Friday, July 01, 2011

Wild River (2011 restoration by Academy Film Archive and Twentieth Century Fox with funding provided by The Film Foundation)

Joki tulvii / Fango sulle stelle. US © 1960 Twentieth Century Fox. P+D: Elia Kazan. Based on the novel Mud on the Stars (1942) by William Bradford Huie and Dunbar’s Cove (1957) by Borden Deal; SC: Paul Osborn; DP: Ellsworth Fredericks; ED: William Reynolds; PD: Joseph Kish, Walter M. Scott, Lyle R. Wheeler, Herman A. Blumenthal; Co.: Anna Hill Johnstone; M: Kenyon Hopkins; S: Eugene Grossman, Richard Voriseck; Cast: Montgomery Clift (Chuck Glover), Lee Remick (Carol Garth Baldwin), Jo Van Fleet (Ella Garth), Albert Salmi (Hank Bailey), J.C. Flippen (Hamilton Garth), James Westerfield (Cal Garth), Barbara Loden (Betty Jackson), Franck Overton (Walter Clark), Malcom Atterbury (Sy Moore), Robert Earl Jons (Ben), Bruce Dern (Jack Roper), Judy Harris (Barbara-Ann), Jim Menard (Jim Junior). Pri. pro.: 26 giugno 1960. 35 mm. 110’. Col. English version. From: Twentieth Century Fox. Restored [in 2011?] by Academy Film Archive and Twentieth Century Fox with funding provided by The Film Foundation. Cinema Jolly (Bologna, Il Cinema Ritrovato), 1 July 2011. Presenta Foster Hirsch.

Catalogue: "Painful change, change that is necessary but hurts. My family lost a house, when I was a boy. And I guess when my father died we also moved out of a house. Wild River was also the first picture where I said to myself: I’m going to be as lyric as I can – I’m going to stop the action. You see, I always distrusted stopping the action for lyric moments. I had much more confidence after that.""

"I also used long shots as in the scene with them way in the back of the room, sort of in the dark, on the floor. I did that a lot, and putting a person or an object in the foreground with deep focus. That was a way of keeping it natural, although it’s an unnatural technique. I’m looking at the branch behind you, and you are not in focus, despite William Wyler and Orson Welles and everybody else. It’s only fifteen feet behind you, but you are a blur. (…) I thought a film can be both true – realistic – and completely poetic. And that became the ideal of my aesthetic – to the extent that I was conscious of my aesthetic. Suddenly you look at it and it’s as plain as a loaf of bread, and it’s completely poetic at the same time. It has overtones, it has suggestions, it has poetry all around it, but then, it can also be just nothing, a loaf of bread. This is what I feel when I see paintings by Cézanne: he shows you an apple, it’s just an apple on a table, but it’s somehow poetic. I like that." (Elia Kazan, from: Michel Ciment: Kazan on Kazan. Secker & Warburg - British Film Institute, London 1973).

AA. The screening was much delayed, and after the excellent introduction by Foster Hirsch I was able to see only less than 10 minutes of the new restoration of Wild River, one of Elia Kazan's essential films. - Foster Hirsch emphasized that (synopsis): Elia Kazan was a top director of actors, and in Wild River Method acting is at its zenith. We see the characters thinking and changing through the picture, and responding to objects. Wild River contains Lee Remick's greatest performance. Wild River is about rugged individualism ("TVA keep off"). Wild River has been hardly available in 50 years, but now with the new restoration it's back in circulation. - I managed only to see Montgomery Clift's arrival at the island of Ella Garth (Jo Van Fleet).

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