In the Kingdom of G

In the film world of the 20th century, there were not too many animators who made the transition to live action feature film directing. Certainly Frank Tashlin was one of the most famous, going from Porky Pig and Daffy Duck cartoon shorts to manic pop culture comedies like The Girl Can’t Help It (1956) and Hollywood or Bust (1956). Another rare exception was George Pal, who became famous for his Puppetoon shorts for Paramount before establishing himself as a director of fantasy features such as Tom Thumb (1958) and The Time Machine (1960). It is far easier to name more contemporary filmmakers like Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton and Brad Bird,  all of whom graduated from cartoons to live-action features successfully. The above are all artists who worked in the commercial cinema but, if you are talking about art cinema, the list is much smaller and Polish animator Walerian Borowczyk should be in the top slot. Goto, Island of Love (1969, Polish title: Goto, I’ile d’amour), his feature film debut, is a fascinating achievement that successfully brings the avant-garde sensibilities of his animated shorts to a live action feature.

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Pool Days

Sometimes a film comes along that no marketing department can get a handle on and as a result it just gets tossed out there to fend for itself and to find an audience on its own. That was the case with Deep End, released in 1971 by Paramount Pictures to selected art houses and whatever theaters were willing to book it. I saw the film at the Westhampton Theatre in Richmond, Virginia, which was obviously run by an Anglophile because almost any new British film would play there. Of course, Deep End is only British on the surface. It is set in London but the cast includes British and Germany actors and much of the film was shot in Munich, Germany by Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski.

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