Camp David

CAMP DAVID JUNE 2005

By • Jun 1st, 2005 •

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NOIR CITY

Recently I had the pleasure of finally meeting one of the true authorities of film noir author, historian and host {The Czar of Noir} Eddie Muller. Mr. Muller has presented film noir festivals all over the United States. His visits to Los Angeles and the wonderful program he hosts year after year at the American Cinematheque is reason enough to honor him both here in Camp David as well as with a round of applause from film lovers everywhere.

I have seen so many great, not to mention rare, films thanks to Eddie that we both marveled that it took us to the year 2005 to connect. His website www.noircity.com is a must for anyone that loves film especially the classic era of noir. Mr. Muller’s candid recollections of an evening in Hollywood trying to keep tough guy Lawrence Tierney in tow is a beautiful piece of observation. I cannot recommend too strongly that you give his site the once over for even more remarkable journalism and clever visuals.

Eddie Muller with noir legend Ann Savage

Eddie has been responsible for seeking out and preserving many films that were in danger of being lost. Look for Eddie Muller’s books on film noir. If you find yourself in the bay area, log on to his website for times and locations for local screenings.

As a poster collector for many years I particularly enjoy his volume “The Art of Noir” which showcases the crème de la crème of film poster artwork both here and abroad. I still want the Italian two-sheet from THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI, a stunning rendition of Orson Welles and then-wife Rita Hayworth.
Mr. Muller is a novelist with a talent for what else…crime!! Eddie is at the moment co-authoring the long awaited bio of Tab Hunter entitled “Tab Hunter Confidential” which will address the actor’s private life as well as his long career as one of Hollywood’s heartthrobs which will debut later this year. More on that here at Camp David.

Camp David's David Del Valle, with Roger Corman

CORMAN AT THE AERO

When I first arrived in Hollywood one of my prime obsessions was to document all the principals involved in creating the Vincent Price/Roger Corman Poe films of the 1960’s. After nearly two decades I have come to the end and will soon publish the results in a volume to be called “Nevermore: The Poe films of Roger Corman”. A few weeks ago Roger and I were reunited at the Aero Cinema in Santa Monica for a retrospective of his Poe films and a chance to talk in front of a live audience. We talked for over an hour to a full house that included Julie Corman and Roger’s two daughters as well as actor/producer Mark Damon. Mark was the romantic lead in HOUSE OF USHER and spoke from the back of the house to both of us during the Q&A. At nearly eighty years of age Roger Corman is still running a film company that releases on an average of 15 films a year! He maintains the workload of a man half his age. He spoke lovingly of his working relationships with such icons as Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Jack Nicholson and especially the legendary Vincent Price. He discussed the period when Ray Milland came to work at AIP, appearing in the only Poe film not the star Price. Roger made it clear that Milland did not try to impersonate Price in any way during the filming of THE PREMATURE BURIAL and was quite capable of putting his own stamp on a role. After all, Milland won the Oscar and enjoyed a long successful career prior to making such unlikely films as THE THING WITH TWO HEADS!!! We here at Camp David look forward to saluting Roger Corman on his hundredth birthday when the time comes, after all we have seen the 21st Century reexamine Corman’s work, finding much to admire and learn from for future generations

TASCHEN BOOKS

An amazing new bookstore has come to Beverly Hills in the guise of a 1920’s Parisian salon complete with an Art Deco coffee bar with what can only be described as an ‘H.P. Lovecraft inspired’ ice sculpture that inhabits the center space. Only Benedikt Taschen {the former comic book king} could have imagined such a combination of styles that confound the eye and stimulate the mind. The store is located in the heart of BH on Beverly Dr. Check the Taschen website for directions. His film books do the same, with this year’s “Stanley Kubrick Archive” a definitive study of the director’s films. The text is secondary to its presentation – a giant coffee table book of great beauty! It rivals last years “Some like it Hot” book also from Taschen, the planet’s most advanced publishing house.

Jay Jennings, Director.

IFC SHORT FILMS

When it came time to film my interviews with directors Harry Kumel and Roger Corman, I used the services of maverick filmmaker Jay Jennings commit them to video. Jay has directed and photographed his own film, and is ready to submit it to IFC Channel for their short film series. A gritty crime tale in the manner of BAD LIEUTENANT, LOAN SHARK, with its hip hop soundtrack, is a no-holds-barred view of a day in the lowlife of a man who uses violence like other men swear. Have a look at www.loansharkmovie.com. I personally think it’s a prime candidate for the Sundance circuit. Bon Chance! Jaybird!!!

LOVE THE JOE BOY!

Warhol super star Joe Dallessandro is a true survivor of the New York/Hollywood scene with a natural ability to attract attention wherever he goes. Like the Lou Reed song he inspired, Joe’s walk on the wild side included a trek to Europe and more strange films that forever immortalize his image as the ultimate hustler movie star! A tribute to that image was just celebrated at the American Cinematheque. The ultra rare English track print of Serge Gainsbourg’s notorious “JE T’AIME MOI NON PLUS”(1976) with cult singer/actress Jane Birkin was the first of three films to showcase our Little Joe. A strange free wheeling flick regarding the exploits of two gay garbage men who wander the French countryside for adventures only to find our hero falling for a boyish Jane Birkin!!

There was a really great documentary on Jane Birkin and her career after the death of partner Serge Gainsbourg. She has mellowed into a fantastic personality and will remain an icon in France and most of Europe for that matter. It is a complement to Joe that he can hold his own on camera with strong women like Jane Birkin or Sylvia Miles in the very funny Sunset Blvd takeoff HEAT. A little post screening party took place at The Erotic Museum across from the Egyptian with our Joe the center of attention, as he should be.

NERVES OF STEELE

Barbara Steele

In my last column we observed cult queen Barbara Steele planning her visit to “Big D” in the state of Texas to witness the marriage of Stuart Whitman’s son to a local heiress. It should be noted that Barbara also co-produced two made-for-TV films this year, SAVING MILLY for CBS, and OUR FATHERS for Showtime. “Madeleine Stowe gives an extraordinary, Meryl Streep-quality performance in MILLY. I hope she goes up for an Emmy” said Barbara of the former, and about the latter film, based on the child abuse scandal in Boston, with Christopher Plummer as Cardinal Law, Brian Dennehy and Ted Danson, she was impressed not only by the script, but by the fact that Dan Curtis was able to direct two such complex shows back to back.

JOAN CRAWFORD LIVES!

To coincide with the release of the new DVD boxed set of Joan Crawford (which will include the never-before-seen-on DVD-or-tape THE DAMNED DON’T CRY), please have a look at the new issue of Scarlet Street magazine for your own Camp David reporter’s essay on FEMALE ON THE BEACH with a short interview with one of the stars, Natalie Schafer of Gilligan’s Island fame. One of La Crawford’s great lines in the film: when asked how she likes her coffee, she replies “Alone”! Read my review here in films in review for QUEEN BEE to understand my fascination with “JOAN”.
Until next time Remember: may all your dreams be in 70mm and Cinemascope!

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