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July 30, 2006

Two Westerns by William Wellman


Yellow Sky
William A. Wellman - 1948
20th Century Fox Region 1 DVD


Track of the Cat
William A. Wellman - 1954
Paramount Region 1 DVD

On the basis of Yellow Sky and Track of the Cat, one could argue that William Wellman was a closet formalist. Certainly not a consistent filmmaker in his visual compositions like Ozu or Dreyer, but there are moments where the care within the frame are obvious. This care about purely visual concerns is what distinguishes Track of the Cat, one of the few times Wellman made a film with almost total freedom. With the exception of the characters' skin and Robert Mitchum's red jacket, the film was deliberately made to appear shot in black and white.

Yellow Sky and Track of the Cat are linked by both being films about a small group of people in an isolated setting. Nature proves to be almost overwhelming. Yellow Sky begins with Gregory Peck and his outlaw gang riding, then walking, eventually crawling across almost sixty miles of desert, a vast area that appears white on the screen. In Track of the Cat, Robert Mitchum rides through snow covered mountains with trees providing some sense of perspective and space, and fog disguising the same area. House and home are the same in the two films, providing refuge, if not full protection, from the anarchy of nature and the outside world.

William Wellman could also be said to explore the nature of masculinity. In Yellow Sky, Peck's gang stops at a saloon where they longingly admire a woman in the painting behind the bar. The lone woman in the film, Anne Baxter, becomes an object of the men's desire, pursued in manners both courtly and crude. Richard Widmark, with the fitting name of Dude, uses his gentlemanly dress to disguise his venality. John Russell attempts to force himself on Baxter. Peck even blames the way the men act on Baxter, who through most of the film goes by the nickname of Mike. The desire for female company is one of several manifestations of a kind of animal hunger by gang members. During the bar scene, the oversized Walrus fills his canteen with whiskey only to find himself wanting to trade it for much needed water while crossing the desert. Throughout the film, Peck and Widmark are at odds about the gold in an abandoned mine, with Widmark finally undone by his greed.

Track of the Cat is a relatively experimental film for a Hollywood production. Not only did Wellman work with an extremely limited choice of colors, but he also never shows the cat, actually a mountain cougar, from the title. That decision may have been based on Wellman's respect for the novel by Walter Van Tilburg Clark. Filming an actual cougar or panther would reduce the story to its most literal elements, while Wellman was hoping to create a filmic equivalent to Clark's psychological terror and symbolism. In Track of the Cat, the house may be a refuge from nature, but the conflicted family within, particularly matriarch Beulah Bondi, are people one wants to escape from. Considering the destruction of the family, the ending of Track of the Cat is too pat for the previous scenes of death and conflict. The effect is one of a director who has the opportunity to make his most meaningful, personal statement on film, only to ultimately show distrust either of the audience, or even worse, distrust of himself.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at 03:21 PM

July 27, 2006

Invasion of the Cine-oids: A Double Feature


Creation of the Humanoids
Wesley E. Barry - 1962
Dark Sky Films Region 1 DVD


Sins of the Fleshapoids
Michael Kuchar - 1965
Other Cinema Region 1 DVD

There is that old joke stating that the future isn't what it use to be. These two flashbacks from the Sixties express concerns that would appear in later, far more costly films. An extremely low budget film and its no budget parody, both far lessed polished than Blade Runner prove a lot more fun than I, Robot. The two films begin with a premise of taking place in a post-apocalyptic future, with human-like robots programmed to serve humans. The sets are sparse, there are usually no more than five people on-screen at once, the acting uneven, yet the films are triumphs of imagination over limited resources.

Creation is a parable about Kennedy era prejudice as well as a thriller about some very human -like robots on the loose. One can laugh at the examples of early robot technology, guys in awkward cardboard costumes flailing their arms. Some of the dialogue can be atrocious - a future cop is told to leave by the politically influential hero with the words: "Beat it before you don't have a beat to beat."
Some of the earnestness expressed in the film reminded me of Ed Wood, Jr. at his most grandiose, and the films cast includes Dudley Manlove, Eros from Plan Nine from Outer Space. Creation manages to be both ridiculous and sublime, often simultaneously, in its view of what it means to be a human being.

The film also is one of the last films by several notable film veterans. Director Wesley Barry began as a child actor in the silent era. Cinematographer Hal Mohr has only two more films before he finally retired. This was also the second to last film for make-up artist Jack Pierce, most famous for the creating the look of the Universal monsters of the Thirties. Mohr should have known better than to photograph several of the actors looking straight up their noses in close-up. What makes Creation of the Humanoids better than some similar films with better casts and budgets is the sense of imagination and plot twists in one very economical package.

Mike Kuchar's Sins of the Fleshapoids takes some of the same ideas about robots with human feelings and goes in its own hilarious tangents. The film begins with actor/narrator Bob Cowan announcing off-screen, "It is a million years in the future!". This is a future where robot slaves take care of their human masters, and Clark bars, Wise potato chips and Carvel ice cream cones are still available. Two of the robots rebel and make love - their hands touch, and the screen is ablaze with hand drawn bolts of electricity. While the film is primarily the work of Mike Kuchar, twin George contributed a scene of Kuchar star Donna Kerness, seen above, admiring her beauty. The robot love comes with a hilarious conclusion that Hollywood would never have touched forty years ago. Worthy of admiration are the wall paintings, done by Mike Kuchar, in a style that can only be described as Greco-Roman-Alien.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at 09:17 AM

July 23, 2006



John D. Lamond - 1979
Severin Films Region 0 DVD

Even without listening to the commentary track for Felicity, director John Lamond clearly identifies his source of inspiration. Glory Annen is seen with two books from Just Jaeckin's library, The Story of O and Emmanuelle. Another literary reference is Erica Jong's Fear of Flying. A scene of Felicity with another school girl recalls the erotic photography of David Hamilton. I was unfamiliar with Felicity prior to seeing the DVD, but ultimately not surprised that the film enjoyed life as a staple on Cinemax about twenty years ago.

Emmanuelle may have also inspired the choice to have this story of a young woman's coming of age take place in Hong Kong. By some standards this is vanilla erotica that is not too different from the stuff piped on cable nowadays except that none of the performers have been nipped or tucked. Toothy, chipmunk cheeked Glory Annen would probably not be considered star material by contemporary standards. Other reminders of the film made in a totally different era are a total disregard for anything resembling "safe sex", and even more shocking, a shot of a man smoking on an airplane.

Compared to the films of Russ Meyer or Radley Metzger, Felicity is a light-weight trifle with no greater ambition than to be entertainment at the drive-in. It's not the kind of film meant for serious analysis nor should it be. The commentary by Lamond and Annen virtually makes the film seem like a filmed holiday, with an emphasis, in their words, on "innocent fun".

For those who prefer something a bit darker and kinkier, Severin Films is promising two films from the industrious Jesus Franco and his muse, Lina Romay.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at 05:44 PM

July 21, 2006

Two films by Francesco Maselli


Open Letter to the Evening News/Lettera Aperta a un Giornale della Sera
Francesco Maselli - 1970
NoShame Films Region 0 DVD


Fragments of the Twentieth Century/Frammenti di Novecento
Francesco Maselli - 2005
NoShame Films Region 0 DVD

Francesco Maselli is yet another forgotten Italian filmmaker re-introduced by NoShame. A former assistant and writer for Antonioni, Maselli is represented here by the film that undid a promising career and with a subjective, autobiographical look at his life from his youth through the late Sixties. While I am not familiar with Maselli's other films, what has been written about them suggests that the two DVDs available are anomalies, and may serve better as supplements to understanding Maselli's life and career as well as adding to the cultural history of Italy.

Open Letter to the Evening News stands in sharp contrast to Maselli's previous film, the English language comedy A Fine Pair with Rock Hudson and occassional Maselli muse, Claudia Cardinale. The film is shot on deliberately over-exposed 16mm, with amateurish framing to create a cinema verite look. Most of the film consists of conversations between a group of friends, men who came of age during World War II who identify as Communists. It should be noted that their wives and mistresses all are younger. For these men, nothing in their lives matches the excitement they had as members of the resistance. As a joke, and as a way of protesting the war in Viet-Nam, the men send a letter to a newspaper stating that they will go to North Viet-Nam to fight the U.S. The letter is published and taken seriously by other leftist groups and temporarily by the Viet-Nam government. The men debate the choice between living their lives as professionals and intellectuals in Italy, or actually taking up arms in the name of peace.

While a bit more topical, Maselli's film fits in with the zeitgeist of films by Bertolucci and Bellochio from the Sixties. Unlike films like Partner and China is Near, Maselli's men are all a generation or so older. Not only are these men who dream of being boys again, but their closest manisfestation is to create an impromtu game of "kick the can".

Fragments of the Twentieth Century features Maselli (seen above) looking back at a life that constantly intersected with some of the top artists during a forty year span. The genesis of this film was the discovery of a home movie featuring Maselli as a child with his godfather, Luigi Pirandello. Maselli discusses growing up with a family of anti-Fascist intellectuals and artists in his home surrounded by great pieces of modern Italian art. While the names of many of the artists may not be familiar, the paintings and sculpture are all museum worthy. For film scholars, Maselli describes his first encounter with Michelangelo Antonioni, and has interviews with several of the actresses he has worked with. In addition to Cardinale, there is a brief discussion of Maselli's working methods with a still beautiful Virna Lisi. Also of interest is an interview with Betsy Blair highlighting the blacklisted Hollywood community in Paris.

One gets another glimpse of Maselli's artistry with a montage of his photographs. Hopefully we will be able to see a few more of Maselli's films in the near future to gain a better view of this relatively unknown filmmaker.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at 06:42 PM

July 20, 2006

San Francisco Silent Film Festival - July 16, 2006

I devoted my last couple of days after the festival to enjoying being in San Francisco. Wednesday was spent flying back to Miami Beach where as part of a captive audience on United Airlines, I mostly ignored The Shaggy Dog (Tim Allen version) and Ice Age: The Meltdown. While I was in San Francisco, I had the opportunity to have lunch with Brian Darr of Hell on Frisco Bay on Monday afternoon. I should also note that prior to viewing Seventh Heaven, my partner Lumena made a point of our taking advantage of the free showing of Drawing Restraint at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. There were some interesting moments in Mathew Barney's film, mostly in the pre-credit sequence, but ultimately I feel the film is a weird hybrid of Titanic with Saw.


Can comedy, that is to say, why something is funny, be explained? All I know is that while the comic stylings of Mary Pickford left me unmoved, Laurel and Hardy almost never fail to elicit a chuckle, and at their best can provoke belly laughs. The three shorts Wrong Again, Liberty and The Finishing Touch were all directed by Leo McCarey and photographed by George Stevens. (Jokes about Oakland aside, no one involved in the Festival made note in any way about Stevens' Bay Area connection.) Each film had at least one great gag, with The Finishing Touch the most consistently funny of the three. One of the earliest teamings of Stan Laurel with Oliver Hardy, The Finishing Touch features the visual gag of house builder Stan carrying a very long plank of wood both at the beginning and the end, a gag used in future films. The opening of Liberty shows Stan and Ollie literally in each other's pants, trying to find an appropriate place to change which turns out to be the top of a tall building under construction. The premise of Wrong Again is forced with a horse named Blue Boy confused with the famed painting. There are laughs with Stan successfully coaxing the horse to stand on top of a piano. My previous experience with silent Laurel and Hardy was seeing Putting Pants on Philip, with Stan Laurel in a kilt anticipating Marilyn Monroe's date with an air vent by thirty years. What was remarkable about this screening was that parents took young children, who responded to Laurel and Hardy much the way their parents and grand-parents had. A closing bonus was the screening of a home movie with a much older Stan Laurel playing with Laurel and Hardy marionettes. The marionettes danced and bumped into each other while the puppet master beamed with his inimitable smile.


My only previous knowledge of Boris Barnet was his appearance in the title role as the Harold Lloyd twin "Mr. West" in Lev Kuleshov's film. Two shots in Girl with a Hat Boxthat would be almost meaningless on a television screen help illustrate why some films have to be seen in 35mm, in a classic theater like The Castro. Walking away from her would-be suitor, only the top of Anna Sten's head is seen in the horizon, the screen made of two fields of white snow against a bright sky. The audience can only see a small black dot that disappears. A couple of shots later, we see the suitor running across on the horizon, a small black figure dashing from right to left. Made during a more open time in the infant Soviet Union, Girl with a Hat Box pokes fun at Soviet bureauocracy, fashion and the state lottery.


The Unholy Three was one of several films Tod Browning made with Lon Chaney. The film also includes Harry Earles who appeared most notably in Browning's Freaks and Victor McLaglen as a strongman not too disimilar to the role of Gypo Nolan. Chaney can be seen without special make-up or physical contortions through much of the film with the exception of the scenes where he portrays the mother of Mae Busch. A much needed suspension of disbelief is needed with a silent film in which one of the main characters is a ventriloquist, not to mention the presence of a gorilla in the basement of a pet store.


One of the more disturbing aspects to King Vidor's Show People is to realize how quickly Hollywood became institutionalized in less than twenty years, with its giant studios, bureaucracy and class distinctions. Also shocking was the state of deterioration of the film, with several scenes marred by mottling that resembled tire tracks in the middle of the frame. The film is notable for Marion Davies making fun of herself, an imitation of a Mack Sennett film that shows how quickly Sennett's style was forgotten while mimicking the content, and as one of the more available films starring William Haines. Some of the humor of the cameo appearances has been lost with the passing of time with Douglas Fairbanks remaining more recognizable than such peers as Rod La Rocque and Norma Talmadge. Gags such as Davies being sprayed by a bottle of seltzer water still elicit laughs. Vidor also took time to poke fun at himself as a frustrated director who walks off the set while Davies and Haines remain in embrace after the director yells "Cut".

Before the films were shown, there was a brief presentation by several film archivists and preservationists. What was pointed out was that even with the advent of digital restoration, there are limits to rescuing and restoring film. A demonstration of the work of Haghefilm shows the difficulty in work with volitile chemistry and a variety of film formats such as 22mm. The audience also saw the new film preservation facility built for The Library of Congress. Acknowledgement was also made to the George Eastman House and The Film Foundation. All in all, these presentations were reminders that there is more to film history and preservation than keeping a quality print in a well ventilated vault. Even while some of the films remain more watchable than others, they all had value as remaining examples of silent film as art and entertainment.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at 05:45 PM

July 18, 2006

San Francisco Silent Film Festival - July 15, 2006

I began the first full day of the Silent Film Festival by having breakfast with Michael Guillen of The Evening Class. My partner, Lumena, and I exchanged information about each other and had genial conversation before diving into watching the four films of this day.


The first film of the day, Bucking Broadway, is John Ford's ninth film. Recently rediscovered, the film shows how several motifs associated with Ford had already been established. One of over twenty films Ford had made with cowboy star Harry Carey, one notices elements that would be revisited thirty years later. Ford was in his early twenties when he shot Bucking Broadway which may explain an even greater discomfort in his portrayal of women, a criticism that would continue through Ford's final film, which ironically was about a group of women. The essential narrative of Bucking Broadway is about Carey as a Wyoming cowhand in love with the ranch owner's daughter. Overcoming an awkward courtship, the pair are to be married until the daughter is charmed by a dude from New York City. The daughter realizes her mistake after moving to NYC. Carey responds to her letter and quite coincidentally finds his sweetheart in the same hotel where he is staying. After a free for all fight between Carey and his fellow cowboys with the city slicker and his pals, Carey is reunited with his now wiser fiancee.

One early scene of Carey shows his trying on a suit in response to his well dressed rival. Carey walks out of the general store and spots a black man in the same suit, appearing more stylish than Carey could hope to be. I'm not sure what the original intent of that scene was, but I wasn't sure whether this character anticipated Woody Strode brimming over with a sense of self-confidence rather than Stepin Fetchit, the comic foil who was often much smarter than he appeared to be. It's suppose to be a minor scene, yet is could be read as suggesting homoerotic envy, something Ford of course would deny yet is suggested by the fact that virtually all of his films are centered on men who are usually seen in the company of other men.

While the narrative is straightforward, there was one use of classic montage. Carey, new to the ways of the big city hearts the hissing of a radiator in his room. Ford cuts to a shot of a rattlesnake to create a visual correlative. A bellhop prevents Carey from shooting the radiator by turning off the steam. It's not Eisenstein or Pudovkin, but it's a stylistic flourish that is unexpected. What should probaby be less unexpected is that a film about the simple but virtuous west versus the corrupt and sophisticated east should be made by a star from the Bronx and a director from Maine.

The screening ended with Harry Carey, Jr. and film historian Jim McBride onstage to discuss Ford and Carey, as well as to sell copies of their respective books on John Ford. There were no revelations shared about Ford, Carey or Carey, Jr. with only time for two questions.


Au Bonheur de Femme is the kind of film that should be shown more often in illustrating the sophistication of the silent film immediately prior to the takeover of sound. Inspired by Zola, the film is about how big business drives out the smaller entrepreneur, The reason to see the film is because of Julien Duvivier's long, sometimes elaborate traveling shots and Dita Parlo's bee stung lips. Like other French filmmakers, Duvivier reminds us (OK, me) that film was invented to photograph cute young women cavorting in their underwear. There is also a brief montage sequence with a swimmer diving in slow motion, a possible inspiration for Leni Reifenstahl. As a document of what early department stores were like, the film is eye opening. To describe the ending is to imagine Metropolis redone as the dream of of a mega-mall.


I've never been a fan of Mary Pickford. The closeups of her in Sparrows are a reminder that she was way too old to portray innocent young waifs. William Beaudine's film is so much hokum about a "baby farm" in the swampy South, with Pickford watching over ten orphans, the "sparrows" of the title. The children work on the farm of Mr. Grimes, a Dickensian villain, The film is of interest due to the Gothic set design, with a mishpapen farm house and dark, overgrown swamp with quicksand and alligators. Sparrows may have been a visual influence on Night of the Hunter. The sappy sentimentality and heavy-handed slapstick make this a sub-Griffith exercise that Pickford's feistiness can't rescue.


The evening ended with Pandora's Box. I am not about to add to what others have written about more ably than me except that Pabst's film is spectacular to see on a big movie screen. I only wish I was less tired after seeing the three earlier films. Especially after the faux 19th Century spirit of Sparrows, Pandora's Box has the kind of characters and intrigue that still are meaningful in 2006. It is quite appropriate that Louise Brooks is the "face" of this year's festival.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at 12:55 AM | Comments (2)

July 17, 2006

San Francisco Silent Film Festival - July 14, 2006


Almost a full house at the Castro Theater for the 11th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festiva. The opening night film was Frank Borzage's Seventh Heaven. I may have seen William K. Everson's 16mm print about thirty-five years ago along with Street Angel and Sunrise. What played at the Castro was a new 35mm print with live music by Clark Wilson on the "mighty" Wurlitzer. Prior to the film presentations, a slide show informed us that Seventh Heaven star Janet Gaynor was an usherette at the Castro in 1922. Before the film's screening, Gaynor's son, Robin Adrian spoke briefly, primarily discussing how Gaynor's adventurous off-screen life traveling through Africa and South America contrasted with her screen image as the helpless waif,

The film festival is also including short film shot in San Francisco, Tonight's film, by San Francisco entrepreneurs the Miles Brothers, was a point of view shot of Market Street taken from the front of a street car. Significantly, this film was shot just four days before the earthquake and fire of 1906. About the only difference between traffic in 1906 and 2006 is that I haven't seen any horse-drawn carriages. Otherwise the cars were weaving in and out of each others' way, challenging other motorists and all pedestrians.

The basic premise of Seventh Heaven, with Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell chastely living together was probably considered quaint even in 1927. Borzage's Parisian slum and its people are fanciful, While it is shorthand to note that Borzage was a romantic filmmaker, the film does have moments of documentary-like realism during the scenes of World War One. That Farrell is blinded while David Butler returns from the front missing an arm is indicative of a clear-eyed view of war and its physical and spiritual destruction. Thematically consistent over the years, Borzage's romance and idealism were because of rather than in spite of the realities of the world.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at 10:44 AM | Comments (2)

July 10, 2006

Getting Hammered with Oliver Reed


Curse of the Werewolf
Terence Fisher - 1961
Universal Region 1 DVD


Night Creatures
Peter Graham Scott - 1962
Universal Region 1 DVD


Freddie Francis - 1963
Universal Region 1 DVD

In an early scene in Curse of the Werewolf, 18th Century Spanish nobleman Anthony Dawson is hosting a party for his new bride, with his fellow noblemen as guests. The animality of these men is suggested by their behavior towards the begger that appears naively looking for a handout. Elements of this scene made me wonder if it had been a source of inspiration for Neil Jordan and Angela Carter's film, Company of Wolves in which the dinner guests turn into wolves before running off into the forest. Almost as much as in Carter's short stories, Curse of the Werewolf keeps its Freudian themes of sexuality and primal urges at a continual boil near the surface.

More clear in retrospect is that Oliver Reed's performance, at least briefly, was Hammer Studios' attempt at combining horror with a kind of James Dean-Marlon Brando hipness factor. Near the end of the film when Reed is in full werewolf make-up, wearing a ripped shirt, I was ready to hear him bellow, "Stella!". One could argue that I was a Teenage Werewolf got there first, but Oliver Reed, more than Michael Landon, nailed the inarticulate rage of Brando and Dean within the context of a horror movie, a kind of "Monster without a Cause".

Reed probably didn't help himself with his constant drinking, fighting and belligerant attitude, but he was only in one other truly good film during his time with Hammer. As the leader of a biker gang in Joseph Losey's The Damned, Reed anticipates the outlaw antics of Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange. Even though he is the title character, Reed doesn't appear in Curse of the Werewolf until the halfway point. It was his performance that dominates the film and suggested that Reed was capable of more than being a supporting player. Even though the pacing gets a bit sluggish at times, Curse of the Werewolf also manages to be one of the few Hammer films that actually holds up to multiple viewings with its handsome use of color and set design, to the inevitable, tragic ending.

Night Creatures is actually one of Hammer's few non-Horror films from the early Sixties, and primarily a vehicle for Hammer mainstay Peter Cushing. The original title, Captain Clegg had no commercial value for American audiences. The basic narrative, about 18th Century smugglers in the south of England, was also used in Disney's Scarecrow of Romney Marsh. Reed has a supporting role as a smuggler in love with Yvonne Romain. Reed is often called to appear earnest when he would be more comfortable glaring at someone with his patented smirk. It should be noted that publicity photos to the contrary, while Reed and Romain are both in Curse of the Werewolf, they never share the screen as Romain plays Reed's mother, and dies soon after his birth.

Paranoiac has a Psycho inspired title, family plots, and seemed written with Reed in mind. Not only is Reed the title character, but in addition to sneering and smirking his way through the film, he declares his love of alchohol. A better cinematographer than director, Freddie Francis was creative with the atmospheric imagery, particularly the shot above of Reed seen from the point of view of his drowned victim. The various resolutions to the lunacy of Paranoiac are not unexpected. As silly as the film gets, the ending is still satisfying, similar to the satisfaction of a really good cheeseburger.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at 03:30 PM

July 09, 2006

Roma Citta Libera


La Notte Porta Consiglio/Rome Free City
Marcello Pagliero - 1946
NoShame Films Region 1 DVD

The original title to this film, translated as "The Night Brings Wisdom", is more accurate than the title that suggests another neo-realist drama. The title is an obvious nod to Roberto Rossellini's Rome, Open City. Marcello Pagliero's film is his tribute to Rene Clair, and is closer in spirit to such films as The Fantastic Night or After Hours. The story originated from screenwriter Ennio Flaiano and elements of Rome Citta Libera anticipate his early collaborations with Federico Fellini.

Taking place over the course of one night, the film portrays life in the margins of post-World War II Rome. Valentina Cortese, seen above trying to stay within the straight and narrow path of eking out an existence as a typist, compares her situation with Marisa Merlini, who finds ways to augment her earnings as a nightclub singer. The films other characters are similarly down if not out, usually looking for the next break or scam in order to get by. The narrative is held together by a pearl necklace that changes hands going from character to character while the film explores night in a more humble section of Rome.

One of the several nameless characters is portrayed by Vittoria De Sica, appearing as a seemingly delusional drunk in a shabby tuxedo. With his sense of grandeur and nobility, De Sica's appearance here makes for a fitting companion piece to his performance as the conman who discovers his greater self in Rossellini's General Della Rovera. His performance here is a reminder that at 44, De Sica still had his matinee idol looks even while making films like Shoeshine.

The DVD includes an interview with assistant director Luigi Fillipo D'Amico who candidly admits to family connections in what was one of his first, if not the first film assignments. D'Amico is the nephew of the prolific co-writer, Suso Cecchi D'Amico. There is also a brief interview with Italian film historian Oreste DeFornari.

Without putting too fine a point on it, the value of Roma Citta Libera is as a newly available film showcasing the above mentioned talents, plus that of co-writer Cesare Zavattini, cinematographer Aldo Tonti and composer Nino Rota. While not a rediscovered masterpiece, this is a film that helps fill a missing piece in the overall history of Italian cinema.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at 01:59 PM | Comments (1)

July 02, 2006



I haven't been able to write as consistently as I would like because I have been in the process of moving.

For a couple of weeks I thought I would be in Denver at this time. That decision was changed almost at the last minute. Instead, my significant other and I are going to try living together as best as possible in a small, 480 square foot, South Beach condo for the next couple of months while trying to figure out our next move or moves.

Hopefully, within the next couple of days, I will be able to start posting new entries again.

The poster above is offered as a source of amusement for those who find their sense of home to be transient.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at 11:43 AM | Comments (2)