Friday, December 12, 2008

King Vidor's "Solomon and Sheba" (1959)

I like Solomon and Sheba more than anybody else I know, including Vidor himself. For more, see below...

On his website, Tag Gallagher has a bio-critical filmography of King Vidor. Should be a huge pleasure to read for any Vidor fan. I stole the following from there. It is Vidor talking about the making of Solomon and Sheba:
"I did half of it—two months—with Tyrone Power. More than once he told me: ‘This is the best part I’ve ever had, the best picture I’ve ever been in,’ and when we ran the rushes we had to agree: he was able to convey the character’s vacillation between sex and religion, sex and state obligation, so well that we thought we were going to have a simply marvellous movie. Then Power died and was replaced by Yul Brynner, who was so cautious and inhibited at stepping into the part in those circumstances that Solomon and Sheba somehow turned into an unimportant, indifferent sort of picture.…We also had weather prob­lems. I’d started shooting in September, but it was December by the time we came to re-shoot it and we could no longer go to the places I’d originally used, so we constantly had to cheat in matters of climate and landscape. Yul Brynner wanted to skip over the interesting com­plexity, he didn’t want to hear about it. It was impossible to talk with him. Numerous scenes like the love scene in the wheeping willows thus became quickly ridiculous.…

“Despite everything, the film was finished in less than a month, as Yul Brynner’s contract demanded, and I could let go of my emotions. I had kept what had happened to me emotionally hidden until then and then suddenly, walking to my office, the floodgates broke. I went back home and closed the door. I sat down and began to cry.”

If he knew what I felt watching it...

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

King Vidor's "Metaphor" (1980)

Everybody seems to be more interested in "Truth and Illusion" but I like this one more. Although it seems to be in a much lesser subject, its rhythms and its tone goes deeper. Vidor re-editing a film of his in another film of his... It's something to see, really...

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

King Vidor's "Truth and Illusion: An Introduction to Metaphysics" (1964)

"The nature gets credit which should in truth be reserved for ourselves: the rose for its scent: the nightingale for his song: and the sun for his radiance. The poets are entirely mistaken. They should address their lyrics to themselves, and should turn them into odes of self-congratulation on the excellency of the human mind. Nature is a dull affair, soundless, scentless, colourless; merely the hurrying of material, endlessly, meaningless."
- Whitehead, Science and the Modern World (quoted in the film)

"Did matter precede thought?", Vidor asks...

Vidor titled his autobiography: "A Tree is a Tree"

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