Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Godbooth

Richard Donner tells this story on the DVD "First works : [a revealing look at today's greatest directors]". Rather than transcribe his words from that recording a found that on E!online site, a Q&A session where he told the same story.
I was most fascinated by his use of the term "godbooth" to describe that control room from which a TV director directs.

"I was an actor on a live show in New York, and I had five lines or less. It was called Human Bondage. I was Phillip's roommate. During rehearsal, I did everything right all week. I did my three lines or my one line. It came to the night of the show before air, live. When my cue came, I said my line and went left when I should have gone right. In those days, left cued the camera, it was live, you had guys running all over the place, wardrobe being changed, and I heard this voice up in the tower, the Godbooth say "What did you do?" I heard somebody coming down what we called the Godsteps, and I knew it was the director, Marty Ritt.
And one of the actors said to me, "Bye, bye!" And he came down and he said, "What did you do, you've been going right all week!" I said, "I just thought I should go this way to get away from him, to give him some privacy." He said, "Why didn't you say that earlier? Your problem is that you can't take direction. You want to be a director." I said, "Sure." Easier said than done. He said, "You're my assistant on my next show." And that was it! I became his assistant for the next three shows. I went from that, I learned film, and I became an assistant for film."


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Richard Benjamin on the "car chase"

This quote from actor/director Richard Benjamin is on disc one of "First works : [a revealing look at today's greatest directors]" at about 2:15 of the way through.

"There's no such thing as a car chase in real life. There can only be a car chase in the movies because you can't be in more than one place during a car chase."


Stan Brakhage encounters Jackson Pollock

This is a quote from an "By Brakhage : an anthology" a two-disc set from Criterion. It is from Encounter I on disc 1 and takes place about 4 minutes into that encounter. Stan Brakhage is speaking of a trip that he made out to Jackson Pollock's place out on Long Island.

"But they [some New York painters] were like commenting and the used the words 'chance operations' which was no bother to me because I was hearing it regularly from John Cage. And the power and the wonder of it and so forth . . . but this really angered Pollock very deeply and he said 'Don't give me any of your "chance operations".' He said, 'You see that doorknob ' and there was a doorknob that was about fifty feet from where he was sitting that was in fact the door that everyone was going to have to exit be. and drunk as he was, he just with one swirl of his brush picked up a glob of paint, hurled it and hit that doorknob smack-on with very little paint over the edges. And then he said, 'And that's the way out'."

Labels: ,

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bocca finds his Kinglake

The following story continues from my post:
As that post it is taken from Geoffrey Bocca's, “Best Seller : a nostalgic celebration of the less-than-great books you have always been afraid to admit you loved “ in this case pages 20-21.

"I then trundled back to Charing Cross Road. Tremulously, I entered the dustiest secondhand bookshop I could find. The proprietor was sitting alone reading A Rebours by J. K. Huysman. He looked up and raised his glasses to his forehead.
“Would you by any chance have a set of Alexander Kinglake’s nine volume History of the Invasion of Crimea: Its Origins and an Account of Its Progress Down to the Death of Lord Raglan?”
He said, “What?”
I repeated the question in full. He frowned as if he did not know what I was talking about, and said, “I beg your pardon?”
gathering the remains of my breath I said, “Would you have a set of Alexander Kinglake’s nine-volume history of the invasion of Crimea?”
Was I, I wondered about to be the straight man in one of cicilization’s oldest jokes? Was I to turn my back rudely and mutter under my breath as i left, “Go f--- yourself,” giving him the chance to riposte, “aye, and go f--- Alexander Kinglake’s nine volume History of the Invasion of Crimea: Its Origins and an Account of Its Progress Down to the Death of Lord Raglan?”
What the gentleman said was, “You don’t have to raise your voice. I heard you the first time.”
“Then why do I waste my time . . .”
He held up his hand. “Be patient, my dear sir. Be understanding. You are clearly a man of culture. It was simply that i liked to hear you say it. Nobody has asked my for that set in fifteen --- sixteen years. The first time you said it I could not believe my ears. The second time the words sounded so mellifluous and beautiful. I was all but unmanned. As you said it the third time, sir, it seemed that the whole rich mosiac of my life as a secondhand book dealer was spreading in front of me in all its multitudinous hues to the very limits of the far horizon. You are talking to a man you have made very happy. is that not enow?”
“Indeed, i am very pleased, but let me put my question another way. Do you have it?
He shook his head, “No.”
. . .
The pesky book dealer cried, “Wait, sir! I don’t have it. But somewhere up or down the Charing Cross Road, some dealer will have a set be assured. Perhaps in a cellar warehouse in East Grinstead, perhaps in poor condition. whatever they ask, offer half. If you don’t buy it they will never sell it. Now, leave me please; this has been a very moving experience. I may even close my doors for the day

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Marcel Pagnol talking about Raimu

In the December 1965 issue, Cahiers du Cinema published an interviewed with the writer-director Marcel Pagnol by Gérard Guégan, Jean-André Fieschi and Jacques Rivette. Here is one interesting exchange:

CAHIERS: Was The Baker's Wife shot entirely on location?

PAGNOL: Oh, no. We had to use the studio. I am going to tell you why, it's something interesting. Raimu could not play a long scene outside. The wind bothered him. A real tree bothered him. And he was better at nine at night than during the day; he had been acting on the stage for thirty years. So we had to make copies of the trunks of the platanes that were close to the cafe terrace. the results were remarkable.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

An ode to Max Ophuls by James Mason

"A shot that does not call for tracks
Is agony for dear old Max
Who, separated from his dolly,
Is wrapped in deepest melancholy
Once, when they took away his crane,
I thought he'd never smile again"

Labels: ,

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Robert Bresson -- a Quote

"It [cinema] should express itself not through images, but through a relationship of images which is not at all the same; in the same that a painter expresses himself not through color, but through a relationship of colors."

Robert Bresson --- from a press conference held in Cannes in May 1957 and printed in Cahiers du Cinema in October 1957.


"Contract of Error" or Sir Francis Bacon on "spin" in 1605

This quote from Sir Francis Bacon's "The Advancement of Learning" (1605) demonstrates that four hundred years ago, Sir Francis had a good understanding of what is called "spin" today.

"For as knowledges are now delivered, there is a kind of a contract of error between the deliverer and the receiver; for he that delivereth knowledge desireth to deliver it in such form as may be best beleived, and not as may be best examined; and he that receiveth knowledge desireth rather present satisfaction than expectant inquiry."