CineSavant Column

Saturday August 4, 2018


It’s a radio show dedicated to the work of makeup man Dick Smith, a discussion with makeup artists Craig Reardon, Steve Johnson and Kevin Haney, hosted by Scott Essman: The Godfather of Make-Up Effects. It starts with a sentimental audio clip from Smith himself, recorded in 2011. CineSavant correspondent Craig Reardon was one of Smith’s worshipful protégés, and has always had a lot to say about the genius of the man who invented the makeup for The Exorcist, Little Big Man, The Godfather films, Altered States and Scanners.

Second up is an actual Warners feature La classe Américaine 99%, the link forwarded by Joe Dante. First, here’s Joe’s description: “This weird 70 minute project started when Warner Bros. agreed to let the French TV channel Canal+ use its 4000-movie catalog free of charge for a month. Directors Michel Hazanavicius and Dominique Mézerette assembled a vaguely Citizen Kane-like plot out of reams of disparate footage and redubbed it all with many of the local voice actors associated with the various movie stars on hand.”

It’s weird all right — with a title that translates as American Class, the crude comedy may be intended as a slap at the gutter-level vulgarity of ‘populist’ film comedy from Hollywood these days. An ultimate comedy re-dub job a la What’s Up Tiger Lily?, Hazanavicius concocts a ‘story’ weaving together WB films just for the fun of making ’50s and ’60s movie stars talk as dirty as the characters in a Trey Parker / Matt Stone ‘‘comedy.’

Of course, it’s all dubbed into French, so we read the English subtitles. The gutter level insults definitely have a shock appeal. Everybody’s either gay or happily gay-bashing somebody — John Wayne, James Stewart, Henry Fonda — by cutting together clips from films like Rio Bravo, Harper, All the President’s Men, The Sea Chase, Freebie and the Bean, The Good Guys and the Bad Guys, even The Searchers. Have no idea where it was shown, but I haven’t seen anything like it so polished, and so begging for defamation lawsuits.

Hey, here’s something we all need in the house, a HAL 9000 Life-Size Replica! It has plenty of features, is stylish, comes in various models. Just don’t put it in charge of your Life Vital Signs .. the thing’s been known to lock doors, cut off the phones and wi-fi, and turn on the gas with the pilot off. Before you know it, ‘Life Functions Terminated!’

CineSavant advisor Gary Teetzel noted:

“You’re supposed to be able to run Alexa or Siri through it, but what good is that without Douglas Rain’s voice? Come on, he’s still alive! Sure, he’s ninety and probably doesn’t sound anything like he did fifty years ago, but still . . .

Then of course there’s another product, that seems the worst of what the future has to offer: Gatebox’s Cute Virtual Character. Wayne Schmidt thought it sounded like something from Blade Runner 2049. Gary predicted how one might relate to it:

It’s kinda creepy that it acts like a teenage girl. To make it more realistic, it should be periodically moody, and then, over time, act more bored, not message you as often, etc. Then, after a year, it should tell you it wants to explore seeing other people.”

And, as expected, UK’s Powerhouse Indicator did indeed announce an all-Region Blu-ray of Jacques Tourneur’s superlative Night/Curse of the Demon. The buzz at the moment is that they’re touting four distinct versions. We’ve covered the title here pretty well, with Wayne Schmidt’s chronicle of How the Long Version Was Saved, and we’re eager to find out what the other two versions are, exactly — they can’t just be the two different lengths, both with different main titles, can they?

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson