Savant Column

Saturday December 9, 2017


Thanks for the thoughts regarding the fires here in the Southland. We’re fine. Being upwind of most of the serious blazes, we weren’t affected except on the commute — Santa Monica College shut down about an hour later, and I ended up making two trips there in heavy traffic jammed from the freeway closure. So for us it was just an inconvenience — for the homeowners it’s clearly horrifying, but for the rest of us it’s mostly just smoke on the horizon.

I worry more about friends out in Thousand Oaks, Agoura, etc., living in ‘God’s Country (fresh air, quiet) but surrounded by twenty years’ growth of underbrush. Los Angeles is a DESERT with developments that have sprawled out in places that burn off naturally two or three times per century, without help from faulty car exhausts, malfunctioning power lines, arsonists, terrorist gophers, etc.. I love California. It has earthquakes, but for some reason I’m not afraid of those. What scares me are those hurricanes and tornadoes from the Midwest and South.

But howzabout some links? First up is a nice tip from Gary Teetzel for Orson Welles fans:

“In case you hadn’t heard, Indiana University now has a website devoted to the radio work of Orson Welles, with many of the recordings coming from Orson’s personal copies. The recordings are divided up by program:

Orson Welles on the Air, 1938-1946

Of special interest to Welles fans might be “Orson Welles Commentaries”, conveying his political views, including his crusade to get justice for Isaac Woodard, Jr., a black soldier who had been beaten and blinded by cops in the south.

There is also “Hello Americans”, a continuation of his efforts to help foster good relations between the Americas that was to have begun with the unfinished feature It’s all True.

Although the site is devoted mostly to radio shows Orson was involved in creating, the section “More” contains a grab-bag of other items of interest: Welles meeting H.G. Wells; interviews performed at the premiere of Citizen Kane (at one point the interviewer asks Orson if he thinks Kane will be a film that directors look to for inspiration, etc. in the future. How prophetic!); raw recordings of Rita Hayworth looping lines for The Lady from Shanghai; and some episodes of The Jack Benny Show that Orson guest-hosted, in which he spoofed his image as a pretentious, multi-talented egomaniac. Yes, Orson could laugh about that image in those days–before it destroyed his career. Happy listening! — Gary

I daydreamed on CineSavant that Hammer’s These Are the Damned would appear on Blu-ray, and in response I’ve received several inquiries, asking if I am leaking inside information. Nope, it’s just wishful thinking. Again, Gary Teetzel shot me a link to an older (2016) Video Watchblog entry called On Reading CHILDREN OF LIGHT, H.L. Lawrence’s hard to find source book for the Joseph Losey movie. It’s Tim Lucas once again bringing us the scoop from out there on the cutting edge of fan interest.

And yet more fantasy link fun from Gary Teetzel: ancient magazine articles, online: The first up is about Upcoming Horror Pictures in 1932-1933,

followed by a 1932 profile on that interesting actor Creighton Chaney . . .

and lastly an article about miniature movie effects, supposedly written by Willis O’Brien

And finally, Joe Baltake brings up the subject of Colossus: The Forbin Project at his The Passionate Moviegoer (12.08.17) and revisits his own review from a number of years back. I was about to review a German disc a month or so ago but decided to wait for the domestic Shout! Factory disc due next February 27. I’ll wait ’til then to read Joe’s coverage — he seems a fan of director Joseph Sargent, which is a righteous thing to be.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson