actor Prince Adu was a special thrill before and after Baker’s new film, The Prince of Broadway, a focused, sometimes contentious twist on the American Dream, among immigrants in the fashion district in Manhattan. The film is emotionally-charged, and a perceptive look at the daily battle for survival in Rat Race Central. Baker, who discussed his New Jersey upbringing in the post-film Q & A, admitted he was greatly influenced by his initial look at Manhattan, made possible by his father’s trips over, and of the special chemistry the neighborhoods have maintained over the years. Baker’s previous film, Take Out (about a Chinese deliveryman) was a trenchant look at the work ethic and routine, but with The Prince of Broadway, Baker has reached the big-time with his alternately funny and poignant urban drama.
The William Castle Festival included several gimmick-laden showings that were a complete delight for the family, but I will withold further comment until my comprehensive wrap, set for next Monday here at WitD. Seeing one of the cinema’s greatest masterpieces again by a director I love more and more and more - Late Spring and Yashujiro Ozu – has again confirmed how lucky it is to be alive. The Ozu Festival at the IFC is simply one of the greatest experiences of my entire life, and when it ends in November (they are showing only one film every weekend) I will have full analytical essay posted here.
NEW POLICY REGARDING BLOG LINKS
I regret to announce that I have been forced to cut back on the links to other blogsites that I have been faithfully posting for nearly a full calandar year. I can no longer invest the five hours or so that it takes to sort out, examine and post well over forty sites each and every weekend. I am frankly amazed that I have done it for as long as I have, but the time commitment is simply prohibitive and it has prevented me from writing on many of the film experiences I’ve enjoyed, and has basically held me prisoner away from my family. Still, I will continue to post 15 links every week. About 9 or 10 of these will be the same “core” people, who are fierce regulars here, and are personal friends. The other 5 or 6 will alternate every week. So if your link is missing one week, it may return the following week. In any case, fewer links, means less saturation, and the increased likelihood of more attention from readers. Thanks so much for your anticipated cooperation.
John Greco’s spectacular series on the films of Anthony Mann continues with a brilliant essay on what may be the director’s masterpiece, the Greek tragedy set in the west, The Man from Laramie. It’s a must-read and it’s over at “Twenty Four Frames”: http://twentyfourframes.wordpress.com/2010/09/05/the-man-from-laramie-1955-anthony-mann/
Judy Geater at Movie Classics (wouldn’t you know it?) has authored yet another William Wellman reviewing gem, this time on an early 30’s football film, College Coach. It’s a must-read: http://movieclassics.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/college-coach-1933/
Troy Olson’s newest post at The Life and Times of Troy proclaims the Wonders in the Dark horror poll has begun, and he urges everyone to head on over!: http://troyolson.blogspot.com/2010/09/wonders-in-dark-horror-movie-countdown.html
With his typical brilliance, Just Another Film Buff has researched, watched and given superlative assessment on the films of Sharon Lockhart at “The Seventh Art”: http://theseventhart.info/2010/09/04/the-films-of-sharon-lockhart/
Tony d’Ambra’s newest post at FilmsNoir.net is a fascinating one, and it discusses the vital device in the genre that utilizes the flashback: http://filmsnoir.net/film_noir/prefiguring-postmodernism-flashback-in-film-noir.html
One of the net’s most astoundingly tireless reviewers is our friend in Dublin, Longman Oz. His latest post is a review on the Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film, The Secret in Their Eyes. As always, a terrific piece, and it’s over at “No Ordinary Fool: http://noordinaryfool.com/2010/09/07/secretintheireyes_secretodesusojos/
The excellent carryover post at filmmaker Jeffrey Goodman’s The Last Lullaby blogsite concerns important film volumes. What books do you value most? Head over and state your case: http://cahierspositif.blogspot.com/2010/08/film-books-on-my-desk.html
Michael Harford’s creative Labor Day post is titled “The Burning Circle.” The music by the Joe Acheson Quartet is rather infectious too. Head over to the Coffee Messiah blogsite pronto: http://coffeemessiah.blogspot.com/2010/09/all-things-to-all-men.html
Our artist friend from Mayne Island, Terrill Welch, is in “Fall mode” with her latest post, and has stated she will be returning to her normal prolific schedule: http://creativepotager.wordpress.com/2010/09/06/catching-fall/
Kevin Olson has penned a superlative review of Winter’s Bone, just a day after completing his brilliant Oliver Stone series at Hugo Stiglitz Makes Movies: http://kolson-kevinsblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/winters-bone.html
Jason Marshall continues his fantastic coverage of the cinema year-by-year, and he’s currently examing the top ten films of 1935. A Fields gem checks in here at #9: http://moviesovermatter.wordpress.com/2010/09/05/best-pictures-of-1935-9-the-man-on-the-flying-trapeze/
Dan Getahun talks about 2008 documentary cinema at his placing, naming the superb Up the Yangtze tops: http://getafilm.blogspot.com/2010/09/up-yangtze-with-paddle.html
Roderick Heath gives Roger Corman’s The Haunted Palace magisterial treatment at “This Island Rod”: http://thisislandrod.blogspot.com/2010/09/haunted-palace-1963.html
Heath is also topping right now at Marilyn Ferdinand’s place with an excellent review on John Schesinger’s Darling: http://www.ferdyonfilms.com/?p=6003
The “Labor Day Watercooler” is up and running at Craig Kennedy’s Living in Cinema: http://livingincinema.com/2010/09/06/your-labor-day-watercooler/
Our friend in Tokyo, “Murderous Links” has posted a fascinating piece on Yasujiro Ozu and the city of Tokyo in the first-part of a two-part post: http://vermillionandonenights.blogspot.com/2010/09/then-and-now-and-in-between-part-1.html
Our friend in Chile, Jaime, has penned an intriguing piece on a “pinky violence” film, Scorpion. Head over to his place and hit the translate button: http://exodus8-2.blogspot.com/2010/09/joshuu-701-go-sasori-1972.html
David Schleicher’s book review on Jon Clinch’s Kings of the Earth is outstanding and well worth a visit over to “The Schleicher Spin”: http://theschleicherspin.com/2010/09/03/upstate-royalty/
Jon Lanthier’s latest Slant jewel, is on Ahead of Time, doubled over as always at “Aspiring Sellou”: http://aspiringsellout.com/
Shubhajit has an excellent capsule up on a Bengali film, Shukno Lanka. It’s over at a vibrant Cinemascope: http://cliched-monologues.blogspot.com/2010/09/shukno-lanka-dry-chillies-2010.html
Stephen Russell-Gebbett’s latest review is a sterling assessment of The Bourne Ultimatum at ‘Checking on my Sausages”: http://checkingonmysausages.blogspot.com/2010/09/bourne-ultimatum.html
Samuel Wilson has penned a great essay “Wendigo Meets Count Dracula” at “Mondo 70″: http://mondo70.blogspot.com/2010/09/wendigo-meets-count-dracula-1970.html
and still I named 23 here! How did that happen? Ah well, let’s not forget Dee Dee, who is lurking here at all times.