This Banksy-like figure, nicely painted in a delicate, ghostly, air-brushed style, is on a wall adjacent to the big Rite-Aid parking lot at the southwest corner of Fairfax and Sunset. I was pulling out yesterday on the bike and happened to notice it. Whoever painted this certainly isn’t trying to snag a lot of attention. It’s way off to the side and smaller than life. If it’s not a real Banksy it’s a pretty good imitation.
During an interview on last night’s Real Time with Bill Maher, former Hollywood Reporter editor Janice Min said something that I’m not allowed to say for fear of being accused of being some kind of Harvey Weinstein or Roman Polanski ally, which I’m not. The thing that Janice said (and my heart skipped a beat when she blurted it out) was “I feel like we’re in a little bit of a Robespierre French Revolution time period.”
Translation: We’re seeing the beginnings of a movie-industry version of “the terror,” or a period in post-revolutionary France over a ten-month period (September 1793 to July 1794) that was marked by mass executions of “enemies of the revolution.” I don’t want to go out on a crazy limb but a distant cousin of this mentality is alive and well in Hollywood right now, and the Robespierre figures are…Jesus, I’m afraid to mention their names. I guess I’m not much of a Danton-esque figure, huh?
Note to Robespierres: I wouldn’t have mentioned this analogy, guys, if it hadn’t been for Janice Min. I would have stayed shivering and huddling in my little mouse hole, trust me, but Janice mentioned the unmentionable. I agree that all sexual predators must be identified, shamed and prosecuted, but Robespierre-like tendencies are worth watching out for.
Bill Maher: “SNL didn’t do Harvey Weinstein jokes, and got shit about it. James Corden did some and he got shit about it. So which is it? Aren’t publicists telling their clients not to talk about it…?
Janice Min: “Oh, terrifying! I feel like we’re in a little bit of a Robespierre French Revolution time period.”
Bill Maher: “I would say every week. The purity police, yes.”
The good stuff begins around the 8:05 mark:
There’s an interesting “Making Barry Lyndon” doc on Criterion’s new Barry Lyndon Bluray. Newly produced by Criterion and running 38 minutes, it features interviews with producer Jan Harlan, Kubrick assistant Leon Vitali, assistant directors Brian Cook and Michael Stevenson, and actor Dominic Savage. It also uses audio clips from a 1976 interview with The Great Stanley K..
But you know what it doesn’t have? Interviews with the once immensely popular Ryan O’Neal as well as costar Marisa Berenson, both of whom are still with us and walking around and doing things. And that seems strange to me, especially in the case of O’Neal.
There’s no denying Barry Lyndon is O’Neal’s most admired film by far, or that a semi-exalted place in cinema history is assured O’Neal because of it. And yet when the classiest, most blue-chippy Bluray distributor in the world comes calling (as they surely must have), O’Neal refuses to sit down and share?
I suspected at first that O’Neal might not have participated due to illness, as I’d read five years ago that he was dealing with prostate cancer and lukemia. But O’Neal rebounded, at least to the extent that he’s now planning (or was recently planning) to costar in a U.K. tour of A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters with Love Story costar Ali McGraw. (One of the bookings will happen at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre from 11.13 thru 11.18.)
I don’t know when the “Making Barry Lyndon” interviews were captured, but probably last winter or spring, or at the very latest early summer. O’Neal couldn’t afford three or four hours to sit down and chat? Health concerns aside, the only other reason O’Neal might have declined is that 42 years later he’s still smarting over the public’s generally lethargic reaction to Barry Lyndon, and that he still believes it all but killed his career.
O’Neal spent over a year shooting Barry Lyndon. Principal photography took 300 days, from spring 1973 through early 1974 with a break for Christmas. Alas, the film was considered a commercial disappointment and even suffered a mixed critical reception, and O’Neal, poor fellow, won a Harvard Lampoon Award for the Worst Actor of 1975. O’Neal claimed here and there that his career never recovered from the film’s reception. “Oh, it’s all right but [Kubrick] completely changed the picture during the year he spent editing it,” O’Neal told Gene Siskel in a 1984 interview.
Last night I finally had a look at Criterion’s Rebecca Bluray, which has been circulating since 9.5. The second disc contains a discussion by film historian and visual-effects maestro Craig Barron about Rebecca‘s visual strategies and “trick” effects. Barron knows his stuff except for one nagging little thing. 10 or 12 times he mispronounces Manderley, the name of Maxim de Winter‘s grand Cornwall mansion, as “Mandalay.”
The odd thing is that the Criterion guys who shot and edited this visual essay didn’t notice the boo-boo. If they had, they could have simply asked Barron to drop by a recording studio somewhere and say “Manderley” a couple of dozen times into a microphone, and then loop in the correct pronunciation. No biggie. Or maybe they noticed the error but decided not to shell out the extra coin.
Criterion is supposed to be Tiffany-level, the gold standard of home video — letting a mistake like this slide is unbecoming.