The weekly film meeting saw:

* Shukujo to Hige /The lady and the beard – Japan 1930 Ozu

For a long time Tokyo monogatari was the only film by Ozu I had ever seen, and I thought it was going to stay so, since he’s films were never around. Gradually I could add more titles through festival screenings, and the final breakthrough was of course when films started to be availbale on DVD.
This film is one of four on BFI:s The student comedies. The others are Days of youth, I flunked, but… and Where now are the dreams of youth (all early ‘30s). Their newest release is Three melodramas: Early Spring (1956), Tokyo Twilight (1957) and Woman of Tokyo (1933).
There are lots of complete Ozus on You Tube: Days of Youth, I graduated, but…, A straightforward boy, Tokyo Chorus, Where now are the Dreams of Youth?, Woman of Tokyo, Dragnet Girl, Passing Fancy?, A Mother should be loved, Story of Floating Weeds, An Inn in Tokyo, What did the lady forget?, Late Spring and Good.
So there is no reason why the Ozu viewing shouldn’t be completed in the near future.

* Zánik domu Usheru /The Fall of the House of Usher – Czech 1980 Jan Svankmajer

* Mary – England 1930 Alfred Hitchcock #18

For a couple of years after the arrival of sound the film producers were trying to find a solution to the language problem. The silent films were easy to distribute all over the world, just switch the intertitles to another language. The earliest solution to the problem was to shoot the film in several languages
Mary is the German version of Murder, which Hitchcock made in the same sets with German actors. Of the last reel there is a third alternative. In the American print they put a couple of extra scenes to make it easier for the Yanks to understand it.
This was the only feature film by Hitchcock I hadn’t seen.
The whole film (in German with no subtitles)

Watched Today:

* Die Fälscher – Austria/Germany 2007 Stefan Ruzowitzky
Toward the end of the WWII the Germans were using Jews with counterfeit skills to make false pound and dollar notes to destroy the world economy. It was Austria’s contender to the Best Foreign Oscar. Didn’t win. Not surprised. Honest concentration camp films tend to be overrated.

* MM: “The mouse on 57th street” USA 1961 Jones

Started Reading:

* Från Aniara till Abba. Glimtar från GöteborgsOperans första tio år.
* Om och till Povel

Watched Today:

* MM: Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog: “Ready woolen and able” USA 1960 Jones

The first weekly film meeting of the year took place yesterday. A few friends have met once a week for several years to watch films. Usually we do shorts, but for the first time we have a series dedicated to feature films: all of Hitchcock’s films, some of Ozu’s, most of Powell & Pressburger’s and all of Jacques Demy’s. We do them in chronological order, so Ozu just joined the series, the first P & P will come in April and Demy sometime in the future.

Other main series at the moment: Jan Svankmajer, Fatty Arbuckle, Early French comedians, Jean Painlevé, Vitaphone shorts and Screening the Poor 1888-1914. Most of the films are on DVD, a few on VHS and some from You Tube.

This week’s programme:

* The Skin Game (Hitch 1931)
* Les oursins (Painlevé 1958)
* Otrantský zámek /The Castle of Otranto (Svankmajer 1979)
* Une vie gaspillée (Denmark 1910)
* A excerpt about Ozu from The Story of Film: An Odyssey
* Olive’s sweepstakes ticket (Popeye 1941)
* Trixie Friganza (Vitaphone)

§ There’s an excellent site on Hitchcock, giving information onDVD availability.

§ 23 films by Jean Painlevé are collected on a DVD

Science Is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painleve
§ All the Svankmajer shorts and a couple of films about him are in a 3-disc box from the BFI.

§ The 2-disc box Lichtspiele und Soziale Frage/Screening the Poor 1888-1914 is from Edition Filmmuseum in München. This is a collection of early films and magic lantern shows on the life of the poor, arranged according to subject matter: Slumming, Children in misery, Child labour, Charity and social care, Drink and temperance movement, Perils of wage labour and Escape showing.
The Filmmuseum have an excellent DVD release. Other boxes from them in my collection: Dziga Vertov, Walther Ruttmann and Hal Roach: Female comedy teams

Screening the Poor 1888-1914
§ The Ozu excerpt can be found on You Tube
The complete series is possible the best that has been made on the history of film. I caught most of it on Norwegian television last year

§ The complete (restored) Popeye by Fleischer is available in three boxes. The present film is from the third.

§ The Vitaphone shorts we watch are from the 3-disc edition of The jazz singer.

Finished Reading:

* Leonardo Konstnären
The first of a three volume set commenting on the note books by Leonardo da Vinci found in Madrid 1965, Codex Madrid I and II. It’s a translation from Italian of three authors covering different aspects: Målaren, by Anna Maria Brizio; Skulptören, by Maria Vittoria Brugnoli; and Läraren, by André Chastel. The following volumes, Vetenskapsmannen and Uppfinnaren
Considering how little has survived of paintings and sculptures it is amazing how much has been written about Leonardo. And how difficult it is to get a clear overview of his life and work. I suppose it is all these notebooks being presented in bits and pieces here and there. I have tried. And these are some of my tries: Field: Leonardo da Vinci; Landrus: LdV. En mästares liv och verk (this is one those with inserted facsimiles); Cremante: LdV. The complete works; Suh: LdV. Anteckningsböcker (this looked promising with lots of big pictures and translations of the texts, but there is no information at all about the images or the quotations, nothing about the source, nothing about the time when they were made, what’s the point?)

And then there is Gelb: How to think like LdV (a self-inprovement book)

Started Reading:

* Leonardo Vetenskapsmannen
* Falstaff Fakirs vitterlek

Watched Today:

* DCI Banks: Strange affair
This is good. The trick is to have situations and characters that are so interesting that you forget that it is actually the same incident room, interrogation room and crime scenes as in any number of police series. I have only read one book by Peter Robinson, which is good because reading the book first tend to take the interest out of the necessarily simplified television adaption. My Dalziel and Pascoe viewing suffered from that. I have read everything by Reginald Hill, and seen them all.

* MM: Foghorn Leghorn: “Crockett-doodle-doo” USA 1960 McKimson  with Egghead Jr
Most of the really good MM & LT are from before 1960 and if you have seen so many of the films as I have, it is very difficult for the later ones to live up to the memory of what has gone  before. Only 95 more films to come.

Finished reading:

* Insight Guide: Chicago
I collect guide books. And use them on my travels. I like to know the background to what I see when I walk around cities. Usually I have two-three books at the same time, with different aspects. One of the series is Insight Guide. It’s written by a group of people, different for each book, so the quality varies. The first half of the book gives general background to the place, history, people, music, architecture etc. The second half desrcibes different areas of the city or the country. It’s not detailed enough for my purpose. If I’m going to a place I read the book in advance, jotting down ideas, but it is too heavy to bring along. Copies of this book series are often found for a few kronor at flea markets and I usually buy them if I find the area interesting, like Chicago, even if I have no plans to go there.
Here is a list of what I have. An asterisk means that I have visited the place.

South East Asia
Southern California
Waterways of Europe
Great Britain*
The Netherlands*
New York State
The Rhine
Soviet Union*

Started Reading:

* Insight Guide: The Rockies
* 1001 comics you must read before you die
Normally I wouldn’t bother with this type of book. 1000 films, I have seen most of them and many more, 1000 books, I have enough books to read. But when it comes to comics I thought that the book could give me some suggestions, especially about later comics. As with films my preferences when it comes to comics are with earlier works. My favourites are Krazy Kat, Polly and her Pals, Gasoline Alley. We live in happy times, because never has the reprinting of the classics been so intensive. Now and then I find something really good from later and present times, but it is an jungle, with a lot of weeds. So I hope the book will be a help.

Looney Tunes – And a reading list

The best collection of Looney Tunes on DVD is the Golden collection in 6 volumes with 4 discs in every volume. The Warner animated shorts were generally divided into two series, Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes, and films from both are included despite the title of the collection. The series run from 1930 to 1969 with a couple of late-comers 1987 and 1988.
The Golden collection is a good start, but there are many more, and most of them can be found on You Tube. In my search for completeness I am checking, in chronological of course,  the once I haven’t seeen. The quality varies, low resolution, strange stretching of the image, sound track in Spanish or Italian, or no sound track at all, because someone own the music. And all the title searchers don’t result in a hit, at least not on the film. A search today that included “tweet” and “Looney Tunes” gave Justin Bieber as a result.
I try to watch at least one every day and I am using three books to keep track of my results:
Beck/Friedwald: Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. A complete illustrated guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons; Friedwald/Beck: The Warner Brothers Cartoons; and Lenburg: The encyclopedia of animated cartoons.

The latter book lists the titles according to the animated characters. These I have compleated:

Amos ‘n’ Andy (RKO)
Babbit and Costello (WB)
Beaky Buzzard (WB)
Beans (WB)
Charlie Dog (WB)
Chip an’ Dale (Disney)
Claude Cat (WB)
Donald Duck
Droopy (MGM)
Felix the Cat (RKO)
Figaro (Disney)
Foxy (WB)
George and Junior (MGM)
Goofy Gophers (WB)
Goopy Geer (WB)
Ham and Ex (WB)
Hubie and Bertie (WB)
Little Cheezer (MGM)
Marc Antony (WB)
Mickey Mouse
Piggy (WB)
Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy (Famous)
Ralph Phillips (WB)
Silly Symphonies
Sniffles (WB)
Spike and Tyke (MGM)
Superman (Fleischer)
Tex Avery cartoons (MGM)
Toonerville Trolley (RKO)
Two Curious Puppies (WB)
Warner Bros. Cartoon Specials

Watched today: LT: Road Runner and Coyote: “Fastest with the mostest” USA 1960 Jones

When Road Runnder and Coyote first appeared in 1949 they were Warner’s liveliest animated characters, and the first films were full of inventive situations. But the concept was very limited and by 1960 the routines have not only become repetitious, but also badly executed. The later films seem to rely on the Coyote falling down from even bigger heights. This one is actually more painfull than funny. I hope he gets the bird in the final film.

A couple of years ago I realised that most of the books I bought ended up on the shelves. So at one point, I told myself: Every new book you buy you have to start reading the same day. Today I have three dangerously high piles of book surrounding my bed and another in the bathroom. I try to read 1-4 pages in as many books as possible before sleep overtakes, but it was a long time since I managed to get to the bottom in even one pile. Now, this is not quite as mad as it sounds. I try to limit myself to one novel (at the moment Zola’s L’argent in Swedish) and one crime novel (Freeling: Love in Amsterdam) at one time (but I’m afraid I got stuck half-way through Austen: The annontated Pride and prejudice and I haven’t paid much attention lately to Weiss: Die Ästhetik des Widerstand, although I got to the beginning of the third volume).
No, most of the books are of a kind you wouldn’t want to read too much of at one go, diaries, poems and a lot of factual books, history and travel. On the downside, it takes forever to get through most of the books. On the up side, I will finish a new book every now and then.
Whenever I finish a book I will endeavor to share my thoughts, if any, in this blogg. To give you an idea what you can expect, here’s my list of  “active” reading items:

Tarkovskij: Martyrologion
The autobiography of Mark Twain, volume 1
Churchill: The second world war: 1. The gathering storm (another 5 volumes)
Muller: Rembrandt
Kiehn: Broncho Billy and the Essanay Company
Brecht on art and politics
The developing child
Dumaux: King Baggot
Film Curatorship
Lines of resistance
Koszarski: Fort Lee
Koszarski: Hollywood on the Hudson
Spehr: The man who made movies
DK Human
Cavalcade of the 1920s and 1930s
DK: Animal life
The entertainers
A historical atlas of the Jewish people
Austen: Pride and prejudice
The television detectives’ omnibus
The crime lover’s casebook
Schnitzler: Art of love
Swedish reflections
The portable Hawthorne
Everyman: Mexico
Insight: Chicago
The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English language
Wonderful inventions
Rayadhyaksha/Willemen: Indian cinema
Finler: The Hollywood story
Clarke/Crisp: The history of dance

Brummer: Anders Zorn
Stowe: The annotated Uncle Tom’s cottage
The annotated Walden
The rest of the books are in Swedish
Om & till Povel
Blom: Evita, Cats, Fantomen och de andra
För hundra år sedan
Stern: Ett litet barns dagbok
Allhem: Östergötland
Göteborg förr och nu III
Göteborg förr och nu:VIII Östra Nordstaden i Göteborg (and several more volumes waiting)
Göteborgs Historiska Museum: Årstryck  1975
Lagercrantz: Strindberg
Om vi inte minns fel. Karl Gerahard 1891-1991
Jul i Göteborg
Wessberg: Västra Hisingen
Kullander: Sveriges järnvägs historia
Fröding: Det forna Göteborg
Zola: Pengar
Stenström: Örgryte genom tiderna I-III
Schånberg: Göteborg
Det glada Göteborg
Oxelqvist: Göteborg i dikten
Atlestam: Fullbokat
Efter hundra år
Seger i Europa
Göteborg: Kulturhistoriskt värdefull bebyggelse 1
Göteborgarnas hus
DK: Havet
Lavery: Skepp
Konsten under den italienska renässansen
Roosvald: Boken om bokmässan
Ramel: Lingonben
Gerhard: Oss greker emellan
Engström: Medan det jäser
Weiss: Motståndets estetik
Henrikson: Verskonstens ABC
Buongiorno italia, vol 2
Leonardo Konstnären
Timm: Dröm och förbannad verklighet
Odstedt: Dan Andersson – liv och diktning
Bernstein: Att uppleva musik
Kronologiska anteckningar om viktigare händelser i Göteborg