Linda Zuck writes: Friday sees the release in the UK of Elvis and Nixon. Starring Michael Shannon as Elvis and Kevin Spacey, practiced presidential impersonator, as Nixon, the film is the truly bizarre story of the day in December 1970 when the leader of the western world met the king of rock ‘n’ roll. Elvis had turned up unannounced at the White House to meet President Richard Nixon and the encounter was documented by the official White House photographer. If the movie doesn’t entirely do the story justice (here the review at Roger Ebert’s site) I’d like to think the documentary about the encounter Illuminations made (and that I produced) over twenty years ago certainly did. read more »
Links spotted or recommended to me (for which thanks, and apologies for the lack of name-checks) over the past week.
• Lost colours: The estimable Luke McKernan has added to his flickr site a wealth of images from filmmaker Charles Urban’s 1912 Catalogue of Kinemacolor Film Subjects, and has written this erudite background post as context. The images are rich, resonant and remarkable, like the one above (edited to a 16:9 frame) advertising Shakespeare Land, produced in 1910 by the Natural Color Kinematograph Company. The scene in Stratford-upon-Avon looks much the same today. read more »
With just over a week until our release of the 1965 BBC-Royal Shakespeare Company production The Wars of the Roses as a 3-disc DVD box set, we are delighted to present here The Making of The Wars of the Roses. This is the 20-minute ‘extra’ film to be included in the set. David Warner (who takes the role of the king in Henry VI) and Janet Suzman (Joan la Pucelle and Lady Anne) recall the theatre and screen productions of this ground-breaking adaptation, and speak about working with the stage directors Peter Hall and John Barton.
To Stockholm for meetings with colleagues on the 2-IMMERSE research project, and to dinner on the 28th floor of the television tower known as Kaknastornet. This truly splendid example of 1960s brutalism is 155 metres tall and remains a major hub for satellite services. They say the views from the restaurant are spectacular, but last night pretty much all we could see was the dense mist that was shrouding the building. The building itself, however, is more than enough of a treat.
On Monday I wrote about the recording of the Rambert dance work Tomorrow that is featured on the Shakespeare Lives 2016 website. I am following that up today with a pointer to a quite different page that I curated for the website. Great Shakespeare Speeches features extracts from a range of Royal Shakespeare Company productions adapted for television. What follows is a version of my text together with embeds of three of the clips (which my colleague Todd MacDonald edited). Do visit the page itself for all twelve of the speeches. read more »
Over the past week I have contributed in a small way to two events involving screenings of television documentaries about architecture. On Thursday I introduced at BFI Southbank two films written and presented by Kenneth Clark, Great Temples of the World: Chartres Cathedral (1965) and The Royal Palaces of Britain (1966). And on Saturday the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image presented Broadcasting the Arts: Architecture on TV, which included further screenings and a talk by me about Clark and architecture. The BFI Southbank event is part of an Architecture on TV season at the BFI, and both are contributions to the extensive and month-long London Festival of Architecture. There is plenty more to explore at BFI Southbank and across London (as below), but today and in a couple of other posts I mostly want to highlight how with online resources you can organise your own little architecture-on-television festival. Starting today with the films of Ian Nairn. read more »
It’s been a week of Hamlet, the live cinema broadcast of which I produced for the RSC on Wednesday, and also of talking about Kenneth Clark’s television at a BFI Southbank screening on Thursday and a Broadcasting the Arts: Architecture on TV seminar at Birkbeck yesterday. Which, along with other work, the cricket and the football, has not left much time for the blog. As always, I aim to do better next week, but in the meantime here are links to articles and videos that I have found interesting over the past week.
It’s by now clear that the presidential election of 2016 is something larger than and apart from just another quadrennial contest for the highest office; it’s a national crisis.
• of the North / Tabu: in an interesting essay for Reverse Shot, Max Carpenter reflects on film, anthropology, documentary and truth as he responds to Dominic Gagnon’s found-footage documentary and Miguel Gomes’ remake of Murnau’s feature.
Links to interesting stuff that I have discovered over the past week. A day late, I fear, in part accounted for by the preparations for the RSC Live from Stratford-upon-Avon broadcast of Hamlet on Wednesday.
So I logged on to Facebook today and this is what I found…
34th anniversary! How can that be? What I think must be the case is that we incorporated Illuminations Television Ltd 34 years ago. My then-colleague Geoff Dunlop and I bought for a few pounds a company off the shelf – which as I recall was a bankrupt double glazing provider – and changed the name and the articles of association. And suddenly we owned an independent production company. We didn’t have an office, we didn’t have any commissions, and we didn’t have much sense of what being independent producers entailed. But then nobody did back then. This was before Channel 4 had gone on air, and like lots of others we recognised an opportunity and took a punt. 34 years ago today! read more »