CineSavant Column

Saturday June 29, 2019

Hello —

I’ve indeed been gone a few days, so no new reviews until Tuesday. I had a fine time up North, and as an added bonus got to revisit my old car, now being carefully tended by my daughter. And I’m sufficiently proud to include a photo … if I behave, she lets me drive it. Seriously I am kind of wiped out and will resume CineSavanting tomorrow. The accounts of subscribers on the silver and gold CineSavant plans will be credited one Saturday’s reviews.

I took a book with me, and read enough to run across a very welcome revelation. Critic-historian J. Hoberman has settled a problem for me, in his 2011 tome Army of Phantoms. In a 2000 review of the movie Rocketship X-M for Video Watchdog, I learned a big lesson about what one should write for print publication. In my review I wrote without absolute certainty that Dalton Trumbo was an uncredited writer on the 1950 movie by Kurt Neumann. It was credited as such in the IMDB, but that’s not why I made the claim.

Back at UCLA in around 1973, one of Trumbo’s daughters worked for a time in the Melnitz Hall office of the UCLA Film Archive. One day she showed me a mimeographed typed list of what the Trumbo family thought were Trumbo’s uncredited screenplays, and Rocketship X-M was on it. But I was never given a copy of the list, and the daughter did say that the listing was a work in progress … they were trying to nail down a full filmography for Mr. Trumbo. I should have kept my accreditation at the level of a rumor.

Now I discover J. Hoberman’s fine book. His work is surely fully vetted for all such facts, and he states it clearly. I can’t call myself vindicated — I was still guilty of amateur fact-collecting — but I do feel better.

A new review on Tuesday and a BUNCH thereafter — more very interesting discs have arrived from Kino.

— Thanks for Reading, Glenn