Along with another round of stimulating essays and reviews—Alan Vanneman on Charlie Chaplin and Fred Astaire, John Engle on Abdellatif Kechiche, Michael Blancato on Wong Kar-wai, D.J.M. Saunders on adaptations of Macbeth, and oh, so much more—the new issue of Bright Lights Film Journal features a couple of genuine scoops. Editor Gary Morris explains: “Our pal Joe McBride, author of definitive biographies of Hawks, Welles, Ford, and other books, passed along an interview with Gore Vidal that was banned by Variety in 1992. Their loss is our (and your) gain as Vidal shows extraordinary prescience about American political culture while riffing on Bob Roberts. The other ‘extra!’ this time is Don Malcolm‘s lively disinterring of a late noir previously thought lost, Leslie Stevens’s 1960 indie Private Property. We hope Don’s exhumation of the film will stimulate a general release. UCLA licensing department, are you listening?”
DVD/Blu-ray. “As part of Universal’s centennial celebration that studio has reissued Jaws (1975) on Blu-ray in a newly restored edition, retrofitted with a remixed 7.1-channel stereo soundtrack.” In the New York Times, Dave Kehr suggests that, along with rejigging blockbuster marketing, Jaws “in a way, was the first movie by the suburbs and for the suburbs.”
Books. Paul Berman in the NYT Book Review on Claude Lanzmann’s The Patagonian Hare: “An uncomfortable book is what you would expect and even demand of an autobiographer who, in his capacity as filmmaker, can only be regarded as one of the supreme narrators of modern Jewish (and not just Jewish) experience.”
Luke McKernan explains why the reappearance of Emilie Altenloh’s Zur Soziologie des Kino: Die Kino-Unternehmung und die Sozialen Schichten Ihrer Besucher (A Sociology of the Cinema, 1914), “together with background articles on Altenloh, the influence on her of sociologist Alfred Weber, cinema in Mannheim in 1912/13 (the period of her study), and the rediscovery of her study since the 1970s and the great influence that it has had since,” is, basically, a big deal. Part of the essay appeared in English in the Autumn 2001 issue of Screen.
In the works. Todd Field is cowriting a political thriller with Joan Didion, reports the Playlist‘s Kevin Jagernauth.
Obit. “One of cinema’s great special effects masters Carlo Rambaldi has died at the age of 86.” Marc Campbell at Dangerous Minds: “Rambaldi will be remembered by most moviegoers as the guy who created the loveable E.T. and the freaky chest-bursting baby monster in Alien. While I have a soft spot in my heart for both of those creatures, my favorite Rambaldi creations appear in films like Mario Bava’s Twitch of the Death Nerve, Deep Red, Flesh for Frankenstein and Planet of the Vampires.” Ard Vijn at Twitch: “He was also responsible for the tentacled ehm… thing from [Andrzej] Zulawski’s Possession, the creature effects in David Lynch’s Dune and the aliens from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” More from Daniel E. Slotnik (NYT).