Friday, May 23, 2008

FRIDAY SCREEN TEST: Marilyn Ferdinand

Marilyn Ferdinand should be commended for keeping her house in order, because she just hosted one hell of a dance party. The Invitation to the Dance Blog-a-Thon was a great idea, and the results were even better, as a wide range of interesting posts tapped their toes on the floor. Together with writing companion Roderick Heath, Marilyn populates Ferdy on Films, etc. with unexpected pleasantries, such as her outstanding coverage of the 2007 Chicago International Film Festival or the legendary Roger Ebert Overlooked Film Festival. Marilyn's reviews are always packed with honest insights and feel like they're written by someone who genuinely wants you to know about the movie.

EARLIEST MOVIE-WATCHING MEMORY: 'Watching The Wizard of Oz on TV. It was an annual ritual, along with watching the telecast of Mary Martin in Peter Pan.'

LAST DVD YOU BOUGHT: 'Black Test Car (Kuro no tesuto kaa, 1962), a film by director Yasuzo Masumura recommended by Kimberly Lindbergs at Cinebeats.

IF YOU WERE A TCM GUEST PROGRAMMER, WHAT THREE MOVIES WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO BEST REPRESENT YOUR TASTES, OR A FAVORITE GENRE OR THEME: 'This is a really hard question because my tastes are so wide-ranging, but I think I’d like to showcase the forgotten funny women of film. Ella Cinders (1926), starring Colleen Moore in a charming performance. A New Leaf (1971), a perfect comedy that Elaine May directed, wrote and starred in. Show People (1928), a great spoof on Hollywood starring Marion Davies, whose potentially great career in comedy was thwarted by her lover, William Randolph Hearst, who didn’t think comedies were dignified enough for her

FAVORITE MOVIE ENDING: 'City Lights. When Virginia Cherrill, newly restored to sight, watches Charlie Chaplin through the shop window and at the last moment goes out to talk to him, the lump in my throat starts to rise. When it dawns on her that he is her benefactor and she says “You?” the tears start to form. When Charlie looks back at her with a smile of pure love, the dam breaks. It’s a perfect scene in every way.'

WHAT MOVIE ARE YOU ASHAMED TO SAY YOU HAVEN'T SEEN, AND WAHT'S YOUR EXCUSE: 'I’m not ashamed I haven’t seen any film, but I think the one more people have urged me to watch that I just can’t seem to is Pulp Fiction. Why not? Tarantino, though a fine writer, seems like such a “guy” thing.'

Date With an Angel
Only Angels Have Wings
Angels in America -- '“American prophet, tonight you become American eye that pierceth dark, American heart hot full for truth.” Truth writ large with elegance, humor, and pain about the desperate days of AIDS and alienation in the Reagan era. I just want to add my favorite quote from this monumental work: “Maybe we are free. To do whatever. Children of the new morning, criminal minds. Selfish and greedy and loveless and blind. Reagan's children. You're scared. So am I. Everybody is in the land of the free. God help us all.”'
Angel Heart

WHO WOULD YOU AWARD AN HONORARY BEST ACTOR/ACTRESS OSCAR TO: 'Philip Baker Hall as Richard Nixon in Robert Altman’s Secret Honor. There is no performance doomed to obscurity more deserving of being remembered than this 90-minute monologue, and not a single awarding organization even nominated him for it.'

LAST TIME YOU WERE AT A DRIVE-IN, AND WHAT DID YOU SEE: 'In 1973, with a bunch of friends, to see The Last Detail. Somewhere along the line a spider on the windshield was drowned by half a bottle of gin. I’ve always wondered if the movie was good.'

FILM ERA OR GENRE YOU'RE A LITTLE OBSESSED WITH: 'Not really, but I’ve been trying to get out to see a lot of Balkan cinema. I find its cynical, hilarious, harrowing take on life and times there irresistible.'

CRITIC YOU TRUST THE MOST: 'Roger Ebert. I’ve been taking his advice since I was a teenager, and he’s the one critic whose tastes run pretty close to mine, plus he’s an awesome writer and a genuinely nice man.'

'It’s going to sound dumb, but if I ever lost TV Movies, a 1969 compendium of capsule reviews by Leonard Maltin, I’d be extremely upset. It lists a lot of films that are now obscure and/or not available in home viewing formats, comprising a record that can’t be replaced by things like Video Hound and other listing books. It’s also the first film book I ever bought.'


THREE THINGS YOU'VE LEARNED FROM WATCHING MOVIES: 'Life’s too short to waste. Choose well, and if that fails, don’t be afraid to walk out. Singing and dancing anywhere for any reason is a good thing to do from time to time. Pay attention to the light in which you’re seen.'

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