History, Around the Corner
It’s funny how I undertook a project to write about The Criterion Collection. yet I find myself continually engaged with film history. As it turns out, a new summer collective film project has launched. It can be called a Blogathon, but in reviewing the topics, this seems to be on a grander scale. I’m pleased to participate even though this is going to be a diversion from the project at hand.
I just learned that Flicker Alley has agreed to sponsor the “event” in order to promote their upcoming releases of Man With a Movie Camera and 3-D Rarities, both of which I had already pre-ordered and have been excited about. I may break Criterion protocol and actually review these two discs down the road.
My original topic was going to be about Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett. After a string of hits, the writing, producing and directing partners had become kings of Paramount. They continued to push the envelope as the studio system faded, and they came out with a trio of subversive and increasingly cynical titles (A Foreign Affair, Sunset Blvd, Ace in the Hole) while the studio system burned.
I may very well stick with this topic, or I may up the ante and put together a larger piece on the entire downfall of the studio system. This would be a sweeping essay, possibly in multiple parts that would begin when the seeds for divorcement began before the war years, and last throughout the legal decisions that broke up the studios. It would also discuss the reasoning for the actual downfall of the studio’s domination as the 1950s progressed. Divorcement was a major factor, but there were several other media and societal changes in the works.
The good thing is I already have done quite a bit of research on both topics. The latter will require more writing, but fortunately no more actual research.
Speaking of Blogathons, the Beach Party Blogathon is just around the corner and I’ll be covering The Seventh Seal.
The news that is the most exciting for me personally is that I’ll be traveling to New York City this coming week and have plans to screen Pickup on South Street at Film Forum. I had initially been hoping to catch The Apu Trilogy, but the run was going to end the week before we arrived. Now that it has been extended, I may try to slip away and catch one screening. It seems like a once in a lifetime experience, so I’d really like to, but there’s a lot to do in Gotham City and we’re only there for five days. At least we’ve seen most of the sights, so this will be more of a pop culture, dining and hanging out trip rather than being a tourist. We’re also going to see a concert that I may or may not talk about here.
As for the slowdown in Criterions, I expect to get the energy flowing soon. This week I was ready to finalize my post of The River, but caught myself with a head cold that took me out of the analytical mood. Around the corner, I also plan to cover Modern Times, The Great Beauty, and hopefully catch up on some recent releases, of which I am about seven discs behind.