Did You See This?

Maurice and Jacques, Katharine and Spencer, and More

The Daily — Aug 10, 2018
Simone Simon in Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People (1942)

It’s been a week dominated by fall festival lineup announcements and a brouhaha kicked up by the Academy’s plans to juice up the Oscars. Here are five notable items that have nothing to do with either:

  • One of the great father-son duos in film history, Maurice Tourneur and his son Jacques, was the subject of a recent retrospective at the Austrian Film Museum. Maurice began his career in France during the silent era and would become known for films he directed in Hollywood such as The Blue Bird (1918) and The Last of the Mohicans (1920). Jacques is remembered by most for his work with Val Lewton at RKO, where he directed Cat People (1942) and I Walked With a Zombie (1943). Patrick Holzapfel has sat down with the retrospective’s curator, Christoph Huber, to compare and contrast the two oeuvres. Holzapfel observes—and Huber agrees—that “with Maurice I always find myself in the immediate presence of the setting and characters, whereas with Jacques there is always a tang of the past. In the beginning of a film, Maurice tells us: ‘Look here, something is happening.’ Jacques tells us: ‘Look, something has happened here.’”
  • Another family affair. Glenn Kenny, a regular reviewer for the New York Times, and his wife Claire are now two thirds of the way through their Hepburn-Tracy Project at Glenn’s blog Some Came Running—and it’s only taken them seven years to get here! Every so often, they watch and discuss one of the nine films starring one of Hollywood’s most iconic couples, and they’ve recently posted an entry on a clear favorite, George Cukor’s Adam’s Rib (1949). “It’s an absolutely impeccable triangulation of screenwriting/direction/performance,” finds Claire.
  • On August 25, New York’s Spectacle Theater will present three recent short films and a feature, 2014’s Her Wilderness, by Frank Mosley, a Texan filmmaker and actor who’s worked with Shane Carruth (Upstream Color) and David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints). Writing for Vague Visages, James Slaymaker concentrates on the shorts: “Although rooted in traditional notions of character psychology and emotional affect, these films are also deeply experimental in their employment of structure and abstraction of spatiotemporal relations.”
  • For the Observer Review, Guy Lodge talks with filmmaker Mark Cousins about six artworks by Orson Welles. In his recent documentary, The Eyes of Orson Welles, Cousins argues the case for the giant of cinema as an underappreciated graphic artist.
  • Village Voice film critic Bilge Ebiri has delighted Film Twitter with a thread of annotated photos of pages from his father’s notebooks. Dating back to when his father was a boy of around nine or ten in the mid-1950s in Istanbul, these pages are made up of carefully typed cast lists and notes on aspect ratios, dates, and the names of the theaters where the films were seen, all illustrated with pictures cut out from movie magazines and newspapers. Years later, the notebooks make for a beautiful record of one young man’s pure and dedicated cinephilia.

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