stuff. sometimes...

I'm Mike. I like movies a lot. So, I'll try to write about them, sometimes. The rest of the time I'll probably just reblog movie stuff you've seen a million times.


Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe
Sonia Darrin as Agnes Lowzier

The Big Sleep (1946)
Dir. Howard Hawkes.


Wonderful poster art for  Howard Hawks’, “The Big Sleep” that I have never seen before. I found it in the image section of the fairly recent Raymond Chandler biography by Tom Williams “The Life of Raymond Chandler”. I just had to hunt this down and post it because of its beauty. 


Wonderful poster art for  Howard Hawks’, “The Big Sleep” that I have never seen before. I found it in the image section of the fairly recent Raymond Chandler biography by Tom Williams “The Life of Raymond Chandler”. I just had to hunt this down and post it because of its beauty. 

- Nobody cares but me.
- Well that’s you, Marlowe. You’ll never learn, you’re a born loser.
- Yeah, I even lost my cat.

(Source: allen-bergman)

From thirty feet away she looked like a lot of class. From ten feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from thirty feet away.

—Raymond Chandler, The High Window (via oldfilmsflicker)


Better Call Saul: New photos, details from ‘Breaking Bad’ spin-off
Writer-producers Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould took questions from reporters at the Television Critics Association’s press tour in Beverly Hills on Friday. Here’s what we learned:

  1. The series regulars and their confirmed character names joining Bob Odenkirk: Jonathan Banks as Mike Erhmantraut, Michael McKean as Chuck, Rhea Seehorn as Kim, Patrick Fabian as Hamlin and Michael Mando as Nacho.
  2. Better Call Saul is set in 2002 — six years before Saul meets Walter White in Breaking Bad. Funny enough, that the events in Breaking Bad started in 2008 is also new information, Gilligan said, noting that the original show never specified what year it took place. “I hesitate to say it, but it is indeed a period piece,” Gilligan said.
  3. Yet the show will definitely jump around in time, as has been widely reported. “I think the best way to answer this and not get yelled at is you saw from Breaking Bad that we like non-linear storytelling and jumping around in time,” Gilligan said. “I would point you in the that direction, that anything that’s possible in Breaking Bad is possible in Better Call Saul.”
  4. Saul Goodman’s name in Better Call Saul is not yet Saul Goodman. When we meet Odenkirk’s character, he’s actually known as Jimmy McGill, a small-time lawyer hustling to make ends meet and working with Mike. The series will track Jimmy’s transformation into Saul Goodman.
  5. McKean (bottom photo) plays Goodman’s brother. “So we have these two comedy legends working together,” Gould noted.
  6. The show will not copy Breaking Bad’s neo-Western visual style. “Peter came with an idea book of frame grabs from classic movies, like The Conformist, we talked a lot about Kubrick,” Gilligan said. “We’re doing our damndest to make it as different as possible. It’s important that this not look like a carbon copy of Breaking Bad.”
  7. Walter White will only show up if it makes sense: “If it makes sense we’ll do it, if it doesn’t make sense we won’t,” Gilligan said. “I’d love to have him as a director … character wise, who knows? Maybe there’s a way to do it.”
  8. There’s a chance fan-favorite villain Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) could return: “There’s always a chance, yeah,” Gilligan said. Added Gould: “… there’s so much to be said about Gus — although in the series it always seemed to me that Saul didn’t know Gus directly. He knew a guy who knew a guy.”
  9. The reason Better Call Saul was pushed from fall to early 2015: “I am slow as mud as a TV writer,” Gilligan said. “We had a pace on Breaking Bad thanks to AMC that was deliciously stately … we have a way of doing things that’s slower than most tv shows … because we want to think everything through and we think that pays dividends.”
  10. Some Breaking Bad directors are returning: After Gilligan’s premiere, Michelle MacLaren (Game of Thrones) will direct episode 2, Terry McDonough (who directed the first Saul episode of BrBa) directs episode 3 and Colin Bucksey (four episodes of Breaking Bad) helms episode four and Adam Bernstein (Fargo) has episode 5.

Better Call Saul is set to premiere in early 2015. As previously announced, Gilligan directed the first episode of the first season, which will consist of 10 epiosdes. The second season will consist of 13 episodes.

– James Hibberd, Entertainment Weekly

Also see: Alan Sepinwall’s live blog coverage of this event. I particularly liked this part:

"Gould says the character you meet in Breaking Bad ”is the machine gun in the trunk, because we know that’s where the guy is going to end up. We’re going to bring him to that point.” They know that Saul isn’t the name he was born with, so they wondered “What problem does being Saul Goodman solve?” Gilligan says it’s a challenge, but they’re having fun. They are breaking episode 8 out of the 10-episode order for the first season now. “It’s like being really into this Rubik’s Cube we’re trying to solve.”

I’m very excited to see whatever they come up with.


Alfred Hitchcock directs Dial M for Murder, 1953.

When discussing the film (officially his 45th) in François Truffaut’s A Definitive Study of Alfred Hitchcock — a book-length transcription of 50 hours of conversation between the directors — Hitchcock said the picture was an example of him “coasting, playing it safe.” In the book they’re done with the film within three pages: “There isn’t very much we can say about that one, is there?” I disagree. Dial M for Murder has a romping plot, a gloriously slimy villain and — thanks to the fact that (as in Rope before and Rear Window after) the action is mostly constrained to one room — some of the weirdest, tricksiest camera work of Hitchcock’s career. —My favourite Hitchcock: Dial M for Murder by Henry Barnes

François Truffaut: Now, we come to 1953, the year in which you made Dial M for Murder.
Alfred Hitchcock: There isn’t very much we can say about that one, is there?
FT: I’m not so sure about that. Would you say this picture was made because it happened to be convenient?
AH: I was running for cover again. I had a contract with Warner’s at the time and was working on a scenario called The Bramble Bush. It was the story of a man who stole another man’s passport without knowing that the pass­port owner was wanted for murder. I worked on that for a while, but it wasn’t any good. Just then I found out that Warner’s had bought the rights to the Broadway stage hit Dial M for Murder. I immediately said I’d take it because that was coasting, playing it safe.
FT: It was filmed very quickly, wasn’t it?
AH: In thirty-six days.
FT: An interesting aspect is that the picture was shot in 3-D. In France, unfortunately, we only saw the flat version because the theater managers were too lazy to make the necessary arrangements for the distribution of Polaroid spectacles to the audiences.
AH: The impression of relief was especially in the low-angle shots. I had them make a pit so that the camera could be at floor level. Aside from that there were very few effects directly in relief.
FT: Among the objects projected in depthwere a lamp, a flower vase, and particularly the scissors.
AH: Yes, when Grace Kelly is looking for a weapon to defend herself. There was another shot of the keyhole and that’s all.
FT: Was the picture very faithful to the play?
AH: Yes. I’ve got a theory on the way they make pictures based on stage plays; they did it with silent pictures, too. Many filmmakers would take a stage play and say, ”I’m going to make this into a film.” Then they would begin to “open it up.” In other words, on the stage it was all confined to one set, and the idea was to do something that would take it away from the confined stage setting.
FT: In France we call that “ventilating the play.”
AH: Well, that whole operation boils down to very little. Let’s say that in the play one of the characters arrives in a cab. In the film they will show the arrival of the cab, the person getting out and paying the driver, coming up the stairs, knocking at the door and then coming into the room, and this serves to introduce the long scene that takes place in the room. Sometimes, if a stage character has mentioned something about a trip, the film will show the journey in a flashback. This technique overlooks the fact that the basic quality of any play is precisely its confinement within the proscenium.

FT: As a matter of fact, that concentration is the most difficult thing to work out in a stage dramatization. And more often than not in the process of being transposed to the screen, the dramatic effectiveness of a play will be dissi­pated.
AH: Well, this is where the filmmakers often go wrong, and what they get is simply some dull footage that’s been added to the play artificially. Whereas in Dial M for Murder, I did my best to avoid going outside. It happened only two or three times, when the inspector had to verify something, and then, very briefly. I even had the floor made of real tiles so as to get the sound of the footsteps. In other words, what I did was to emphasize the theatrical aspects.
FT: The effort at stage realism was even apparent in the soundtrack, which was far superior to Juno and the Paycock  and to Rope.
AH: Definitely.
FT: And this would also explain vvhy the trial was shown simply through a series of close­ups on Grace Kelly’s face against a natural back­ground and with color light revolving behind her, rather than to show the whole courtroom.
AH: This way was more intimate, you see, so that the unity of emotion was maintained. If I’d had a courtroom built, people would have started to cough restlessly, thinking, “they’re starting a second picture.” We did an interesting color experiment with Grace Kelly’s clothing. I dressed her in very gay and bright colors at the beginning of the picture, and as the plot thickened, her clothes be­ came gradually more somber.
FT: Before dropping Dial M for Murder, and particularly since we’ve discussed it as a minor effort, I should mention that this is one of the pictures I see over and over again. I enjoy it more every time I see it. Basically, it’s a dialogue picture, but the cutting, the rhythm, and the direction of the players are so polished that one listens to each sentence religiously. It isn’t all that easy to command the audience’s undivided attention for a continuous dialogue. I suspect that here again the real achievement is that something very difficult has been carried out in a way that makes it seem quite easy. And speaking of facility, I’m aware that it’s eas­ier to reply to criticism than to praise, but just the same, I would appreciate your comments.
AH: I just did my job, using cinematic means to narrate a story taken from a stage play. All of the action in Dial M for Murder  takes place in a living room, but that doesn’t matter. I could just as well have shot the whole film in a telephone booth. Let’s imagine there’s a couple in that booth. Their hands are touching, their lips meet, and accidentally one of them leans against the receiver, knocking it off the hook. Now, while they’re unaware of it, the phone operator can listen in on their intimate conver­sation. The drama has taken a step forward. For the audience, looking at the images, it should be the same as reaqing the opening paragraphs of a novel or hearing the expositional dialogue of the stage play. You might say that a film­maker can use a telephone booth pretty much in the same way a novelist uses a blank piece of paper.

The screenplay and the stage play on which it was based were both written by English playwright Frederick Knott, whose work often focused on women who innocently become the potential victims of sinister plots. The play premiered in 1952 on BBC television, before being performed on the stage in the same year in London’s West End in June, and then New York’s Broadway in October. [x]

For more film related items throughout the day, follow Cinephilia & Beyond on Twitter. Get Cinephilia & Beyond in your inbox by signing in. You can also follow our RSS feed. Please use our Google Custom Search for better results. If you enjoy Cinephilia & Beyond, please consider making a small donation to keep it going: