1. “Martin Scorsese on The Third Man: The best revelation in all cinema.” The Hollywood director Martin Scorsese reveals how Carol Reed’s classic British noir from 1949 has influenced him and why it feels as fresh as ever.
“[That] leads right into the great revelation of Harry Lime in the doorway with the cat—which is iconic. But it’s more than that—it’s one of the great epiphanies in movies: the cat turning the corner and nestling itself on those wing-tip shoes, and then Harry Lime being revealed when the light is turned on in the doorway and it shines in his face. Remember Walker Percy’s great novel The Moviegoer? He refers to that moment in such a beautiful, special way. It became a moment internationally, a shared experience for a vast audience seeing that film. It’s not just a dramatic revelation—there’s something about Orson Welles’ smile at that point that shifts everything to another level, and it sustains no matter how many times you see it. Welles comes into the picture about halfway through. That’s the first time you actually see him, after you’ve spent so much time picturing him in your mind because everyone has been talking about him and thinking about him. So that might be the best revelation—or the best reveal, as they say—in all of cinema.”
2. “Burning Down the House.” Ashley Clark on why the debate over Paris Is Burning rages on.
“I met Livingston at a small cafe near her Brooklyn home recently, and she was quick to rebuke such claims: ’I didn’t go to film school. I don’t have a film education, and I never suggested that I did. I took one summer class, and I shot that one ball which is not in the finished film. I never said ’Babe, I’m gonna make you a star.’ I went in and said, ’I’m interested, will you talk to me?’ I honestly, to this day, do not believe that anybody who signed those release forms was incapable of understanding what it meant, nobody was illiterate; some people were college educated. Plus, most of the people in the film had spent a lot of time with me before the bulk of the footage got shot.’”
3. “James Cameron’s Tribute to Composer James Horner: ’The Orchestra Loved Him.’” “No matter how [Titanic] turned out, and no one knew at that point—it could have been a dog—I knew it would be a great score.”
“I met him on Battle Beyond the Stars, which was my first film getting a paycheck. I entered as a junior model builder and ended up three months later as production designer, which could only happen on a Roger Corman production. The score was absolutely the best thing about the film. It was a full-on orchestral score, not some rinky-dink synth score. After that I ran into him a few times and Gale Hurd and I, being Corman alums, watched him skyrocketing. He was the obvious choice to do Aliens but we got off to a bad start. It was a time in his career when he was overbooking himself. He recorded the whole score in a day and a half in London and then he was gone. We wound up editing the score ourselves. He got an Academy Award nomination, so he thanked me afterwards but we both allowed that was not the best way to do things.”
4. “Free Yourself from the Cult of Marlon Brando.” Richard Brody in response to Terrence Rafferty’s piece in The Atlantic, “The Decline of the American Actor.”
“Imbued with serious theatrical training, Brando is cherished for his theatrical impersonations, as in A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, and The Godfather, when, in fact, his greatness is in his person, and shines through most clearly and forcefully in roles that depend least on impersonation—Guys and Dolls, Last Tango in Paris, and the Maysles brothers’ documentary Meet Marlon Brando. Brando was great not because of his theatrical training but despite it. He was trapped in artifice through most of his career, when his mere presence was itself one of the most charismatic and original ever filmed. Brando himself was a living work of art, and most of his famed performances aren’t gilded lilies but gilded paintings. He was pushed to be overpainted, overvarnished, overdecorated, and only a few films of his get close to the true depths of his character—because the technical and theatrical side of his talent was, for the most part, the one that got praised and rewarded, the one for which he was hired.”
5. “Kingmakers.” For the Los Angeles Review of Books, Michelle Chihara on True Detective and the HBO brand.
“When we realize that the emperor has no clothes, we learn something about ourselves (I was duped!) and about the emperor’s mind (he was foolish!). Once we realize their absence, clothes still seem important (because, cover that shit up). If we all decide that Pizzolatto was foolish and we were duped, his status may suffer, but HBO’s brand as the arbiter of status will remain intact. HBO still gives out the clothes. And that, ultimately, is HBO’s goal: it can’t always promise quality, but it can promise to remain the testing ground for quality, the scene of cultural capital itself.”
Video of the Day: The trailer for Sleeping with Other People:
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