Nicholas Ray

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nosy lena
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 12:40 am

Re: Nicholas Ray

#76 Post by nosy lena » Tue May 03, 2016 5:02 pm

I recently got the Japanese release of They Live By Night on blu-ray. I never owned this on DVD so it's kind of hard for me to compare but I love the film and I'm very pleased. Below is a resized screenshot and an image of the DVD from DVDBeaver above it.

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hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
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Re: Nicholas Ray

#77 Post by hearthesilence » Tue May 03, 2016 8:44 pm

Wow. I have the DVD, but I guess they boosted the contrast? Shame, it is indeed a great film, one of those rare debuts where the director makes a masterpiece right out of the gate.

connor
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:03 pm

Re: Nicholas Ray

#78 Post by connor » Fri Mar 24, 2017 4:32 pm

Looks like Bitter Victory is getting a blu ray release in France.

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Tom Amolad
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 4:30 pm
Location: New York

Re: Nicholas Ray

#79 Post by Tom Amolad » Sat Apr 29, 2017 3:49 pm

Has anyone watched the version of The Savage Innocents that streams on Amazon. Is it in the correct aspect ration (or close enough)? I gather there are a lot of pan and scan DVDs of this film, which is not the way I want to see it, so I'm worried that might be what Amazon used.

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Drucker
Your Future our Drucker
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am

Re: Nicholas Ray

#80 Post by Drucker » Sat Apr 29, 2017 3:52 pm

Well Olive announced an upcoming blu-ray, so if you're a little patient you'll be able to see a decent copy soon.

oh yeah
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:45 pm

Re: Nicholas Ray

#81 Post by oh yeah » Sat Apr 29, 2017 3:58 pm

Unless they've changed it, the version streaming on Amazon is definitely Pan and Scan. I'm looking forward to seeing it finally, in the correct AR, so it's good to know Olive's on it.

Incidentally, Olive's latest deluxe edition of Johnny Guitar, released last fall, is quite lovely. That's another one finally in the correct AR (though I don't mind it in 1.33:1 too much, and Olive's earlier transfer was pretty great for what it was).

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OldBobbyPeru
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:15 am

Re: Nicholas Ray

#82 Post by OldBobbyPeru » Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:48 am

I watched a strange double feature today: Johnny Guitar and In a Lonely Place. The former was goofy, surrealistic, garish, bizarre, yet after I struggled through it, I was glad I expended the effort. You don't see things like that every day, do you?

Then, this evening, I watched In a Lonely Place. Wow. There is no way, if I didn't know beforehand, that I ever would have guessed that these two films were by the same director. Lonely Place was amazingly good. Johnny Guitar interesting, in that its over the top and camp.

The irony is that it seems as though the French critics who championed Ray and the Auteur Theory don't seem to see the difference. Then, if you factor in Flying Leathernecks, what does that do to your Auteur Theory?

Please challenge me and tell me where I am wrong, as I often am. It seems to me that Ray was only as good as the system let him be. Despite the adulation for Johnny Guitar, what I see is an uncontrollable Joan Crawford, chewing scenery and demanding re-writes when she wasn't drunk out of her mind and throwing her co-star's costumes out onto the highway in Sedona.

Flying Leathernecks was Howard Hughes using Ray to make another one of his awful films.

In a Lonely Place, on the other hand was seriously good.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Nicholas Ray

#83 Post by knives » Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:25 pm

Well, you have to think in degrees in these things. At best Flying Leathernecks has Ray's aesthetic to it, but it largely is not a great argument for him as an author. The other two are great examples if you look at the original idea of the auteur theory which assumes the director dresses the producer's/writer's/ect work toward their idea. So Johnny Guitar being at least partially reflective of the needs to work around its star works with that idea. Also having one author doesn't necessarily mean being overly unified like Hong Sang Soo. Adapting one's style to the need of a story is a sensible approach and can apply to even one work (I once read an explanation of this which said that with no knowledge of Joyce many literary critics would likely assume Ulysses was cobbled together from several sources). Finally quality doesn't indicate authorship either. What you say with regards to being only as good as the material provided matters not in terms of authorship since one can be a bad author.

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Rayon Vert
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Re: Nicholas Ray

#84 Post by Rayon Vert » Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:22 pm

Geoff Andrew, author of a book on Ray, says Johnny Guitar, significantly in color, starts a trend in Ray's work towards more stylized and melodramatic, and less generically conventional, film-making. (p. 70-71 in that book) One thinks of Rebel, of course.

Thematically it's easy to find commonalities through all of these films. Andrew: "Even Flying Leathernecks, Ray's most anonymous and conventional film, feeds on personal conflict and anxiety rather than on traditional gung-ho wartime heroics." (The Films of Nicholas Ray, BFI Publishing, p. 14).

dda1996a
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:14 am

Re: Nicholas Ray

#85 Post by dda1996a » Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:56 pm

For me, aside from his immaculate craftsmanship, Ray's film always reach an incredibly deep psychological understanding and sympathy towards his characters. That's what individuates his films, where complex and oft misunderstood characters are explored. That's where Johnny Guitar, On Dangerous Ground, and Rebel meet. That's how he makes films like In a Lonely Place or Bigger Than Life, which could have turned into despicable unlikable character studies into deep, yet empathetic studies of what made these men (in these films) turn into what they are. I still have so much Ray still to watch which is exciting for me, as he is one of the most probing yet understanding directors working (with Kazan and Scorsese another two directors who are able to empathize with sometimes difficult characters)

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domino harvey
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Re: Nicholas Ray

#86 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:02 pm

Cahiers saw Ray's films as continually exploring the theme of "outsiders," and as iconoclasts themselves, there may be some mutually beneficial perceptions at play in their effusive responses

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matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: Nicholas Ray

#87 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:37 am

I think Ray continually flirts with camp in that run of his color movies- Johnny Guitar, but also Bigger than Life and Rebel Without a Cause- in a way that's ultimately very productive, letting him get to an emotional intensity that even his very good earlier movies always had contained under this sort of butchness that formed a lid. In a Lonely Place, On Dangerous Ground, and They Live By Night all have very fraught, emotional performances, but there's a constraint to them, one which in In a Lonely Place becomes part of the text (as Gloria Grahame's character is trapped in Dix's self destructive cycle without ever really being able to express her anxiety about it, except by just fucking off.)

In Johnny Guitar, Mercedes McCambridge is so intense she's nearly foaming at the mouth, and I think that is the heart of the movie- Crawford's performance is an act in-character, as she's putting on this show for all the townspeople who are persecuting her (the gesture of her white dress at the piano is noteworthy there) but McCambridge's character is just giving into this boiling over fury borne of repression, one that combines a loathing of a woman who could be what she could not and also a displaced homoerotic attraction (which is something I see amongst men a lot in this era, but I can't think of another of women- and it somewhat progressively implies the issue is not the lesbianism, but the repression thereof.) It's a movie that I really love, but I think it's one where if you're not on its wavelength, it looks ridiculous- that's the risk Ray took.

Flying Leathernecks is a movie in which he didn't take any risks, and look where that fucking got him.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Nicholas Ray

#88 Post by knives » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:41 am

matrixschmatrix wrote: Flying Leathernecks is a movie in which he didn't take any risks, and look where that fucking got him.
Out of the blacklist.

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matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: Nicholas Ray

#89 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:20 am

I knew there was some kind of story there. Wasn't that also produced by Howard Hughes? I feel like I read that this was one that both Hughes and Ray (and I think Ryan was somewhat HUAC entangled as well) made basically as puff piece propaganda to get the McCarthyists off their asses

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Gregory
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm

Re: Nicholas Ray

#90 Post by Gregory » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:08 am

knives wrote:
matrixschmatrix wrote: Flying Leathernecks is a movie in which he didn't take any risks, and look where that fucking got him.
Out of the blacklist.
It did not get him off the blacklist. HUAC fully expected him to meet with them behind closed doors and name names, and he did cooperate, after Flying Leathernecks.
matrixschmatrix wrote:I knew there was some kind of story there. Wasn't that also produced by Howard Hughes? I feel like I read that this was one that both Hughes and Ray (and I think Ryan was somewhat HUAC entangled as well) made basically as puff piece propaganda to get the McCarthyists off their asses
Hughes didn't have to worry about getting HUAC off his ass; he was on HUAC's side and backed all manner of jingoistic and redbaiting films because he believed in their messages.

beamish13
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 5:31 am

Re: Nicholas Ray

#91 Post by beamish13 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:42 am

What's the general consensus here on 55 Days at Peking? Granted, it's not really a "pure" Ray film given his removal (although several of his other features, like Wind Across the Everglades, fall into the same category), but I was captivated by the enclosed, studio-bound facsimile of 1900 China that it features, and it's a fascinating subject that's never been explored in any other Western film as far as I can tell. The cast doesn't deliver their best work (although Juzo Itami is pretty solid in his supporting role), but the sumptuousness and visceral excitement it delivers during its many action set pieces makes it worth viewing. It must've looked spectacular in 70mm.

As an aside, one of its screenwriters, Bernard Gordon, was blacklisted, and wrote two books about the impact it had on the trajectory of his life and career.

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