A very funny film. The youngster revels in his dream of naval rescue, towers under the sheet to his annoyance, it’s an African tribal sculpture, he brushes it aside.
Out on the town, he asks a well-built sailor for a light and is brushed aside or accommodated with a bunch of flaming faggots from his hearth.
Half-a-dozen sailors go for him with chains, they rip his flesh apart down to the quivering timepiece or regulator, he’s showered with blood and milk.
Pièce de résistance, a sailor brings his Popeye wrists to hip and haunch, setting off a Roman candle in his fly.
The youngster wears a Christmas tree on his head, bows his way to the hearth. The fingerless hand is now fully-equipped as sculpture, he is not alone in his bed as at the beginning.
An indefinable color, like mauve or teal. Veils part, one by one by one, to reveal the dame almost in black shimmer. She wears it to the vanity, daubs herself, lies down on the divan.
It moves with her to the terrace and the city.
She is with her hounds, long-snouted, surveying the vista. They and she joined at the leash descend the exterior stairway.
This usually comes supplied with criticism suggesting something else than an abstract model, the Thirties, Hollywood even.
The effect is like musical sculpture.
Columbine, Pierrot and Harlequin, the last a magic-lantern operator exhibiting the first to moonstruck Pierrot.
In a forest, under the Japanese moon, Pierrot leaps at it, fails. He is offered a shining mirror and a gleaming lute, spurns them.
Harlequin menaces and fascinates him. The magic lantern glows like the moon.
Columbine dances and will not look up except to scoff. Harlequin closes the show, raising an arm to the eclipsed moon.
Pierrot lies prostrate.
Les Enfants du paradis might have been the inspiration. The seven-minute avatar has the flavor of silent films, accompanied by a droll number called, “It Came in the Night”.
Anger sets up at the Villa d’Este to just catch the light hitting the waters of the fountains playing there. In color, the primary quality of water’s plasticity would be modified by sunlight in prismatic sparkles. Anger films in black and white with pure, elemental contrast, which gives an aspect of the awful and terrible to this fantasy. A woman in eighteenth-century costume descends a staircase beside a running watercourse. The carved stone face of a water god appears. The water sparkles after the manner of Oldenburg in the river. Stages of water, tables of water, systems of water like Harvey discovering the circulation, isolated as tracks of light in a permanent firework, then a rhythm of intermittent spigots, with that god like Chief Rain-in-the-Face, the woman in her ball costume skittering away like la belle fugitive, all to a stagione of Vivaldi. And they talk about Kenneth Anger.
Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome
The sublimest of all teachings in the esoteric mode, a glossolalia on the Mass by Janacek, Glagolitic and thus ancient, immemorial even.
The quotidian rite enacted in the music is a supplication and by rights an offering, the free gift of an emissary is proposed, this should be an eternal blessing concurrent with the sacrifice, the world being what it is.
Lord Shiva, Astarte, Pan and so forth are the personages directly represented out of Powell & Pressburger’s The Tales of Hoffmann, Alexeieff & Parker’s Night on Bald Mountain, and Buñuel & Dali’s L’Âge d’Or, with considerable advancement on positions subsequently held by Ken Russell, for instance.
Biker mechanics, ornate as women, riding Metropolis ersatz in a blind world of folk images, they are the folk unreleased, in petto.
Toys that topple, red lights flaring. The Hitlerian himmelfahrt. In a parallel universe (Cool Hand Luke), Jesus heals the blind, receives Judas (Last Journey to Jerusalem).
Songs of Coney Island, a pinch of meth for exaltation. A closed world where things are what they seem and nothing more, assuredly.
Simply arranged from a mass of footage “almost a documentary” and the serendipitous contribution of Eddie Dew.
Kustom Kar Kommandos
A visualization of “Dream Lover” (heard throughout). One of the early shots, which was borrowed by James Foley in Glengarry Glen Ross and extended by Mel Brooks in Life Stinks, shows the song’s title figure standing arms akimbo in a close shot from the waist down in front of his hot rod’s shiny twin carburetors.
Invocation of My Demon Brother
A lengthy analysis in terms of magical symbolism seems a cod. Anger confronts the image at once of a white-haired boy with helplessly flickering eyes, the degradation and torpor of his milieu, the rising tide of fascination conveyed à la Man Ray with spider eyes at a black mass, and the fallen angels of an airborne assault.
It’s the familiarity of these images rather than any strangeness that is so striking. Ginsberg’s poetic descriptions of the scene have this lassitude and hysteria, Richard Pryor has a sketch of a rock performance by Black Death machine-gunning the audience.
A very Crowleyan satire. Mom & Pop are an Egyptian priest and priestess in the old country, gods even. They bid Junior rise from his bed in a manner that might suggest silent Lang, he does so with a slender dart that flies through the air to lay a girl low, then he takes a bath.
She rises from the crypt to the heights, unto the Nordic magus.
Crowley is among the personages represented. The Great Sphinx fills the screen.
Flying saucers soar above the cities of Egypt. Mom & Pop are statues, as at the end of Un Chien Andalou.
The Man We Want to Hang
The instant comparison is to Russell on Gaudier-Brzeska by virtue of the comedy element, the place and subject.
Anger shows you at once that Crowley can draw excellently well (Self-Portrait, in three-quarter view), then holds up the exhibition catalogue to the camera, October Gallery, An Old Master: The Art of Aleister Crowley, “the only public exhibition of his expressionistic work since its first showing at Nierendorff Gallery in Berlin in 1931.”
The score is by Liadov. The pictures are wonderfully varied (to Wilfredo Lam in one direction, Clive Barker another), satirical portraiture, imaginary landscapes. Anger is like a good friend with a camera, giving you a very precise sense of the show.
Anger Sees Red
“Dr. Anger’s discovery during the Solstice”. Machine noises, city sounds, a walk to the park. Roger Noble Burnham’s fine 1930 bronze Aspiration. “Erected in Memory of Rudolph Valentino, 1895-1926. Presented by his friends and admirers in every walk of life—in all parts of the world in appreciation of the happiness brought to them by his cinema portrayals”. Richard Ellis’ portrait bust of the actor, an excellent likeness.
Birds singing. An interlocutor outside.
Back through the city hardly looked at, to a room at the El Nido with binoculars (cp. Scorpio Rising). A perfect expression of the time and place.
Tinker Bell has been made over, so this is “Mortimer J. Mouse as Mickey Mouse” in the church of latter-day mice, as it were, stagnating and pullulating something fierce.
My Surfing Lucifer
A certain Bunky, footage on the waves, “Good Vibrations”.
Hitlerjugend and Anton Bruckner, the Nazis’ own footage of the Deutsche Arbeiter-Jugend sucked in to a massive rotating swastika by torchlight.
Brush of Baphomet
Aleister Crowley’s paintings, this time with a rostrum camera.
32 One Dream Rush
A lot of historical hullaballoo, the private mystery of Citizen Kane.
Two-and-a-half minutes of pure cinema for a fashion house in Italy.