CineSavant Column

Saturday April 13, 2019


And greetings from Los Angeles, which has survived a windstorm with a lot of power outages, luckily not in my neighborhood.

A book I’ve heard mentioned several times in the past week uncovers an almost unknown chapter in the life of star Audrey Hepburn. Associate Dick Dinman highlights it in his podcast Dick Dinman salutes the shocking Audrey Hepburn biography Dutch Girl. Dick’s guest is biographer Robert Matzen whose new book chronicles for the first time teenager Hepburn’s intense ordeal through five years of Nazi occupation, including a stay in Arnhem during the failed ‘Market Garden’ campaign, and the near starvation winter that followed. Through it all, Audrey had to contend with the fact that both her parents had sided with the Nazi occupiers.

Imagine having to make that choice before the age of sixteen. After that kind of experience, taking on the rougher aspects of show business must have been easy for the sharp minded young woman.

Helpful colleague Gary Teetzel points us to a fun bit of home movies, taken in Texas in 1964 and encoded at the Texas Archive of Moving Images. The The James Stowe Family Collection, no. 1 shows us a little fun-fair that received a publicized visit from horror star Lon Chaney Jr., and the movies capture a fairly charming chunk of his stay, especially him greeting young movie fans. It’s a nice view of a favorite personality, to counter the negative stories of personal problems, etc.. Lon looks great, too. The caption tells us that the little boy in a Frankenstein mask is none other than future special effects supervisor and publisher Ernest Farino.

And in the interest of shameless self-promotion, I’ll just say here that I’m waiting for the arrival of a new French Wild Side deluxe box Blu-ray of Les forbans de la nuit, otherwise known as Night and the City. I went on camera for an hour three years ago to talk in a video piece to go with the fancy presentation, which like a Wild Side French disc several years ago of Gun Crazy, comes with two versions, tons of extras and a fat book… in French, of course. The release isn’t at all Region A – friendly, for more than one reason, but I’ll likely review it just for the record.

Les forbans de la Nuit translates as ‘Pirates of the Night,’ which isn’t a bad title at all; remember that Raoul Walsh’s Musketeers of Pig Alley was about street hoodlums. I couldn’t resist putting up this frame grab, of me imitating a goldfish gasping for oxygen.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson