Links for the weekend

28th April 2013

This is both irresistible and a touch magical: an eight-minute video courtesy of The Criterion Collection with Martin Scorsese talking about and demo-ing the recent restoration of Laurence Olivier’s 1955 Richard III (above). Shot in VistaVision and Technicolor, the film had been chopped about and was suffering significant colour deterioration, but thanks to an army of experts (and our own BFI National Archive) it can now be seen pretty much as Larry intended – and that version was released on Blu-ray and DVD by Criterion this past week. Do also read Amy Taubin’s new essay on the film …and then explore my other links from the past week, noting my thanks for recommendations to @brainpicker, @jackshebang@KeyframeDaily and @scrnddct.

The British Silent Film Weekend 2013 – reporting back: a valuable Silent London account of events from last weekend’s celebration of silent film.

The return of Etaix: along with Richard III, we must also give thanks to Criterion for a new edition of the films of French comic master Pierre Etaix, who is celebrated here in a finely detailed essay by David Cairns; also, Sean Axmaker reviews the collection here for Parallax View.

Scoping things out – a new video lecture: this is just great, and wonderfully generous – a new video lecture by David Bordwell about the aesthetics of CinemaScope; Bordwell has also posted as a .pdf his chapter on CinemaScope from his book Poetics of Cinema – ‘think of the lecture of the DVD,’ he writes, ‘and the chapter of the accompanying booklet’.

Happiness: for The New Yorker Ian Parker profiles writer and director Noah Baumbach, best-known here perhaps for the very fine The Squid and the Whale.

A long hard look at slow cinema studies: another vital compendium of a thousand links (well, it feels like that – and in a good way) from Catherine Grant’s Film Studies for Free.

Museum of Loneliness presents: Make mine a double: courtesy of Curzon Home Cinema, this is an essential – and characteristically oblique – introduction by filmmaker Chris Petit to his Museum of Loneliness project.

Mrs Thatcher – the ghost in the house of wonks: this is one you have to see – Adam Curtis has posted (without an embedding facility, sadly) his truly remarkable film about Mrs T and our national collective imaginings, The Attic.

The Broadchurch case: a smart piece by John Ellis about ITV’s drama and the ‘reinvention of television’, via the blog of Critical Studies in Television.

We had no idea what Alexander Graham Bell sounded like. Until now: Charlotte Gray relates the terrific tale of how researchers at the Smithsonian recovered a recording of the inventor of the telephone speaking on 15 April 1885 – and, yes, you get to hear the voice too.

The invention of the telephone: an article about Alexander Graham Bell from 2023 by Adam Alred for VoiceNation. Remarkably, in February 2023, Philip, a volunteer with a children’s history club, e-mailed to say that his club’s members had done a project about Victorian inventions, and that they had found this (ten-year-old, amazingly) blog post useful. Moreover, Ellie had found this recent link, and together they thought it might be useful to add to the page. Which I am absolutely delighted to do — even if the system is such that the original images on the page no longer work! Many thanks, Ellie, Philip and your friends.

Parsing the Merce Cunningham Dance Company legacy plan – a special report: a fascinating piece by Karyn D Collins for DanceUSA about the planning for what would happen to Merce Cunningham’s company after the great choreographer’s death.

• Tate Shots – Roy Lichtenstein: an engaging short tour of Tate Modern’s current show (until 27 May) with curator Iria Candela.

Mystery of missing art of Pauline Boty: the artist is one of the most romantic and tragic figures of modern British art, and Robin Stummer for the Observer introduces a new exhibition of her work.

Robert Adams: Regine at we make money not art hymns the greatness of a glorious selection of reproduced images from Robert Adams: The Place We Live, a Retrospective Selection of Photographs at the Reina Sofia, Madrid.

Nobody walks in L.A. – the rise of cars and the monorails that never were: terrific Paleofuture piece by Matt Novak nailing some myths about mass transit in the city of the angels: ‘the death of L.A.’s privately-owned mass transit would be foreshadowed in the 1910s and would be all but certain by the end of the 1920s’.

Criminal funerals big and small – from the Krays to Peter Scott: fine reflections and reminiscences from Duncan Campbell for the Guardian.

Pinning down Spartacus: the history of the freedom fighter slave by Mary Beard for the New York Review of Books.

At the RCA: a note for the London Review of Books blog – with links – about a recent conference dedicated to the ‘experimental’ writing of the late Christine Brooke-Rose.

Re: your REF Impact request: if – like me – you are struggling to write a Impact case study (it’ll take too long to explain and would be very boring), then you’ll most definitely enjoy this e-mail by Paul Magrs featured in Times Higher Education.

• Steven Spielberg’s Obama: of course everyone else will already have told you about this, which was shot for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner – the director reveals lead casting for his forthcoming biopic… genius!


  1. Paul Tickell says:

    The Mary Beard piece on Spartacus is excellent but there’s a strange omission: in discussing the Arthur Koestler and Howard Fast novels (1939 and 1951), she fails to mention the one by Lewis Grassic Gibbon which preceded them both in 1933.

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