1. R.I.P. Jules Dassin: Edward Copeland has an appreciation up at his blog. The New York Times obit is here. Share your thoughts in the comments section.
["Jules Dassin, an American director, screenwriter and actor who found success making movies in Europe after he was blacklisted in the United States because of his earlier ties to the Communist Party, died Monday in Athens, where he had lived since the 1970s. He was 96. A spokeswoman for Hygeia Hospital confirmed his death but did not give a cause, The Associated Press reported. Mr. Dassin is most widely remembered for films he made after he fled Hollywood in the 1950s, including "Never on Sunday" (1960), with the Greek actress Melina Mercouri, whom he later married; "Topkapi" (1964), with Ms. Mercouri, Peter Ustinov and Maximilian Schell; and the 1954 French thriller "Rififi." But before his blacklisting he had also carved out a successful Hollywood career making noir movies like "Brute Force" (1947), a prison drama starring Burt Lancaster and Hume Cronyn; "The Naked City" (1948), an influential New York City police yarn that won Academy Awards for cinematography and editing; and "Thieves' Highway" (1949), about criminals who try to coerce truckers in California. Mr. Dassin's last major effort before his exile was "Night and the City" (1950), a film shot in London starring Richard Widmark (who died last Monday) as a shady but naïve wrestling promoter and Francis L. Sullivan as a predatory nightclub owner. Some critics called it Mr. Dassin's masterpiece."]
["The day has finally come and reviews for the 2nd Annual White Elephant Film Blogathon are rolling in. Special thanks to Paul Clark at the Screengrab for helping get the word out yesterday. Keep checking back, I'll be adding to the list as I hear from the participants. Once you're done reading all the great submissions, leave a comment and let us know who you think had the worst movie assigned to them."]
["As in previous films, Morris chooses to substitute metaphor for analysis; specifically, he conjures the Baghdad prison as a generic Old Dark House or, on a more elevated plane, as a set from The Silence of the Lambs (1991). "I think of the film as a nonfiction horror movie," he wrote in the press notes, a concept realized in master cinematographer Robert Richardson's perversely beautiful imagery and Danny Elfman's score (as spooky as his music for Batman). Morris repeatedly interrupts close-ups of testimony to expressively flesh out instances not captured by the soldiers' digital cameras: atmospheric cellblock corridors; a backlit angle on blood dripping from a detainee's nose; trapdoors hurtling open at Saddam Hussein's hanging. These visual aperçus, which Morris refers to rather sophistically as "impressions" rather than reenactments, are undeniably gorgeous. Their style, however, belongs to a film genre that provides titillation through horror. To employ this rhetoric in a documentary about actual horror is obscene, yielding familiar aesthetic thrills as a substitute for specificity of meaning."]
4."On Auteurism": Girish Shambu's latest post, which gathers together some articles and thoughts on a school of film thought.
["In my view, auteurism is not an account of how films are made. It is instead one among many ways we, as viewers, choose to read a film. In other words, it is one particular lens through which films can be viewed: by foregrounding the 'marks' of expression belonging to one person, the auteur, most frequently the director."]
5. Another R.I.P., this one from Screengrab, for screenwriter Abby Mann. Share your thoughts below.
["Abby Mann has died at the age of 83. For many years there, Mann symbolized Serious, Hard-Hitting screenwriting on Moral Issues inspired by Contemporary Themes. Like his doppelganger, Paddy Chayefsky, Mann attracted attention for his work on such "golden age of television" shows as and Studio One., where his seriousness of intent and hard-hitting tone made it clear that he would be a natural collaborator for the director-producer Stanley Kramer."]
Quote of the Day: Charlie Chaplin
"Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles."
Image of the Day (click to enlarge): Ms. Davis and her ladies in waiting (Joan Collins among them), from The Virgin Queen. (Hattip: DVDBeaver)
Clip of the Day: If any of you out there have April 1st as a birthday, this seems somehow appropriate.
_____________________________________________________ "Links for the Day": Each morning, the House editors post a series of weblinks that we think will spark discussion. Comments encouraged.