Friday, January 29, 2010


Excellent article on Robert Ryan on Bright Lights Film Journal by Dan Callahn:

"The obvious precursor of demonish seventies actors like Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro, not to mention Tim Roth, Gary Oldman and a host of others, Robert Ryan created a psychic space on screen where all dark human impulses could have free rein. He would scrunch up his creased, crumbling statue face into ever-craggier expressions of mistrust and touchy dismay, as if he expected the people around him to insult him at any moment but could never be fully prepared for the humiliation. Ryan's tiny, black beady eyes would glow malevolently like hot coals in the dark of film noir shadows, and there were angry lines near the bridge of his nose that got deeper as he aged, while his truculent voice got raspier every time he eased his way into his habitual flights of detailed self-pity; he was always stirring the embers of his ruined pride and then tenderly masturbating his ego with the ashes. Ryan built a substantial film career even though he was missing many of the standard emotions actors need to come across on screen; he couldn't do charm or love, only fear and sex, and he could never be totally sympathetic or likable, which was both his blessing and his curse. He doggedly pursued his own solitary themes as an artist, and at his best he was as harsh and intoxicating as whiskey belted straight from the bottle."

for the rest go here:

--------------------------------------Matthew Bradley

I've been working with Matthew for probably a dozen years. I've contributed to the books he's edited and he's contributed to mine. Though Matthew's work spans everything from literature to films he's started a new blog that Ideals exclusively with film. He's an excellent writer as well as an excellent critic. He wrote an amazingly good piece on the Matt Helm movies--amazing to me because I can't stand them but thought his article was a knock-out. Be sure to check it out.

-------------------------------------King of The Hill

Today on NPR Terry Gross interviewed Matt Judge who created, among many other winners, King of The Hill. I have a special fondness for that show because on one of our trips to Mayo we ended up in a tiny dark motel room--the only one we could find near the hospital--where the TV offered only four channels, two of them religious. I was so sick I could barely get out of bed. They ran King of The Hill episodes all the time. I came to love that show especially because it drowned out the interminable racket made by the dozens of girls staying there for the State Basketball Tournament. Judge was very good explaining how he came to give each character an accent. I tells ya if there's a heaven I'm sure it pipes in Terry Gross's laugh 24/7. She always sounds so surprised and so full of pure girly joy when she laughs.

--------------------------------------Not a political opinion

The O'Keefe guy who is in the news for doing whatever he did or tried to do to Sen. Landreau's office-I've never heard of a judge sentencing a twenty-five-year-old to stay with his parents. Isn't he a little past getting grounded? I can just hear a Czarist judge saying to Trotsky-ok, you go home right now with your mom and dad and you don't leave your room until they say you can.


Dave Zeltserman said...

Ed, I don't why exactly but whenever I see Bad Day at Black Rock, Robert Ryan always makes me think of George Bush Senior.

Ed Gorman said...

Aw Dave no no no! It's probably the lankiness and the tautly fleshed faces. That's all...and nothing else. :)

Matthew Bradley said...

Ed, I can't think of a nicer honor than to appear in the same post with Robert Ryan on your blog. Ryan's been a huge favorite of mine since I was a kid, and your kind words about my own fledgling effort are immeasurably appreciated. Thanks, and keep 'em flying!