Monthly Archives: April 1975

Tommy

From Monthly Film Bulletin, April 1975 (Vol. 42, No. 495). — J.R.

Tommy

Great Britain, 1975                                        Director: Ken Russell

Cert-AA. dist-Hemdale. p.c—The Robert Stigwood Organisation.

exec. p-Beryl Vertue, Christopher Stamp. /;Robert Stigwood, Ken

Russefl. assoc. p-Harcy Benn. p. manager-John Comfort. asst. d-

Jonathan Benson. sc-Ken Russell. Based on the rock opera by Pete

Townshend and the Who. addit. Material–John Entwistle, Keith Moon.

ph–Dick Bush, Ronnie Taylor. In colour. sp. ph. effects–Robin Lehman.

ed—Stuart Baird. a.d–John Clark. set dec–Paul Dufficey, Ian Whittaker.

sp. Effects–Effects Associates, Nobby Clarke,_Carygra Effects. m/songs–

“Captain Walker Didn’t Come Home”. “It’s a Bov !” “’51 is Going to be a

a Good Year”, “What About the Boy ?”, “See Me, Feel Me”, “The

Amazing Journey”, “Christmas”, “The Acid Queen”, “Do You Think

It’s All Right?”, “Cousin Kevin”, “Fiddle About”, “Sparks”, “Pinball

Wizard”, ‘Today It Rained Champagne” ,”‘There’s a_Doctor” , “Go to the

Mirror”, “Tommy Can You Hear Me !’” “Smash the Mirror”, “I’m Free”,

“Miracle Cure”, “Sensation”, “Sally Simpson”, “Welcome”, “Deceived”,

“Tommy’s Holiday Camp”, “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, “Listening to

You” by Pete Townshend and The Who [Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle,

Keith Moon, “Eyesight to the Blind” by Sonny Boy Williamson. m.d–

Pete Townshend. musicians-Elton John, Eric Clapton, Keith Moon,

John Entwistle, Ronnie Wood, Kenny Jones, Nicky Hopkins, Chris

Stainton , Fuzzy Samuels, Caleb Quayle, Mick Ralphs, GRaham Deakin,

Phil Chen, Alan Ross, Richard Bailey, Dave Clinton, Tony_Newman,

Mike Kelly, Dee Murray, Nigel Ollson, Ray Cooper, Davey_Johnstone,

Geoff Daley, Bob Efford, Ronnie Ross, Howie Casey.… Read more »

DISTANT THUNDER (1976 review)

From Sight and Sound, Spring 1975.  This is probably the most embarrassing review I’ve ever published (in addition to being one of the very worst) — particularly for reasons given in a quite reasonable letter published in the next (Spring 1975) issue, which I’ve reproduced below, along with my reply. But it’s an instructive sort of embarrassment, which is my main reason for reproducing it now, after some initial reluctance. -– J.R.

Distant Thunder

 

‘Over five million people in Bengal starved or died in epidemics because of the man-made famine in 1943.’ The title appears over the final shot of Satyajit Ray’s film –- a quasi-expressionistic, rather Bergmanesque vision of silhouetted figures standing on the edge of a precipice, composing a line of seemingly endless breadth behind the camera’s fateful retreat – and is clearly the crucial piece of information around which the preceding 100 minutes have been constructed. Yet the sheer immensity and horror of this unambiguous fact, essentially as unfilmable as it is unimaginable beyond the abstraction of statistics and other metaphors, can operate structurally only as a coda and ‘footnote’ to the rest of the discourse, even if it paradoxically comprises this discourse’s raison d’être. … Read more »

Improvisations and Interactions in Altmanville

From Sight and Sound (Spring 1975); I’ve mainly followed the editorial changes (mainly trims) used in the version that appears in my collection Essential Cinema….My apologies for the format problems with this piece, only some of which I’ve managed to resolve satisfactorily. — J.R.

 AltmandirectingCaliforniaSplit

 [. . .] Unless it is claimed that a pianist’s hands move haphazardly up and down the keyboard — and no one would be willing to claim this seriously — it must be admitted that there exists a guiding thought, conscious or subconscious, behind the succession of organized sound patterns . . . Of course, it does happen, and not too infrequently, that an instrumentalist’s fingers  ‘recite’ a lesson they have learned; but in  such cases there is no reason to talk about creation.

— André Hodeir, Jazz: Its Evolution and Essence

 

I can never think and play at the same time. It’s emotionally impossible.

Lennie Tristano, circa 1962

 

CHARLIE (Elliott Gould): This is the truth. You’re an animal lover, right?/ SUSAN (Gwen Welles): Yeah./CHARLIE: Okay, well: the great blue whale, right? You know about a great blue whale?/ SUSAN (semi-audible): . . . got that wrestling guy, hunh? /CHARLIE: No, it’s a big fish, a big fish, there’s only two or three left in the world.Read more »

A Slightly Pregnant Man

From Oui (April 1975). –- J.R.

The Slightly Pregnant Man is the English title of Jacques Demy’s latest film, although a literal translation of the French would be more appropriate – The Most Important Event Since Man Walked on the Moon. The event is pregnancy, and what makes it so important is that its baby’s carrier is not Catherine Deneuve, who plays the mother, but Marcello Mastroianni, who plays Poppa.

The first question you or I might ask is how Mastroianni manages to get pregnant in the first place, which is something Demy declines to answer. Instead, he tries to coast along on a jaunty score by Michel Legrand (who composed the music for Demy’s Umbrellas of Cherbourg). Without the basic question answered, The Slightly Pregnant Man doesn’t really work, but it is a weird kind of fun. We get to watch Mastroianni get sick in a movie theater, rush to the doctor and receive the wonderful-terrible news. He gets exhibited to a medical convention, marries Deneuve (in order to save the child embarrassment) and –as you can see — begins to model male pregnancy clothes for a maternity firm. The clothing manufacturers are overjoyed — they’ve just discovered a great new market for their products.… Read more »

MY PLEASURE IS MY BUSINESS (1975 review)

From Monthly Film Bulletin, April 1975 (Vol. 42, No. 495). — J.R.

My Pleasure Is My Business

Canada, 1974                                       Director: Albert S. Waxman

Deported from America by a U.S. senator who wants to keep her

away from his son-in-law, Gabrielle, a promiscuous movie star and

sexual liberationist, is flown to the country of Gestalt. After

confering with his aides, the corrupt Prime Minister decides to admit her

into the country, thereby hoping to deflect some of the charges of

immorality laid against the government. Gabrielle is accorded a

luxurious suite by a North African hotel manager in exchange for

the promise of sexual favors, and applies for a job as sexual

therapist with pudgy psychiatrist Freda Schloss, who turns out to

want the therapy herself. While the Prime Minister and his

henchmen plot ways-of arresting her for prostitution,

Gabrielle picks up an artist in a cafe and makes love with

him in his flat, looks up an old French girlfriend who acts

in porn films (along with the local police chief), and attends

a wild costume party given by another old friend. Cornered

by the police when she returns to her hotel, Gabrielle

persuades them to drop the charges by reminding the

police chief of his skin-flick activity.… Read more »

La Petite Marchande d’Allumettes

From Monthly Film Bulletin, April 1975 (Vol. 42, No. 496). — J.R.

Petite Marchande d’Allumettes, La

(The Little Match Girl)

France, 1928

Directors: Jean Renoir, Jean Tedesco

Cert-U. dist–Contemporary. p–Jean Renoir, Jean Tedesco . asst. d–

Claude H eymann. Simone Hamiguet. Sc–Jean Renoir. Based on the

storv bv Hans Christian Andersen. ph–Jean Bachelet. a.d—Eric Aës.

m -excerpts from works by –Schubert, Strauss, Wagner, Mendelssohn.

m. d–Manuel Rosenthal, Michael Grant. Lp—Catherine Hessling (Karen,

the Little Match Girl), Jean Storm (Young Man/Soldier), Manuel Raby

[Rabinovitch] (Policeman/Death), Amy Wells (Dancing Doll). 1,030 ft.

29 mins. (16mm; also available in 35 mm.). English titles.

Karen leaves her humble-cottage to sell match boxes under a heavy

Snowfall. She gazes wistfully at a handsome young man emerging

from a restaurant, then looks through a frosted pane at the people

eating inside until boys throw snowballs at her. As she gathers up her

spilled boxes a policeman arrives, and together hey look at a display

of dolls and other toys in a shop window. After lighting matches in

an effort to warm herself, she falls asleep and dreams that she enters

the toy shop — having become the same size as the dolls –- and sets

them all in motion.… Read more »