Like Father, Like Son – Doppelgangers

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One of my most interesting recent discoveries is a short film made by director Julien Landais. It’s titled DER DOPPELGANGER (2014) and stars Alain Delon’s youngest son, Alain-Fabien Delon Jr. who was just 20-years-old at the time. What fascinates me about Landais’s film is that it seems to borrow some visual motifs from my favorite horror anthology, SPIRITS OF THE DEAD (1968), which featured Alain Delon in a segment directed by Louis Malle as well as Rene Clement’s magnificent PURPLE NOON (1960). Similarities with Malle’s film include titles that change from orange to red and the use of white and black costumes to represent good and evil or the shadow of the “other.” I was also struck by Landais’ use of a mirror to frame Alain-Fabian and the intense close-ups of his eyes and neck that was reminiscent of the erotic way Clement shot his star in PURPLE NOON. Father and son look eerily alike in a number of scenes and the meta nature of DER DOPPELGANER makes it a fascinating companion to Malle’s original film. Landais has said that his own short was inspired by Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “The Double” and Alfred de Musset’s narrative poem “December Nights” while Malle’s film was based on Edgar Allen Poe’s “William Wilson” and PURPLE NOON is based on Patricia Highsmith’s “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” The first three tales all involve narcissistic men haunted by doppelgangers who are eventually driven mad by their doubles. And Highmith’s crime thriller explores the very nature of identity.

Young Alain-Fabien obviously takes after his father and has inherited his good looks but he also manages to maintain a smoldering intensity throughout DER DOPPELGANGER that suggests he may have also inherited some of his father’s acting skills. Landais short film is beautifully shot and composed and contains one particularly stunning moment where Alain-Fabien suddenly seems to develop fangs and bites his double on the neck. I’ve always wished that Alain Delon had made a vampire film when he was younger and that brief moment in DER DOPPELGANGER gives me hope that I’ll eventually get to see his son vamp it up in a French horror film.

Following a selection of stills I’ve posted Landais’ short film below for your viewing pleasure (and mine) followed by Malle’s original WILLIAM WILSON. Watching them back to back is a real treat, especially if you’re a Delon fan.

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June & July at the Movie Morlocks

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I haven’t been online much the last few months for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I’ve been having some medical problems with my left eye and spending lots of time on my computer reading, watching vids and writing can often be problematic. My eyes get easily irritated and I’m prone to headaches, etc. The other reason is simple net fatigue, particularly on social media sites such as Facebook & Twitter where petty bickering, herd-like behavior and one-upmanship among film fans, critics and journalists can become unbearably tiresome. With that out of the way, I want to apologize to anyone you visits Cinebeats often hoping for new updates (excuses I know… but I seem to be suffering from an extreme case of weltschmerz this year) but you can still find me regularly posting on TCM’s Movie Morlocks blog and I occasionally write articles for TCM’s website. Here are some links to things I’ve written in the last few months:

They Wore It Well: Actors & Mustaches: “Mustaches of all shapes, sizes, widths and weights have long been part our movie history so it’s easy to take them for granted. But a good mustache can have power and presence in the movies and many actors have made great use of their facial hair to seduce costars, entice laughter and menace their enemies.”

Hammer Noir: Terence Fisher’s STOLEN FACE (1952): “While a few of the Fisher’s earlier films, such as SO LONG AT THE FAIR (1950), hinted at his penchant for gothic fantasy and costume drama, STOLEN FACE gave the director the opportunity to begin exploring (and exploiting) his apparent fascination with science, philosophy, psychology and medicine that would later permeate his full-color horror films made for Hammer. Amid the noir elements and abundant melodrama that can be found in STOLEN FACE, Fisher spends a noticeable amount of time lingering on strange medical devices while focusing on the doctor’s interactions with patents and colleagues. The doctor also makes a noteworthy trip to a pub where he mingles with some inquisitive locals. This seemingly innocuous event became a staple in Fisher’s horror films…”

Summer Reading Suggestions: “Like many people, I tend to do a lot of reading when the weather warms up and with summer officially about to start on June 21st I thought it would be a good time to share some of the books I’ve been enjoying with my fellow film buffs. My own tastes tend to be somewhat eclectic but I hope readers of all types and stripes will find something that piques their interest when pursuing my list of Summer Reading Suggestions.”

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“I wonder if my brother remembers his brother?” – Remembering Eli Wallach 1915-2014: “Leone famously liked to shoot his actors in extreme close-up or in sweeping wide shots where they were barely visible. But Wallach instinctively knew how to make the most of his screen time and easily navigates between these two very different modes of filmmaking. His eyes speak volumes when Leone’s camera zooms in for a signature close-up but when the director’s camera is out of sight Wallach skillfully used his body language to define his character from a distance. Many actors would get lost in the vast deserts, dilapidated cemeteries and shabby old towns that make up Leone’s film but Wallach seamlessly becomes part of the landscape. We know he’s there even when we can’t see him.”

When Fact Mirrors Fiction: AGATHA (1979): “Redgrave and Hoffman make an unlikely pair and some critics apparently found their height difference distracting but I think the two actors have an incredible chemistry on screen. Redgrave seems to be channeling Garbo while Hoffman displays the kind of arrogant charm that made William Powell so likable. Both performers have rarely been as vulnerable, sympathetic, affable and flat out sexy as they are here, which is partially due to the way they interact and seem to identify with one another’s characters. Their unconventional but utterly convincing on-screen romance is one of the many reasons why I find AGATHA so compelling.”

The Malaise of the Ghetto: LA HAINE (1995): “The broad appeal of Kassovitz’s film can also be traced to another film that mesmerized young audiences in 1955, Nicholas Ray’s timeless classic REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. Both films focus on a troubled threesome who form a makeshift family during the span of 24 hours. The neighborhood fighting might be on a much smaller scale and the suburban hood of 1955 Los Angeles appears much more inviting than the suburban slums of 1995 Paris, but both movies use the threat of gun violence to their credit. Neither Plato (Sal Mineo) nor Vinz (Vincent Cassel) can fully comprehend the lethal power of the weapons they’re carrying and their shared desire for some kind of notoriety or control in the face of an indifferent world is something many young people can unfortunately sympathize with . Does LA HAINE have the staying power of REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE? That remains to be seen.”

A Century of Scares: Happy Birthday Bava!: “This week marks the 100th birthday of Mario Bava who was born on July 30th (according to leading Bava researcher Tim Lucas and author of the essential Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark) or 31st (if you want to believe IMDB.com and Wikipedia). The brilliant Italian director, cinematographer, special effects artist and screenwriter died in 1980 but today he’s fondly remembered by horror film enthusiasts as the Maestro of the Macabre. Bava has long been one of my favorite filmmakers so I couldn’t let this important anniversary pass without acknowledging his artistry.”

February & March at The Movie Morlocks

eastwoodvcI’ve been neglecting Cinebeats again. Having a hard time getting back into the swing of things around here and other endeavors are keeping me from the blog. But I thought I’d finally update with a quick list of some highlights from my February & Mach contributions to TCM’s Movie Morlocks. You can read all the articles by following the links below.

Wanna Rumble?
Excerpt: “I usually go out of my way to avoid ruffling the feathers of my fellow film fanatics but there are plenty of things that get me riled up on a monthly basis. Sometimes a girl’s just got to let off a little steam . . .”
Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of TCM with a free screening of CASABLANCA
Excerpt: “What fires up my imagination (about CASABLANCA) are the peripheral characters that linger around the film’s rough edges. The shady rogues, crooked cops, war criminals and usual suspects are the glue that holds this movie together for me.”
Play it Again, Morricone: FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (1965)
Excerpt: “While Leone’s camera lovingly lingers on dust covered streets, decaying buildings, weather worn leather boots, gleaming gun barrels and the expressive faces of the actors that make up his cast, Morricone breathes life into them through his music and sound design. Together they’re one of cinemas most extraordinary and ingenious duos and it’s become impossible to think of one man without acknowledging the talents of the other.”
Unfinished Films: Where Can I Buy My Ticket?
Excerpt: “Jodorowsky’s story isn’t uncommon and there are thousands of forgotten unmade movies that we’ll never get the opportunity to see although they may not have had the same ambition or scope as the long lost DUNE. With this in mind I decided to compile a list of some particularly intriguing film projects that never made it to the big screen. These are the forgotten dreams of frustrated directors and writers but from time to time I find them unspooling in my head…”

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Ancient Evil is Now a Modern Industry: THIRST (1979)
Excerpt: “Few film subjects have been as exploited, examined and scrutinized as vampires. These blood sucking monsters are a favorite topic of horror filmmakers and fans, morbid romantics and angst-ridden pubescent teens. In recent years the vampire has lost some of its bite thanks to a spat of predictable and tired films made for kids and indiscriminate adults but this wasn’t always the case. The 1970s was a particularly inventive time for our fanged friends…”
The Nightmarish World of Maya Deren
Excerpt: “MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON appears to take shape within the troubled mind of its doom-laden female protagonist. It’s propelled by dream logic without any familiar narrative structure but it contains elements and visual metaphors found in countless horror movies beginning with a locked door that leads viewers into a vacant house that seems alive with apparitions..”

2013 at the Movie Morlocks

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What follows is a collection of links to some of my posts at TCM’s Movie Morlocks from 2013. These are (in my estimation) the best and most interesting articles I wrote last year but you can read my entire output for 2013 at the Movie Morlocks if you peruse the archives. From this point onward on I’ll be collecting links to my Morlocks’ posts and sharing them here at the end of each month.

Rio – Rififi Style! GRAND SLAM (1967)
A Brief History of the Telefilm
Out, out, brief candle: Jon Finch 1942-2012
This is a Time for Ghosts : THE AWAKENING (2012)
All Love is Mad : MAD LOVE (1935)
Does Oscar gold come with an Oscar curse?
Telefilm Time Machine: DAUGHTER OF THE MIND (1969)
Tracing My Irish Roots Through the Movies
The Pulp Adventures of Lee Marvin
Telefilm Time Machine: THAT CERTAIN SUMMER (1972)
In Memoriam: Jesús “Jess” Franco (1930-2013)
Lon Chaney Jr. – Lady Killer
Comic Relief with ARTISTS AND MODELS (1955)
Telefilm Time Machine – FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY (1973)
GUN AND SWORD: An Encyclopedia of Japanese Gangster Films 1955-1980
Personal Passions: Alain Delon
Derelict Dancers: Gerard Depardieu vs. Roman Polanski – A PURE FORMALITY (1994)
Hail Cleopatra! Queen of the Nile & Queen of ’60s Style
Arsenic & Ambiguity in David Lean’s MADELEINE (1950)
Final Faces
Francois Truffaut – Friend, Teacher & Film Critic
Someone is Bleeding: LES SEINS DE GLACE (1974)
Oh Dear! What Can the Matter Be? : SO LONG AT THE FAIR (1950)
Telefilm Time Machine: Steven Spielberg’s SOMETHING EVIL (1972)
Four Reasons Why I Love Natalie Wood
Julie Harris 1925-2013: “And we who walk here, walk alone.
The Story of Film: UN CHIEN ANDALOU (1928)
In the Trenches with James Whale
Hollywood Goes to the Dolls
Telefilm Time Machine: SATAN’S TRIANGLE (1975)
Vincent Price Takes Center Stage
Vincent Price’s Small Screen Successes
Vincent Price & Gene Tierney: A Doomed Romance
In the Kitchen with Vincent Price
Adults Only: HOUSE ON STRAW HILL (1976)
Fighting Prejudice with Sidney Poitier
A Celluloid Revolution – James Dean: Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray
Telefilm Time Machine: HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (1972)

Terence Young’s Red Sun (1971)

During the month of August TCM will play host to their annual Summer Under the Stars event and for the last few years I’ve been asked to participate in an in-house blogathon devoted to one actor who is being featured in their line-up. This year Toshiro Mifune is our man of honor and I was happy to be able to contribute a piece on one of my favorite westerns, Terence Young’s RED SUN (1971). The film isn’t flawless but very few are and with a cast that includes some of my favorite actors including Alain Delon, Charles Bronson, Ursula Andress and the man of the hour, Toshiro Mifune, it’s nearly impossible to find RED SUN anything less than charming. It’s also surprisingly entertaining! My post focuses on Mifune’s contributions to the western genre, which got him saddled (literally!) with comparisons to John Wayne throughout his career.

Follow the link to read more:
Toshiro Mifune, Japan’s John Wayne @ TCM’s Movie Morlocks

A Retro Night Gallery

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“Vincent Price”

One of my favorite working artists is SHAG (aka Josh Agle) and he’s created some wonderful retro style pieces inspired by various movies over the years. A lot of his best work takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to horror and sci-fi films so I thought I’d share some of my favorite SHAG pieces during the Countdown to Halloween. Please visit SHAG’s official site for more info about the artist and his work @ SHAG. I’ve also included links to a couple of other artists doing retro-style artwork inspired by horror films that should appeal to SHAG fans at the end of this post.
The Hitcher by SHAG
“The Hitcher”
The Human Fly by SHAG
“The Human Fly”
The Drunken Cleric by SHAG
“The Cleric”
SHAG Collage
Top: “The Impatient One” & “Morbid Cat”
Middle: “The Object of My Dismay” & “Maiden Of The Moon”
Bottom: “Thirsty Like the Wolf” & “Sad Executioner”

Watson And The Shark #1 by SHAG
“Watson and the Shark”
Faster Pussycat Kill! KIll! by SHAG
“Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill!”
Le Moineau by SHAG
“Le Moineau”

If you like SHAG’s work I highly recommend visiting these other sites:
Doo Wacka Doodles with artwork by Belle Dee.
The Art of Stephanie Buscema with artwork by Stephanie Buscema.
Both artists are participating in the Countdown to Halloween. They’re also selling prints of their work & original art so don’t forget to take a look at their online shops!

Let It Snow

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Alain Delon and Romy Schneider (early ’60s)

Things have been pretty festive around here all month but I wanted to share a photo of Alain Delon and Romy Schneider as well as a song before I disappeared for a 7 day holiday. Regular readers are well aware of my interest in Anthony Perkins and his singing career so it’s probably no surprise that I was thrilled to discover that the actor had recorded a number of Christmas songs including his own rendition of “Let It Snow.” It was recorded later in his career so his voice doesn’t have the same melodic tone that his earlier recordings have but it’s still fun to listen to. Enjoy and happy holiday from Cinebeats!

Alain Delon Turns 75

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Top & Center: The many faces of Alain Delon in the ’60s
Bottom: Alain Delon with Claudia Cardinale at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival

Halloween is over and I didn’t accomplish everything I set out to do. There are still a few more Bewitching Movies that I’d love to write about in the future but now that November has arrived I wanted to make sure I made some time to salute my favorite French actor on his upcoming 75th birthday.

I’ve written in length about my affection for Alain Delon before and I’m proud of the fact that a lot of the current information you find online about the actor originally came from my long forgotten tribute site that celebrated Delon’s impressive career. The site went offline in 1998 but since then the information I compiled and had translated has found its way onto Wikpedia, IMDB.com and countless other English language fan sites so it can still be enjoyed by fans and easily accessed by other writers when they’re waxing poetically about the actor known as the “Ice-Cold Angel.” An aging old bat like myself can remember the dark days before everyone owned a computer and started taking information for granted. I’m happy that times have changed and information about Alain Delon is so widely available. I’m also happy that Alain Delon has lived long enough to celebrate his 75th birthday!

My birthday salute to Alain Delon can be found at TCM’s Movie Morlocks blog along with a lot more eye-candy: The Ice-Cold Angel Turns 75

Happy Anniversary to Me!

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Jane Fonda & Alain Delon stopped by with a cake earlier today
and helped me celebrate Cinebeats’ four year anniversary.

Another year and another day. I considered writing something thoughtful and profound about film blogging in honor of Cinebeats’ four year anniversary today but frankly I’m not in the mood to ruminate about why I do what I do and why I’ve done it for the last four years. I love to write and I also happen to love movies. I’ve been compelled to write about the movies I watch and the people who make them since I was a kid. And this is why I enjoy blogging about film. Nothing more and nothing less.

Unlike a lot of my fellow bloggers I don’t worry too much when no one comments on something I’ve written and that happens a lot lately. I often don’t have the time to reply to the people who do leave comments at Cinebeats so the quiet here suits me just fine. A lot of my fellow film bloggers are obsessed with blog hits and web traffic but I don’t pay much attention to that either. Once a month or so I’ll take a peek at my stats and I’m extremely grateful for all the people who manage to stop by Cinebeats every day even if they’re only looking for naked pictures of Alain Delon. And that happens a lot! And while I’m on the topic, who doesn’t want to look at naked pictures of Alain Delon? I honestly wouldn’t trust anyone – woman or man – who would kick a young and impossibly beautiful Alain Delon out of their bed. Just saying.

So if I don’t want to write about film blogging or join the tired chorus of voices currently bemoaning the state of film criticism online, what should I write about? I’m afraid I’ve got nothing. So instead I’ll just say a big hearty Thank You to everyone who has taken the time to read my posts, comment or just found some kind of enjoyment in what I’ve shared here over the last four years. I’m grateful to you all. Cheers!

I also thought I’d show my gratitude to all those web surfers who stop by here month after month looking for some Alain Delon skin . . .
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“She is a happening all to herself.”

The October 1968 issue of ABC Film Review features a great piece by Philip Bradford about the making of Jack Cardiff’s Girl On A Motorcycle. In the article the movie’s two stars (Marianne Faithfull and Alain Delon) briefly discuss what it was like to work with one another on the film. I thought it would be fun to share their quotes here along with some lovely still shots of them together on the set. I assume that most (if not all) of these photographs were taken by Jack Cardiff himself but if anyone knows otherwise, please feel free to let me know.

Alain Delon on Marianne Faithfull:

"She is a happening all to herself. She is the type of girl men fought dragons for in mythology, the type that duels have been fought over."

Marianne Faithfull on Alain Delon:
"We think alike in a lot of ways and he’s a totally dedicated actor. He helped me a lot through his ability to ignore outside things when he’s working. You have to keep cool when you’re filming. Shooting intimate love scences with swarms of technicians around you – for that you really need to learn to concentrate.  You have to shut off everyone else and make a world in which there are only two people."

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It’s also worth noting that Marianne Faithfull isn’t afraid to call Alain Delon a "cunt" when the opportunity presents itself. For her 2002 album Kissin’ Time Faithfull recorded a beautiful song written with Dave Stewart called "Song For Nico" that is a tribute to the German songstress and one time member of The Velvet Underground. In the song Faithfull takes a well-deserved jab at Delon for the neglectful way he treated Nico and the child they had together in 1962. The curious can listen to the song on Youtube if you follow this link.