Archive for July 25th, 2011

Max Ophuls's 'Lola Montes' is a longtime Samuel Wilson favorite

by Sam Juliano

Among the Albany Public Library’s more inconspicuous contributions to the film community is it’s formidable archives of obscure and eclectic titles that offer the most enterprising card-holders a treasure trove of off-the-beacon-track rarities and prompt current updates. For an unbeatable price it’s a way to gleefully indulge oneself in many works that can’t be obtained in many on line retail stores.

Fecund and remarkably prolific writer Kevin Gilbert (who goes by the pen name of ‘Samuel Wilson’) has parlayed this unique availability into the main source material for a now three-year-old blogsite named Mondo 70, which represents a labor of love for one of the internet’s most gifted writers. Born in Troy, a neighboring suburb of New York State’s capital, “Wilson,” who holds a PhD in history from the University of Massachusetts, humbly insists he’s not especially knowledgeable in any particular subject, but the scholarly heft of his prose and the level of depth in his comments suggest otherwise. Launched in November of 2008, Mondo 70, whose title pays homage to the Italian cult cinema that Wilson has a hankering for -and has developed a remarkable aptitude for- is a place for the online cineaste with enterprising interests to indulge in engaging, often extraordinary essays of world classics and genre movies that may have slipped by the collective radar. Indeed in an extensive e mail interview completed two weeks ago Wilson asserted: “My actual model are the cult movie magazines, whose readers expect to discover things eccentric and exotic, and in my case sometimes artistic as well.” Wilson is making reference here to Tim Lucas’ Video Watchdog (a popular long-running bi-monthly on specialized horror and fantasy) and Shock Cinema among others. Wilson confides: “While I still like American horrors best, their Italian counterparts have impressed me the most cinematic-ally. There is so much to the cinematography, and the often contra punctually pleasant music -and sometimes even the gore- do much to inspire disquiet that theirs may be the ultimate horror cinema.” (more…)

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Pre-code masterpiece "The Story of Temple Drake" based on William Faulkner's 'Sanctuary' is shown at Film Forum in stunning print on Sunday

by Sam Juliano

The central deceit of the second-season episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, “That Evening Sun” is that a young woman imagines that the Earth has been knocked off it’s course and is hurtling towards the sun in a sure path of eventual cosmic incineration.  In an unamed big city a radio broadcaster announces that the temperature has risen to the point where eggs can be easily friend on sidewalks.  Here in the sweltering proximity of the Big Apple, similar culinary options are being envisioned and even performed, with one report contending that cookie dough left in a woman’s car was baked to perfection.  With temperatures reaching 104 F on Friday in Central Park, it’s been a time when outdoor activity is more than a health risk, and the refuge of movie theatres and the like is a much clamored for option.

Here at Wonders in the Dark things are sizzling on another front too, with the musical countdown just weeks away.  The projects’ seven voters (Greg Ferrara, Pat Perry, Marilyn Ferdinand, Judy Geater, Dennis Polifroni, Allan Fish and Yours Truly) are still deliberately on the final ballots, which will be submitted on or before August 7th, and then promptly tabulated by Voting Tabulator Extraordinaire Angelo A. D’Arminio Jr, ahead of the planned day to day essay features starting on Monday August 15th.  I’m certain that for many this will be forever known as the ‘musical summer.’

Dee Dee’s latest project brings us to the ‘Virtual Poet Cafe’ with verse by poets Brian Miller and Claudia Schoenfeld.  It’s an amazing place that can be accessed with a new sidebar link, and Dee Dee has also announced plans to proceed with an interview sometime next week.  Congratulations to Jason Marshall for the recent completion of his 1941 survey, with Orson Welles Citizen Kane, as expected, leading the way at Movies Over Matter.  Our pal and colleague Jaime Grijalba (Exodus 8:2)has been frantically involved in some filmmaking, and is sure to elaborate this week on his own comment on this thread.  Jaime’s tireless activities set the bar!

Taking full advantage of movie theatre air conditioning, and proceeding with a mission with the “Pre-Code” Festival at the Film Forum, I broke my all-time record by seeing eighteen (18) films in theatres, eclipsing the previous high of 16.  Is this something to boast about?  Not remotely, as it again shows just how severe “obsessive-compulsive” behavior can become, but the purpose of the diary is to “report” and report I will do.  Lucille accompanied me on the vast majority of trips to the Film Forum, where all the pre-coders, the Keatons, and even two of the three new releases were screen, while the kids were aboard for the Keatons and Captain America.  Friend and site colleague Dennis Polifroni attended the Wednesday double feature of Love Me Tonight and Downstairs. (more…)

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