Goodbye to Language
Jean-Luc Godard's latest free-form essay film may be, more than anything else, a documentary of a restless mind.
McKEESPORT, PA -- The sky hung low and dripping over the Sheraton Motor Inn, and Robert Mitchum hunched his shoulders against it and scooted around to the other side of the Mercury.
Dalton Trumbo's "Johnny Got His Gun" seemed for years to be one of those novels that could never be made into a movie. It took place entirely within the mind of a soldier who was so grievously wounded in World War I that he had only the most tenuous contact with the world. He had no arms, no legs, no sight or hearing, no way to speak.
"That's all gone, now, the old, Hollywood," Warren Beatty was saying. "All gone. I remember once I was being interviewed by Hedda Hopper. Are you still going with that Joan Collins? She's too old for you. And, Warren, you really should do something about your clothes! Look at those clothes! Marriage, you should be thinking about marriage at your age, Warren."
I went back to Mister Kelly's the other night to catch Mort Sahl again, and found myself sitting next to a friend who writes for another local newspaper. He was there to do a story on the girl singer - a very good girl singer - who is also there, and when she'd finished singing my friend got up to leave.
It was just that moment of the evening when you need the lights but you don't quite want to turn them on. There were two big old overstuffed wing chairs facing each other in front of the fireplace, and in one of them Gene Wilder had thrown his leg over the chair's arm and was talking softly and slowly...
Rod McKuen was in Chicago to plug the record album for Walt Disney's "Scandalous John," for which he wrote the score.
It's a crazy business," John Frankenheimer said. "It's gotten to the point where all they want to know is how much money your last movie made. A body of work doesn't count anymore..."
When the word came through from New York that Woody Allen wanted the Chicago movie critics to see his new movie separately, I figured good old zany Woody Allen was up to his old stuff again. See, the studios have this superstition that critics won't know a comedy is funny unless they see it in a room with at least 500 other people, all laughing their heads off. So they may preview a drama in their screening rooms, but for a comedy you've gotta have a sneak preview in a big theater.
In the beginning it didn't much matter where you made a movie. The motion picture was a gimmick nobody took very seriously, and the vaudeville houses used them to chase out customers between shows. When the customers started to linger, an industry was born.
TORONTO, Canada - Joy Bang told me to meet her at her place, over at the Strip above a boutique, and when I got there she was being towed along the sidewalk by a large dog named Tai, which meant, she said, "dog" in a language I didn't catch.