Would you spring for a Bluray of a 1951 British black-and-white film that was professionally produced but never intended to be a Gregg Toland-level visual masterpiece? I’m planning to in this instance. Brian Desmond Hurst‘s A Christmas Carol, the only version worth owning or watching, has never looked all that radiant, although the most recent standard DVD was fairly decent. A “new state-of-the-art high-def film transfer from the original 35mm negatives” is promised with “digitally restored picture and sound.”
“Close call here. They ended ‘We are the World’ before I could jimmy open my gun closet and blow my brains out.” — Twitter message from N.Y. Times media columnist David Carr, a.k.a., ‘the Bagger.” Update: Carr’s Tweet was actually a re-Tweet — he was passing along an original thought from one Roland Hedley.
A.O. Scott‘s inspired video essays always look smallish and slightly degraded on the Times site, but they look significantly improved at a width of 560 pixels on YouTube. (Just search with “NY Times critics’ picks A.O. Scott”.) This essay on John Ford‘s Fort Apache is one of the better ones, particularly for the parallels Scott raises between Ford’s U.S.cavalry vs. native Americans conflict and current U.S. military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At the currently-rolling Michael Jackson tribute, Stevie Wonder recently said the following: “I know we all feel that we needed Michael with us, but God must have felt that he needed him a lot more.” Oh, surely. And a tearful Brooke Shields has just spoken of the Little Prince whom “we need to look up” to now that he’s sitting on high. The denial is pathetic and it’s all so Vegas. But I’d be concealing if I didn’t admit that some of the tributes have moved me. Some, not all.
Here’s an mp4 (or rather, what used to be an mp4 before YouTube’s processor turned it into video ghoulash) of Carr reading a passage from his book about his father — a blunt, blustery, tough-love type.
I’m sorry for not having read Beautiful Struggle. It’s a growing-up-with-a-tough-dad story — growing up in a tough Baltimore neighborhood, the constant push-and-pull of temptations and admonitions, and his father being “steeped in race consciousness and willing to go to any lengths — including beatings — to keep his sons on the right path.”
Coates’ remarks last night told me he’s a frank and intelligent man of good and generous spirit. I’ll take the evidence of what I heard him read (on top of Carr’s praise) as a reliable indicator that his book is worth reading.
“I love Carr’s voice,” I wrote, calling it “at once flip and candid and yet elegant and wise. But the book is also a gripping, dead honest and well-reported confessional. And at the same time — no mean feat — dryly entertaining.
“Night of the Gun is one of those ‘I did this and whoa…I’m not dead!’ books, but of a much higher calibre. Much. Carr is a man of immense steel balls to have written this, and particularly to have gone back into the damp muddy tunnels of the past and fact-checked everything for three years. He did some 60 interviews with the witnesses and participants. He pored over the depressing documents (arrest reports, medical sheets) that all drug-users accumulate sooner or later. It must have revived nightmares. But Carr went and did it and bravely wrote this book, and did a bang-up job of it. Hat off, head bowed.”
I was wrong. The malware that is causing the misdirection of Google searches to wacky-junk sites continues unabated. On Firefox, I mean. But not on Flock or Windows Safari. So that’s the last straw, I’m afraid, for Firefox. It’s been my default browser since ’05 but no longer. I’m feeling twinges of sentimental regret but that’ll pass.
On the day of the big Michael Jackson memorial at the Staples Center (along with the private service at Forest Lawn), my sincere thanks to Tony Martin, editor of the Melbourne-based Scrivener’s Fancy, for re-running “Jackson Virus” plus a flattering intro.
“The public funeral for Jackson at LA’s Staples Center on Tuesday July 7,” I wrote, “is going to be a huge Diane Arbus event, like nothing ever seen or imagined. A Multitude of Grotesques.” Meaning that today will be, in effect, if you want to look at it that way, a day of national mourning. Not for the memory of a talented but diseased man but for the whittling away of America’s soul. Who, really, is proud of what today’s Staples Center is saying to the world about the communal values and character that define this country?
This high-quality TMZ live webcam, by the way, is very cool.