Monday, February 27, 2012

Sternberg's Unfinished Masterwork: I Claudius

What we have here are frames from Josef von Sternberg's aborted adaptation of Robert Graves's rather questionable account of the reign of the Emperor Claudius. Whatever the outcome might have been, what he left us is infinitely preferable to the stodgy BBC adaptation, which is unfortunately much better known. The main performers shown in these images are Flora Robson, Emlym Williams, Robert Newton, Charles Laughton, and Merle Oberon. It was nominally due to a car accident which fractured the leg of Miss Oberon (the lover of the film's producer, Alexander Korda) which caused the filming to be canceled irrevocably. The real reasons were never revealed and all the records were destroyed after the insurance money was paid.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday Night Shooting Sessions

It would seem from what I've read of late (in an article by Jim Hoberman, which appeared in Slant) that Irving Rosenthal's estimation of Jack Smith's estate as probably worth millions was not so absurd after all since Barbara Gladstone looks poised to profit just this mightily from the sale of the newly minted prints struck from Jack's negatives. That, of course, is all business and, as Irving once remarked in another context (that of Love gone awry,) "business is business." Since Irving was responsible for more than one of these figures appearing in the images below (he was always sending people over to help Smith right up until Jack's death,) I hope he does not mind my mentioning him here. I only mean to suggest that he had some vital concern in their making.