Key Posts Category
As Hitler’s Boxer Said To The Actress: Silent Anny Ondra Was Hitchcock’s Star Of Britain’s First ‘Talkie’
IN1929 almost everyone in the British film industry was convinced that the newfangled talking films would be nothing but a flash in the pan. But as the director Michael Powell once said of that time, “some flash, some pan”. Hitchcock knew before most that the era of silent films was over – “nobody wants ‘em,” he said to the aforementioned Powell, “they’re a dead duck”. So Hitchcock borrowed some German equipment and halfway through directing Blackmail he started to make a sound version of the same film and this, subsequently, became Britain’s first ‘talkie’.
ROBERTA Ashley’s 1967 Singers and Swingers in the Kitchen is the “scene-makers cookbook”. The cook book features “The Scene Makers Cookbook Dozens of Nutty Turned On Easy-To-Prepare Recipes From The Grooviest Gourmets Happening”. Ready for “hip, mod, delicious recipes”.
Theses cats were the original celebrity master chefs. With recipes from The Rolling Stones, Leonard Nimoy, The Byrds, Leonard Nimoy, Omar Sharif (Southern Fried Chicken), Barbra Streisand, Peter Tork, Liza Minelli, Simon & Garfunkel, the Mamas & Papas, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Paul Anka, Party Spaghetti and The Buckinghams (if you have to ask, you just weren’t there).
As Roberta noted: “Give it a try, the recipes are mostly easy ones and remember a year ago, Barbra Streisand couldn’t cook at all”.
Not all stars are into Extreme Dieting, like The Who’s Keith Moon was.
OUR increasingly intolerant society, which seeks to be offended by anything and then whine about it until the offender is shamed into conformity, has seen to it that a preacher has been arrested in Dundee.
American street evangelist Tony Miano had been talking about sexual sin. Mr Miano – a former policeman in Los Angeles – was in fully cry, telling passers by about which sins Jesus could save them from – adultery, promiscuity, homosexuality – when a woman took offence. She said that as the mother of a gay man she was offended.
ON January 11 1992, Paul Simon kicked off his South Africa tour. He’d visited the country before, back in 1985 in defiance of the UN-sponsored cultural boycott against apartheid. On 2 December 1968, The UN General Assembly requested all States and organisations “to suspend cultural, educational, sporting and other exchanges with the racist regime and with organisations or institutions in South Africa which practice apartheid”. Sportsmen and music acts were encouraged not to play in South Africa.
The ANC and Artists Against Apartheid were outraged. Why hadn’t Simon consulted them before arriving?
Said Simon: “You went to South Africa but you didn’t ask us. You need to ask the ANC. So that’s the kind of government you’re going to be? Check our lyrics? F*** the artists like all kinds of governments have done in the past?”
Simon’s foresight introduced much of the world to the music of black South Africa. That first trip led to his groundbreaking Graceland album, featuring South African musicians Hugh Masekela, Simon and Miriam Makeba and the Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Joe Berlinger followed Simon on his trip. In his documentary Under African Skies, we hear Dali Tambo, founder of Artists Against Apartheid and son of the late African National Congress (ANC) president Oliver Tambo. He says: “At that moment in time, it was not helpful. We were fighting for our land, for our identity. We had a job to do, and it was a serious job. And we saw Paul Simon coming as a threat because it was not sanctioned by the liberation movement.”
Simon found it absurd that artists should be viewed in the light and shadows cast by politicians. Art, said Simon, would endure.
In 1987, Simon performed his Under African Skies Concert in Harare:
When Simon returned in 1992, that boycott has been lifted. This time the ANC backed him.
Of the show in Johannesburg’s Ellis Park Stadium, The New York Times noted, “Most black South Africans could not afford to pay up to $30 for a ticket, or, lacking cars, to travel to Johannesburg from the outlying black townships.”
Entertainment Weekly surveyed the scene:
While Simon opened his two-week South Africa tour with such gentle songs as ”The Obvious Child,” ”Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and ”The Sounds of Silence,” armored police vehicles, bomb-sniffing canines, and even a surveillance helicopter patrolled the stadium. Outside, clusters of angry black protesters, representing leftist fringe groups that ferociously oppose the lifting of international sanctions against South Africa, were handing out leaflets, waving anti-Simon signs, and threatening to disrupt his concert with violence.
Not everyone could make it. One month earlier, Ladysmith Black Mambazo co-founder Headman Tshabalala had been shot dead by a white security guard. The guard had been arrested. He’d been released on $300 bail.
The day he arrived, two hand grenades exploded outside the offices of a Johannesburg company that helped arrange the tour. Complaints were also aimed at Whoopi Goldberg and the production of Sarafina!, which she is filming in South Africa.
The Baltimore Sun reviewed the show:
A small group of black activists, as many as 100 at one point, marched outside the entrance of Ellis Park Stadium in east Johannesburg with signs that said the singer had come at the wrong time with his “Born at the Right Time” tour.
The hand-lettered placards read: “Simon Go Home,” “Yankee Go Home,” “Don’t Delay Our Freedom,” and “Liberation First, Entertainment After.”
Members of a radical black group known as the Azanian Youth Organization had threatened to disrupt the concert with violence, saying that the American pop star was wrong to come to South Africa before the country’s political problems were solved.
“Artists should come after we have a democratic government,” said Kgomotse Modiselle, a 20-year-old high school student who described himself as a spokesman for the left-wing youth group. “Right now is not the right time for sanctions to be lifted.”
He said that only whites were attending the concert because blacks were opposed to Mr. Simon’s presence in South Africa. “The stadium is filled with white people,” he proclaimed.
Violence was never far away.
About a half-dozen tanks painted in camouflage colors sat near the front of the stadium.
THERE ARE two tactics you can operate from to inspire healthy cautiousness in children: (A) making the topic interesting and intellectually compelling, or (B) scaring the living hell out of them. More often than not, PSAs in the 1960s–80s opted for the latter. We’re all familiar with the nihilistic, carnage-filled films used for drivers education. However, getting “the message” to kids often took a less direct (yet more disturbing) route…
10. Boo-Boo is Propositioned
IF the idea of Yogi’s little friend Boo-Boo getting stalked by a peadophile gives you the willies, you may want to brace yourself: there’s nine more PSA’s to go.
It’s a bit disarming when a normally light hearted medium abruptly ditches the funny capers in favor of deep, dark and depressing public service messages. I understand the good intentions behind it, so I don’t want to be too hard on them. However, there’s just something creepy about horrific real-life entering children’s comics.
TOM Mix – January 6, 1880 – October 12, 1940 – was an American silent film actor who starred in hundreds of films.
* In all, he made 336 feature films, produced 88, wrote 71 and directed 117. Tom made only 9 sound feature films and the 15-chapter serial “Miracle Rider.”
PASTOR Daniel Castle is no fan of MTV’s Wonder Showzen, the Sesame Street parody. Pastor Castle thinks John Lee and Vernon Chatman’s show is real. And – yep – Pastor Daniel is real. He should be work of parody. But he isn’t.
He might be Danny Castle, pastor of Shining Light Baptist Church, Morganton, North Carolina.
YouTuber savedbyjesusblood notes:
Clips of MTV’s evil TV show “Wonder Showzen” explained by Pastor Daniel Castle. This is one of the most evil shows and spiritual exploitation of children I have ever seen.
Checking The Mail: Richard Littlejohn, the peacemaker? Bollocks
IMAGINE you’re Richard Littlejohn. Once you’ve stopped vomiting, imagine how you’d feel when you heard that the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan had given its verdict. You’d not be sad for loss of life or thinking about the circumstances that lead a family to be as dysfunctional and staunched in criminality and gangsterism as the Duggans. You wouldn’t think: what can police do in those situations other than take a fatal shot. You wouldn’t think for a moment about the societal issues that led to the riots following Duggan’s death. You’d wring your hands, crack your knuckles and jump onto your soap box.
AT a time when even the most obscure vintage track is just a few clicks away, it’s very hard to create a list of “underplayed” songs. Many recordings swept under the rug have now returned to the light via music blogs, YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, etc.
The list before you is to help insert some new blood into your playlists. I’m always appreciative of a recommendation, so I figured some of you would be as well.
Note: There’s a tendency in many music lists to impress the rock snobs. Nothing is ever too unknown or clever for them. I’ve tried to avoid the temptation to plumb the depths of obscurity just to show off. We’ll keep things off the beaten path, but no so deep as to unleash the Balrog.
- 1941 – Harry Nilsson
Autobiographical ditty which got him noticed by the Beatles. Legendary debauchery by Harry and Mr. Ono soon followed.
- 2000 Light Years from Home – Rolling Stones – The Stones shoot for Strawberry Fields and actually nail it. They’d be moving on to bluesier stuff in a hurry.
- A Minah Menina – Os Mutantes
Brazilian psychedelia unbelievably used in a 2008 McDonald’s commercial. It deserved the attention.
- Any Major Dude – Steely Dan
Why this wasn’t a top ten hit will forever be one of history’s greatest mysteries.
- Ballad of Danny Bailey – Elton John
With so many hits being churned out by Elton, I suppose this one got trampled and lost underfoot.
- Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft – The Carpenters
Much more palatable than the original Klaatu version. Yes, it’s cheesy and insane – but that’s not always a bad thing.
- Chevy Van – Sammy Johns
Like “Afternoon Delight”, the innocent veneer masks an extremely dirty song (about having sex with a hitchhiker)
- Circle Round the Sun – B.J. Thomas
Beautiful, damn near transcendent song that apparently was too good for radio.
- Cthlu Thlu – Caravan
Guitar noodling goes on a bit long in the second half, but HP Lovecraft still would be proud.
- Daily Nightly – The Monkees
Moog infused psychedelia that, of course, gets no respect because it’s from the Monkees.
- Disadvantages of You – The Brass Ring
Elevator music at its finest.
- Fundamentally Yours – Stackridge
Sounds more like Badfinger than Badfinger, but you cannot deny it’s a flat-perfect pop melody.
- Ghetto Child – The Spinners
May sound silly to those raised on hip-hop, but this is where talent, soul, melody and message come together.
- Hard Times – Kiss
The circus often overshadowed their talent for simple quality rock. One wonders how their music would be viewed had they had just dressed like Foghat.
- Hello Little Lover – Mahogany Rush
These Canadians can rock hard. Great music to exceed speed limits to.
- Home Is Where the Hatred Is – Esther Williams
Esther lays it all out on the table. You’ll be exhausted by the time she’s through with you.
- Houdini Said – Gilbert O’Sullivan
Well crafted, creative, melodic… the adjectives keep on coming, yet I can’t put it into a coherent description.
- I See the Rain – Marmalade
Hendrix loved the guitars – you’ll get no better endorsement than that.
- I’m Mandy, Fly Me – 10cc
The band was always wandering off the beaten path; here they take an obvious pop nugget and make it interesting.
- In the First Place – Remo Four
From the Wonderwall film; a brilliant instrumental with George Harrison as its creator.
- I’ve Got to Be Going – Peppermint Trolley Co.
The group is more known for the original Brady Bunch theme than anything else, which is a crying shame because they could craft some great bubblegum pop.
- Ladies and Gentlemen – Clouds
In a perfect world, complex tunes like this go platinum. Instead, it was lost without a trace, and can’t even be found on Spotify.
- Land of the Few – Love Sculpture
If ever there was a song begging to added to a playlist, this is it. Do it for Dave Edmunds.
- Leave It – Mike McGear and Paul McCartney
Silly and nonsensical, but McCartney’s ability to come up with a brilliant melody on a dime is unnerving.
- Life Has Just Begun – Spirit
The whole Sardonicus LP is woefully under-appreciated. The songs were just a bit too odd to become a part of classic rock mainstream.
- Lord Grenville – Al Stewart
Transcendental tune about a 17th century naval captain which circles upwards like cannabis vapors to the Heavens. “Our time is just a point along a line that runs forever with no end.” Heavy, man.
- Love Alive – Heart
The ladies did their best to be Led Zeppelin in the early days. Here’s where they came the closest.
- Man of 1000 Faces – Gene Simmons
When all four members of Kiss simultaneously released solo albums, we sensed they’d be jumping the shark soon. This one is just too interesting to ignore.
- Mary Skeffington – Gerry Rafferty
It’s about Gerry’s own mother who once was full of promise, now dodges her drunk husband’s punches. It’s simultaneously depressing and beautiful.
- Mother Freedom – Bread
Not as pillowy soft as we’re accustomed with this band, but still has that signature triumphant hook.
- My White Bicycle – Tomorrow
Best bicycle song there is: beats both Queen and Floyd.
- Nice, Nice, Very Nice – Ambrosia
One of the few prog rock bands that recognized the importance of melody. Even Vonnegut couldn’t help but sing its praises; it’s not easy to adapt Bokononism for the radio.
- Open Sesame (Groove with the Genie) – Kool & the Gang
Back when funk bands had 20 members and a horn section; this is the very definition of back porch, booger nosed funk. Can ya dig?
- Psychic Vampire – Space Opera
More complicated than a song has a right to be; yet still pleasing to the ear. I could listen to this on a loop for the rest of my life.
- Red Telephone – Love
Easily one of the greatest albums of all time, Forever Changes was widely unknown until it started popping up on “best of” lists. I’ll add my voice to the chorus.
- Rose for Emily, A – The Zombies
It wants to be Eleanor Rigby, and comes damned close. Titled based on a Faulkner novel about necrophilia.
- Satellite of Love – Lou Reed
I’ve heard this song 900 times over thirty years and I still don’t know why I like it. It’s a rock snob favorite, so I want to hate it, but can’t.
- Searchin’ So Long – Chicago
One of the great codas in rock history. Coda hall of fame: “Hey Jude”, “Atlantis” by Donovan, “Aquarius” by the Fifth Dimension, and “Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears “… and this is my foooour leaf clover.”
- Seven Island Suite – Gordon Lightfoot
Epic dirge to escape the rat race. Rarely are songs this exultant.
- She Was Naked – Supersister
Speaking of codas: this one starts off worrisome, then ends with a roundhouse kick to the solar plexus.
- Some Gospel According to Matthew – Roberta Flack
Before American Idol infected the world with melisma, and before autotune turned the singers of a generation into synthetic ventriloquist dummies – there was Roberta.
- Song of the Viking – Todd Rundgren
Playful on the surface, but bizarrely beautiful. Obviously written by a mad genius.
- Summer of ’71 – Helen Reddy
Hearing Helen sing about getting high on mescaline is reward enough. The fact that it’s a great song is the cherry on top.
- Theme One – The George Martin Orchestra
The Van Der Graf Generator did a respectable cover, but nothing tops the original sonic grandeur composed for Radio One.
- Vacuum Cleaner – Tintern Abbey
If you’re not pleasantly surprised by this oft overlooked psychedelic gem, you’re just being stubborn
Over to you…
Mic Wright’s Remotely Furious: Praising Big Brother, advocating nuking Nick Robinson
AS a smug, entitled, metropolitan dicksplash with a $50 vocabulary and a tendency to watch things with subtitles now and then I’m meant to dismiss Channel 5’s rebooted Big Brother franchise. Richard Desmond is a porn peddler turned newspaper baron turned TV channel king so we’re meant to squish our faces into cartoon disgust as if a man selling jizz mags is worse than arms dealers, Saudi princes who keep their people in a state of oppressed ignorance or Russians whose money was scrabbled up in the twilight of the Soviet era by standing on the heads of others and doing a fair bit of backstabbing both literal and figurative. Richard Desmond doesn’t seem like a particularly nice bloke but most newspaper proprietors are like crap James Bond villains so it doesn’t make him stand out really. I like that he’s invested money in bringing Big Brother back to its best because Desmond and his demonic underlings understand the key point of Big Brother: make it funny, make it entertaining, make it ridiculous. Channel 4’s problem was that it kept trying to hang on to the notion of Big Brother as social experiment rather than freak show with freaks who bloody love all that attention.
THE Topps Company didn’t just make baseball cards with a stick of chewing gum in each packet. They made cards for non-sporting endeavours. Collect them. Trade them. The Garbage Pail kids cards sold well. So too Pokemon. But what about these?
In 2013 Topps created Lollapalooza Trading Cards.
But before that, they made these.
The Bay City Rollers
The girls will go wild for the Scots rockers. Back in the 1970s, it was Rollermania as Eric Faulkner and Stuart Wood, Les McKeown, Alan Longmuir and drummer Derek Longmuir emerged from Edinburgh to make tartan cool.
YES indeedy, as a signal that this altcoin market (Bitcoin, Litecoin and the like) you can become an instant millionaire in your own currency for the once only low low price of $100!
This is in fact true as well: although it’s not about to make anyone rich I would have thought. It’s just the sort of thing that happens when people get swept up in a financial bubble. This is tulips all over again, the South Sea Bubble, dotcom mania. It might even be that something useful comes out of it all at the end but there’s definitely going to be tears before bedtime.
Mark Duggan: Well Played Mr Justice Keith Cutler, The Met’s Fearsome Burqa Bandit’s Are Above The Laws They Uphold
MARK Duggan was no angel. The 29-year-old father-of-six’s most ardent friends and family would probably agree.
He died when shot by a still anonymous (to the British Public) police officer.
Was the man who police immediately after the shooting branded as a gun-wielding gangsta who opened fire on them, a victim of the UK’s collective loss of innocence?
The country which has a complete arms ban on hand guns has since the ban’s introduction seen a massive growth in the number of armed alleged criminals and a matching increase in the very much more superior arming of huge numbers of police officers.
As a child he lived in the Broadwater Farm Estate which was a breeding ground of mistrust and conflict between the majority black population and the, now universally accepted, predominately white, right-wing and institutionally racist Metropolitan police force.
The estate’s name was branded into the UK’s population psyche when the unarmed beat bobby PC Keith Blakelock was cornered and chopped to death during the Broadwater Estate riots of October 6, 1985. He was the first serving police officer slaughtered during a civil disturbance for over a century.
ON August 4, 2011, Mark Duggan, 29, is show by police in north London. The father-of-four was travelling in a mini cab when pulled over.
Operation Dibri is a disaster. Set up by the Met’s black crime Trident unit, and fed information by the no-longer-operating Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca), police believed Duggan had picked up a gun in Leyton, east London, and was on his way to commit a crime.
Reports are that he had collected a BBM Bruni model 92 handgun. It contained a single bullet.
He was on his way back to Tottenham. With the gun in his possession, police were on his tail. He spotted them following in an unmarked car. Police control gave the order to “strike”. Three police cars swopped, boxing in the taxi. Duggan did not go quietly. He opened the door and got out.
Officer V53 fire not one, not two but three shots. He shot to kill.
V53 said he saw a gun in Duggan’s hand:
“It’s like a freeze-frame moment. The only thing I was focusing on is the gun. The next thing he does, he starts to move the gun away from his body. He’s raised the weapon, moved it a couple of inches away from his body… The next thing he does, he starts to move the gun away from his body. He’s raised the weapon, moved it a couple of inches away from his body.”
But if he was holding the gun, none of the police saw him throw it over a fence onto grass. Duggan was not holding a gun when police fired. The gun was wrapped in a sock. Polce found none of Duggan’s DNA nor fingerprints on it. It had not been cocked for firing.
Was Duggan going to shoot? The officer says he thought so. In a split second he made the call to fire.
One bullet his Duggan in the arm, going on to lodge in a police radio. Another bullet hit Duggan in the chest.
The Met told the IPCC Duggan had fired at police. It had been a shoot out. No. He never shot.
The armed officers made written statements as they sat in one room. Did they confer?
The mini cab was not immediately quarantined.
Detective Chief Inspector Mick Foote said
“Intelligence over that period and historically was a clear indication Mark Duggan was involved in gun crime. As well as gun crime, he was involved in the supply of class-A drugs and possession of ammunition – all of them very serious crimes.”
In 1978 Muhammed Ali Boxed Marvin Gaye, Sammy Davis Junior, Richard Pryor – The Story And Some Great Photos
ON May 8, 1978, Muhammad Ali delivered a punch to the body of entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr. during their benefit fight and show at the Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles.
On Feb. 15, Ali had lost to Leon Spinks in a 15-round fight in Las Vegas. Ali was crestfallen. Superman was defeated. But Spinks was too tough.
World heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, right, is shown at a press conference in New York, January 31, 1978, with promoter Don King, left, and Herbert Muhammad, center, to plug a comic book in which he beats Superman. Ali holds a copy of the comic book.
On Aug. 15, Ali won the rematch at the New Orleans Superdome, again after 15-rounds.
Ali had become the first man to win the heavyweight championship three times.
In between those epic bouts, he entered the ring with the fearsome Sammy Davis Junior:
WHEN Reeva Steenkamp was found dead, the Sun led with this picture:
BEFORE we carry on with the list, let’s define what we’re talking about here. “Inconceivably Awkward” simply means it contains both of the following qualities:
- It is so terrifyingly uncomfortable you instinctively flinch as if you’ve been punched squarely in the genitals.
- It is so unimaginably awful you question whether the director suffered head trauma and should seek medical attention.
I should also mention that this isn’t a “top five” list as there’s plenty worse out there. These are just five scenes (plus a runner-up) which spring instantly to mind when thinking of the worst of the worst.
TWENTY years ago, the BBC was celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of one of its most ‘iconic’ shows.
Ten years ago, the BBC was celebrating its 40th anniversary.
There was a problem, however. During the first decade of the show – which also unfortunately happened to be its heyday – most of the episodes were erased on the grounds that videotape was expensive, and television was considered an ephemeral medium. Posterity was not a consideration.
In the past decade, some missing footage has been retrieved from private collectors, which boded well for the big 50th anniversary. Or so you might think.
In fact, the BBC has removed footage from the clips that are available, and decided not to celebrate the anniversary at all.
The reason, guys and gals, is simple: the programme in question was Top of the Pops, and the TV studio in which it was filmed served as an HQ for the nefarious activities of Jimmy Savile and his pop pals. Hence Jim’s introductions and performances from certain artistes are now strictly verboten.
None of which will stop Anorak from picking some top pop moments from the show’s golden years – erring on the side of the hidden gems –in this unofficial celebration…
RICHARD Pryor could sing. Before the comedy hits came, Pryor headed to New York City and sang the blues:
JERRY Keever’s 1986 books Witnessing Made Easy: How to Pass Out Tracts for Jesus is a gem. This is passive aggressive preaching from 1986.
We’ve got some highlights from its 319 pages of dogmatic wonderment.
YEARS AGO in days of old when magic filled the air, people did their workouts at home by their turntable. Generally, the needle bounced and scratched from all the flopping around. Plus, record players were usually centrally located, which meant you had to get sweaty and embarrass yourself in front of everyone in the living room. It wasn’t until the advent of the Walkman and the proliferation of health clubs that workout music got practical. Of course, this meant the demise of the fitness LP.
Thankfully, the fossilized remains of some of these albums have been uncovered and are well worth a look.
FAREWELL then, Ronnie Biggs.
THE Day The Clown Cried is an unreleased 1972 Jerry Lewis film. It’s the story of a clown who finds himself in a concentration camp during the Holocaust.
Like the Aryan Papers, Stanley Kubrick’s Holocaust drama, Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis and David O Russell’s Nailed (a small town waitress gets a nail accidentally lodged in her head causing unpredictable behavior that leads her to Washington, DC) you won’t have seen it.
The film ends in a gas chamber, with the clown going in to face his death with a group of terrified children, trying to make them laugh in order take away their fear. It ends with them all locked in, the kids laughing as the clown juggles stale bread.
Why did he make it?
JerryLewis.com has more:
In 1971, producer Nate Waschberger asked Jerry to direct and star in “The Day the Clown Cried”, based on Joan O’Brien’s book by the same name, about a German clown who was arrested by the Gestapo, interred in a concentration camp, and used to march Jewish children into the ovens. Jerry lost close to 40 pounds to play the role. The shooting began in Stockholm, but Waschberger not only ran out of money to complete the film, but he failed to pay Joan O’Brien the money she was owed for the rights to the story. Jerry was forced to finish the picture with his own money. The film has been tied up in litigation ever since, and all of the parties involved have never been able to reach an agreeable settlement. Jerry hopes to someday complete the film, which remains to this day, a significant expression of cinematic art, suspended in the abyss of international litigation.
Why was it never released? In 2009, Lewis spoke with Entertainment Weekly:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When I asked you about The Day the Clown Cried, you shut me down pretty quickly.
JERRY LEWIS: Why do I want to go there? If you want to play 10 Questions with me, you can ask me any 10 questions you want about it and you’ll get a pretty good amount of answers. And it will only be to satisfy you that it’s not so shut-down because you’re a nice man and I’m comfortable with you. I’ll give you 10 questions.
Okay, I better weigh them…
I’ve never done this before, I’d like to see what I come up with. Don’t f— this up, Chris!
Do they have to be yes/no questions?
No, I didn’t say that. That’s kind of limiting.
Will I ever see The Day the Clown Cried?
He writes on a piece of white paper in green ink: NO.
Is there more than one copy of the film?
He writes: NO.
Is the film in a safe somewhere?
Okay, number four: is the reason the film has not been released because you are unhappy with it?
He writes: Yes/No.
Which doesn’t mean that Yes, I’m unhappy with the work that I did. But who am I preserving it for? No one’s ever gonna see it. But the preservation that I believe is that, when I die, I’m in total control of the material now. Nobody can touch it. After I’m gone, who knows what’s going to happen? I think I have the legalese necessary to keep it where it is. So I’m pretty sure that it won’t be seen. The only thing that I do feel, that I always get a giggle out of, some smart young guy like Chris is going to come up with an idea and he’s going to run the f—ing thing. I would love that. Because he’s going to see a hell of a movie!
I was going to ask you, it’s only creating more interest and tougher criticism if and when it is ever shown.
Of course, of course. What the f— is he saving?!
I’m honestly surprised as hell.I am too. I’m very surprised. There’s a gurgling inside that I get when I think about, would this make certain that the Holocaust would never happen again? It’s too small a piece. It isn’t large enough to make a dynamic impact.
Do you think Jewish audiences would like it?
Jews? Oh, they would love it. I traveled for 18 months from Stuttgart to Belsen to Auschwitz. I was putting together my crew and they brought me a man named Rolf, who was the guy who pulled the f—ing lever on the gas chamber. And I said the only way I ever allow him near me, no less interview him, would be if he understood that I am concerned about the accuracy of the film and it would be because I need some information. But I said to my production manager, “I’m not sure I can handle it.” After about six weeks of pretty good meditation, I talked to the guy. The question nobody could answer, that the victims couldn’t answer, was: Where were they [when they] were waiting for the ones ahead of them in the gas chambers? How long were they waiting? Where were they standing? Was there an adjacent room? Did they sit? What kind of time was involved? The torture here was waiting! And they couldn’t dull the sound effects, the screaming. Could I get that information from this man? I wanted to wear a mask so he wouldn’t know it was me. When he came into the office and sat down, I thought, This poor human being. I’m sitting there and it was five after nine at night by the time we were done talking and I was…undone. But he gave me the bottom of his f—ing soul! He wanted penance. I kept looking at his right hand. I was going to ask him which hand did you do it with? I couldn’t do it.
You can read the film’s script in full here.
Harry Shearer told Spy Magazine:
With most of these kinds of things, you find that the anticipation, or the concept, is better than the thing itself. But seeing this film was really awe-inspiring, in that you are rarely in the presence of a perfect object. This was a perfect object. This movie is so drastically wrong, its pathos and its comedy are so wildly misplaced, that you could not, in your fantasy of what it might be like, improve on what it really is. “Oh My God!” — that’s all you can say.