Somebody else was obsessed with The Journey of Natty Gann!
The other strange thing about the movie that would keep it from ever being made now is that it is essentially, like, a horror movie now. Natty is constantly in places and situations where you cannot rightfully put a child in a movie anymore because we recognize it as a telegraph of terror. She does stuff like wander into a dogfight filled with drunk men, she lives in a men’s boarding house BY HERSELF, or wanders through hobo encampment, rides in a boxcar alone with a scabby looking stranger-man. We know all of these situations now, in 2014 movies, as shorthanding a kind of girl-peril–invariably, the girl is going to get attacked or hurt–girls do not triumph because we are used to so much torture-porn. But in Natty Gann she just is like “piss off” or triumphs (by living!) or is defended by her wild-animal companion and just continues on, walking for days on foot with pitstops for eating out of the trash or lapping thirstily at a stream.
What “remarriage” added to the mix was sexuality—in films like The Awful Truth, we have a married, sexually active and experienced couple, who try out alternative partnering arrangements, and then reunite. In other words, a thinly veiled metaphor for adultery, designed to pass the censors.
Remember, though, these are comedies. Frothy, light-hearted things—and they evolved out of silent slapstick, to boot, so they aren’t intended to bear any heavy emotional weight. So, these films needed something to take the sting out of their adulterous themes. If Irene Dunne and Cary Grant are going to sleep around and then decide that, having sampled the alternatives, they really were happier together, that’s a potentially explosive and emotionally fraught premise. There’s real risk at the heart of that.
So, the couple has a tether to a normal domestic life—a reminder of what’s at stake, a totem of the happy home they need to resurrect. Not a child—a child could be traumatized by these shenanigans. Audiences would object to watching Irene Dunne go swanning around in her fancy ball gowns, neglecting her kid. But a dog is like a child, without being too much like a child. Asta, as Mr. Smith, is the child stand-in—they even have a custody battle over him—but there’s no fear that the romantic adventures of the divorcees will damage him any.
In fact, Asta plays this same faux-baby role in most of his screwball comedies. He’s the domestic anchor that roots the stars in something recognizable as a family, freeing them to act even more ridiculous and immature during the middle reels.
A Soderbergh two-shot. First up, some Chinatown love:
I think editing is in a weird place right now. Technology has opened the door for a lot of over-editing on a micro level, and while you would think the ability to get to an assembly/early cut faster would allow for a longer period of judging the entire piece as a whole, editing on a macro level has never been worse. I leave it to you to decide why this is, but consider that Sam O’Steen, editor of Chinatown, wrote a terrific book about editing called Cut to the Chase, and one of the many smart things he says is: Movie first, scene second, moment third. So I see a lot of contemporary films in which this credo is not followed—or even understood—and no one has ever asked basic questions like: What is the ultimate purpose of this scene in the movie? What would happen if it was gone? Assuming it absolutely has to stay, is it in the right place? What would happen if we put it somehwere else? Or inverted the structure of the scene itself? Or had one of the speaking characters within it not speak? Or took this scene and some others around it and turned them into a sequence? And on and on and on, because when you’re in the editing room, anything is possible.
Then, from the NYT in 2001, on All the Presidents Men:
''Just watch,'' he said. ''This is a single take. It must be, I don't know, six or seven minutes long.'' It is one of the newsroom scenes that uses the dual-focus lens. Mr. Redford talks on the phone, punching back and forth between the two calls, trying to control his growing excitement as he traps his quarry. At the same time, in the background, the newsroom is bustling. People huddle around a television, chat, make their own phone calls.
''You have to watch very closely, but if you look at the edges of the frame you can see that the camera is very, very slowly zooming in on Redford,'' Mr. Soderbergh said. ''It's just so elegant and slow and gradual.'' And even though it is happening in an inconspicuous way, the tension builds.
''Just amazing,'' Mr. Soderbergh said.
This, then, is the story of a story, or how chasing a boy and a balloon came to involve Jackie Gleason, a Dutch magazine editor, three policewomen, the last Shah of Iran, and a game a father invented only to have its name change, and for the worse.
Let’s go for a walk.
More flânerie ici:
The short film Between Sunrise and Sunless is an attempt to combine elements of flânerie with an interest in film tourism, even pilgrimage. It was shot in Vienna on 16 June 2013, which is James Joyce’s Bloomsday, the most ordinary day of the year, and exactly eighteen years on from the events of Before Sunrise. The book on Linklater had just been published and it was time to put some of its ideas into practice in the manner of several film scholars in the UK, such as Catherine Grant and William Brown, who are breaking ground by producing and integrating short and even full-length films, video essays and online media into their teaching and research. The original idea was to record a cinematic pilgrimage, to understand how a film affects a place and investigate how that place is affected by the film. This kind of film tourism is a world apart from the Universal Tour in Los Angeles or the Harry Potter Experience in London, where everything is practiced, limited and laid on. Neither is it the same as taking the official, organised and guided ‘Vertigo Tour’ in San Francisco, ‘The Godfather Tour’ in Sicily, ‘The Da Vinci Code Tour’ from Edinburgh, ‘The SopranosTour’ in New York or ‘The Lord of the Rings Tour’ in Wellington, although each hold significant pleasures. Instead, there is much to be said for the uniquely personal, certainly metaphysical and even occasionally transcendental experiences of chasing down replicants in Los Angeles a few shrinking years before Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1981) will actually take place or visiting the towers, canals and alcoves actually in Bruges of In Bruges (Martin McDonagh, 2008). There was also an element of affective criticism that followed (and was perhaps validated by) Robin Wood, who wrote in Sexual Politics and Narrative Film: Hollywood and Beyond (Columbia University Press, 1998) that he felt compelled to preface his analysis of Before Sunrise with the admission that ‘here was a film for which I felt not only interest or admiration but love’ (1998: 318). Was it possible to follow the example of Wood, who not only shared his passion but made it an essential component of his craft?
Finally, Gizmodo "recently visited the Criterion headquarters in New York to get a first-hand look at the meticulous restoration process that brings cinematic gems back to life."