Author Topic: Nicholas Ray  (Read 3284 times)

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essbe

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Nicholas Ray
« on: September 30, 2006, 02:31:51 PM »
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   In spite of his obvious lack of pretensions, he is one of the few to possess his own style, his own vision of the world, his own poetry; he is an auteur, a great auteur. A discernible constant factor running all the way through someone's work is a double-edged weapon: it is proof of personality but also, in some cases, of meagreness, Yet the constraints exercised by the production companies on film-makers are such, the manpower, the managers and the good foremen so mumerous, that the presence of a motive is an auspicious sign. The diversity of themes handled by Nicholas Ray, and the richness of the variations which he adds to the beauty of the three or four great themes  dearest to him, tend to make his originality somewhat less easy to pinpoint than any of his contemporaries;  mainly, it isn't problems that interest him but human beings.  His tempo is so precise, it's progress so compulsive that I cannot allow my attention to stray for a moment.  The bravura sets, brilliant as they are, assume prominence after a crescendo.  It is more an art of "connections" than of "brilliances".

   Just as Truffaut is the poet of love, Ray is both the poet of love and violence; it is a fascination peculiar to both feelings that obsesses him, more than the study of their origins and their close or distant repercussions.  Neither fury nor cruelty, but that special intixication into which we are plunged by a violent physical act, situation or passion.  Not desire, like the majority of his contemporaries, but the mysterious affinity that locks two human beings together.  To all this I would add a feeling for nature, discernable in the background, in both the literal and the figurative sense, that is in harmony with his temperament as more of a colorist, even in his black and white films, than a plastic artist.

I could type more but I am interested in some opinions since this is my first real post.
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samsong

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Re: Nicholas Ray
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2006, 09:52:11 PM »
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i have no idea what any of what you wrote means or is, because i didn't bother reading it, but i love nick ray.  They Live By Night, In A Lonely Place, Johnny Guitar, Bigger Than Life... awesome. 

Bittery Victory, too

modage

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Re: Nicholas Ray
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2006, 09:57:57 PM »
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you used to write like that.  now you write like me...awesome.
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pete

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Re: Nicholas Ray
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2006, 10:11:56 PM »
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can one of the pre-requisite for joining xixax be "I will not toss the word autuer until I remember what the theory is"?...awesome.
“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
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Gold Trumpet

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Re: Nicholas Ray
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2006, 10:27:26 PM »
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Honestly, I've only seen one Nicholas Ray film. It was Rebel Without A Cause. The silliness of that movie kept me from jumping to watch any of his other movies, including Johnny Guitar. I don't know. He seems like a novelty filmmaker who was over praised by a generation of filmmakers and lives on because of who he inspired. I can't say much more because my opinion just stands on that one film.

JG

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Re: Nicholas Ray
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2006, 10:40:03 PM »
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can one of the pre-requisite for joining xixax be "I will not toss the word autuer until I remember what the theory is"?...awesome.

i'm constantly confused by the term auteur.  i've never ready any books on the term, but i don't get how certain directors can be auteurs and other cannot...

shouldn't it be either the director of a film is the auteur or there is no auteur theory at all?




squints

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Re: Nicholas Ray
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2006, 11:23:48 PM »
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can one of the pre-requisite for joining xixax be "I will not toss the word autuer until I remember what the theory is"?...awesome.

I thought people who write about film with these half-understood ideas of the autuer theory while using big imported words were a thing of the 90's.

Somebody's taking an Intro to Film class


btw, The Savage Innocents is a beautifully shot and very odd film. my favorite of ray's
“The myth by no means finds its adequate objectification in the spoken word. The structure of the scenes and the visible imagery reveal a deeper wisdom than the poet himself is able to put into words and concepts” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Gold Trumpet

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Re: Nicholas Ray
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2006, 11:26:55 PM »
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can one of the pre-requisite for joining xixax be "I will not toss the word autuer until I remember what the theory is"?...awesome.

i'm constantly confused by the term auteur.  i've never ready any books on the term, but i don't get how certain directors can be auteurs and other cannot...

shouldn't it be either the director of a film is the auteur or there is no auteur theory at all?

As it stands now, there really is no auteur theory. Truffaut and Godard publically lambasted its significance by the 1980s. But by then it didn't matter anyways. The auteur theory was already well in the hands of the film scholars who scrutinized it to such a point that it was no longer revelant for any working filmmaker. Originally, it was just a grand way of praising style. It was a way of looking at the Hollywood system and trying to find filmmakers who broke the mold. The major filmmakers who were praised were any who carried a unique style through all their films. Alfred Hithcock, of course, is the most notable.

Then by the 60s it evolved to describing any filmmaker who was the significant author (the meaning of "auteur") of their work. Steven Soderbergh always lambasted the theory because he felt it undermined the contribution of technicians and others artists who help to make a film. He was not the only one. I read a study that by the 1980s even most critics had fallen out of love with the title and replaced it by describing films as made by a "director" or "filmmaker" or "filmmakers". Yes, this still embellishes the role of the director significantly like the auteur theory did, but this is more in line with default criticism. Anyone who criticizes the politics of the current administration do so by blaming Bush even if they know it may be related to another department with another person in control. Thus describing Bush becomes synonymous with describing the overall administration.

I'm glad the term has fallen out of favor. It was a historical term for a historical period. It predicated on defining excellent work in a lackluster film world. It was related to everything that was out of date by the 1960s. Most people are adapting themselves to the fact that film is a legitimate art that doesn't need titles or theories. We no longer are scrounging for talent in the deepest bowels of an "entertainment only" world. The world is open. Possibilities are more available to filmmakers. So with all the advancement that has been made filmmakers like Ang Lee should have the decency to be described as artists first.

essbe

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Re: Nicholas Ray
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2006, 12:09:25 AM »
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I used the term auteur simply to denote his strong style; particularly telling the story of a violent man who wants to stop being so, and his relationship with a woman who has more moral strength than himself.  I think it's important that a director should be able to recognize himself in the portrait that we draw of him and his films.  The hallmark of Ray's great talent resides in his absolute sincerity, his acute sensitivity.  Most of his films can be considered disjointed, but it is obvious that Ray is aiming less for the traditional and all-around success of a film than at giving each shot a certain emotional quality. This is why some people call Rebel Without a Cause silly.  Johnny Guitar is composed rather hurriedly, of very long takes divided into four.  The editing is deplorable.  But the interest lies elsewhere: for instance in the very beautiful positioning of figures within the frame. (the posse at Vienna's is formed and moves in a V-shape, like migratory birds)

Nicholas Ray was to some extent the Rossellini of Hollywood; in the kingdom of mechanization he was the craftsman, lovingly fashioning small objects out of holly wood.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2006, 09:54:39 AM by essbe »
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pete

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Re: Nicholas Ray
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2006, 01:07:53 AM »
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Somebody's taking an Intro to Film class


btw, The Savage Innocents is a beautifully shot and very odd film. my favorite of ray's

haha you're wrong and though you watch a bittersweet life, you're probably pretty dumb.

beneath all the hype from like 50 years ago, auteur theory is just a method in film criticism in which the writer assumes that the director is the author of the film, for the convenience of writing.  the theory allows the writer to string together a body of work simply because one guy's name is in all the credits.  It's annoying when people use that word as a label when they're too lazy to write "a dude who's directed a few movies that I love".  either everyone is an auteur, or nobody is, it's not a self-gratifying seal of approval.  cinema is already trivialized enough, without people throwing preciously dated french words around.
“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
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soixante

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Re: Nicholas Ray
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2006, 04:04:13 PM »
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Ray studied architecture in college, as did Michael Cimino.  How does this factor into Ray's style?

Godard once said, "Cinema is Nicholas Ray," or was it "Nichola Ray is Cinema."
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squints

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Re: Nicholas Ray
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2006, 12:03:39 AM »
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"If the cinema no longer existed, Nicholas Ray alone gives the impression of being capable of reinventing it and, what is more, of wanting to." - Godard on  Ray's Hot Blood in 1957
“The myth by no means finds its adequate objectification in the spoken word. The structure of the scenes and the visible imagery reveal a deeper wisdom than the poet himself is able to put into words and concepts” – Friedrich Nietzsche

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Re: Nicholas Ray
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2011, 04:12:12 PM »
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Oscilloscope Pulls A Criterion, Pick Up Rights To Nicholas Ray’s Final Film ‘We Can’t Go Home Again’
Also Release New Documentary Don’t Expect Too Much’
Source: Playlist

We gotta hand it to Oscilloscope Laboratories. Founded by Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch, it could so easily have become a vanity DVD label without much influence or clout, but it has quickly risen to be strong independent player both theatrically and on home video. Their roster has accomodated a wide variety of strong films from “Bellflower,” “Meek’s Cutoff,” “The Messenger,” “Exit Through The Giftshop,” “Dear Zachary” and much more. They have accommodated the arthouse and foreign films equally, and now are making a big stride into tackling classic films and directors.

Today the label announced they’ve obtained the North American rights to legendary director Nicholas Ray’s final film, “We Can’t Go Home Again.” The divisive, experimental work was devised by Ray in collaboration with his students at SUNY Binghamton, and bowed at Cannes in 1973, but Ray continued to tinker with the edit until his death in 1979. As the press release notes: “In the film, we observe Ray undertaking the bold experiment of teaching collaboration and filmmaking to a novice crew while making a feature film. The film also aims to document the history, progress, manners, morals, and mores of everyday life at a critical moment in American history, through an expressionistic use of multiple image.”

Announced earlier this year to be playing at both the Venice Film Festival and New York Film Festival in a new digitally restored print that includes narration by the director and an improved soundtrack, those of us unable to make to the Lido or NYC will have plenty of opportunities to see the final work from Ray. And not only that, there will be big amount of supplementary content.

Accompanying the film, Oscilloscope will also release a new documentary, “Don’t Expect Too Much” (talk about an ominous title), never-before-seen footage and audio from the Ray archive and interviews to explain the vision behind “We Can’t Go Home Again,” as well explore the director’s latter day career and life. The films will play the aforementioned festivals and screen on Turner Classic Movies in October. From there it will do the arthouse rounds, playing various universities and special engagements, before finally arriving on DVD in 2012.

It’s a big move for Oscilloscope, one that finds them reaching a different kind of audience than they have before. While it’s not their first classic title to be released—that honor goes to Jules Dassin‘s “The Law”—it’s certainly the biggest undertaking they’ve had for such a film and frankly it’s the kind of thing we would’ve expected from The Criterion Collection. But regardless of who puts it out, it’s on its way and in a safe pair of hands to deliver it.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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wilder

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Re: Nicholas Ray
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2012, 03:37:27 PM »
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Warner Archive has posted PDF scans of Howard Hughes' cutting notes made for Ray's film Born to Be Bad

wilder

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Re: Nicholas Ray
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2014, 08:35:22 AM »
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Short video essay by Dennis Hopper stolen from The Seventh Art



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