Momma Don’t Allow

After the day’s work, dancing to a fine jazz band (cp. We Are the Lambeth Boys).

The posh lot come and go, carefully pocketing the radiator ornament for safekeeping.

Cinematography by Walter Lassally, co-written and directed with Tony Richardson.


We Are the Lambeth Boys

The boys and girls of this youth-club documentary are dramatized at the start of Richardson’s The Entertainer, for Reisz they play themselves, just out of school, working all day, batting cricket practice on days off, dancing in the evenings.

Their grandchildren live in habitations much like theirs, newly erected across the river. A cricket ground in the country is unusually meditative. They sing the title song in the back of a lorry down the West End.

The mental exertions of drawing whatever comes to mind at the club wake up the undifferentiated mass, who gladly find their hands full twirling girls at the weekend jitterbugging.



Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

On Saturday night, Arthur gladdens old Nottingham and is requited with a beating. On Sunday morning he’s faced with new Nottingham and tract houses on the blackberrying.

There you have the dilemma.


Night Must Fall

Between Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and Morgan—A Suitable Case for Treatment, a play of between the wars.

With his chopper, Danny has taken the head off the village tart, a grass widow. He’s knocked up the maid, he takes a job in the house and has the daughter, then does in the bedridden mother with his chopper. The daughter calls the cops.

The critics found their voice in Bosley Crowther, who thought it was well done but lacked motivation.


A Suitable Case for Treatment

The artist as fiery-arsed baboon doused in Thames. It ends where Arthur Penn’s Mickey One begins. Losey’s The Assassination of Trotsky, also La Truite.

There are categories, the æstheticism of the Russian Revolution best seen before Stoppard’s trilogy The Coast of Utopia, King Kong, from which is derived London as Africa.

Reisz’s supreme masterwork transcends them all, the London art dealer’s child is not his own.



Dictating her memoirs on the Riviera. The search for Signior Bugatti.

Vicissitudes of the artist, her early inspiration. The designer leaves her with child, the industrialist pampers her and mistakes her, bereft in Moscow she’s banned in Boston.

The sculptural line of her dancing.


The Gambler

Beckett was stabbed by a pimp one day, and not in the line of business, either. The victim got out of the hospital and asked the fellow why he’d done it, a street assault. “I don’t know, sir,” was the answer.

The gentle jewboy Jesus has a score to settle, le hasard is his métier, he’s not so gentle at that, James Caan’s performance shows the Amberson terror underneath, and the family history is tough.

A bet against the iniquitous, like T.S. Eliot’s “raid on the inarticulate”.

This is not, be assured, an exposé of gambling, Dostoevsky and William Carlos Williams and E.E. Cummings are called to account, on a basis of Mahler.

Critics such as Vincent Canby stumbled over the stones right from the start and never recouped.


Who’ll Stop the Rain

The most precise analysis of David Miller’s Lonely Are the Brave, transposed to Vietnam and a skag abscondence.

Extensive recomposition only makes the point more firmly, so that Miller’s film is the only possible commentary.

The original acting and the freedom of invention come from the theme, an Ibsen quandary of the wrongheaded idealist.


The French Lieutenant’s Woman

The story of an actor and actress who have an unhappy love affair while filming The French Lieutenant’s Woman, in which they play a pair of lovers happy after many travails.

The close precedents and near counterpoints include Russell’s The Debussy Film, Losey’s The Go-Between and The Romantic Englishwoman, and Pound’s lines,

And what are they compared to the lady Riokushu,

That was cause of hate!

Who among them is a man like Han-rei

Who departed alone with his mistress,

With her hair unbound, and he his own skiffsman!

Rossetti’s model leaves her wig behind when filming wraps up, the lover calls to her from the set, using her character’s name.

Monet’s Honfleur is the place of his vigil, in character. Reisz opens with “Slate 32, Take 2” in the laborious and methodical business of moviemaking.

The bravura of Russell and the tempo of Losey are abandoned for something more fearsome and bold still, in its way. The camera follows along the jetty with waves crashing against it and spray flying, as unconcerned as the lovers. The rapidity of scenes is fatal to a critic’s understanding, as we know it, despite the intense precision accorded two dozen frames or so, and unobtrusively allows a solicitor to read the terms of a gentleman’s undoing like a dressing-down on parade.

A palæontologist woos a magnate’s daughter, jilts her for a melancholiac who leaves him under the same terms (“I am not worthy of you”), these two meet three years later and are reconciled.

The actor and American actress are both married, she to a Frenchman. His wife and daughter at “lunch on Sunday” for his colleagues on the film dispel her remaining ardor, these two part finally at the cast party.

Reisz has a shot of Exeter a hundred years before the time of filming, repeated almost identically, day for the woman, evening for the man. The camera is on the right looking down the street, it sees small traffic or none, the character approaches and moves left while it pans to the Endicott Hotel. A complicated setup, a simple shot, the town is clearly visible as it was.

The cast and crew dance to the latest music on location, the actress collects her things at a dressing table (with a look in the mirror) and departs with her husband. The actor follows her to her dressing room (with a hug for the lady who plays the fiancée), fingers the wig, enters the set of the reconciliation scene (day interior, now night), hears the car, opens the bay window and calls her name, blurting out “Sarah!” instead of “Anna!”

The script in the film has two endings, this is the unhappy one. The other is seen twice, before and after this scene, briefly and then extended to close the film. The lovers are in a rowboat emerging from a dark tunnel, she raises the barred gate, his back is to the camera, rowing, they enter upon the water, a sunny day.

Truffaut’s L’Histoire d’Adèle H. is the recipient of this significant analysis.


Sweet Dreams

The voice comes out of dullness and a bright kid, Patsy Cline.

“Yodeling and growling” in shifty key changes, slowed down, crying, strings provided.

It has a personal life, imagined as evident.


Act Without Words—1

Here was a piece for Buster Keaton or Larry Semon, evidently inspired by Jonah’s gourd.

The desert is a sound stage, blue above, the articles fly in or descend with comic exactitude, of no use whatsoever.