The Cultural Gutter

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"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

Carnival and Clairvoyance: Why Casino Royale (’67) is Your New Favourite Bond

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Gutter Guest Star Matt Finch shares his favorite Bond film at Of Inhuman Bond Age: “Right at the start of Casino Royale, an alliance of world powers attacks the mansion of our hero, James Bond, an ageing World War I veteran. (Perpetually 35-ish no more.) Only such drastic invasion of privacy can motivate Britain’s happily […]

“He Strikes Like A Ball Of Thunder!”

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The Gutter’s own Keith writes about Lightning Bolt for The Gentleman’s Guide to Midnite Cinema. “Imagine Sean Connery asking Robert Shaw how much money he’d need not to kill Bond, then saying, ‘OK, mind if I write you a check?’”

RIP, Lorenzo Semple

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Screenwriter and creator of the Sixties Batman television series Lorenzo Semple has died. Besides Batman, Gutter readers might know Semple best from his screenplays for, The Parallax View, Flash Gordon (1980), Papillon, The Drowning Pool, Never Say Never Again, Sheena, and King Kong (1976). The Los Angeles Times,  The Hollywood Reporter and Comics Alliance have […]

Vic Armstrong on Buster Keaton

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Stunt performer Vic Armstrong talks about the stunt work of Buster Keaton. (via Graham Wynd)

“The Fleming Files”

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At Teleport City, The Gutter‘s own Keith examines Ian Fleming’s historical and fictional lives in espionage. “There were many British celebrities who dabbled to some degree or other in intelligence work during the war: Fleming, of course, but also entertainer Noel Coward[,] occult fiction author Dennis Wheatley, even notorious Ordo Templi Orientis leader Aleister Crowley […]

Interview with George Lazenby

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The guys at The Daily Grindhouse interview with George Lazenby, star of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and The Man from Hong Kong, aka, Dragon Flies.

“Death of a Citizen, Birth of an Agent”

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At Teleport City, The Gutter’s own Keith writes a four-part series about the adaptation of Donald Hamilton’s Matt Helm from his novels to film. “’I was taking a martini across the room…’ If that line, the first sentence in the first Matt Helm novel by Donald Hamilton, had been the only sentence in the book, […]

“The Rape of James Bond”

Sophia McDougall writes about “sexual assault and ‘Realism’ in popular culture.” (via @Pornokitsch)

The Spymaster and The Cuckoo

“This, then, is the story of Maxwell Knight—the man called M—and a cuckoo called Goo. Knight was a tall, patrician British intelligence officer in charge of MI5 departments dealing with counter-subversion on home ground. And yes, as ‘M’ he was the inspiration for James Bond’s controller.” Helen MacDonald recounts the story in an excellent piece. […]

The Suits of James Bond

A website dedicated to fab fashion and 007. (thanks, @World_Of_Hurt)

The Dark Knight and the Bitter Tears of Alfred Pennyworth: Batman and Realism Part 2

This week Screen Editor alex MacFadyen and Comics Editor Carol Borden continue discussing The Dark Knight Rises. We both like Batman and we’re fascinated by how many different Batmans there are. Even though there are things we like about the film, we want to figure out what is it about The Dark Knight Rises‘ Batman […]

Meeting A Film On Its Own Terms

Matt Stoller Seitz writes about meeting a film on its own terms, suspending your own disbelief and watching From Russia With Love and Singin’ In The Rain with audiences who wouldn’t or couldn’t do either. (Thanks, @DriveInMob)  

RIP, Bob Anderson

Olympic fencer, sword master, stunt choreographer, performer and actor, Bob Anderson has died. Anderson performed Darth Vader’s lightsaber battles in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Her served as sword master, fight coordinator and stunt performer in films such as 1953′s The Master of Ballantrae featuring a swashbuckling Errol Flynn, The Princess […]

“Chaos Cinema: The Decline of Action Filmmaking”

In his video essay (also available in text form), Matthias Stork details the elements of what he calls, “Chaos Cinema” and their effects on film and viewer experience: “The film doesn’t seduce you into suspending your disbelief.  It bludgeons you until you give up.”

The History and Art of the Title Sequence

A couple of looks at the art and history of film title sequences.

“Tomorrow Never Say Never” Starring George Lazenby

The Random James Bond Movie generator gives you a title, a plot and a particular Bond. (Also provides book titles).

How Hollywood Killed Stunts

Salon has an excellent piece on the death of stunts in Hollywood movies, exploring everything from the history of film stunts, the reliance on CG effects and new-fangled “intensified continuity” editing. The piece also mentions Michelle Yeoh, Tony Jaa, Zoe Bell and Yakima Canutt. (Thanks, Brian from Shelf Life CC).

Heroes vs. Villains

It might be Round 7, but it’s not too late to particpate in Cinematical’s Heroes vs. Villains tournament. Vote here.

Cantopop Covers

Did you know that the theme to “For a Few Dollars More” had lyrics? Cantonese pop star Josephine Siao did. You can hear it and her version of “Goldfinger,” too, thanks to Soft Film. (via 4DK)

The Sound of Our Impending Future!

Teleport City is preparing the way for the future and/or retro-future we’ve all been waiting for. Pack your go-bag to “Music for Departure Lounges” and taxi your way on out with “Music for Espionage and Space Defense.”

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Friend of the Gutter, Will McKinley looks at “The 1979 Rockford Files Episode That Inspired The Sopranos.” “A gang from Newark’s South Side is hiding Vinnie Martine’s body in a restaurant freezer. Tony’s mad because Anthony Jr. got caught pranking another mobster. And a boss who’s trying to reform gets his mansion sprayed with bullets. Remember that episode of The Sopranos? If you do, your memory’s playing tricks on you, because all these things happened on a 1979 episode of The Rockford Files—written by Sopranos creator David Chase.”

    And McKinley defends classic television with, “In Praise of Vintage Television.”

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    Journalist Margot Adler has died. She is best known for her work as a journalist on NPR, but she also created the speculative fiction radio program, “The Hour Of The Wolf” and was the writer of Drawing Down The Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today (1979) and Vampires Are Us: Understanding Our Love Affair with the Immortal Dark Side (2014). The New York Times, NPR and  Suvudu have obituaries.  Here Adler discusses Vampires Are Us. And here is an excerpt from Adler’s memoir, Heretic’s Heart (1997).

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    The Toronto International Film Festival has announced its Midnight Madness and Vanguard programs for 2014. There’s lots of goodness in there and it’s worth taking a look even if you aren’t going to the festival, so you can you movie watching later this year or next. We’ll be posting the trailers from the films later.

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    Actor James Shigeta has died. Shigeta appeared in Die Hard (1988), The Crimson Kimono (1959) The Flower Drum Song (1961),  Bridge To The Sun (1961), Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966), The Yakuza (1974) and many, many television shows.  The AV Club, Den Of Geek and Angry Asian Man have obituaries. Bridge to the Sun is discussed by Robert Osborne and Dr. Peter Feng on TCM.  At RogerEbert.com, Matt Zoller Seitz writes an appreciation of Shigeta’s life and work. “Shigeta, who died yesterday at 81, was a marvelous performer, and his work as Nakatomi Corporation President Joseph Takagi in the original 1988 Die Hard is one of my favorite examples of how an imaginative actor can sketch out a life in just a few scenes and lines.”

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    At RogerEbert.com, Alan Zilberman explores the history of the eye in cinema from Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) to Mark Cahill’s I Origins (2014). (via Matt Zoller Seitz)

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    At Never Get Off The Bus, Debbie Moon writes about Captain America: First Avenger. “When adapting existing material, it’s easy to assume that in order to reach point F, you simply have to work through points A – E. To set up Steve Rogers in the modern world, simply romp briskly through everything that happened before he got there. But your character may not be undergoing a single united emotional journey during that period. “

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