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Archive for November 11th, 2013

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By Peter Lenihan

“More an essentialist than a minimalist” was how critic Jonathan Rosenbaum once described Robert Bresson, a somewhat elusive distinction that might help us make sense of Budd Boetticher’s unusual westerns as well. We must first emphasize the differences between these two directors’ works. Boetticher, unlike Bresson, worked with actors. They were not exactly stars, but great players like Randolph Scott, Richard Boone and Lee Marvin did some of their best work in his films. Additionally, Boetticher’s films were the result of collaboration—it’s impossible to imagine the Ranown films existing without writer Burt Kennedy and actor Randolph Scott, and they seemed to contribute as much to the films’ present qualities as the director. Finally, despite their singularity, films like Ride Lonesome were a particularly extreme expression of genre and filmic codes—they were anything but rejections of conventions, and instead appeared to purify and render them anew.

Nevertheless, Rosenbaum’s distinction remains a helpful one, particularly since Boetticher’s films are so much more than the result of mere subtraction. For all that sparseness and open nothing, Boetticher’s films are incredibly precise and—on their own modest terms—complex, often resembling intricate dances in which men working and living together are forced to get along until the shooting starts. At least three Boetticher films—Seven Men from Now, Ride Lonesome and Comanche Station—essentially have the same plot. A group of men and women, many of whom are not quite who they appear to be, must get from one place to another. The reasons certain people have for going to this place remain in clear conflict with the reasons of other’s within that group, and although they might unite to fight Indians or bandits, the group itself cannot hold, and often, though certainly not always, breaks apart violently. (more…)

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The gang on Yawkey Way alongside Fenway Park in Boston

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At the Salem Witch Trials Memorial in Salem

by Sam Juliano

Salem witch sites, ecstatic Red Sox fans and a delightful stroll through the popular Faneuil Hall marketplace in Boston were this past week’s defining highlights during a seven day period where not a single film, play or opera was seen on location.  Granted this past week included Election Day (let’s not talk about the expected result of the New Jersey gubernatorial race) and the the two days off for the New Jersey Teacher’s Convention on Thursday and Friday, but the main theme was to sit home and relax, and understand that heat has replaced air conditioning as the mode of indoor comfort.

Here is Melanie’s latest new video of this latest trip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-5n0Pi6wX8

The two day trip to New England in our Honda Odyssey began very early on Friday morning.  We arrived in Beantown at around 11:00 A.M., and after a short walk around Fenway Park and some picture taking -there were plenty of sports fans wearing their red and blue “B” caps- we proceeded to a nice eatery right outside the campus of Boston University where we met up with out school superintendent and friend Lou DeLisio, who was up bringing clothes to his two daughters who attend the famed academic institution.  We enjoyed a tasty lunch (naturally we were identified by our waitress as New Yorkers because of our “accents”) and were informed that a number of New Jerseyans were up in the city because of the extended vacation.  When I said “tasty” I referred to the family, as my taste was pretty much non-existent on the trip, with a sore throat and cold at hand.   (more…)

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