Nicholas Ray: Part I

October 31, 2011 | By

Just uploaded is a review of We Can’t Go Home Again [M] (1976), Nicholas Ray’s almost mythic experimental film which finally gets wide commercial distribution (read: no more bootlegs) via Oscilloscope Pictures after its premiere in 1973.

Never finished and a work-in-progress until his death in 1979, bits of the film were glimpsed in a rare making-of doc shot in 1975 – I’m a Stranger Here Myself – and Wim Wenders’ odd collaboration with Ray in 1979, Lightning Over Water (1980).

The big question, not unlike the opportunity to see one of Orson Welles’ legendary unfinished films, is whether WCGHA is the experimental masterpiece some critics are expecting. It’s affect on audiences will be subjectively broad.

Three people walked out of Sunday’s screening at the TIFF Bell Lightbox – Perhaps they were probably expecting a ‘strikingly photographed’ drama with teens? – and the director’s widow, Susan Ray, was particularly interested in knowing people’s reactions, although few felt comfortable voicing their opinions, or were still trying to process the radical clash between Ray’s Hollywood films – In a Lonely Place (1950), Rebel Without a Cause (1955), King of Kings (1961) – and this impenetrable 90 minute work that’s unofficially the crown jewel in what’s being billed as Nicholas Ray’s Centenary.

Those who did express their opinion – in the post-film Q&A or in a private moment with Susan Ray – were generally impressed, and a few were deeply moved, finding it captured the aura of being a young adult in the early seventies before life and its shocks pushed people away from the values that once defined their ideals.

I’ve uploaded a review and will shortly post additional comments about the Q&A, plus some audio of questions I posed to Ray.

Coming shortly: a review of Susan Ray’s making-of documentary, Don’t Expect Too Much (2011) which screened this past Saturday in the first part of the TBL’s Nicholas Ray retrospective Hollywood Classics: The Cinema is Nicholas Ray.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor ( Main Site / Mobile Site )

Tags: , , ,


Comments are closed.