Thursday, June 14, 2012

Remember My Name (in the presence of Alan Rudolph)

US © 1978 Columbia Pictures. PC: Lion's Gate Films. P: Robert Altman. D+SC: Alan Rudolph. DP: Tak Fujimoto - shot on 16 mm [according to Alan Rudolph, 13 June 2012] - blown up to 35 mm - 1,85:1. Cost: J. Allen Highfill. Makeup: Monty Westmore. Hair: Jerry Turnage. M: Alberta Hunter, produced by John Hammond. S: Sam Gemette. ED: William A. Sawyer, Tom Walls. C: Geraldine Chaplin (Emily), Anthony Perkins (Neil Curry), Moses Gunn (Pike), Berry Berenson (Barbara Curry), Jeff Goldblum (Mr. Nudd), Tim Thomerson (Jeff), Alfre Woodard (Rita), Dennis Franz (Franks). Loc: Culver City, Manhattan Beach, Marina del Rey, Topanga Canyon, Venice (California, US). 94 min. Print: David Blocker. Introduced by Alan Rudolph. Viewed at the School, Sodankylä (Midnight Sun Film Festival), 13 June 2012.

Résumé of Alan Rudolph's introduction: This is the only print of this movie. The movie was shot on 16 mm and blown up to 35 mm. The producer was Robert Altman who had promised the distributor to make two movies on the budget of one. I'm especially proud of the original music by Alberta Hunter, who was 84 years old and had recently made a comeback; she hadn't sung for 40 years. This print was made from the only surviving print via a dupe negative.

AA: There is a lot of talent combined in this story of a psychotic ex-wife (Geraldine Chaplin) who has been released from prison and starts to terrorize her ex-husband (Anthony Perkins) and his new wife (Berry Berenson). The emphasis is on psychology in this story of a woman stalker who is also capable of murder. The print is clean and the colour is fine.

Résumé of Alan Rudolph's answers to questions from the audience after the screening: Q (NEIL HARDWICK): ANTHONY PERKINS. I hadn't seen Remember My Name since it was released. - I never saw Psycho, but my wife had seen Anthony Perkins in Equus. There was a question of his accent, and whether he would know which end of the hammer to grab playing a construction worker. For his wife we found an actress who had never acted before but who had a natural way, based on Tony's suggestion: "How about my real wife?" Berry Berenson was Tony's wife and Marisa Berenson's sister. "Is she an actress?" "She wants to be." I thought she was terrific, and she started on the third day. There was also Jeff Goldblum's first speaking role and Alfre Woodard's first theatrical movie role. We were a very renegade outfit. We got drunk and watched dailies, everyone except Anthony Perkins. "I never go to dailies, Hitchcock, Welles, never". There were 30 people jammed in. I thought they were great. But Tony said: "I can't do this film. You have to recast. I can't act like that. They're too natural, I'm always acting, I have to quit". Then Robert Altman said: "We all quit". He was very proud.

Q: MUSIC, CHOOSE ME, REMEMBER MY NAME, DO YOU PREFER SONGS? In a low budget movie music is always the most expensive element. "Happy Birthday" would cost 20.000 USD now. I have always thought that songs are better than dialogue. The Alberta Hunter songs were produced by the legendary John Hammond and published by Columbia Records. So much better than what I'm trying to do with the dialogue, it's almost uncanny. The movie seems slow, seemingly nothing happens, the tension is beneath the surface. Geraldine Chaplin is overwhelming, I worked with her three times, and she helps make everyone else look better. She is unsympathetic on the surface, but you start to understand. Music helps. There was in the movie a loose simplistic metaphor for the women's movement. The picture had a very strange life. It was made quickly as a part of a deal with the Fox studios, with Quintet, perhaps, budgeted at a few hundred thousand, but the deal fell apart, yet Robert Altman said: "Let's just start shooting. Don't pay anybody". Columbia had just fired a president, and whoever took over noticed that we were shooting. "We'd like to have the movie". But when they saw it they said "We hate this", yet they didn't take their logo away. Mike Kaplan opened it in Los Angeles before Christmas, which is the worst time for an independent movie, in one little theater. We then released it ourselves and our advertising budget was enough for one advertisement on a double page in the Sunday issue of Los Angeles Times. The L.A. Weekly critic had seen the picture and declared it "the best film of the year". It set a record and played for months in that single theatre and nowhere else in the country. It played a city a year for five years. What we have now seen is the only print in existence. The lab went out of business and destroyed the negative. We bribed some people to make possible this only print of the movie.

No comments: