Sailor's Luck (1933) - News Poster

(1933)

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Daily Briefing. Losses and Revivals

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"When I wrote 120 Malay Movies I tried to watch all of the 34 movies that P Ramlee directed. I almost succeeded." Amir Muhammad (The Last Communist, Malaysian Gods) would eventually see 33; Sitora Harimau Jadian (1964) seems to have been lost. He tells us the story of how he came upon what amounts to P Ramlee's own novelization of Sitora Harimau Jadian, "describing what happens in his movie, scene by scene. The book is slim, only 124 pages, and I'm glad it was also fleshed out with pictures from the movie (which might be the only chance we will ever get to 'see' it)." He gives us a sample and then announces that he's republishing the book, which will be out next month and already has a fan page.

Another book. Today's review of Geoff Dyer's Zona comes from Nathan Rogers-Hancock at Cinespect.

Reading. Alex Ross Perry (The Color Wheel) once managed a
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Notebook's 4th Writers Poll: Fantasy Double Features of 2011

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Looking back at 2011 on what films moved and impressed us it becomes more and more clear—to me at least—that watching old films is a crucial part of making new films meaningful. Thus, our end of year poll, now an annual tradition, which calls upon our writers to pick both a new and an old film: they were challenged to choose a new film they saw in 2011—in theaters or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2011 to create a unique double feature. Many contributors chose their favorites of 2011, some picked out-of-the-way gems, others made some pretty strange connections—and some frankly just want to create a kerfuffle. All the contributors were asked to write a paragraph explaining their 2011 fantasy double feature. What's more, each writer was given the option to list more pairings, with or without explanation, as further imaginative
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New York's "Essential Pre-Code" Series: Week 2

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Each year New York residents can look forward to two essential series programmed at the Film Forum, noirs and pre-Coders (that is, films made before the strict enforcing of the Motion Picture Production Code). These near-annual retrospective traditions are refreshed and re-varied and re-repeated for neophytes and cinephiles alike, giving all the chance to see and see again great film on film. Many titles in this year's Essential Pre-Code series, running an epic July 15 - August 11, are old favorites and some ache to be new discoveries; all in all there are far too many racy, slipshod, patter-filled celluloid splendors to be covered by one critic alone. Faced with such a bounty, I've enlisted the kind help of some friends and colleagues, asking them to sent in short pieces on their favorites in an incomplete but also in-progress survey and guide to one of the summer's most sought-after series. In this entry: what's playing Friday,
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"Illuminating the Shadows" + "When Movies Mattered"

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Illuminating the Shadows: Film Criticism in Focus is a free three-day event kicking off this evening at the Block Cinema at Northwestern University when Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips introduces a screening of Errol Morris's Tabloid (2010). The panels start rolling out tomorrow when Nick Davis moderates a discussion of the history of film criticism with Farran Smith Nehme (whom many will know as the Self-Styled Siren), Jonathan Rosenbaum, Fred Camper, Dave Kehr and Gabe Klinger.

Dave Kehr will then introduce a screening of Raoul Walsh's Sailor's Luck (1933). When he presented the film at the Museum of the Moving Image last month, Moving Image Source ran the essay on Walsh that appears in Kehr's new book, When Movies Mattered: Reviews from a Transformative Decade: "I can think of no other case of a filmmaker whose work was so widely, and rightly, perceived as important, but yet received so little intelligent attention.
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Podcast: Dave Kehr, Critic!

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Two days ago, David Phelps and I had the privilege to sit down and talk to Dave Kehr, who we consider to be one of America's best film critics.  Luckily for us all, Kehr is still writing criticism; he currently writes regularly for the New York Times and casually hosts a small and impassioned film discussion community on his website, davekehr.com.  He is now publishing a wonderful book of his criticism from the 1970s and 1980s in a collection called "When Movies Mattered: Reviews from a Transformative Decade", which includes terrific pieces on City of Pirates, Raoul Walsh (re-printed here), Risky Business, Carl Th. Dreyer, When a Woman Ascends the Stairs, and many more.  It is essential reading: crisp, clear prose that leads the reader through a film or a filmmaker's work, characterizing and encapsulating, providing evidence simply, accurately, and expressively.  On the occasion of the book's publication, the
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