Quote of the Day postsSaturday May 23, 2009
"Beatty had tried to plan his entire career by studyng the work of directors he admired, but as Bonnie and Clyde's producer, suddenly he was feeling impatient with auteurism. 'To attribute [movies] wholly to their directors—not to the actors, not to the producer, not [to] the leading lady...well's that's just bullshit!' he fumed. 'Those pictures were made by directors, writers, and sound men and cameramen and actors and so forth, but suddenly it's "Otto Preminger's Hurry Sundown"... It's not healthy."
— from Mark Harris' "Pictures at a Revolution," pg. 247, citing a Beatty quote from The Bonnie and Clyde Book
"If [Mike] Nichols felt relaxed as production [on The Graduate] began, the reason was probably that, as he puts it, 'I saw the whole thing—I knew what the movie was.' In that, he was a minority of one."
— from Mark Harris' "Pictures at a Revolution," pg. 312, citing an author interview
"The auteurist critics look for recurring patterns, the incandescent joining of visual style and idea. You can’t find such patterns, or even a consistent visual motif, in [Victor] Fleming’s movies. But you can find a powerful grasp of fable... He didn’t direct the entirety of either of his two classics [The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind], and he wasn’t, by definition, an auteur. But this absence from the list of the blessed suggests a fault in auteur theory and not in Fleming—a prejudice against the generalists, the non-obsessed, the “chameleons,” as Steven Spielberg called them, who re-created themselves for each project and made good movies in many different styles."
— from David Denby's article "The Real Rhett Butler: The forgotten man behind two of Hollywood's most enduring classics," in the latest New Yorker
“The Graduate”: Not Starring Robert Redford
[Mike] Nichols, who had championed the idea [of casting Robert Redford as Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate], surprised himself by turning the actor down.
“We were friends, we had done Barefoot, I was playing pool with him, and I said, 'I'm really sad, but you can't do it. You can't play a loser,'” says Nichols. “He said, ‘Of course I can play a loser!’ I said, ‘You can’t! Look at you! How many times have you ever struck out with a woman?' And he said, I swear to you, ‘What do you mean?’ He didn't even understand the concept. To him, it was like saying, ‘How many times have you been to a restaurant and not had a meal?’”
— from Mark Harris' “Pictures at a Revolution,” pg. 237
SWJM, 27, Looking for Work
“Nonetheless, by the beginning of 1965, [Dustin] Hoffman was twenty-seven, seriously demoralized by his inability to land an acting job, and considerng a change in careers. ... [Susan] Anspach, who met him during that production [of A View from a Bridge], recalls a lunch for the cast and crew of the play at which he told her with bravado, '”You know, if I were older, I'd be playing Bobby's [Duvall] part.“ and I said, ”Sure, right, Dusty.“ And he said, ”What do you mean? I'm fuckin' talented! Ask Bobby! He'll tell you himself!“ I said to Bobby, ”Is he putting me on? He's the sweep-up guy!“ And Bobby said, ”No, it's true, he's the most talented guy among all of us.“'”
— from Mark Harris' “Pictures at a Revolution,” pg. 164
Quote of the Day
"Building is interesting, because it's ultimately impossible, I suppose, but killing is boring. It's easy to see through something—to show how stupid it is, or how wrong—but that doesn't take very long, and then you're finished. ... Killing doesn't solve the problem of boredom."
—Wendy O'Flaherty, professor at the University of Chicago's Divinity School, in Janet Malcolm's "In the Freud Archives," pg. 155
Overstates the case but it reminds me of the emptiness I feel after writing a movie review. It also reminds me that it's always easier to write a negative review than a positive one—in part because you want to do justice to the good film ("The Soloist") and could give a crap about the bad one ("Wolverine"). Writing a negative review is more freeing; you're not beholden to anything but the truth. The above quote also reminds me of most things on the Internet.
Postcard of the Day
"Heighdy! See how I'm picking up the local jargon? Things going extremely well for us. Found the graves of Clyde and Buck in abandoned cemetery overgrown with weeds. One of the strangest sensations we ever had—standing six feet over Clyde. On Monday we'll see Bonnie's. ... Bob is taking a lot of pictures. Perfect Bonnie and Clyde locations! Quite uncanny to see cities and towns that look like 1932 this year."
— David Newman (with Robert Benton), in East Texas for further research for their script, "Bonnie and Clyde," May 1964. From "Pictures at the Revolution" by Mark Harris, pg. 60