— Field Notes


The Furies a film by Anthony Mann (1950);  Barbara Stanwyck, Walter Huston, Wendle Corey, Gilbert Roland  and others star. furies This is the work of a director that had mastered film noir and here focuses that lens onto the Western. Much of the story unfolds in a darkness or twilight. The story is filmed on location in New Mexico and the landscape is an important aspect of the plot. Anthony Mann prefered to shoot his films on location and seldom used sound stages. He believed actors were freer to inhabit the character when they were out of doors or in a real house or building.

The plot is a boiler mixing sex, money, power and  complex familial ties.  The father daughter relationship has seldom been so dramatic; the daughter  Vance (Barbara Stanwyck) and father T.C. Jeffers (Walter Huston) could be straight out of a Greek Tragedy. The threat of  violence is heavy and the indeed there is plenty for a movie made in 1950.   Vance’s relationship with a local gambler (Wendle Correy) and  Juan Herrera  her friend from childhood are complex and fraught with psychological overtones.

Juan Herrera is a particularly interesting character, he is obviously deeply in love with Vance but she is unable or unwilling to return his love because he is of Spanish descendant. Juan’s family has been on the land much longer than hers but has no legal claim. The fate of the local Hispanics is a cruel  one most are burned out of their homes or killed.

Barbara Stanwyck’s portrait of Vance is  modern, she is a strong woman who runs the ranch in her fathers absence. She is assertive in her relations with men and could be considered a proto type feminist, though she is far from perfect.  This film is close to perfect and I highly recommend it. The complex characters and the perverse plot twists make this a movie that was ahead of its time, it keeps it’s appeal  50 years later.

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In 1941 Dali was living in Los Angeles. He met Walt Disney at a party and they immediately became friends. Disney hired Dali and Dali spent a few months working at Disney Studios. A short work entitled Destino was started but never finished.

Roy Disney found the work in 2001 and hired a crew to finish it using modern animation techniques. Producer Baker Bloodworth discusses it in a video at the TATE web site. This is a fascinating story about  two towering figures of the 20th Century - Dali and Disney.  I recommend this.

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Originally recorded in 1967 the same year Arthur Penn’s movie Bonnie and Clyde debuted. The Song Bonnie and Clyde is an original but it is paying homage to the popular movie. The music is fresh and contemporary which speaks to the true talent of Serge Gainsbourg. Bridget Bardot fits the role of Bonnie Parker and has a wonderful voice. bonnie

Watch the YouTube video. The production reminds me of Bertolt Brecht I can imagine Brecht and his heavy critique of Capitalism staging such a video, I am guessing this was produced for French Television.

One of my favorite contemporary musical talents Matthew Herbert did a remix of the song based on the original by Gainsboug. There is also a great video to accompany that version here. Both are worth your time. God Bless YouTube. Praises to Serge and Herbert two of my musical hero’s!

Original VideoRemixed Version

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I just watched Lift to the Scaffold, a film by Louis Malle, 1958. His first film; a Parisian Noir with murder, romance, spies and beautiful women. Sound track by Miles Davis, Barney Wilen, Rene Urtreger, Pierre Michelot and Kenny Clarke.

Miles and the band members met Louis Malle and Jeanne Moreau in a small studio in Paris, Ms. Moreau managed a bar serving drinks, the director showed the film and the band improvised recording the sound track in a relaxed atmosphere.

This is a wonderful film, Jeanne Moreau wanders the streets of Paris late at night, it is rain,ing the atmosphere couldn’t be more cinamatic, poetic. Abandoned by a lover who has shot her husband, she is eventually arrest.

Louis Malle shows all the talent that would make him famous. He was 25 when he made this film. ………..Five Stars

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End Day
The following descriptions of the program were released by the BBC:

“Imagine waking up to the last day on Earth…”
“Inspired by the predictions of scientists, End Day creates apocalyptic scenarios that go beyond reality. In a single hour, explore five different fictional disasters, from a giant tsunami hitting New York to a deadly meteorite strike on Berlin.”

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moving towards a state of freedom, of rootlessness” Director of Children on Men, Harry Potter and Y tu mamá también Alfonso Cuaron, is writing a blog about Film for the Guardian UK. Read his thoughts about three Mexican film makers being nominated for Oscars. It is an argument for Cosmopolitanism, I agree with his idea and wish it was more prevalent and acceptable.

Borders are bad, regions and differences are good. I support regional indentity at the same time the ties that bind us all must be recognized and respected. I strive for a cosmopolitan life and view of my own.

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