Continuing this weekend’s British cinema theme (see Ealing before Ealing here), my first recommendation has to be for Xan Brooks’ delightful Guardian essay and video A pilgrim’s progress: on the trail of A Canterbury Tale. Brooks uses the detective work of local historian Paul Tritton who has identified many of the locations used for Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s extraordinary 1944 feature (details here, along with a page of links of various walks around Canterbury). If you want to know more there are further links at The Powell and Pressburger Pages lovingly assembled by Steve Crook. There are more film links across the jump, as well as links of other kinds, with my thanks this week to @KeyframeDaily, @OWC_Oxford and @longform.
• Scandals of classic Hollywood – the ecstasy of Hedy Lamarr: Anne Helen Petersen as good as ever: ‘Hedy Lamarr, arguably the most glamorous star of the pre-war period, also helped invent your cell phone and WiFi connection.’
• The enemy next door: David Bordwell on wartime Hollywood films about the Japanese.
• Remembering Orson Welles: as news breaks of the discovery of Welles’ first film, for the Los Angeles Review of Books Steve Wasserman recalls the great man penning a tribute to Jean Renoir after the French director’s death in 1979.
• Fun City: New York in the Movies 1966-74: J. Hoberman’s introductory essay to a series of films programmed for the Big Apple’s Museum of the Moving Image – the screening programme is here, and there are links to notes for individual films; part two of Hoberman’s essay has also been published.
• BUGGER: this will occupy you pleasurably for the next hour or so – Adam Curtis returns to his blog with a compelling essay about spies, with ‘some stories about MI5 – and the very strange people who worked there. They are often funny, sometimes rather sad – but always very odd.’
• The Aaron Sorkin guide to speaking with lawyers: an immensely entertaining Vulture video guide to the ways in which characters deal with the legal profession in the work of the writer of The West Wing and The Newsroom:
• Homeland season 3 trailer: more spies; more than a million of you have already watched this on YouTube – which only speaks to how this is easily the most anticipated drama of the coming season.
• Complex TV: online here is the whole of a draft of Jason Mittell’s (@jmittell) forthcoming book Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television; there are notes about each chapter on his blog Just TV, and the book site facilitates comments.
• TV’s social game – if they’re talking online, they’re watching off-line: useful round-up of thoughts about social TV from Stephanie Chan at readwrite.
• A Mad World, My Masters @ The Swan Theatre: once again, Peter Kirwan at The Bardathon contributes the most detailed review of a production of an early modern drama, in this case the current Royal Shakjespeare Company adaptation of Thomas Middleton’s comedy – and once again, he’s spot-on is his assessment.
• Wooster Group take on Shakespeare with Hamlet re-mix: a very good Guardian piece by Hermione Hoby about the production currently in Edinburgh by the avant-garde theatre ensemble from New York.
• It can be embarrassing to love Dorothea: a lovely piece by Pamela Erens for The Paris Review about the heroine of George Eliot’s Middlemarch.
• The art of the phony: Charles Hope on forgeries for The New York Review of Books.
• At Tate Britain: John Barrell on the L.S. Lowry exhibition for The London Review of Books: ‘this show has been a revelation: the nature and huge importance of what Lowry achieved made apparent not just by the rare opportunity to see, in London, so much of his work at once, but by the brilliant interpretative essays by the two curators in the book that accompanies the exhibition’.
• Opinion – let’s put a brake on this facile culture of ‘celebration’: Fisun Guner at theartsdesk expresses (beautifully) my unease about the current Art Everywhere initiative [reproductions of a selection of British paintings on posters up and down the country] which is described as ‘blandly celebratory, glibly well-meaning and smoothie-promoting’; in fact the piece is so good that it is worth quoting at greater length:
… what does it do to the works themselves? One can’t, after all, actively engage with a work of art that’s a facsimile’d image enlarged and encountered as a towering billboard. Such an encounter provokes a very different experience, since a painting is more than its image. It’s a physical entity with real brush marks… a painting isn’t a slick piece of graphic design, but a wrought investigation into form, as well as an exploration of ideas, or at least an interestingly packaged proposition. Instantly pleasing is just one of the many things a work of art might be.
• Oppenheimer – the shape of genius: Freeman Dyson brings a personal insight to his New York Review of Books appraisal of Ray Monk’s biography of the genius of Los Alamos: ‘Twice I had a reason to talk with him about bombs.’
• Making it up – photographic fictions: Regine at we make money not art on the V&A’s free display (until 16 March 2014) of works by photographer’s who use their medium for fantasy and story-telling – included is a host of interesting images.
• John Hinde work included in new Photographers’ Gallery exhibition: the Mass Observation exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery is a wonderful exhibition (until 29 September), and I intend to write about it in more detail next week, but for the moment marvel at this selection from the National Media Museum of the work of John Hinde, whose work is featured in the show. Here’s an astonishing Hinde image from another context which demonstrates how his photographs combine the familiar and the deeply strange in such evocative ways.