Thursday, 26 February 2009

Graham Greene quote

From a false equation you get only a chain of errors.
Graham Greene, The Honorary Consul

Having worked with
numbers, equations and a variety of mathematical topics, when I came across this I loved it. It summarises everything so perfectly well. Pity most people don't grasp it, either in Maths or in Life.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Jane Austen quote

Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (Chapter 58)

Since I read "Pride and Prejudice" years ago this has been one of my favourite quotes. I must re-read it sometime soon.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Saul Bass and Love in the Afternoon (1957)

(c) Saul Bass (I suppose)

"Love in the Afternoon" is neither my favourite Wilder nor my favourite Audrey Hepburn film. It doesn't even rank high in either list. It has Gary Cooper in it, who is a poor replacement for Cary Grant (Wilder's first choice and who would probably have made this one of the great romantic comedies) and Maurice Chevalier, who I really, really, really don't like. And yet, it has one of my favourite movie posters of all time - created by Saul Bass.

I first saw it in an retrospective at the Design Museum a few years ago. I knew of Bass' connection to Preminger and Hitchcock but not Wilder (he also did the posters for One, Two, Three and Irma La Douce, and the credits for The Seventh Year Itch). It was love at first sight. I like its suggestiveness, its naughtiness and I think it works brilliant as an advert for the film - it leaves me wanting for more.

Update: Christie's sold a vintage copy for £375 on the 12th March. And no, it wasn't me.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

The Furies (1950)

Two of the most charismatic actors to grace the screen in Hollywood’s Golden Age were Barbara Stanwyck and Walter Houston. While she is not very well remembered by the large public, some of her films are - which in a way keeps her in people’s memories. Walter Houston on the other hand, is mostly forgotten despite amazing performances, of which I recognise having seen but a handful, the most famous in his son’s The Treasure of Sierra Madre. They both came together in Anthony Mann’s The Furies.

I don’t like regular westerns, cowboys and indians, male dominated worlds where women are ready to be taken by the handsome hero, a world where the goody wears white and the baddy wears black. But I like unusual westerns - stuff like Johnny Guitar, Once upon a time in the West, The Searchers and The Man who short Liberty Valance, and more recently Unforgiven. I can now add "The Furies" to that list.

This is a story of a quasi-incestuous relationship of a landowner and his daughter, the presumptive heiress to his throne. All is well until the father brings a new queen home, which starts a chain of events of which only one can come out alive.

Here's a random list of things I loved about it: the B&W cinematography, Judith Anderson who is amazing as the potential new wife of Walter Huston, Barbara Stanwyck descending the stairs after she has heard of the impending marriage, the hanging scene. It was a blind buy (as much as a major Barbara Stanwyck film is a blind buy) from the nice but overpriced people at Criterion, but it was worth every penny.

Monday, 2 February 2009