CineSavant Column

Tuesday November 5, 2019


Does science really imitate Movies?   Thirty years ago Wim Wenders said he dropped the ball with his futuristic epic Until the End of the World (1991), because his vision of 1999 didn’t predict the rise of The Internet. But his film’s invention — a machine that records The Act of Seeing so that blind people can see — gets used for a secondary purpose, and becomes a personal electronic device that addicts people with the curse of staring at small video screens.

My biologist son surprised me last week with a link to an article about a research program that sounds suspiciously like what Max Von Sydow was doing in the Wim Wenders picture: “Neural Network Reconstructs Human Thoughts from Brain Waves in Real Time.” The still images above remind me of the ‘dream visions’ from UTEOTW, which in 1991 were accomplished with a new video invention called ‘high definition.’ The full-length Until the End of the World arrives from Criterion on December 10.

I didn’t know this next item was coming, honest .. after griping and whining last time about the lack of sword ‘n’ sandal pix on quality disc, Kino Lorber hits us with news of two more big Italo titles ‘coming in 2020’: The Wonders of Aladdin starring Donald O’Connor and Vittorio De Sica, co- directed (?) by Henry Levin and Mario Bava, and the much-desired Goliath and the Vampires with Gordon Scott, Gianna Maria Canale and Leonora Ruffo, directed by Giacomo Gentilomo. Info is sketchy, but both Blu-rays claim new 4K transfers.

And finally, I just read most of the new issue (#27) of the Film Noir Foundation’s periodical Noir City and can recommend it — after reviewing so many atom-themed movies, I was interested in this issue’s several articles about atom-themed noirs, and real-life Hollywood creatives that got caught up in postwar national security issues. Plus an in-depth article about Gene Tierney, with more detail than I’ve read anywhere else. Even though my cable service screws up the transmission of standard-def movies on my TCM HD channel, I tune in every week to hear Eddie Muller’s comments on the movies … he, Alan Rode, Vince Keenan and Steve Kronenberg have a solid publication going here.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson