Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tough Talk 101: Arrest and Trial, "Call it a Lifetime", 15 September 1963.

"During the course of the trial I was accused of conducting the defense as though I had suspended all the rules of the game. I admit it. Because there are no rules in this game. Wherever there's a law that says a defendant may be gassed or shot or hanged or electrocuted the stake is no longer a silver cup, we're playing for a human life. That's too big a prize to lose."

John Egan (Chuck Connors) in Arrest and Trial, "Call it a Lifetime", 15 September 1963.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Poetry on Film: Tyrone Power in 'The Razor's Edge' and John Keats' 'The day is gone, and all its sweets are gone!'

Tyrone Power reads from John Keats' "The day is gone, and all its sweets are gone!" in The Razor's Edge (1946) Edmund Goulding.

John Keats, "The day is gone, and all its sweets are gone!"
from Poetry Foundation.

The day is gone, and all its sweets are gone!
Sweet voice, sweet lips, soft hand, and softer breast,
Warm breath, light whisper, tender semi-tone,
Bright eyes, accomplish’d shape, and lang’rous waist!
Faded the flower and all its budded charms,
Faded the sight of beauty from my eyes,
Faded the shape of beauty from my arms,
Faded the voice, warmth, whiteness, paradise –
Vanish’d unseasonably at shut of eve,
When the dusk holiday – or holinight
Of fragrant-curtain’d love begins to weave
The woof of darkness thick, for hid delight,
But, as I’ve read love’s missal through to-day,
He’ll let me sleep, seeing I fast and pray.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Plain Talk: Emily Nussbaum on Aaron Sorkin and 'The Newsroom'

"Sorkin is often presented as one of the auteurs of modern television, an innovator and an original voice. But he’s more logically placed in a school of showrunners who favor patterspeak, point-counterpoint, and dialogue-driven tributes to the era of screwball romance. Some of this banter is intelligent; just as often, however, it’s artificial intelligence, predicated on the notion that more words equals smarter. Besides Sorkin, these creators include Shonda Rhimes (whose Washington melodrama, “Scandal,” employs cast members from “The West Wing”); Amy Sherman-Palladino, of “The Gilmore Girls” (and the appealing new “Bunheads”); and David E. Kelley, who created “Ally McBeal” and “Boston Legal.” Sorkin is supposed to be on a different level from his peers: longer words, worldlier topics. And many viewers clearly buy into this idea: years after Sorkin’s terrible, fascinating “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” was cancelled, I still occasionally run into someone who insists that Americans were just too stupid to get it.

...Sorkin’s shows are the type that people who never watch TV are always claiming are better than anything else on TV. The shows’ air of defiant intellectual superiority is rarely backed up by what’s inside—all those Wagnerian rants, fingers poked in chests, palms slammed on desks, and so on. In fact, “The Newsroom” treats the audience as though we were extremely stupid."

Emily Nussbaum, "Broken News: The Artificial Intelligence of "The Newsroom"", The New Yorker, 25 June 2012.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Plain Talk: A.O. Scott on Superhero Movies

"A critic who voices skepticism about a comic book movie — or any other expensive, large-scale, boy-targeted entertainment — is likely to be called out for snobbery or priggishness, to be accused of clinging to snobbish, irrelevant standards and trying to spoil everyone else’s fun.

What the defensive fans fail or refuse to grasp is that they have won the argument. Far from being an underdog genre defended by a scrappy band of cultural renegades, the superhero spectacle represents a staggering concentration of commercial, corporate power.... comic book fans need to feel perpetually beleaguered and disenfranchised, marginalized by phantom elites who want to confiscate their hard-won pleasures. And this resentment — which I have a feeling I’m provoking more of here — finds its way into the stories themselves, expressed either as glowering self-pity or bullying machismo."

A.O. Scott in discussion with Manohla Dargis, "Super-Dreams of an Alternate World Order: ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ and the Modern Comic Book Movies", The New York Times, 27 June 2012.