An American in Paris?

I’m using this space to enter a contest to win a trip to Paris (avec tous mes remerciements, Oh Happy Day)!.  If only it would look like the skyscraped Paris of Jacques Tati’s Playtime!

But I’ll settle for the regular old one…I guess. ;)

Crack Up the Dark Mirror and Beware My Lovely Woman on the Beach

Noir City’s hysterical males

and

The Devil-Ettes prototype?

Would you believe this is a dance number from a 2-strip Technicolor musical about young lady golfers and the men they love?

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FOLLOW THRU (1930) at the Stanford Theatre.

Give me an ‘F’!!

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Oh, William Klein, how I love you. Delphine Seyrig in a spangly leotard, three rockin’ wrestlers, and a superhero-cum-quarterback-cum-fascist cowboy delight. Oh, and Serge Gainsbourg (off-screen) playing the piano. So much to admire in MR. FREEDOM’s (1969) bombast.

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Little Richard Attenborough’s “choirboy’s looks and killer’s cold stare” in BRIGHTON ROCK (1947). Perhaps inspiration for his naturalist brother’s nature series on reptiles and amphibians: Life in Cold Blood?

“F*#% Queen Victoria to her bones!”

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Eldridge Cleaver and fellow African revolutionaries in Algiers, meeting during the Pan-African Cultural Festival. My favorite of his diatribes: “F*@# Queen Victoria to her bones!”

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Klein works the Helvetica credits, as per usual, here hurtling at us, in ELDRIDGE CLEAVER, BLACK PANTHER (1970).

And as much as Cleaver likes to talk, this guy, below, doesn’t want to. See the ringing telephone that gleams menacingly in the extreme foreground? SHE PLAYED WITH FIRE (1957) and this one may have helped her do it.

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Feral play

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The film’s austerity in camerawork, narration, pacing, and use of irises in and out hearken back to earlier, simpler modes of moviemaking, and indeed, of life. Clef. Livre. Ciseaux. The ordinary tools of an extraordinary filmmaker.

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Truffaut—who directs and stars as Dr. Itard—dedicated L’ENFANT SAUVAGE (1969) to Jean-Perre Léaud, his very own wild child.

Mind your own, mumblecore

I’m all for mumblecore…okay, maybe I’m only 62.3% for mumblecore. But could the mumblers at least open their eyes—if not their mouths—and create some visual interest in the frame?

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How many more conversations in cars, shot from the backseat, must we endure? Give me a two-shot from the front, light emanating, Kiss Me Deadly-style, from a mysterious source located along the length of the dashboard, rear-projection in the back window ripping the landscape away from the car as it speeds through the night.

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BEESWAX (2009), aside from its aesthetic lack, does casually depict the daily life of a paraplegic, something we don’t often see in film.

Qui êtes-vous, Dorothy McGowan?

Really, in this case, the hackneyed blogger speak of “le sigh” is warranted. QUI ÊTES-VOUS, POLLY MAGGOO? (1966):

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And “le purr” if you were the cinematographer on THE OCTOBER MAN (1947). I’m talking about you, Erwin Hillier:

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Train whistles really do a number on the psyches of post-war Brits, here and in Brief Encounter especially. Are there other films where train whistles toot themselves into the plot? Maybe Strangers on a Train?

The Greatest and the not-so-great

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Did Cassius Clay invent the media circus? Here he is, by that point Muhammad Ali, manipulating the *#@! out of his image.

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By the way, he does admit that he shouldn’t have been calling himself “The Greatest” back in ’64, as Allah takes that heavyweight title.

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SO EVIL MY LOVE (1948) seemed like it would never end. As a rule, the period Brit Crime films (like this one, set in the Victorian era) are duds.

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