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Re: A bit of auteurist history mixed in with self-promotion

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  • sallitt1
    Hey Kevin! Oh, I completely agree with what you say about RED LINE. When I was talking about states of being at risk, I was trying to find a way to
    Message 1 of 5 , May 22, 2013
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      Hey Kevin!

      Oh, I completely agree with what you say about RED LINE. When I was talking about states of being at risk, I was trying to find a way to characterize that central Hawks trilogy, which somehow feels like undistilled Hawks. And even there, you could argue that states of being are at risk: Geoff in ANGELS is theoretically hovering in the zone between hardened solitude and an acceptance of his membership in the group, for instance. My feeling there is that Hawks isn't too deeply engaged with this sort of struggle, that it's in the script as part of the genre setup, but that he gives it short shrift. This is even clearer in TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT: Harry's movement is toward joining the Resistance, but the change within him is not persuasive and is pretty much thrown off: "Maybe because I like you, maybe because I don't like them." This is a weakness if you need the movie to embody the script's central conflict, which is not where my head is these days.

      The person whose state of being is most at risk in the trilogy is Dude in RIO BRAVO, and this drama is considerably more persuasive than Harry and Geoff turning around. One can argue that this is how Hawks works when he actually tries to deal with a character problem instead of sweeping it aside: the transformation is existentialist, mysterious, precarious. It's beautiful, but Dude isn't the lead, and Chance's stable state of being is still a big part of what makes RIO BRAVO feel so Hawksian.

      Subject matter like RED LINE's isn't completely comfortable for Hawks, I think, though of course we're free to like it more than he does. There are other films like RED RIVER and EL DORADO where Hawks intervenes to sabotage high drama, sacrificing the script's integrity for the greater distance from the fiction that he prefers.

      Kael may well be right about what audiences prefer: Hawks was probably just finding comfortable commercial terms to describe a change that he needed to make for personal reasons.

      - Dan

      --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, LiLiPUT1@... wrote:
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      > Aw Dan! I live in Chicago now but didn't know you were in town. Would've loved to have met you!
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      > Great advice on what to film for the first day of a shoot. I'll pass that on.
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      > Hawks' comment re: audiences getting tired of plots contrasts with Kael's contention that kiddies preferred North to Alaska to Hatari! Who shall we believe?
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      > However, I do think states of being, if not Hawks' entire professional ethos, are at stake in Red Line 7000 even though personal connections remain at the center of the film.
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      > Kevin
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      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: sallitt1 <sallitt@...>
      > To: a_film_by <a_film_by@yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Tue, May 21, 2013 8:54 pm
      > Subject: [a_film_by] A bit of auteurist history mixed in with self-promotion
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      > Ben Sachs recently did an interview with me for the Chicago Reader blog, mostly on the subject of my recent film THE UNSPEAKABLE ACT. At the beginning of the interview, though, we talk a little about the auteurist credentials of the Chicago Reader film staff in the 70s. This was an off-the-cuff phone interview, and there may be some historical inaccuracies (I can see at least one insignificant one), but I thought it might be fun to post here with that proviso.
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      > http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2013/05/17/an-interview-with-dan-sallitt-director-of-the-unspeakable-act
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      > - Dan
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      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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    • tharpa2002
      ... ...Harry s movement is toward joining the Resistance, but the change within him is not persuasive and is pretty much thrown off: Maybe because I like
      Message 2 of 5 , May 23, 2013
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        --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "sallitt1" <sallitt@...> wrote:
        >
        "...Harry's movement is toward joining the Resistance, but the change within him is not persuasive and is pretty much thrown off: "Maybe because I like you, maybe because I don't like them." This is a weakness if you need the movie to embody the script's central conflict..."

        TO HAVE AND TO HAVE NOT sort of falls within the WWII era "commitment" film genre where a morally ambiguous character becomes committed to the anti-fascist cause. I'm thinking of Cary Grant in MR.LUCKY, Alan Ladd in CHINA and Bogart in CASABLANCA. Of course, Hawks isn't going there. I wonder how he would have handled the Hemingway-Capa story he wanted to make given that Hemingway and Capa were committed to the Republican cause during the Spanish Civil War.

        Richard
      • sallitt1
        When he talked about the Hemingway-Capa movie, he made it sound basically like A GIRL IN EVERY PORT... - Dan
        Message 3 of 5 , May 23, 2013
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          When he talked about the Hemingway-Capa movie, he made it sound basically like A GIRL IN EVERY PORT... - Dan

          --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "tharpa2002" <tharpa2002@...> wrote:
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          > --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "sallitt1" <sallitt@> wrote:
          > >
          > "...Harry's movement is toward joining the Resistance, but the change within him is not persuasive and is pretty much thrown off: "Maybe because I like you, maybe because I don't like them." This is a weakness if you need the movie to embody the script's central conflict..."
          >
          > TO HAVE AND TO HAVE NOT sort of falls within the WWII era "commitment" film genre where a morally ambiguous character becomes committed to the anti-fascist cause. I'm thinking of Cary Grant in MR.LUCKY, Alan Ladd in CHINA and Bogart in CASABLANCA. Of course, Hawks isn't going there. I wonder how he would have handled the Hemingway-Capa story he wanted to make given that Hemingway and Capa were committed to the Republican cause during the Spanish Civil War.
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          > Richard
          >
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