Yearly Archives: 1976

Early Michael Snow Shorts (1976 reviews)

From Monthly Film Bulletin, December 1976 (Vol. 43, No. 515). — J.R.

One Second in Montreal
Canada, 1969

Director: Michael Snow

Dist–London Filmmakers’ Co-op/Cinegate. p.c /p/ph/ed–Michael Snow. 612 ft. (at 16 f.p.s.) 26 mins.; (at 24 f .p.s.) 17 mins.

A series of thirty-odd black and white still photographs – all showing park sites for a projected monument in Montreal covered with blankets of snow — are rephotographed and shown in succession; the duration of each photograph on the screen progressively increases during the first section of the film, and progressively decreases during the second, which ends with a ‘flash’ repeat of the initial title card. A simple experiment in what might be described as the phenomenology of duration in relation to the viewer’s attention and grasp of detail, One Second in Montreal apparently owes its title to the fact that the combined exposure time of the original photographs adds up to only one second.

Praised somewhat hyperbolically as a “cinematic construction which plays upon the seriality of film images” (Annette Michelson) and a “snow film so silent you can hear the snow fall” (Jonas Mekas), the film is an ‘open’ work in the sense that it can be projected at either 16 or 24 frames per second.… Read more »

Coilin & Platonida (1976 review)

From Monthly Film Bulletin, December 1976 (Vol. 43, No. 515). — J.R.

Coilin & Platonida

Great Britain, 1976
Director: James Scott

The 1920s. Thrown out of the house by her uncle, Aksinya marries her lover, a sexton, and five months later gives birth to a son, Coilin. After the sexton drowns in a stream, she works as a servant to nuns, introducing and dressing Coilin as a little girl. Entering school at the age of twelve, Coilin is expelled for backwardness, and finds work as an apprentice to various craftsmen. After three years in the army, he returns to find his mother dead and is turned away from his uncle’s house. Visiting two orphaned boys who are distant relatives and finding them hungry and maltreated, he takes them under his wing and persuades his cousin Platonida to give them clothes. Settling in with the children in an unused room at Granny Rochovna’s cottage, he sells home -made polishand ink, does odd jobs, and applies unsuccessfully for work at the postoffice. Given an island by the town council, he builds a hut and teaches the boys to read. Four years later, Platonida’s husband dies, and her father-in-law promises to leave her his fortune.… Read more »

FOOLISH WIVES (1976 review)

From Monthly Film Bulletin, November 1976 (Vol. 43, No. 514). –- J.R.

 

Foolish Wives

U.S.A., 1922
Director: Erich von Stroheim

Cert—A. dist–BFI. p.c–Universal Super Jewel. p–Carl Laemrnle. asst. d–Edward Sowders, Jack R. Proctor, Louis Germonprez. special asst. to Stroheim–Gustav Machaty. sc–Erich von-Stroheim. ph–Ben Revnolds, William Daniels. illumination and lighting effects—Harry J. Brown. ed–Erich von Stroheim, (release version: Arthur D. Ripley). a.d—E. E. Sheeley, Richard Day. scenic artist—Van Alstein [Alstyn]. technical d–William Meyers, James Sullivan, George Williams. sculpture–Don Jarvis. master of properties–C. J. Rogers. m—[original score by Sigmund Romberg]. cost–Western Costuming Co., Richard Day, Erich von Stroheim. titles–Marian Ainslee, Erich von Stroheim. research asst-J . Lambert. l.p—Rudolph Christians/Robert Edenson (Andrew J. Hughes), Miss Du Pont [Patsy Hannen] (Helen Hughes), Maude George (“Princess”Olga Petschnikoff), Mae Busch (“Princess” Vera Petschnikoff), Erich von Stroheim (“Count” Sergei Karamzin), Dale Fuller (Maruschka), Al Edmundsen (Pavel Pavlich, the Butler), Cesare Gravina (Signor Gaston), Malvina Polo (Gaston’s Daughter [Marietta]), Louis K. Webb (Dr. Judd), Mrs. Kent (Mrs, Judd), C.J. Allen (Albert I, Prince of Monaco), Edward Reinach (Secretary of State of Monaco).… Read more »

Two Hack Reviews from 1976

Both these reviews appeared in the June 1976 issue of Monthly Film Bulletin (vol. 43, no. 509). — J.R.

TheDevilsRain-poster

Devil’s Rain. The

U.S.A., 1975

Director: Robert Fuest

the-devils-rain

devil's rain

In a heavy storm, Steve Preston returns to his ranch-house on the brink of death, dissolving into a waxy liquid as he utters the name of Jonathan Corbis. His wife Emma subsequently disappears, and their son Mark [William Shatner] takes an amulet left by her (supposedly protection against Corbis’ power) and drives to the ghost town of Redstone. There Corbis [Ernest Borgnine], the leader of a Satanist cult, renders Mark defenseless by turning the amulet into a snake after Mark discovers that Emma his been enlisted into the sect. When Tom [Tom Skerritt], Mark’s younger brother, arrives in Redstone with his wife Julie [Joan Prather] to look for his family, Julie is captured and Tom witnesses a diabolical rite during which Mark, having undergone tortures, is initiated into the cult and Corbis is transformed into the devil himself. Tom returns to the Preston ranch, where Dr. Richards [Eddie Albert], a friend. of the family, explains that Corbis is the reincarnation of a 17th century witch betrayed by ancestors of the Prestons and burned at the stake, and that the Preston family has secretly preserved the ‘sacred book’ of names of people sworn to the devil which once belonged to Corbis and without which he cannot deliver those souls to Satan.… Read more »

HAPPY-GO-NUTTY (1976 review)

From Monthly Film Bulletin, May 1976 (Vol. 43, No. 508).  — J.R.

Happy-Go-Nutty

U.S.A.,1944

Director: Tex Avery

HappyGoNutty2

Cert–U- dist–Ron Harris. p.c—MGM. p–Fred Quimby. story–Heck AIIen. col–Technicolor. anim–Ed Love, Ray Abrams, Preston Blair. m–Scott Bradley. 260 ft. 7 mins. (16 mm.).

Breaking out of the confines of Moron Manor and deliberately rousing Meathead the watchdog, Screwy Squirrel flees from him through a series of violent adventures Running past the cartoon’s end title, the antagonists return to discuss other possible endings until Meathead goes mad himself, bursts through the end title, and runs away; Screwy praises this ending for its silliness. A little less impired than Screwball Squirrel, its immediate predecessor, Happy-Go-Nutty nevertheless registers as a kind of ode to dementia, particularly of the gibbering and Napoleonic-complex variety. After beglnning with its hero in a loony bin (“Through these portals pass the screwiest squirrels in the world”), it proceeds spiritedly through some familiar gags (a bomb momentarily turning Meathead into a pickaninnv), some more inventive surreal ones (Meathead goes over a cliff. only to be handed a newspaper by Screwy when he lands, with the headline “SUCKER!!” over a photograph of Meathead going over a cliff), and odd throwaway details (a trashcan labeled “for extra squirrels”).… Read more »

Three Routine Short Reviews from 1976

Three short reviews for the Monthly Film Bulletin in 1976, the first two for their April issue (vol. 43, no. 507), and third for their November issue (vol. 43, no. 514).  –- J.R.

TheBattleofBillysPondBattle of Billy’s Pond, The

Great Britain, 1976

Director: Harley Cokliss

 

TheBattleofBillysPond2

 

 

Finding a dead fish in a pond where he frequently goes fishing, Billy Bateson takes it home, where his cat makes off with it and becomes ill. Informed by a vet that the cat’s illness was caused by chemicals, Billy investigates the pond further with his friend Gobby, discovers more dead fish and eventually learns the cause: industrial waste is being emptied into an underground stream, originating from an abandoned quarry, which feeds the pond. After secretly witnessing two lorry drivers in the quarry and then seeing green fluid enter the pond, the boys report their findings to the police and learn from Billy’s father about “Breeze”, a detergent manufactured at Con-Chem nearby. Getting into the factory by subterfuge, they videotape the tanker drivers with Gobby’s father’s camera and sneak out to the quarry that night to trap them in the act, rigging up speakers and lights and then letting air out of the tanker’s tires.… Read more »