Offscreen Notes

  • Sergei Eisenstein, Happy Birthday!

    January 22nd, 2018

    The great Soviet filmmaker/theorist was born 120 years ago today, January 22, 1898. Kudos to Google for commemorating this with their google doodle.”

  • Grant Munro (1923-Dec. 9, 2017)

    December 12th, 2017

    One of the giants of Canadian animation Grant Munro died in Montreal on Dec. 9, 2017 at the age of 94. Munro acted, animated, painted, and wrote for over five decades. Some of his work and interviews can be streamed at the NFB website:

  • Ulli Lommel (1944-Dec. 2, 2017)

    December 5th, 2017

    German actor and director Ulli Lommel has died just shy of his 73rd birthday due to heart failure. Lommel began his career as part of the New German Cinema wave, directing a film based on real-life serial killer, Tenderness of the Wolves, before moving to New York where he met up with Andy Warhol and became an active collaborator in The Factory. Since then Lommel gravitated toward more popular genre fare, always lending a unique style to B-horror movies and psychological studies of killers. His better known films are such cult items as The Boogey Man, Boogeyman 2, and The Devonsville Terror. In his later years Lommel turned to making low budget shot on video films for the non-theatrical markets.

    Official Website

  • Ray Lovelock: 1950-November 10, 2017

    November 10th, 2017

    Born of an Italian mother and English father (who was part of the English army that landed in Italy in 1944 to help liberate Italy) Lovelock was a mainstay in the Italian film industry who worked on dozens of important popular genre films, starring in westerns, giallo, horror and crime films. Tall, blonde and handsome, Lovelock was a popular leading man type along with his equally handsome contemporaries Tomas Milian (also a good friend), Maurizio Merli, Terence Stamp, and Franco Nero. Lovelock’s first role was as the young cowboy who is lusted over by a homosexual gang of bandits, in the outstanding western, Django Kill….if you live shoot!, and was excellent as the young hippie up against arch conversative detective played by old Hollywood character actor Arthur Kennedy in the environmentalist zombie classic, The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue. His boyish good lucks served him well in the proto-feminist Queens of Evil, where his hippy on the run from the law hides out with the beautiful sisters, who have more than a sting in their tail. Perhaps Lovelock’s best run of form came in a series of important crime films when the poliziotteschi were popular and plentiful. Some of these include Almost Human, The Violent Four, Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man, and Violent City. Lovelock died at the age of 67 after a battle with cancer.

    Italian bio but with a nice montage of clips:

  • Hans Hurch, RIP

    September 18th, 2017

    Abel Ferrara directs a trailer the 2017 Vienna International Film Festival in tribute to its recently deceased Program Director Hans Hurch:

  • Harry Dean Stanton (RIP), age 91

    September 17th, 2017

    Seventy-five years after he smoked his first cigarette as he told us in Twin Peaks The Return character actor extraordinaire Harry Dean Stanton dies on September 15, 2017. Wow. Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, The Intruders, Two-Lane Backdrop, The Godfather 2, Farewell, My Lovely, Straight Time, Alien, Escape from New York, Christine, Repo Man, Paris Texas, The Last Temptation of Christ, Wild at Heart, The Straight Story, The Good Life, and Twin Peaks: The Return. A man who epitomized cool by just being. An actor who seems to have never done the proverbial “dial one in” with a role. A director’s dream. An actor’s friend. A cinephile’s confidant.

  • Jerry Lewis RIP: 1926-August 20, 2017

    August 22nd, 2017

    One of America’s greatest comedians died on August 20, 2017 at the age of 91, leaving behind a lasting legacy as an old school comedian who redefined himself to become a modernist directing and writing and starring in a series of films peaking in the 1960s that had as much in common with Beckett and Brecht and Tati as Keaton and Chaplin and Lou Costello. Jerry Lewis along with his comic partner Dean Martin were the most popular comic team of their time, perhaps of all-time, consistently making films that topped the box-office charts throughout the fifties. His penchant for combining manic movement with stoic stillness defined two poles of comedy, which can be expressed through a comparison of someone like Harry Langdon to Buster Keaton. Stasis versus movement. This is captured in one great scene from the Lewis directed/written vehicle The Patsy (1964), where Lewis as the bell boy soon to be patsy enters a hotel room to service its occupants. The scene cuts between (mainly) long shots of a harried, jittery Lewis nervously entering the room, all arms and legs, and long shots of the six black dressed business types standing perfectly still, like statues, staring in bewilderment at the odd human in front of them and slowly turning their expressions to eureka divination at having found their patsy. No comedian mugged for the camera with more brazen conviction than Lewis, who well into the second half of the 20th century still treated the camera with a mixture of contempt, love and lunacy. There will never be another like Jerry Lewis. That mold is done and busted.

  • Sam Shepard RIP: 1943-July 27, 2017

    August 2nd, 2017

    Always youthful looking, playwright, writer, novelist, actor and director, Sam Shepard died on July 27, 2017 at the age of 73, a few days of the world of film lost Jeanne Moreau.

  • Jeanne Moreau: 1928-2017

    August 2nd, 2017

    Beauty meets charisma meets talent, personified, Jeanne Moreau passes away at the age of 89. An actress who made her mark with the French New Wave acting in some of its most seminal films and went on to work with such notable directors as Asquith, Frankenheimer, Blier, Bunuel, Antonioni, Welles, Losey, Besson and others. A life well lived.

  • Jonathan Demme (1944-2017)

    April 27th, 2017

    American director Jonathan Demme is dead at age 73, after a two year struggle with cancer. Like his colleague Martin Scorsese, Demme split his film career between making fiction films with a social heart and music documentaries and concerts. He will always be best remembered for his masterpiece Silence of the Lambs, which saw him squeeze out of Anthony Hopkins one of the most disturbing portrayals of evil hiding behind a veneer of sophistication. Read Bruce Weber’s obit on the NYTimes:

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