Wednesday, February 13, 2019

From the Radio Silence

Dear WatchBlog-followers,

I know I've been scarce here in recent weeks, but whenever I disappear you can be sure it's because I'm busy elsewhere.

I've spent the last week or so nudging my Joe Sarno book forward. During this period, I made the decision to halve the project, dividing the manuscript into two books - one devoted to the 1960s films, the second covering selective works from the 1970s and beyond. The 1960s volume alone will cover close to 40 films, more than most mainstream directors make in a lifetime, so there will be no shortage of discussion; on the basis of where things stand now, nearly 400 pages in manuscript, the completed draft should total 500-600 pages despite telling only the first half of the total story. With illustrations, this should be enough book for anybody - at least for starters.

Speaking of working on the Sarno book... On the day Albert Finney died, I happened to be still-framing my way through an exterior shot in Sarno's ALL THE SINS OF SODOM (1968) to determine exactly where it was shot and found a buried cameo by Finney - his face was plastered on a poster for his play A DAY IN THE DEATH OF JOE EGG, which ran on Broadway from February through June 1968. It was downright surreal to see Finney turn up there, of all places - and the title of the play gave it special resonance. 

Thankfully, audio commentary work continues to be offered and my finished tracks have been receiving some wonderful notices. The titles I've been assigned thus far for 2019 read like a dream list. I just finished scripting a new commentary for a major Jess Franco title, to be recorded as soon as Kino Lorber's master becomes available, and this very day I'm starting to work on André Hunebelle's FANTOMAS (1964) starring Jean Marais and Louis de Funès. Fantômas is a movie and character that captured my imagination in childhood, thanks to a Michel Parry article in a 1966 issue of CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN magazine, and I saw the film for the first time on television 50 years ago this year. I was recently surprised and pleased to discover that FANTOMAS had its Cincinnati debut in 1966 at the RKO Albee Theater, where Donna and I later met, playing in support of THE BIG BOUNCE.

I posted recently about my top obsessions of 2018. My current obsessions vary between a complete viewing of Roger Moore's 1960s series THE SAINT, getting acquainted with the works of a British Edgar Wallace competitor named Roland Daniel (his titles got to me - I presently have THE HUNCHBACK OF SOHO in hand, and am eagerly awaiting delivery of SNAKE FACE!), and I'm still preoccupied with Jules Verne, specifically collecting those latter-day Jules Verne novels whose copyrights exclude their English translations from the Delphi COMPLETE WORKS ebook. I was surprised to discover that one of the key publishers of this material, Wesleyan University Press, released in 2001 the first-ever complete English translation of THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND; it's hard-to-find now in an affordable hardcover, but if you ever intend to read it, remember that this is the only authentic version. Be warned, though: there are no giant birds, crabs or bees, so you'll be left looking at the Ray Harryhausen film in a completely different way.

Between one thing and another, I find myself reading more these days than watching new Blu-ray releases, but there is some incredible stuff coming out that I'll try to let you know about as I can find the time! 

As I'll be working steadily on the FANTOMAS script next week, I've written a serialized set of blog entries to keep you occupied during my absence. Starting next Monday, look forward to my six-part feature article documenting the 14 Columbia Pictures adventures of BOSTON BLACKIE, starring Chester Morris. 

(c) 2019 by Tim Lucas. All rights reserved.