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‘Frankenstein:The True Story’ (1973)

After 33 years in obscurity, an important adaptation is finally released on DVD.

Frankenstein: The True Story ‘ (1973) was Originally broadcast over 2 nights back in 1973. ‘ Frankenstein: TTS ‘ starred James Mason, Michael Sarrazin, David McCallum, Ralph Richardson, John Gielgud, Leonard Whiting, Jane Seymour and Agnes Moorehead, was directed by Jack Smight and written by Christopher Isherwood, the writer of ‘ Cabaret ‘ (1972). This filmisation is widely acknowledged to be the most faithful of adaptations, outshining even Kenneth Branagh’s 1994 ‘ Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein ‘. In fact, the Branagh version borrowed many themes from the 1973 Isherwood version without improving upon any of it.

Writer Isherwood, while being faithful to the source material was also comprehensive in his effort to do justice to the Frankenstein legacy by drawing heavily from not only the Shelley novel, but also elements of James Whale’s 1931 follow-up to ‘ Frankenstein ‘, ‘ The Bride of Frankenstein ‘ (1935). The film is daring in its presentation of Michael Sarrazin as the Creature, who evolves from a beautiful young man to an ugly homunculus as a result of his slow necrotization. Equally ambitious is Isherwood’s Pygmalion treatment of James Whale’s ‘ Bride of Frankenstein ‘, as Jane Seymour’s Prima evolves from a childlike tabula rasa to a full-blown debutante before her untimely demise. [Read more →]

‘The Black Dahlia’ (2006)

The Black Dahlia I first read James Ellroy’s ‘The Black Dahlia’ about 15 years ago, when I has coming off of a major jag for the American sculptor Bruce Conner . One of Conner’s signature pieces is a Rauschenberg-like tribute to Elizabeth Short , a tatty bit of costume jewelery, dried flowers and nylons.

Having never read an Ellroy novel before, I was fully absorbed by the antiheroics of his characters and the perversions of postwar Hollywood, such that when 1997′s L.A. Confidential came out, I’d read one or tree more Ellroy novels and I was ready to see a hard-bitten and gritty film. I wasn’t disappointed.

Flash-forward 8 or 9 years and it is announced that Brian DePalma is going to direct Dahlia – this only after David Fincher has dropped out a year before. DePalma’s fine legacy of thrillers including ‘Scarface’ (1983), ‘Carrie’ (1976), ‘Dressed to Kill’ (1980), ‘Blow Out’ (1981) and the thematically relevant ‘Body Double’ (1984) should have made him a suitable interpreter of this noir material [Read more →]

“Century City” (2004)

The Lawyers of 2030

The Lawyers of 2030 While I was hanging out in a DishTV household late last month, I had the opportunity to revisit 2004′s ‘Century City’ and see a few of its unaired 9 episodes on Universal’s HD satellite channel.

This is one show that shouldn’t have died as hard as it did. The show only lasted for 4 weeks, but it had tremendous potential. It wasn’t just a lawyer show, but a well considered piece of speculative fictiion, where they mulled the implications of science’s impact on our immediate future. One of the ongoing arcs concerned one of the attorneys who was the product of a government genetics program — she and her ‘siblings’ had been created without the ability to procreate, but as fully endowed and ‘free’ American citizens, it became an issue as to whether they should have access to technology that would allow them to have children. [Read more →]