Sunday, May 17, 2015

Remembering James Agee (The Night of The Hunter)

"It is my business to conduct one end of a conversation, as an amateur critic among amateur critics. And I will be of use and of interest only in so far as my amateur judgment is sound, stimulating, or illuminating."

May 16th, 1955—60 years ago before this recording—James Agee died of a heart attack in the back of a New York taxi at the all too young age of 45. In his wake, he left a mountain of unprecedented writing, including the foundations for the first wave of serious film criticism in America. In this special episode, Scott Nye and Kristen Sales join Peter to discuss Agee's work and life. From his Southern roots in literature, including his poetic depiction of the depression, to his adoration of the silent comedies and vitriolic defense of one of Charles Chaplin's most contentious films. The conversation spreads from criticism to narrative prose to photography and finally to Agee's work within the moving image, especially his contribution to one of the all time great films, The Night of the Hunter.

0:00-4:19 Opening
4:40-22:30  "Comedy's Greatest Era" and Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
23:05-33:39 On Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity and The Lost Weekend
34:20-51:37 Monsieur Verdoux and "Knoxville: Summer 1915"
52:36-1:00:20 In The Street
1:00:56-1:03:15 Mubi Sponsorship - Mother and We Can't Go Home Again
1:04:22 -1:22:38 The Night of the Hunter 
1:22:42-1:24:49 Close / Outtake
Read Scott Nye at Criterion Cast and Battleship Pretension
Read Kristen Sales at Sales on Film.
Follow Scott on Twitter and Kristen on Twitter
Subscription Options
Notes and Links from the Conversation
-Library of America's James Agee Collection
-Also available: Agee on Film Volume 1 and Volume 2
-Farran Nehme-Smith on James Agee
-"Comedy's Greatest Era"
-Philip Lopate on James Agee
-Flicker Alley's Mack Sennett Collection
-The quote about James Agee and the Twenties comes actually via Eric Hynes in conversation with Kent Jones about Manny Farber
-Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
-Manny Farber's "Nearer My Agee To Thee" (1965)
-Agee on Double Indemnity
-On The Lost Weekend
-A Death In The Family
-Read "Knoxville: Summer 1915"
-In The Street
-More on Robert Moses can be found in Robert Caro's biography
-Information on the creation of Night of the Hunter's scripting process comes from Jeffrey Couchman's book
-Sideshow Bob hit rakes

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