Thursday 22 December 2016

Digitisations, Restorations and Revivals (17) - MAD DOG MORGAN, BLOOD SIMPLE plus Edward Yang, Chris Marker, Polanski, Cassavetes

Associate Editor (Restorations and Revivals) Simon Taaffe has come across the following screenings and other information. Click on the links for times, more detail etc where indicated.

US DVD Cover, Mad Dog Morgan
Mad Dog Morgan revived in New York (on 4 December).
Dennis Hopper has been the subject of a retrospective at Anthology Film Archives in New York. The AFA website offered these notes about a screening of Mad Dog Morgan (Phillipe Mora, Australia, 1976, 35mm).
[PLEASE NOTE: The film originally scheduled to screen on these dates - BLOODBATH - became unavailable, so we have replaced it with MAD DOG MORGAN...which we intended to include in the Dennis Hopper retrospective in any case, and initially omitted only because we weren't able to find a print until after going to press!]
“One of the key movies in the birth of the Australian film industry, MAD DOG MORGAN is as wild, free, and untamed as the pioneer Australian settler turned outlaw it celebrates. Dan Morgan was a real-life figure, a desperado who roamed the bush, committing robberies, drinking rum, killing people at the slightest provocation and generally behaving like a maniac. Obviously not just anyone could play the role, so director Philippe Mora brought in the only actor who could embody Morgan’s peculiar brand of apeshit craziness: Dennis Hopper. Hopper was dead-on perfect for Morgan but, unfortunately for the sanity of the cast and crew, he was also a committed method actor who insisted on getting into the role by drinking at least as much rum as the real Morgan and carrying loaded weapons everywhere. At one point during the shoot Hopper drunkenly took off in a car to visit the real Morgan’s grave. He was picked up in the state of Victoria for drunken driving. When his blood alcohol content was measured he was declared legally dead. His producers got him out of jail but he was forbidden by the court to drive or even to be a passenger in a car in the territory!” –Lars Nilsen

Blood Simple 4K Restoration
The Coen Bros debut movie. Remembered by the Film Alert editor when he saw it in performance of his duty as a member of the Films Board of Review way back in 1984. Distributor Frank Cox was most upset when the film was originally slapped with an audience-reducing “R” certificate. The Review Board declined to lower the classification. My memory says that when a spike went through a hand the Review Boarders, or at least a majority, blanched. The link here is to a screening organised by the Toronto International Film Festival via its year round Cinematheque screenings. (Aaah a year round Cinematheque! Such a luxury.)

Also at this Toronto venue a digital restoration of Chris Marker’s masterpiece Sans Soleil/Sunless (France, 1983), Polanski’s Tess in a 4K digital restoration, Cassavetes 1974 A Woman Under the Influence screened via a new 35mm print and Edward Yang’s A Brighter Summer Day (Taiwan, 1991) a masterpiece restored to 4K digital (and also available to buyers here on Criterion Blu-ray whenever the Barnes & Noble 50% sale is on, region A coded however).

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