Audio / Video Hobby-ism since 1993

Forget the Quality, Feel the Width

4 Mar 2011

Currently Off Air - Love in Outer Space

almost like a radio show.
New Podcast of monthly 'Currently Off Air' radio show and podcast.

10 Mar 2010

Downtown Heptasm - Reel 1 (Alpha) 'The Monkey's Brother'

The first reel of the seven part Downtown Heptasm reconstruction project is up here:
Background details here:

 A reconstruction of the first of seven legendary 'beat' reels from the late 1950s. Originally created by Ed Coolly, recreated by Buckinfudgy.

Edmund Coolliquoi (Ed Coolly) was an Anglo-French expat living in New York in the mid-1950s. He became 'turned on' to the work of beat poets and performers, jazz musicians and the possibilities of electronics. His day job was as a technician for local New York experimental TV station, WRZY. To fill in gaps in programming, and during the late night closedown, Coolly developed collections of test signals, countdowns and industrial film footage. Overlaid with poems and sound from beat poet friends, these developed into 7 sound and moving image collages, each one lasting for seven minutes. These films became known as the ‘Downtown Heptasm Reels'.

Continually refined, developed and added to throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, Coolly only stopped working on the collection shortly before his death in 1967. By this time the reels had become legendary amongst television technicians, and were regularly screened at happenings and psychedelic gatherings in San Francisco, London and Paris.

Although the masters were lost, some fragments of the original reels have been retained in private collections. Few agree on the full content of all seven reels (for example, debate is split on whether the Zapruder footage was ever included) but enough first person testimony exists to aid the rebuilding of the seven parts. Returning to the original sources, Buck in Fudgy have begun work on a project to restore ‘Downtown Heptasm’ to its original Hepcat glory.

15 Apr 2009

Film Noir a Day Fortnight - The Killers

Today's Noir was 'The Killers' (1946). An adaptation of Hemingway's 1927 hardboiled short story (one revisited in David Cronenburg's 2005 'A History of Violence'). The film is directed by German Director and UFA graduate, Robert Siodmak. Ufa (Universum Film Aktiengesellschaft) was the Berlin home, throughout the 1920s and 1930s,  to Film Directors such as Fritz Lang, F.W. Murnau, Carl Theodor Dreyer and E.A.Dupont. Burt Lancaster stars in his breakthrough role as the sympathetic 'Swede'. Lancaster later confessed to finding his kissing scenes with Ava Gardner 'deeply stirring' and to being so nervous that he needed 15 takes during some scenes. Edmund O'Brien, of D.O.A also stars as the investigator.

After the doomy,  menacing, atmospheric opening scenes of the killers, Max and Al (played beautifully by William Conrad and Charles McGraw) finding and gunning down 'the Swede' (after ordering Ham and Eggs) the film's pace and mood lags a little, getting slightly lost in a welter of flashbacks and recollections. Using a non-linear structure that is similar to Citizen Kane's 'investigation' mode it becomes a little confusing and would probably benefit from a second viewing. Cinematographer Woody Bredell developed 'out of balance' lighting of heightened contrasts by not using the fill lighting that gave many contemporary films a dull grey look.

The film was produced by broadway columnist, Mark Hellinger who, the following year, would partner up with Jules Dassin to make two further Noir classics: 'Brute Force' (again featuring Lancaster) and docu-noir, 'The Naked City' - for which he also provided the memorable voiceover ('There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them'). He died of a heat attack just before Christmas 1947.

'If there's one thing in this world I hate, it's a double-crossing dame' 

'Don't ask a dying man to lie his soul into Hell'. 

Reference: 'Film Noir' by Eddie Robson. Virgin Film books. 2005 

Film Noir a Day Fortnight - Gun Crazy

Trigger happy mayhem with 'Gun Crazy' (1949) also known as 'Deadly is the Female'. This is another hysterical, violent and shocking Joseph H Lewis film (see ' The Big Combo') filled with barely tempered nihilism, (implied) sex and violence. Gun fanatics, Bart and Annie blow their stash in Vegas and they try to recoup their loses with bank jobs and that noirly inevitable staple: the payroll heist. As the body count piles up they hit the road, Bonnie and Clyde style. The script was based on a short story and original, lengthy script by MacKinlay Kantor. It was re-written for the screen by the recently blacklisted writer, Dalton Trumbo but credited to Millard Kaufman, a fellow writer who allowed Trumbo to use his name. The film was produced by the King Brothers who had made their money bootlegging liquor during prohibition and investing in the fruit machine business. They made their breakthrough in the film business with 1945's B-movie success, 'Dillinger'.

The film features Welsh actress Peggy Cummins as an admirably possessed and dislikable Annie, with Rope's John Dall turning in a performance that is, by turns, soppy, hammy  and a little bit spooky. It all ends up a swamp hunt that shares the same ending as Bogart's 1941 'High Sierra' and 1955 colour noir, 'I died a thousand times'. It features an innovative one shot bank heist sequence which involved hidden mircophones and boom operators laying on the roof rack. After a dummy run, this shot was completed in one take.

Bart: "We go together, Annie. I don't know why. Maybe like guns and ammunition go together". 

Annie: "Bart, I've been kicked around all my life, and from now on, I'm gonna start kicking back". 

imdb link

Reference: 'Film Noir' by Eddie Robson. Virgin Film books. 2005

14 Apr 2009

Film Noir a Day Fortnight - Murder, My Sweet

Another day, another drugged abduction, shoot out, deadly dame 'fest. 'Murder, My Sweet' (1944) ' was a Philip Marlowe story based on the Raymond Chandler novel, 'Farewell, My Lovely'. Chandler was Hollywood hot after the success of Billy Wilder's adaptation of 'Double Indemnity'. RKO bumped the production up from a B-movie budget of $150,000  to a moderate A-movie budget of $400 - 500,000. Directed by Edward Dmytryk, a left-wing Canadian Ukrainian who, five years later,  would be blacklisted by the House on Un-American Activities and forced to swap Hollywood for London to make films with, amongst others, 'Carry On' stalwart, Sid James. The film is beautifully shot and lit by Harry J Wild, who had recently completed uncredited photography on Orson Welles' 'Citizen Kane (1941) and Magnificent Ambersons (1942) -  films that shared the same RKO studio.

The central role turned frustrated charmer and crooner, Dick Powell into a heavy(ish)weight leading man, resulting in subsequent Noir roles in 'Cornered' (1947), 'Johnny O'Clock' (1947) and 'Pitfall' (1948).
A magnificent  hallucination sequence - a collaboration between montage specialist, Douglas Travers and Dmytryk, occurs after Marlowe is injected with 'Truth Serum'.

Marlowe: "A black pool opened up. I dived in. It had no bottom."

imdb link 

Censor board report:

Reference: 'Film Noir' by Eddie Robson. Virgin Film books. 2005

13 Apr 2009

Film Noir a Day Fortnight - Blues in the Night

Noir(ish) of the day was 1941's 'Blues in the Night'. Not strictly a Noir but an early goofy musical comedy, vaudevillian melodrama that skirts with the black arts of noir in its depiction of venality, alcoholism, several men's obsession with a gun blasting femme fatale, gambling addiction, cash-obsessed convicts on the run, juke joints, roadhouse dives, a  miscarriage and a three month stint in the psycho ward. Judged by modern standards this movie is all over the shop. Taken on its own terms it rollercoasters at breakneck pace through a dozen, occasionally thrilling, set pieces. A particularly dazzling hallucination sequence sets it apart from more mundane 'B' movie fodder.

Based around pianist Jigger's obsession with a spiritual tune he hears whilst banged up after punching a moaning customer's lights out. The song - actually the Mercer/Arlen standard that gives the movie it's title  is one of a half dozen frisky jazz, pop and show tunes that punctuate the action. Directed by Ukrainian,
Anatole Litvak with central performances from future Director's Richard Whorf and Elia Kazan. 1950s and 60s US TV stalwart, Betty Field is suitably coarse and unlikeable as the nihilistic femme fatale. Inevitably, all of the male characters, at some point, fall for her charmless charms.

Noir scale - light grey with splashes of jet black.

12 Apr 2009

Film Noir a Day Fortnight - Johnny O'Clock

The Noir of the Day was 'Johnny O'Clock' (1947). Dick Powell's suave professional gambler gets involved in the murder of a crooked cop. Little menace but a gutbucket of puns and jive talk, good women/bad women, bad men / worse men.

Johnny O'Clock: 'She don't know whether she's coming or going'
Blayden: 'Take a message to her, she's going'.

Ellen Drew is white hot as the casino owner's pitying moll:
'Give me a kiss, It'll make you look good, in front of people'.

Powell is better in the peerless 'Murder My Sweet', working with a far superior script, but carries his white tux off with inevitable aplomb. New Yorker, Robert Rossen writes and directs. Rossen also wrote screenplays for the Noirs 'Blues in the Night' (1941),  'The Strange Love of Martha Ivers' (1946). In the same year as Johnny O'Clock he directed (the superior) ace boxing movie, 'Body & Soul' (1947) before going on to helm the excellent Noir-ish political satire 'All the King's Men' (1949) and Paul Newman vehicle, 'The Hustler' (1961).

Video of 'posters and lobby card images'

11 Apr 2009

Film Noir a Day Fortnight - Kiss Me Deadly

I slapped my way through Day 5 of the Film Noir fortnight with Kiss Me Deady (1955) - a Mike Hammer adaptation stuffed full of heartless beatings, torture, throwing people from cliffs, crushing them in cars and a suitcase full of nuclear annihilation. Thrilling, innovative, savage, featuring the original glowing suitcase macguffin as ripped in Pulp Fiction. Film Noir with Nouvelle Vague flourishes and the blackest of souls. No Stacy Keach here.

Directed by Robert Aldrich, the screenplay was strangled from a Mickey Spillane book that writer Al Bezzerides is reported to have hated. Crimer writer, Bezzerides went on to write for other noirs including 'They Drive by Night' (1940), 'Thieves' Highway' (1949), and 'On Dangerous Ground' (1952). Aldrich regretted taking on the project, due to the failures of two previous Spillane adaptations. The writer and directors' enmity may have helped nurture the nihilistic, unforgiving tone that permeates the film. They moved the book from New York to Los Angeles, introduced the stomic subplot and forged one of the greatest noirs out there.

"I don't care what you do to me, Mike - just do it fast!"

10 Apr 2009

Film Noir a Day Fortnight - Dementia aka Daughter of Horror

Day Four of the Film Noir fortnight. Today it was 'Daughter of Horror' aka 'Dementia' (1955), an experimental, no-budget beat noir horror which charts the moral disintergration of a young woman. Dream seqences in misty graves, pill-ed up jazz clubs, a deranged score, dodgy acting, an egregious voice over...I couldn't possibly recommend it more. The sole film credited to writer, producer and director, John Parker. It features  the incredibly operatic haunt of Marni Nixon's singing over Geore Antheil's score. Nixon's husband, Ernest Gold, is credited with 'Musical Direction'. Lead actress, Adrienne Barret, finally turned up in her second film role 31 years later in Australia.

"Come with me into the tormented, haunted, half-lit night of the insane".

The 'Daughter of Horror' version, featuring the ridiculous but somehow beguiling voiceover is available on The music only version, 'Dementia' is available on DVD.

9 Apr 2009

Film Noir a Day Fortnight - D.O.A.

The Maundy Thursday Noir was D.O.A. (1949)
Frank Bigelow gets slipped a mickey in a San Francisco amphetamine jive joint full of Hep Cats speaking 'Cloud Nine, Daddy-O'. Told he has 24 hours to live, he spends the rest of film frantically finding out who has poisoned him and why. Uneven public domain thriller, stuffed with good lines. Edmond O'Brien, a picture of harrassed exuberance here (and a mixed budget stalwart) also features in 'The Killers', 'Brute Force' & 'White Heat'. The Director, Rudolph Mate was another well-respected Eastern European cinematographer (Born Krakow 1898). The picture was shot by Ernest Laszlo (Born Budapest 1898). As with many public domain Noirs, the print is not pristine but still holds up well.
Download, remix, bootleg it, it's free here

8 Apr 2009

Film Noir a Day Fortnight - The Big Combo

Paul has sauntered through day two of the 'Film Noir a Day fortnight'.
The Big Combo (1955). Another detective trying to break an unbreakable criminal ring. A brilliant performance by Richard Conte as a ridiculously confident mobster whose catchphrase is "First is first and second is nothing at all". A great scene where a hearing aid as a torture device. Beautifully shot by John Alton who 'lensed' other great Noirs such as 'T-Men', 'Raw Deal', 'Border Incident' & 'He Walked by Night'. The final shoot out, where a fleeing Conte is lit by a single arc-lite, controlled by the lead female character in an abandoned warehouse is a materful distillation of Noir's themes and powers. 

Joseph H Lewis also directed 'Gun Crazy' (1949) which shares this film's air of bubbling hysteria. The film was produced by Allied Artist studios, formely 'Monogram', a B-movie stalwart who, after failed attempts at breaking into 'A' pictures, concentrated their efforts on the exploitation market: cheap thrills for the young adult market.

 Noir scale: mid-grey to Jet Black

Reference: 'Film Noir' by Eddie Robson. Virgin Film books. 2005

7 Apr 2009

'Film Noir a Day' fortnight - The Enforcer

Day one of the 'Film Noir a Day' fortnight. First up, The Enforcer (1951). Bogart as a D.A., guns, hoodlums, a crime organisation called Murder Inc, Zero Mostel as 'Big Babe Lazick' and a large body count. Tag line "if you're smart you'll come down, if you're dumb you'll be dead". Classy.

Trailer here

30 Aug 2007


I have never had someone end a phone conversation with me and, after they cleared the line, felt impelled to say, ‘Hello, Hello, are you still there?’

My mobile phone frequently cannot get a signal, runs out of credit and battery power.

When I get angry I quickly become incoherent, my vocabulary shrinks to an arsenal of a dozen mono and duo syllabic words, and spittle showers my immediate area. I would have failed the Glengarry Glenn Ross auditions.

I have never begun a romance by bumping into a woman, spilling the entire contents of her bag, bending down to help pick the debris up and had my eyes lock apologetically to hers. I met my wife, drunk, outside a pub.

I have never walked out on a restaurant dinner partner by slamming some bank notes on the table

I have never broken into a garden guarded by ferocious dogs.

If I am awoken at night by an unidentified noise I will always say, ‘bloody neighbours’ before falling back to sleep before the minute is up.

I have never sat in a pub, restaurant or hotel bar smoking, enigmatic and alone.

My bed has a quilt, not white sheets

I never awake by suddenly sitting bolt upright and gasping

I have never been caught outside with a woman in a sudden shower of rain and felt the desire to hoist my jacket over both our laughing heads. In cold weather I have never offered my jacket to a woman without reminding her she is daft for not bringing extra layers.

22 Aug 2007

My life would make a lousy film because... Pt 1:

I have never lit a post-coital cigarette.

I have never ridden, as a patient or a concerned passenger, in an ambulance.

I have never awoken to answer a ringing bed-side telephone with the accusatory greeting, ‘Do you know what time it is?’

I have never come home, walked into my living room and fixed myself a drink.

I have never owned, worn or walked around my apartment in a white cotton vest.

I have never felt imperilled enough in a public eatery to excuse myself, walk briskly to the toilets and try to escape through the window.

I have never got into a taxi and said simply, ‘the airport and step on it’.

When I answer the phone I use polite English ‘He-llo’ by way of greeting. I do not use, ‘Yeah?’, ‘Y’ello?’ or ‘What is it?

I have never had someone slam the phone down on me.

I have never walked into a building and said, ‘Hello, is anybody there?’

I have never run through a hotel kitchen.

I have never driven at great speed through an alleyway.

I have never fled down a backstreet only to come up against a 10 foot unscalable metal mesh gate.

21 Apr 2006