Swinging London Is Dead: Withnail & I

The 1987 British dark comedy “Withnail & I” is one of the great cult films of all time and in Great Britain it is as well loved (and quoted) as The Big Lebowski is here in the U.S. The film is about two down on their luck unemployed actors in London at the tail end of 1969 – the acerbic and cynical Withnail (Richard E. Grant) and the neurotic Marwood (Paul McGann) – who live in drug & booze fueled squalor. They decide to take a trip out to the country cottage of Withnail’s uncle and things don’t go well for our two protagonists. Richard E. Grant gives one of the great performances of the 80s as Withnail. Written and directed by Bruce Robinson and produced by George Harrison’s Handmade Films it is an unsparing look at the death of the 60s. Highly recommended.


Raiders Of The Lost Ark in Black & White

I will bet that every one of you have always had a secret desire to watch Raiders Of The Lost Ark in black and white? Who hasn’t?

Now is your chance, courtesy of Steven Soderbergh. And the bonus is there is no sound only the score to The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo to keep you company. The film looks great, by the way.Steven-Soderbergh-Raiders-550x273

Soderbergh: “So I want you to watch this movie and think only about staging, how the shots are built and laid out, what the rules of movement are, what the cutting patterns are. See if you can reproduce the thought process that resulted in these choices by asking yourself: why was each shot—whether short or long—held for that exact length of time and placed in that order? Sounds like fun, right? It actually is. To me.”


Screenwriter Violence: In A Lonely Place

The 1950 film “In A Lonely Place” starring Humphrey Bogart as cynical Hollywood screenwriter Dixon Steele and Gloria Grahame as his neighbor Laurel Gray features what is arguably Bogart’s best performance. Directed by Nicholas Ray (Grahame’s husband at the time) the film delves into the latent violence, isolation and paranoia of Bogart’s Steele as he is suspected of killing a girl last seen leaving his apartment and is provided an alibi by Grahame, who he becomes involved with. Produced by Bogart’s own production company, Santana Productions, Bogart obviously thought this complex role and the film was a good fit for him. He was right.

Behind The Scenes: William Friedkin’s Sorcerer

Here is six minutes of rare 8mm behind the scenes footage of “Sorcerer” shot in New Jersey. This is the Roy Scheider/Jackie Scanlon sequence of the film and it is well worth watching if you are fan. “Sorcerer” is often described as a remake of the French classic “Wages Of Fear” but it is actually more a re-imagining of the film. Both films only have basic plot elements in common each other. Both are excellent and well worth watching.