Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Surrealist Shanghai Gesture (cont)

United Artists Theater Detroit

“It smells so incredibly evil.
I didn’t think such a place
existed except in my own
imagination. It has a ghastly
familiarity like a half-remembered
dream. Anything could happen 
here…” —Gene Tierney, 
The Shanghai Gesture (1941)

Surrealist Shanghai Gesture

Luis Buñuel (LB)
Joseph Cornell (JC)
Jack Smith (JS)
John Waters (JW)
Ed Wood Jr. (EW)

Data Towards the Irrational
Enlargement of “The Shanghai Gesture”

Whose dream does Maria Ouspenskaya belong to, and what is this dream?

"People never know why they do what they do. But they have to have explanations for themselves and for others.” (LB)

"So von Sternberg's movies had to have plots even though they already had them inherent in the images. What he did was make movies naturally - he lived in a visual world. The explanation plots he made up out of some logic having nothing to do with the visuals of his films. The explanations were his bragging, his genius pose - the bad stories of his movies. Having nothing to do with what he did (and did well), the visuals of his films.” (JC)

"I don't think V. S. knew that words were in his way, but he felt it - neglected them, let them be corny and ridiculous, let them run to travesty - and he invested his images with all the care he rightfully denied the words. And he achieved the richest, most alive, most right images of the world's cinema - in company with men like von Stroheim, the genius of Zero de Conduite, early Lang, & that limited company like Ron Rice.” (JS)

“If his hero is a phony for the purposes of the story, V. S. casts an actory actor in the part & leads him into hammy performance. Which comes to acting in V. S. films. He got his effects directly through the eye.” (JW)

“To close the ears would have thrown the viewer into an undersea, under-conscious world where the realities were very different from what the script purported. He needn't have worried . As it was, no one had that ability to see.” (EW)

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