December 26th 2012. Pick Of The Day.

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Oh Lord how the holidays may sting...

After a nearly complete recuperation I am back to offer my Pick on this solemn day of taint. Taint Xmas and taint New Year's. But golly good gracious wow there be plenty afoot classic-film-wise this entirely disatrous weather plagued holiday aftermath. So let's explore the happy, shall we?

The sublime French film comic auteur Jacques Tati is afforded his appropriate 70mm glory at the Walter Reade this day, as PLAYTIME, his dystopian vision of the present circa 1967, unspools in the format it was meant to be seen. Love Tati, but I decline. Quel dommage.

MOMA's Pier Paolo Pasolini trib proceeds with two of the Italian auteur's bookend works; THE SCROUNGER was his feature debut and slight tweak of his homeland's Neo-Realist movement, while SALO remains his last cinematic contribution due only to his untimely death. The former is a retracing of our path personal, the latter path primal. Which is more disturbing depends on your empathic response. Reaction time is a factor. But not my Pick.

I also Pick not MOMA's screening of THE PICKWICK PAPERS even though "pick" is in the title. Too cheesy even for moi. But also it's just a servicable Dickens' adap for completists only. No. I reserve my Pick this ugly, torrential day, offering naught but weather frightening and borderline mythical, for a more apropo selection, one which behooves us all to make away from such perilous situations by hailing our respective flying carpets and fleeing danger. And what exactly is wrong with this logic asks this guy?

Douglas Fairbanks is not merely one of the most important figures in the history of film, he also got to fuck Mary Pickford. I mean they were married, don't get the wrong idea. But bang away he did. And this is not the only reason you accrue justifiable envy.

Here was a man who, in the silent era, specialized in physical comedy, laying the foundation for the Screwball Comedy hero of the sound era, a mix of physical slapstick and sophisticated jackassery taken up by Hawks and Capra and McCarey. He gambled on his great success, leaving this bread-winning persona behind by embarking on a series of ever-escalating in ambition action/adventure pieces, casting himself as the great heroes of mythology and folklore. His first stab at this new game was THE MASK OF ZORRO, a phenomenal success, which then led to the formation of a little studio-that-could called United Artists, along with Charlie Chaplin and D. W. Griffith. Oh and that Pickford chick. The one he was banging. Who had it better than this SOB, I ask?

The culmination of this great artist's work, this genius producer and innovator of the medium at the absolute top of his game screens for one final day at the Film Forum, unless a reprieve is given. It is one of the few surviving examples of the silent era at the peak of its powers, and may still remain the last cinematic title card on Scheherazade's original stay of execution. Without Dougie F, no Cary Grant, no Errol Flynn, no Indiana Jones. Go on, muss my hair. I dare ya.


THIEF OF BAGDAD screens all day today for a last day at Film Forum. I've never seen this screened large, so I may have to settle for the FF tonight.


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Enjoy this holiday season Stockers!


-Joe Walsh