Some links: 99

Some links: 96

Some links: 95

Some links: 94


Kristin Hunt observes,

In many ways, the streamers [like Netflix and Amazon] have been rebuilding Hollywood’s old studio system. That system, which lasted roughly from the 1920s to the 1950s, was powered by vertical integration. Major studios like Paramount or Warner Bros. didn’t just own a bunch of soundstages, but also the theater chains that screened their movies, meaning they had complete control over every aspect of a movie’s creation—a straight line down from film production to distribution to exhibition.

Even the sharp corners of ostensibly “bad” moves are being rounded over:

Critic Judy Berman argues in The Baffler, for instance, that the internet and the larger “streaming void” it perpetuates have slowly been killing the cult film, the “scruffy, desperately original, and intermittently brilliant works of transgressive art” once enjoyed communally on the midnight circuit, but now cynically engineered for social media engagement, à la Sharknado. Naturally, it’s not just the makers of would-be Rocky Horrors who are suffering.

Although she mentions the creative financing that powered Irving Levin’s distribution of Ida Lupino’s Filmmakers movies, she misses the opportunity to comment on the similar pattern shown by The Cannon Group during its ownership by Golan and Globus.

That explains Blofeld’s cat

“No time to die: An in-depth analysis of James Bond’s exposure to infectious agents,” by Wouter Graumans et al.

We hypothesize that his foolhardy courage, sometimes purposefully eliciting life-threatening situations, might even be a consequence of Toxoplasmosis.

Particularly worrying:

While Bond was traveling to Japan (1967) shortly after the H2N2 pandemic (1957–1958), his actions were at odds with knowledge on the different modes of respiratory virus transmission. Bond regularly joined crowds without social distancing including on public transport.

h/t: Jennifer Ouellette at Ars Technica


Footnote of the month:

La tête d’un homme [by Georges Simenon] was adapted again in 1949, to lesser effect, as The Man on the Eiffel Tower. A clunky color spectacular starring Charles Laughton as Maigret, it is mostly notable for its location shooting in Paris, and for being directed by co-star Burgess Meredith, who took over after Laughton had the original director fired.

—Jake Hinkson, “Georges Simenon: The Father of European Noir,” Noir City no. 22


In his notebooks, [Paddy] Chayefsky wrote year-by-year biographies for his characters. [Max] Schumacher doggedly worked his way up through the army’s Stars and Stripes newspaper, local papers, radio, NBC morning news, See It Now, CBS Reports, and network documentary and news departments to become the president of his division. Diana [Christensen], by contrast, had just five previous television credits—at a children’s show, in audience research, and in daytime programming—before she reached her own vice president post. He drafted for himself a twenty-three-person roster of nonexistent executives at the fictional network he called UBS…, from its chairman of the board down to its vice presidents of programming, legal affairs, public relations for the news, and public relations for the network. He drew up a seven-night programming grid for UBS, inventing every show that aired from Monday through Sunday, 6:00 P.M. to 1:00 A.M., with such evocative and snidely reductive titles as Surgeon’s Hospital, Pedro and the Putz, Celebrity Canasta (paired on Wednesday evenings with Celebrity Mah-jongg), Lady Cop, and Death Squad. None of this information would make it into the screenplay [of Network].

—Dave Itzkoff, Mad As Hell:The Making of ‘Network’ and the Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies, p. 49

Bibbity Dum-dum

A lovely simile linking the cinematic, literary, and pictorial worlds, from Anthony Lane’s review of P. T. Anderson’s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice:

As a lyricist of California light, Pynchon is rivalled only by Richard Diebenkorn, who spent some twenty years painting his Ocean Park series in Santa Monica, and I doubt whether any director—dead or alive, Altman or Anderson—could really conjure a style to match the long surge of a Pynchon sentence as it rolls inexhaustibly onward.