Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 353: Tue Dec 18

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane (Aldrich, 1962): Curzon Soho, 1pm and 2.55pm and all week from 14th to 20th December

John Patterson pens an excellent column in the Guide magazine every Saturday for the Guardian. This week his subject was the above film and, in particular, the work of director Robert Aldrich. This is the article in full and here is an extract:

'It should really have inspired its own sordid sub-sub-genre. Hagsploitation, perhaps, or maybe Grande Dame Guignol. Robert Aldrich's What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? is a movie that reeks of contempt and despair, and so it brings me great pleasure to celebrate its 50th anniversary as it is re-released this week.

Baby Jane ... is very, very Robert Aldrich, a wonderful director nearly 30 years dead now, whose body of work is in danger of slipping over the horizon. Today we remember him for The Dirty Dozen, The Longest Yard, Kiss Me Deadly and Baby Jane. But he was more than that. American aristocrat, grandson of a senator, Nelson Rockerfeller's cousin, he disavowed it all and headed west in 1941, working as assistant director to Losey, Chaplin and Renoir. He became a Cahiers Du Cinéma cause-célèbre and instant auteur in 1956, when an accident of releasing saw the simultaneous exhibition in Paris of Attack, The Big Knife, Autumn Leaves and Kiss Me Deadly, a head-spinning quadruple whammy that earned the corpulent Aldrich his Gallic nickname: "Le Gros Bob". Try watching those four this weekend; you can thank me later, after your head has exploded.

He was an patrician leftie with a marked sense of injustice, a militant and effective president of the Directors' Guild and, after The Dirty Dozen, the furiously independent owner of his own studio. He was a punchy, caustic, macho and pessimistic director (the end of Kiss Me Deadly is the end of the world), who depicted corruption and evil unflinchingly, and pushed limits on violence throughout his career. His aggressive and pugnacious film-making style, often crass and crude, but never less than utterly vital and alive, warrants – and will richly reward – your immediate attention.'
Here is the new trailer.

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