Sunday links

18th September 2016

The usual weekly offering of links to articles and videos that I have found interesting or stimulating over the past seven days. Thanks as usual to those who have pointed me towards some of them, via Twitter and in other ways, and apologies for the absence of appropriate name-checks. First, watch this:

176 reasons why Donald Trump should not be President: Keith Olbermann for GQ.

‘We’re the only plane in the sky’: a really remarkable oral history, compiled by Garrett M. Graff for Politico, of events aboard Air Force One in the hours after the 9/11 attacks…

How Politico recreated 9/11 aboard Air Force One: … while Columbia Journalism Review‘s David Uberti has the background on what he describes as ‘a historical document of some of America’s darkest hours’.

• Inside the trial of actress Mary Astor, old Hollywood’s juiciest sex scandal: Vanity Fair has an enjoyable extract from Edward Sorel’s new book about the 1936 custody battle.

TCM diary: becoming John Garfield: nice piece by Steven Mears for Film Comment about the actor at the centre of The Postman Always Rings Twice, 1946.

In praise of Margaret Lockwood: a warranted BFI tribute by Graham Fuller to mark the centenary of the star’s birth.

• The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum – a cineaste’s performance: Dudley Andrew writes for The Criterion Collection on Kenji Mizoguchi’s 1939 masterpiece, newly released on DVD and Blu-ray.

The truculent cinema of Robert Aldrich: Eric Barroso for on a New York retrospective of an auteur ‘who hammered out his cinematic legacy with the vigor of an undoubtedly indignant and irreverent artist.’ Here’s the (really good) Masters of Cinema trailer for their forthcoming re-issue of Aldrich’s thriller Twilight’s Last Gleaming, 1977.

• The myth of authenticity and the limits of access: Under the Sun, Cameraperson and the Kiarostami-esque sublime:fascinating reflections on contemporary documentary-making by Robert Greene for Sight&Sound.

• Life before the Co-op, the British avant-garde film 1945-66: a previously unpublished essay by David Curtis, now on the Lux blog, about a little-known period of radical experiment.

Reeling and dealing – rescuing movies, by hook or by crook: David Bordwell on the largely hidden world of film collectors.

Playhouse 90 at 60 – a giant step and a last gasp: for the UCLA Film and Television Archive blog, Molly A. Schneider writes about the landmark drama series that ran on CBS from 1956-60.

Construction Of Southern Television Centre: earlier in the summer John Grindrob at Dirty Modern Scoundrel highlighted this wonderful 1970 promotional film abut the creation of the ITV contractor’s head-quarters in Southamption, which I am thrilled to embed here:

Hey, there goes O.J.: Marjorie Perloff at TLS is very good on Ezra Edelman’s documentary series O. J.: Made in America.

• Edward Albee – the highs, lows and yet more highs of a remarkable career: Mark Lawson for the Guardian is good on the great playwright who we lost this week.

• Open House London 2016 – a tour of the capital’s council housing, part one and part two: two terrific posts from Municipal Dreams about visiting the best examples of social housing in and around London.


Breakfast in the ruins: Ingrid D. Rowland for New York Review of Books on the astonishing 1864 photographs of Palmyra taken by French navy lieutenant Louis Vignes (including the one above, ‘Colonnade, Northwest Corner of the Courtyard, Temple of Bel’), and now preserved by the J. Paul Getty Trust; see also Hugh Eakin, ‘Ancient Syrian sites – a different story of destruction’.

How photographs have shaped our view of the national parks: some wonderful images, including the lead above, accompany this Hyperallergic piece by Allison Meier on the George Eastman Museum exhibition, Photography and America’s National Parks (until 2 October).

Please turn on your phone in the museum: Sophie Gilbert for The Atlantic on how some cultural institutions are embracing Instagram, apps and more.

• Why the Soviets sponsored a doomed expedition to a Hollow Earth Kingdom: an extraordinary tale from Dimitra Nikolaidou for Atlas Obscura about a 1923 expedition to find the fabled Shambhala.

The lives of poor white people: Joshua Rothman for The New Yorker on J.D. Vance’s book Hillbilly Elegy; you won’t find the word ‘Brexit’ in the piece, but it’s hugely relevant.

• Typecast as a terrorist: a sobering Guardian ‘Long Read’ by Riz Ahmed about acting, identity and xenophobia.

An open letter to incoming students: Columbia University’s Todd Gitlin offers, via Tablet, some excellent advice.

We aren’t here to learn what we already know: really wonderful reflections for Avidly by Kyla Wazana Tompkins on the pleasures and challenges of reading and teaching theory.

• What are we allowed to say: an important London Review of Books essay by David Bromwich.

Lead image: Photographer unknown, Yosemite Valley from tunnel view, 1940, courtesy George Eastman Museum.

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