Wednesday, 10 December 2008

The lights flickered as the chill swept the empty flat. Shallow shadows haunted the bleak walls as I sat rocking back and forth thinking over philosophies and ideologies, trying to think of something profound and life-altering. But nothing comes. I want to write, but cannot think of what is worthy to force the ink to paper. It’s nice, neat blank computer paper. So clean and crisp, like 1950s laundry. An image flashes of red a la Hitchcock’s Marnie. My mind goes directly to the tips of my fingers. A stinging, sharp pain and flowing red.
Never mind the paper. There’s ink or maybe lead. But lead can be erased and what would the point be. At least with ink there will always be some sort of blot, possibly used later by a psychoanalyst on rough times. Books lay like dead butterflies scattered across the carpet. All hopes and dreams of efficiency are dashed. A couple sentence fragments turn into newly illegible cross-outs into a sketch of a chair into new bin lining. The conundrum of the seemingly educated writer; nothing reasonably good seems innovative enough, in this vast world somebody has done exactly what someone else is contemplating. Nothing is original, even in questioning worth of self and one’s prose has become passé. What is the purpose of writing if not to explore new avenues of thought which have been circled around endlessly for centuries? It seems that I will never have a truly original thought and have set forth to write no more.
But I have to write to live. I cannot live without self-expression, no matter how self-indulgent. Oh damn if I am cliché or passé. I will write no matter the possible paper cuts or mental blocks. I am what I am and the world is my oyster.

Friday, 18 July 2008

I am in love with Errol Flynn

I am in love with Errol Flynn. So what? He is possibly one of the greatest film stars ever. Now, notice that I said film star, not actor. Actor is too lofty of a word and profession for such a voracious soul. An actor is Lord Larry Olivier, not Errol. I love him from the moment he steps into the screen effortlessly to only leave within seemingly fleeting moments and leave a void deep within the hearts of his audience, be them male or female. He is a hero, he is a lover, he is a man greater than circumstance would allow. He is, even though he has passed on to the other side, abyss or God forbid, damnable hell. He continues to lighten the lives of those whose eyes are blessed enough to see him on the silver screen, home television or even YouTube clip. As all great men, he was and continues to be one of many contradictions… Film star, but not actor. A great lover who attempted marriage and children. Hollywood’s great physical specimen, yet his body was ravaged by malaria and other severe ailments. Politically active, but no one was certain to which side he leant. This man had been charged with Nazism, communism, homophobia, homosexuality, statutory rape, regular rape, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, large alcohol consumption, prolific seduction, white slavery, modern pirating, along with much, much more. He flew to the battlefront of the Spanish Revolution, befriended Castro, dated a 15 year old at the ripe age of 48 and was supposedly buried with five bottles of whiskey.

Every time he winks, smiles or calls Rosalind Russell a tricky wench, I warm up inside. When he begins some blatantly uplifting speech to his men, I fall for every single cliché word. When he finally can steal a kiss from his current on-screen love, I wish that I could have started such a flame, but all I have to work with now is embers.

Many actors have been compared to Errol. Johnny Depp’s turn as Captain Sparrow gave him a nod to the swashbuckler, Warren Beatty was described as Errol Flynn but better by Gene Hackman and even a film critic compared the latest Indy Jones as if Errol had taken up his role again to film a sequel to the Adventures of Robin Hood. The main issue with these comparisons is that most claim the newer surpasses the original by far, which is simply not the case, or why else would they compare these men to him instead of Douglas Fairbanks, the swashbuckler, or John Barrymore, the notorious drunk, or Gary Cooper, the not as publicly noted lothario. It is because Errol Flynn somehow can capture the minds and hearts of all audiences. He is the hero of legend. The only reason that he is not remembered as a great actor is because the studio system would not let him leave his swashbuckling legacy and he was so great in those roles that the public cannot accept him as a comedic romantic lead or thriller villain, but only as the legging-clad Casanova swinging in on a rope to save the day. But how can I blame them? For that is part of me loving him. He is even greater as the years go on, for although commonly compared he can never be matched.


The Adventures of Robin Hood

Never Say Goodbye

Gentleman Jim

Four's A Crowd

The Sea Hawk

Elizabeth and Essex

They Died with their Boots On

Captain Blood

Friday, 2 May 2008

Tim Burton, Can You Hear Me?

What ever happened to the great terrible film? The one that was so bad that it was quite magnificent? Where you sat back stuffing your face with popcorn, hot dog or some confectionary treat and laughed your brains out just because of how implausible the plot, characters, even scenery were? And these films weren't particularly B-films because they had A-actors. They weren't Monster from the Third Moon's Eye, more like overly suspenseful attempts at making classic cinema. Like films written to be B, but somehow the acting and sometime the direction made you feel A.
For context, I am a major Vincent Price fan. I've adored him and his films since I was a child, I still have nightmares of the cat scratching the redhead's face in Tomb of Ligeia(spelling?), some vampire blood orgy thing and even his cameos on some Scooby-doo spinoff. I was fascinated by gothic horror, obsessing particularly with stories of vampirism, witchcraft and in general the supernatural relating with death. I used to carry around charms, Poe's works, etc. I was a very strange kid.
Anyways, no matter how hokey, how obvious, how melodramatic, I sat and still sit through all of the films with a smirk on my face and a glimmer of horrified excitement in my eyes. The best part was how Vincent Price seemed completely knowing of the thrill he gave to the audience, almost showboating his talent for the costume horror. In the Pit and the Pendulum, there is a gleaming in his eye as he plays the innocent, sweet son of the maniacal Inquisitor, as though he knows exactly what he is going to become in the last scene of the film and is excited for the twist. He relishes in the fact that both he and the audience know, while his fellow characters barely have a clue. His eyes smirk at the audience, playing for them as though we were in on some colossal joke. While Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Peter Lorre, even Lon Chaney, took their art in all complete seriousness, Price played with us, not saying he was dedicated to his craft. Actually, probably it is due to his dedication that we derive the sense of him playing for us out there in the dark, that as we leave the theater or the dark room, we imagine that he is lurking behind the door about to ask whether he could offer any refreshments.
I miss this sort of cinema. The closest Hollywood has today is probably Johnny Depp. And no, I'm not just following the indie or Pirate crowd. I think that Johnny Depp is one of the few actors who keeps in contact with his audience through the silver screen. He dares you to think that he is merely acting, that whatever role he has picked up is not actually just him on a day-to-day basis.
Someday, I really want to write a horrendous stomach-turner, not to imply Vincent Price or Johnny Depp have ever been in one, but... One where you keep asking the screen 'What the hell?' every three minutes. I want the twists to seem so obvious but every time you still jump a little in your seat or let out a guffaw or even laugh yourself silly. But then, I want the ending to be the ultimate terrible conclusion. I want the bad guy to win and definitely not in a good way. Not as some recrimination on society nor as some symbolically anti-Hollywood trick. But just for the amusement of seeing the audience glare at the credits and leave the theater feeling some emotion, whether it be annoyance, questioning, maybe even fulfilled. I hate how I have watched films and left feeling nothing. Feeling completely void as though I had just dozed off in front of the television again. That is exactly why we have films. To heighten emotions, to make us want to cry from the mountaintops, to leap up in the air for fear of a potentially deadly spider, to have us fall head over heels in love with a complete stranger, to be completely and deliriously happy over a slight change in plans...

This post's film recommendations:
The Pit and the Pendulum
The Tomb of Ligeia
Theatre of Blood
The Masque of the Red Death
Tales of Terror
The Libertine
Don Juan DeMarco
Ed Wood
Dead Man
Sweeney Todd
The Man Who Cried

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Prelude to an Asylum

Greetings world, or at least the small portion that will grace a glance at this blog.
I have never been that great at introductions. My passion in life is film, especially film actors. Someday, I hope to be a famous screenwriter. I would settle for just prolific, even infamously terrible. Currently, I'm working on a script that has been 'in process' for almost two years now, and by that I mean that I don't know how to end the damn thing. But, oh well, I'm only 18. Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 26, so I have nine years until I lapse into a depression of booze and Minstrels... Currently, I'm studying at the University of St Andrews, (yes, Prince William went here and no, I haven't spotted him on campus). This is my second blog. I lost the password to my other one, Feel free to glance at my previous ramblings about Hugh Jackman, Woody Allen and trends in Hollywood cinema.
But enough about me, we have the rest of this blog to hear about me and my latest obsessions, what about you, dear reader?