Un Amour de Swann

Swann als superjuif, connaissant la musique et la prostituée Odette.

Les ennuis et les conforts d’une chambre.

Grace au Baron de Charlus, qui aime les jewboys longhairs.

Henze pour la musique.

An existential malady, Odette.

Avec Alain Delon als James Dean.

Alas for the critics.




A Gathering of Old Men

The main idea comes from Spartacus and is trumps as modulated into a dramatic confrontation repeated in The Milagro Beanfield War.

Here, the idea of countrymen banding together against a common enemy, specifically to provide a defense against lynching, has the authority of the Founding Fathers. The proprietary solicitude of the farmer’s daughter is “squeezed out like a comedo,” in Dali’s phrase, and there remain only the overgrown pumpkins among the tenants to frighten these old men gathered to uphold their right.

Sheriff Mapes (Richard Widmark) is there to see mayhem doesn’t ensue, and still there’s the promise of a reckless show of arms to the last.

Schlöndorff’s forthright setups run the gamut from group exercises to solo examinations of unique actors to simply letting the artists work. The middle term is most fascinating, as he observes the actors carefully negotiating the various implications of the drama while the camera simply records all the nuances that result.


The Handmaid’s Tale

A film that exists to ask the question, is there balm in Gilead?

The main structural points are laid upon the stars Dunaway (The Disappearance of Aimee) and Duvall (Apocalypse Now).



A classic detective story in the Marlowe school, comparable in various respects to Frears’ Gumshoe and Altman’s The Long Goodbye, in others to Penn’s Night Moves. Here is the analytical model drawn so fine as to abut directly on comedy. Marlowe (his name here is Harry Barber) literally stumbles into the truth in a long string of disasters, the tide finally turns for him when he is literally on the run with a police bullet in his shoulder.

Schlöndorff strides onto the American scene like the King of France in Russell’s The Devils, examining the phony witches with an instantaneous appreciation and bidding them, “have fun, ladies.”

He favors clarity in this film above all else, no magic tricks, exposition rendered summarily. A couple on the household staff of a wealthy man set up Barber for the kidnapping and murder of the man’s daughter, there is a connection to an earlier case that sent Barber to prison in a frame after he uncovered City Hall corruption underpinning the legalization of gambling boats in this Florida town.


Billy Wilder Speaks

Two weeks in Beverly Hills at his office, bombshells, opening sequence of Sunset Boulevard dropped after previews, present opening filmed with mirror in pool, last line of Some Like It Hot a write-off, provisional, hoping for better.

Worst of all, Wilder left Paramount because of studio monkeyshines with Stalag 17 for the German market (making the stoolie a Pole).

A tedious documentary technique adapted to television, rudimentary bio, photos, scripts flipped though, not bad apposite clips and Wilder in English and German throughout.

He saw Lubitsch regularly at Paramount, always “making chocolate out of chicken shit.”

Co-directed with Gisela Grischow.