Yearly Archives: 1975

Moana (1975 review)

This synopsis and review appeared in the December 1975 issue of Monthly Film Bulletin.

I’ve only just begun to familiarize myself with Moana with sound (see first still below), put together by the Flahertys’ daughter Monica, restored by Bruce Posner and Sami van Ingen (the Flaherty’s great-grandson), and posthumously released on Blu-Ray today by Kino Lorber. But I’ve already sampled enough of it — as well as all of Posner’s “short” (39-minute) history of the project, included along with other extras on the Blu-Ray — to view it as a major achievement, hopefully leading to a major reassessment of what I regard in some ways as Flaherty’s most neglected masterpiece. — J.R.

moana_prelim_poster_graphic

Moana

U.S.A., 1925
Directors: Robert J. Flaherty, Frances Hubbard Flaherty

Savai’i, a Samoan island. Near the village of Safune, Moana pulls taro root from the ground and peels it while his betrothed Fa’angase bundles leaves, his mother Tu’ungaita carries mulberry sticks and his younger brother Pe’a helps them. Setting off for the village, they set a trap for wild boar, the forest’s only dangerous animal, which they subsequently capture. Moana, Fa’angase, and Pe’a go spear-fishing, along with Moana’s older brother Leupenga. Back in the village,  Tu’ungaita makes back-cloth for a lavalava, a native dress. … Read more »

FRAMED (1975 review)

From Monthly Film Bulletin, December 1975 (Vol. 42, No. 503). — J.R.

Framed

U.S.A., 1974
Director: Phil Karlson

In films as diverse as 99 River Street and The Phenix City Story, Phil Karlson has shown a striking aptitude for the dynamics of seedy crime melodramas — particularly those which deal, in Andrew Sarris’s phrase, “with the phenomenon of violence in a world controlled by organized evil”. Working, however, in slicker settings and with a plotline at once as hackneyed and as confused as the one in Framed, he appears no better than anyone else at handling the hysterical revenge theme that has often seemed his stock-in-trade.

Discounting some lamentable lab work and five minutes of censor’s cuts in the version under review — which apparently include a rape and some protracted pre-murder mayhem perpetrated by the hero against a failed kidnapper (shooting one ear off and prodding the other with hot wire, until he gives out information) — it is difficult to imagine what could have been salvaged from such a nonsensical collection of plastic characters and cardboard stances, where the narrative proceeds as if by hiccups and the film’s dramatic highlight is provided by the hero remarking of a minor villain, “First time I ever saw a tub of shit in a suit”.… Read more »

OHAYO/GOOD MORNING (1975 review)

From the Monthly Film Bulletin, no. 502, November 1975. — J.R.

OHAYO (GOOD MORNING)

Japan, 1959

Director: Yasujiro Ozu

Cert — U. dist — Cinegate. p.c — Shochiku/Ofuna. p — Shizuo Yamanouchi. sc — Yasujiro Ozu, Kogo Noda. ph — Yushun Atsuta. col — Agfacolor. ed —Yoshiyasu Hamamura. a.d —Tatsuo Hamada. m — Toshiro Mayuzumi. l.p — Chishu Ryu (Keitaro Hayashi), Kuniko Miyake (Tamiko Hayashi), Yoshiko Kuga (Setsuko Arita, Tamiko’s Sister), Koji Shidara (Minoru Hayashi, Older Son), Masahiko Shimazu (Isamu Hayashi, Younger Son), Keiji Sada (Heichiro Fukui, English Teacher), Haruo Tanaka (Pencil Salesman), Haruko Sugimura (Mrs. Haraguchi), Miyaguchi (Mr. Haraguchi), Eiko Miyoshi (Mrs. Haraguchi’s Mother), Eijiro Tono (Tomizawa), Teruko Nagoako (Tomizawa’s wife), Sadako Sawamura (Mrs. Okubu), Kyoko Izum and Hasabe (Couple with TV Set), Toyo Takahashi.… Read more »

LES FILLES DU FEU: RIVETTE X 4 (with Gilbert Adair and Michael Graham), part two

From Sight and Sound (Autumn 1975).

I was shocked to learn yesterday [in December 2011] of the death of Gilbert Adair, a close friend during the mid-70s (when both of us were living in Paris, and for some time later, after I moved to London ahead of Gilbert). This collaborative article, which I instigated, assigning the middle sections to Gilbert and to Michael Graham (also, alas, no longer alive), is being posted now in memory of our friendship. (With Lauren Sedofsky, Gilbert and I had also already collaborated on an interview with Rivette the previous year, which was posted here yesterday.)  And because of the unusual length of this article, I’m running it in two parts; the first half, with sections by me and Gilbert about Duelle, appeared a few hours ago. — J.R.

3

Like any Rivette film, Le Vengeur (2) took shape gradually, drawing on a large number of deliberately chosen ideas and as many fortuitous circumstances. As important as Rivette’s interest in Tourneur’s The Revenger’s Tragedy (drawn to his attention by Eduardo De Gregorio), and the curious traditions surrounding the period of Carnival, was the availability of Geraldine Chaplin and Bernadette Lafont together with that of a group of dancers from Carolyn Carlson’s company.… Read more »

LES FILLES DU FEU: Rivette x 4 (with Gilbert Adair and Michael Graham), part one

From Sight and Sound (Autumn 1975).

I was shocked to learn yesterday of the death of Gilbert Adair, a close friend during the mid-70s (when both of us were living in Paris, and for some time later, after I moved to London ahead of Gilbert). This collaborative article, which I instigated, assigning the middle sections to Gilbert and to Michael Graham (also, alas, no longer alive), is being posted now in memory of our friendship. (With Lauren Sedofsky, Gilbert and I had also already collaborated on an interview with Rivette the previous year, which was posted here yesterday.)  And because of the unusual length of this article, I’ll be running it in two parts; the second half, with sections by me and Michael Graham about Noroît, will appear a few hours from now. — J.R.

In theory, from the vantage point of early spring, it would go something like this: four movies to be shot consecutively, each one an average-length feature to be filmed in three weeks; editing to begin after the fourth is shot, the four films edited in the order of their successive releases.Read more »

London Journal (including an interview with Geraldine Chaplin in Britanny about NASHVILLE) [1975]

From Film Comment (September-October 1975). Some of this article, especially the early stretches, embarrasses me now for its pretentiousness, but I think it still has some value as a period piece.

A few brief footnotes to my interview with Chaplin: (1) We shared a joint at one point while doing it; (2) her comments about working with Rivette made it seem a lot less fun and more difficult, at least for her, than working with Altman (she described it at one point as having to show Rivette various kinds of acting like a rug merchant to see which one he liked); and in fact (3) a few decades later, when I met her again at a film festival, reminded her of our interview, and asked her what she thought of Noroit, she told me that she’d never seen it. — J.R.

London Journal

Or should I call this my NASHVILLE Journal? On March 19, I saw a monaural print in London at a private screening. Writing over three months later, shortly after its New York opening and a projected five before it’s supposed to surface in the rural West End, I can only wish it well on its way. Regular readers of this column may froth at the mouth if I drag Tati and Rivette into the case once more; in that case, froth away, folks — I’m sorry, but it’s Altman’s doing, not mine.… Read more »

BRATS & HOG WILD (1975 reviews)

From Monthly Film Bulletin, September 1975. — J.R.

Brats
U.S.A., 1930
Director : James Parrott

Cert–U. dist–Kingston. p.c/p–Hal Roach. For MGM. story–Leo
McCarey. dial–H. M. Walker. ph–George Stevens. ed–Richard Currier.
l.p–Stan Laurel (Himself/His Son), Oliver Hardy (Himself/His Son).
732 ft. 20 mins. (16 mm.).

While Laurel and Hardy try to play checkers, they are repeatedly interrupted by the fights and antics of their two sons, miniature replicas of themselves; eventually they send them up to bed. After putting on their pyjamas, the kids continue to wreak havoc: as Hardy Jnr. looks under the bed for a mouse, it crawls on to his bottom, and Laurel Jnr. fires at it with a toy gun; Hardy Jnr. howls in pain, and Laurel Jnr. fills the bathtub to offer him relief, leaving both taps on. They spar with boxing gloves before their fathers appear once more, and Hardy is persuaded to sing them a lullaby; when one of the kids asks for a glass of water and Hardy opens the bathroom door, the room is flooded.

A clever use of double sets — each room scaled separately to match the respective sizes of fathers and sons — and a baby Hardy without a moustache aren’t really enough to make this more than a minor Laurel and Hardy effort, although there are a few compensations along the way, most notably Laurel’s adage that “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make a pencil lead”, and Hardy’s lullaby, which quickly gravitates into a scat-yodeling exercise.… Read more »

Two Reviews of French Softcore Porn (1975)

Both of these reviews appeared in the July 1975 issue of Monthly Film Bulletin (vol. 42, no. 498). –- J.R.

 la-bonzesse-movie-poster

Bonzesse, La

France, 1974

Director: François Jouffa

LaBozesseBored with her life, Béatrice goes to work in Mme. Renée’s upper-class Parisian brothel, where she is given the name of Julie and quickly initiated into the tricks of the trade. Flashbacks suggest that she was sexually abused by her stepmother, and grew up believing that the life bf a courtesan was glamorous. On her second day at work, she is attracted to a client, Jean-François, a wealthy advertising man who chooses not to have sex with her but asks her for a date that evening. She accepts and winds up living at his flat, but he repeatedly avoids having sex with her. In desperation, she resumes work at the brothel in the daytime without telling him, then leaves him one night to go home with her friend Martine and her boyfriend. As she gradually saves up enough money to fly to Ceylon — where she hopes to attain spiritual peace — she becomes increasingly depressed by the grotesque needs of the clients who come to the brothel, the jealousy of a fellow worker, and the overall sordidness and sadness of the place.… Read more »

Three More Hack Reviews of Hack Movies (from 1975)

All three of the following short reviews appeared in the June 1975 issue of Monthly Film Bulletin (vol. 42, no. 497). The reason why I had to cover so many films of this kind for the magazine was that I was the assistant editor, and it was very hard to convince most of our freelance reviewers (apart from Tom Milne) to take them on. -– J.R.

I_corpiCorpi Presentano Tracce di Violenza Carnale. I (Torso)

Italy, 1973

Director: Sergio Martino

 Torso

After two college girls, Florence and Carol, are savagely murdered and butchered by a masked assailant, one of their classmates, Daniela, recalls having recently seen the scarf left behind by the murderer but can’t remember who was wearing it. Before long, she receives an anonymous threatening phone call, and her uncle Nino requests that she so for a rest to his country villa with her school friends Ursula, Katia and Jane. Jane stays behind briefly to look up Stefano — a student whom she suspects is the killer, but who proves not to be at home — and passes up an invitation to attend a concert with her art professor Franz. A scarf-dealer who meanwhile tries to blackmail the killer by phone manages to collect 3 million lire, but is then run down by a car; that evening, after a local shoe-peddler spies Ursula seducing Katia in the country house, he is pursued, killed and thrown into a well by the masked assailant.… 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 »

Conversation with Paul Morrissey (Part I)

From Oui (March 1975). I no longer recall whether or not the editors changed the wording of some of my questions; I suspect that in many cases they did. Because of the length of this interview, I’m posting it in two parts. -– J.R.

Excerpted from the Introduction [obviously not by me]:

“Jonathan Rosenbaum interviewed Morrissey in Paris, shortly after the director had completed his latest films [Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula aka Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein and Andy Warhol’s Dracula (sic, sic), only the second of which I’ve ever seen, then or since. -– J.R.] He described being greeted at the door by Nico, of the original and most durable Factory regulars:

“Nico entertained me with comparisons of Paris and Los Angeles, while Morrissey served me orange soda from his refrigerator,” he said. “Morrissey enjoys talking –- the interview was nearly a monologue –- and he speaks in a slightly nasal tone, a cross between Brando and the Bronx.”

OUI: There’s a noticeable difference between your early movies, such as Trash, and your latest ones, Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein and Andy Warhol’s Dracula. Is it true, as some critics contend, that you’ve gone from the underground to the surface?… Read more »

Conversation with Paul Morrissey (Part II)

From Oui (March 1975). I no longer recall whether or not the editors changed the wording of some of my questions; I suspect that in many cases they did. Because of the length of this interview, I’m posting it in two parts. -– J.R.

Excerpted from the Introduction [obviously not by me]:

“Jonathan Rosenbaum interviewed Morrissey in Paris, shortly after the director had completed his latest films [Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula aka Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein and Andy Warhol’s Dracula (sic, sic), only the second of which I’ve ever seen, then or since. -– J.R.] He described being greeted at the door by Nico, of the original and most durable Factory regulars:

“Nico entertained me with comparisons of Paris and Los Angeles, while Morrissey served me orange soda from his refrigerator,” he said. “Morrissey enjoys talking – the interview was nearly a monologue –- and he speaks in a slightly nasal tone, a cross between Brando and the Bronx.”

OUI: Let’s talk about political content. Your films are usually much more poignant and compassionate than you yourself are reputed to be. In some quarters of the film world, you have a political reputation that might be compared to Ronald Reagan’s.… Read more »

Life Size (1975 review)

From Oui, March 1975. –- J.R.

 

Life Size. A wealthy dentist (Michel Piccoli) buys a shapely, life-size female doll and immediately falls hopelessly in love with it. He dances with it, gently places it in a dentist’s chair to go over its bridgework, takes showers with it, talks to it and masturbates into its working orifices. When his indulgent mother (Valentine Tessier) finds him curled up in bed with it, she chuckles, dresses it up in old-fashioned clothes and briefly adopts it as a knitting companion. When lsabelle (Rada Rassimov), his wife, starts imitating the doll out of desperation, he dumps her into a closet and moves into a new flat with his synthetic bride. He even video-tapes their mock wedding for his amusement. But when his video-tape machine reveals that a Spanish repairman has been using his beloved for more immediate and less romantic purposes, he starts to “punish” his doll. The trouble with Luis Berlanga’s exhaustive movie is that what he has to say could probably be squeezed into about ten minutes without much sweat. -– JONATHAN ROSENBAUM

Read more »

SWEDISH WILDCATS (1975 review)

From Monthly Film Bulletin, February 1975 (vol. 42, no. 493). -– J.R.

SwedishWiuldcats-title

 

Swedish Wildcats

U.S.A./Sweden, 1974

Director: Joseph W. Sarno

SwedishWildcats-DVD

Copenhagen. Margareta, a brothel madam who displays her prostitutes in elaborate cabaret revues at private parties, summons her two orphan nieces Susanna and Karen — both part of her entourage — to participate in a ‘slave auction’ staged for some local clients. Gerhard Jensen, chief of a ground crew handling air cargo, bids for Karen and then offers to pay extra to share a room with Susanna and his friend; Margareta agrees and watches the results through a two-way mirror: Gerhard complains to Karen, “I could get more excitement from a piece of raw liver”, and tries to make love to Susanna, then beats her when she refuses to kiss him on the mouth. In a park, Susanna meets Peter Borg, another member of Gerhard’s crew; it is love at first sight, and she presents herself as Natasha, a ballet dancer, while he claims to be a test pilot working on a secret project. Meanwhile, her sister Karen has also fallen in love with someone who doesn’t know her profession — Gabriel, an architect from a very respectable family.… Read more »