August 7, 2006

From Tom Sutpen: "Today, were he still among us, would have been the 95th birthday of American Cinema's true poet of human failing, Nicholas Ray. We here at If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger . . . would like all of our visitors to mark the occasion by carving out a few errant moments to reflect on a period when this neck of the medium was able to demonstrate a degree of compassion for our panoply of weakness, and not, as they do in this hour, simply cash in on it with bottomless contempt."

Thinking of Ray today brings a lump to my throat. When people cry on television all you see is the fangs of the camera and their competitors.But when Farley Granger leaves Cathy O'Donnell's arms for one last heist, and when Cathy O'Donnell looks up from Granger's corpse surrounded by cops (the cameras today would be trained on the cops) you don't see fangs, you see frail human souls. Even when there's blood, like in the bathtub of PARTY GIRL, or on the igloo wall of SAVAGE INNOCENTS, there is gravity and grace, there is thought; there were hearts that pumped that blood through those bodies, and we immediately think of that -- not the pseudo-scientific hustlers swarming the scene (CSI).
He filmed storms, always human, plus: fine sand, dust, snow, humidity and swamps, brisk asphalt cities, tired domestic air, architecture, culture, fabrics, hypocrisy, rock 'n roll...
And who else inserted a shot of a bird struggling human ways like he? Who cared to?