Golden Links (Chicago Reader blog post, 2007)

Golden links

Posted By on 04.29.07 at 09:48 AM


As more and more buried treasures have been brought to light on the Internet, half a dozen recent finds seem especially worthy of notice:

1. We still don’t have access to the original version of John Cassavetes’ Shadows after critic Ray Carney tracked down the only existing print and showed a video of it twice at the Rotterdam Film Festival in early 2004. I was lucky enough to see it at the time, and even though I regard it more as a fascinating and historically important curiosity than as a lost masterpiece, I agree with Carney, and disagree with Cassavetes’ widow, Gena Rowlands, that it should be available to the general public. In the meantime, however, Carney has posted three clips of this version on his website (scroll down a bit). What he’s made available is only a little over four and a half minutes from the film, and Carney’s name and URL are stamped on every frame, but it’s still enough to give one a taste of Charlie Mingus’s eccentric original score (especially during the credit sequence) — and enough to support Carney’s thesis that this is a finished film, flaws and all, and not a mere work print.

2. On the same site, higher up, one can find links to an invaluable Danish web site with links to a good many interviews with filmmakers and critical pieces (including, I’ve just discovered, a couple of my own, on Alexander Dovzhenko and Jean-Luc Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinema). There are also several filmed interviews on the same site and, even better, trailers by Godard for eight of his own features. [2014: alas, these appear to have been removed.]

3. The treasures to be found at YouTube appear to be endless: Alain Resnais’ first major short, Les Statues meurent aussi (1953, see photo), written by Chris Marker—admittedly without subtitles (though I’ve never seen a subtitled print) [2014: A subtitled print can now be found here];

4. Orson Welles’s unreleased nine-minute trailer for F for Fake, starring his late cinematographer Gary Graver [2014: this has subsequently been removed, but is now available on the Criterion DVD and Blu-Ray of F for Fake];

5. And three videos of the great jazz pianist Lennie Tristano playing at the Half Note in Manhattan, 1964, in a quintet with his two most gifted pupils, Warne Marsh (tenor sax) and Lee Konitz (alto sax). The visual quality of the videos may be atrocious, but I’m still grateful for these precious mementos, having caught this amazing group around the same time at what may have been the same gig.

6. Finally, as Dave Kehr recently reminded me on his own web site, you can access most of Orson Welles’s major radio shows between 1937 and early 1940  for free at another excellent site.

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