Posts Tagged ‘David Warner’

Blackpaint 600 – “FOOD….AWLRIGHT?” Orange, Dogs and Prado

June 20, 2017

A Clockwork Orange, Kubrick (1971)

I was discussing High Rise (film of) recently with Paul Tickell and Phil Cairney, my director friends, and I compared it to Clockwork Orange.  No, they both said, check out the  theatricality of staging and acting in Orange, compared with High Rise (I paraphrase, of course; neither of them would say “check out”).  They were right, naturally.  The choreographed gut- kicking during the house invasion – “I’m SIINGING in the rain (thud)” – along with the cutting of Adrienne Corri’s cat suit, while Patrick Magee is forced to watch, and the attack on Dim to the Thieving Magpie music are theatre and opera, and I was going to say unique – then, of course, the attack by the nazis on the bouncer in  Cabaret, that’s to music, but not choreographed – and I suppose West Side Story…..  and  just about every Ken Russell music biopic has a sequence of classical music with violence, or sex, or sex and violence… so not unique then, or even rare.  But maybe uniquely malevolent and chilling.

For my money, the best line in the film is Magee’s; he is entertaining the hapless Alex and has come to realise that the youth he is sheltering was his main assailant:  “FOOD (bellowed suddenly)……. Awright? (strangled attempt to get voice under control).

Straw Dogs, Sam Peckinpah (1971) – now available on DVD

Invaluable for its accurate and touching portrait of Cornish country folk in the 70s – a giggling, knife-wielding ratcatcher, a teenage nymphomaniac, rustic rapists, a mentally challenged killer, a drunken malicious patriarch (Peter Vaughan, prefiguring Robert Shaw in Jaws).  Into the village to settle  come Dustin Hoffman, nerdy American maths genius and his wife, escaped local girl Amy (Susan George, in a tight white roll-necked sweater), who disports herself innocently before the depraved locals (with one of whom she has “history”).

The inevitable, in cinematic terms, happens; Hoffman’s character is enticed away and Amy’s old boyfriend turns up at the cottage; a double rape follows.  The furore about the film and its troubles with the censor arose from the fact that Amy appears to be enjoying and responding to the violent assault (the first one, by her old boyfriend, anyway).  Peckinpah has form in this elsewhere; see, for example, “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia”.

What I find interesting, watching it again after 45 years (!), is that Hoffman is apparently unaware of the attack on his wife (he must be both blind and stupid).  His defence of the cottage in the subsequent siege, his ruthless use of deadly violence, is motivated not by revenge, but by the territorial imperative.  “This is my house!” he asserts, as he chucks boiling water, bashes brains in and wields the huge mantrap.  Amy wants him to abandon the house and the mentally challenged killer (David Warner), who  he is ostensibly trying to protect.  She is VERY slow to blast the last assailant with a shotgun, when he attacks Hoffman from behind.  So, not a revenge movie; arguably, the Amy character could have been left out altogether and the story would have worked – although the atmospherics would have been less charged…  Unaccountably, Warner was uncredited in the cast, so I’ve made sure he gets a credit here.

More Prado

Impossible to go fully into the riches of the Prado (which I started last blog): so, two painters of whom I was aware, but only just, before seeing them here.  First, Joachim Patinir (Charon, St.Jerome, Temptation of Anthony Abbott) – blue, lowering skies, small, strange figures in a landscape, something of Georgione about him, maybe.

 

Patinir – Charon crossing the Styx

 

Patinir – St Jerome

Then, de Ribera – grey-white distorted bodies, sprawling across huge canvases. his Tityus lunging towards you across the gallery.  The obvious Caravaggio influence, coupled with a sort of dry abrasiveness of surface…

 

de Ribera – Tityus

 

de Ribera – Martyrdom of St Philip

Finally, Titian’s Andrians, having a fine old bacchanale, below; I like the little kid – is he/she about to urinate?   Hope not, for the “relaxed” lady’s sake.

Titian – Bacchanale of the Andrians

 

Lake District

Blackpaint

20.6.17

 

 

Blackpaint 485 – Question Time, Comedy in Auschwitz and Late de Kooning

March 8, 2015

 

fred and ginger swing time

Question Time (BBC1)

I try to avoid watching this as it makes me shout at the TV – Thursday night, through sheer idleness, I sat through it (couldn’t be bothered to pick up the remote) and, sure enough, was forced to comment, despite my fatigue.  It was from Glasgow and the audience was full of Scots Nats and Tories (?).  Taking their lead from the Scots Nat MSP on the panel, the questioners seemed angry, self -righteous and proudly possessed of a deep sense of grievance.  It was interesting to hear the Tory woman and Toby Young cheered loudly and the Labour woman jeered; strange, since the SNP and their followers claim to be far left of  Labour.

I was in favour of Scottish independence and probably closer to the SNP than Labour on most policies – but on last night’s showing, the SNP and their supporters are way to the left of British voters as a whole, and shaping up to dictate terms, in the event of Labour needing their support to form a government.  That could be a disaster for Labour and so I was all in favour of Ed Miliband declaring that, like the Tories, he would refuse to enter any form of pact or coalition with the SNP.  Then, Toby Young said that he should make such a declaration, and I changed my mind; Ed should avoid doing anything right-wing Tories like Young suggest.

Martin Amis, Zone of Interest

I was astounded by an article on Amis’ novel, which was about the fact that it’s going to be published in Germany – the paper said that the Germans had shied away from publishing a “comedy” set in an extermination camp.  Comedy?  In what sense?  Only in the sense of the Divine Comedy, maybe; it’s the Inferno.  I certainly don’t remember any laughs, or even wry smiles; only some unease at the process of using factual material like this to frame a plot.  I think Amis has done a good job on the whole though; wonder if he thinks of his work as a comedy…

 

Cross of Iron, Sam Peckinpah (1977)

Had to watch this again the other night; I love the stereotypes – tough and tender James Coburn as Steiner, correct, avuncular CO James Mason and especially chain-smoking, stooping, cynical, anti-Nazi scruff David Warner.  I love the balletic, slow motion skyward leaps of the soldiers blown up by artillery (cf. the Wild Bunch).  And Maximilian Schell as the cowardly Prussian officer who wants the cross so badly – watching him trying to be nonchalant in the dugout, as shells stalk nearer and nearer – suddenly, that fear-frozen smile brought back Peter Sellers as the mad Nazi in Doctor Strangelove…

cross of iron1

 

 

cross of iron2

 

De Kooning 

Reading Judith Zilczer’s book, I was surprised to find that DK’s famous “emptying out” of his paintings in the late 70s/ early 80s was partly because he was worried about the durability of his earlier work, as a result of his use of safflower oil and household emulsion mixes.  Some critic had predicted that they would degenerate, so he changed his materials and his style, which became more like his stuff from the early years, like “Pink Angels”.  Later. of course, they emptied out more….

dkwoman

 

 

Woman I, 1950-2

dkpirate

 

 

Pirate, 1981 

Still haven’t done any new paintings, so a few old ones to finish:

Blue Crouch

 

Blue Crouch

water engine 2a

 

Water Engine 2

??????????

 

White Line Fever 

Blackpaint

8.03.15