Monday, 19 May 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 163: Fri Jun 13

No1: Theatre of Blood (Hickox, 1973): ICA Cinema, 8.55pm


This screening follows a discussion led by film critic Mark Kermode at 6.45pm - Who Needs the Professionals Now That Everyone’s a Critic?

Here is the ICA introduction:
Mark Kermode introduces Douglas Hickox's 1973 Theatre of Blood, in which a Shakespearean actor takes poetic revenge on the critics who denied him recognition. Bumping off his detractors with executions inspired by the Bard, Edward Lionheart (Vincent Price) stages a beheading in the manner of Cymbeline, a stabbing inspired by Julius Caesar, and even an untimely removal of a pound of flesh improvised from The Merchant of Venice. With one of the greatest ensemble casts ever assembled for a horror film including Diana Rigg, Harry Andrews, Jack Hawkins and Arthur Lowe, Theatre of Blood is a deliciously macarbe cult classic.

Here are the gorgeous opening credits.

*******

No2: Opening Night (Cassavetes, 1977): Hackney Picturehouse, 9pm


This is screened as part of the Anxiety Arts Festival.  Details of an excellent programme here.

Chicago Reader review:
For all of John Cassavetes's concern with acting, this 1977 film is the only one of his features that takes it on as a subject; it also boasts his most impressive cast. During the New Haven tryouts for a new play, an aging star (Gena Rowlands), already distressed that she's playing a woman older than herself, is traumatized further by the accidental death of an adoring teenage fan (Laura Johnson). Fantasizing the continued existence of this girl as a younger version of herself, she repeatedly changes her lines onstage and addresses the audience directly, while the other members of the company—the director (Ben Gazzara), playwright (Joan Blondell), costar (Cassavetes), and producer (Paul Stewart)—try to help end her distress. Juggling onstage and offstage action, Cassavetes makes this a fascinating look at some of the internal mechanisms and conflicts that create theatrical fiction, and his wonderful cast—which also includes Zohra Lampert as the director's wife, assorted Cassavetes regulars, and cameos by Peter Falk and Peter Bogdanovich as themselves—never lets him down.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is an extract.

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