The relationship I had with Harvey was definitely more like that father-son relationship that you read about in literature and whatnot. I love him to death, but, yeah, I definitely had some issues along the way. … I was an idealist. I was a young man, and I believed kind of everything I was told. And back in those days, we were told, like, ‘This is indie war, man! We’re taking on the studios! They’re making commercial crap, and we’re making art!’ But you know what happens is, a good idea becomes a business, and suddenly there was a day where I was like, we’re listening to marketing data that you’re getting based on trailers. Not even like test-screening a movie — we’re test-screening trailers and poster images. There’s no more gut instinct in this.
Interview with film director John Cassavetes conducted in 1975 at the American Film Institute in Beverly Hills, California while he was filmmaker in residence there and editing “A Woman Under the Influence”.
The Napoleon screenplay by Stanley Kubrick appeared online sometime before the year 2000. It has since disappeared from view. But it has recently been announced that the Kubrick estate is preparing to have Napoleon published in book form. Anyone who is familiar with Kubrick will welcome the Napoleon script with great excitement. It is an extraordinarily vivid read, a splendid work of narrative art.
The Napoleon script is one of Kubrick’s unrealized projects, a magnificent “what might have been.” The script is dated September 29, 1969, and while the text has a certain polish and concision, suggesting that much work had already been devoted to each individual scene as well as to the overall structure, the scenes are not numbered, which indicates that this particular version of Napoleon is not a shooting script. The specific draft number, however, is missing from the title page. There is no way of knowing how much more work Kubrick may have wanted to undertake on the way to arriving at a shooting script. That said, the screenplay seems closer to a final draft than to a first draft. Strict structural symmetries that are characteristic of Kubrick’s films from 2001 onward are also evident in the tightly constructed, well wrought Napoleon.
A traditional rule of thumb for screenwriters is that the first ten pages of a screenplay are the most important.1 If the first ten pages fail to properly set up fundamental structural components of the story, the screenplay will be in danger of being received as deficient. Kubrick’s Napoleon is an exemplar of this imperative of proper screenplay structure. The first eleven pages of Napoleon are a well-rounded, unified whole that sets in motion a variety of themes which will be expanded upon as the story progresses. Kubrick communicates a great deal in only eleven pages. The story is told with expert narrative economy.
The fade in to scene 1, and then the fade out at the end of scene 13, indicate that the first thirteen scenes are a structural “block,” a self-enclosed section, a component of the larger framework of the film, which is composed of six blocks, or parts. The block of thirteen scenes comprising the first eleven pages of the script is Part I of Napoleon. Consider the commentary that follows as a coming attraction for the screenplay. J. S. Bernstein
Sam Peckinpah’s first feature film tells the story of an veteran Civil War Yankee officer Yellowleg (Brian Keith) who saves the cheater Turk (Chill Wills) in a card game, and together with the gunslinger Billy Keplinger (Steve Cochran), they ride to Gila City with the intention of heisting a bank.
Director: Sam Peckinpah Producer: Charles B. Fitzsimons Production Company: Carousel Productions Audio/Visual: sound, color Keywords: Western
Long before he chronicled the human comedy in rough-edged classics like M*A*S*H, Nashville, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, and Short Cuts, iconoclastic director Robert Altman spent decades perfecting the rules of moviemaking that he would one day so thrillingly flaunt.
Altman’s long apprenticeship included directing Bonanzas, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the 1957 documentary The James Dean Story, and — way back at the dawn of the 1950s — a clutch of “industrials,” educational shorts and docs.
It’s one of these that filmmaker Gary Huggins recently scored at a drive-in flea market in Kansas City, Altman’s hometown. “I bought a stack of old instructional films for $10 and never got around to screening them,” Huggins says. “Modern Football sounded really dull. But when I recently did, I glimpsed Altman, who cameos as a sports reporter, and knew I had something incredible.”
Modern Football, a 1951 26-minute short, might be Altman’s first film — and just because it’s a by-the-book apprentice work sponsored by Wheaties and Wilson sporting goods, don’t dismiss it as dull just yet.
(Huggins has uploaded his well-preserved 16 millimeter print to his YouTube account and embedded below.)
Look for Altman himself at 2:37.
A jaunty educational film for high school football players, Modern Football is distinguished by outstanding technique— that gorgeous push-in shot on the High School Athletic Association patch some forty seconds in! — and Altman’s great gift for clear storytelling in frames alive with numerous bodies in independent motion.
In fact, all these rowdy scrimmages suggest not just the pigskin horseplay of M*A*S*H but also, when paired with scenes of the chalkboard planning of Coach Edgar C. Ford, something of Altman’s own eventual artistic breakthrough: Have a clean, well-worked out plan, but when the action starts, capture the true, chaotic moment arrived at by all those independent bodies.
There’s much more in Modern Football worth admiring and giggling at, especially its stiff plugs for Wheaties, which here are to football players what midichlorians are to lame ’90s Jedi. Overall, I enjoyed this more than Ready to Wear!
Huggins has long collected, archived, and shared curious and forgotten pieces of film history. A filmmaker himself, he has directed two remarkable shorts which have done well at Sundance and SXSW.
Simon had the show nailed from the beginning. Near the end of the overview, he says:
But more than an exercise is realism for its own sake, the verisimilitude of The Wire exists to serve something larger. In the first story-arc, the episodes begin what would seem to be the straight-forward, albeit protracted, pursuit of a violent drug crew that controls a high-rise housing project. But within a brief span of time, the officers who undertake the pursuit are forced to acknowledge truths about their department, their role, the drug war and the city as a whole. In the end, the cost to all sides begins to suggest not so much the dogged police pursuit of the bad guys, but rather a Greek tragedy. At the end of thirteen episodes, the reward for the viewer — who has been lured all this way by a well-constructed police show — is not the simple gratification of hearing handcuffs click. Instead, the conclusion is something that Euripides or O’Neill might recognize: an America, at every level at war with itself.
The list of main characters contains a few surprises. McNulty was originally going to be named McCardle, Aaron Barksdale became Avon Barksdale, and the Stringer Bell character changed quite a bit.
STRINGY BELL - black, early forties, he is BARKSDALE’s most trusted lieutenant, supervising virtually every aspect of the organization. He is older than BARKSDALE, and much more direct in his way, but nonetheless he is the No. 2. He has BARKSDALE’s brutal sense of the world but not his polish. BELL is bright, but clearly a child of the projects he now controls.
The final section is entitled “BIBLE” and contains draft outlines of a nine-episode season. I didn’t read it all, but the main story line is there, as are many plot details that made it into the actual first season. (thx, greg)
Recordings of almost 4 hours of a series of interviews conducted by director/author Bogdanovich with Welles between the years 1969 and 1972.
In the late ’60s and early ’70s, filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich had conducted extensive interviews with Welles, but a number of circumstances—including the director’s decision to compose an autobiography that he never got around to writing—kept the interviews out of the public eye. Finally edited and annotated by Jonathan Rosenbaum, these conversations give wonderful insights into Welles’s craft and personality. He discusses his forays into acting, producing, and writing as well as directing, his confidences and insecurities, and his plans for film projects that were either never made or only partially completed. He also offers insights into the triumph of Citizen Kane and later masterpieces like The Lady from Shanghai, Touch of Evil, Othello, and Chimes at Midnight. His defense of his controversial adaptation of Kafka’s The Trial is so fascinating that listeners might want to rush out and rent the film.
Filming Othello is a 1978 documentary film directed by and starring Orson Welles about the making of his award-winning 1952 production Othello. The film, which was produced for West German television, was the last completed feature film directed by Welles.
Filming Othello begins with Welles sitting behind a moviola.
He directly addresses the camera and announces: “This is to be a conversation, certainly not anything so formal as a lecture, and what we’re going to talk about is Othello, Shakespeare’s play and the film I made of it.” Welles initially conducts a monologue where he recalls the events that lead up to the creation of Othello and some of the problems that plagued the production. As the film progresses, he switches to a conversation in a restaurant between himself and two of the film’s co-stars, Micheal MacLiammoir (who played Iago) and Hilton Edwards (who played Brabantio). The three men talk at length about the making of Othello. Welles then resumes his monologue from his position behind the moviola. He then runs footage on the moviola of a question and answer session he conducted during a 1977 screening of Othello in Boston. Welles concludes the film in his position as a monologuist, proclaiming: “There are too many regrets, there are too many things I wish I could have done over again. If it wasn’t a memory, if it was a project for the future, talking about Othello would have been nothing but delight. After all, promises are more fun than explanations. In all my heart, I wish that I wasn’t looking back on Othello, but looking forward to it. That Othello would be one hell of a picture. Goodnight.”
Filming Othello was made between 1974 and 1978. It was intended to be the first in a series of documentaries directed by Welles on the creation of his classic films. However, the second film in the proposed series, on the making of The Trial, was never completed. Filming Othello was shot in 16mm, with Gary Graver as the cinematographer. Welles shot the footage of his conversation with MacLiammoir and Edwards in Paris, France, in 1974, and shot the footage of his part of their conversation two years later in Beverly Hills, California. Footage was also shot of Welles visiting Venice, Italy, but it was not included in the final print and is now considered lost.
Filming Othello uses clips from Othello, but the footage is not accompanied by the film’s dialogue track.
Filming Othello was first shown at the 1978 Berlin Film Festival. It was first screened in the U.S. in 1979 at the Public Theater in New York, where it played on a double bill with Othello. However, the film’s presentation did not receive newspaper reviews.[1 - see the Lawrence French film transcription] Filming Othello had no further U.S. screenings until it returned to New York in 1987 for an engagement at the Film Forum, a nonprofit cinema, and that presentation was acknowledged by Vincent Canby of The New York Times as “entertaining and revealing” and “full of priceless anecdotes.”