Sunday, September 13, 2015

Episode #66 - Matthew Dessem (The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford)

"I find these moments fascinating where a film might have been made but wasn't. I'm more interested in failure than success."

Matthew Dessem spent years observing the behind-the-scenes reality of Hollywood, so it's only natural that his book, The Gag Man, would take us behind the scenes of an essential collaborator to silent and sound comedians who all but disappeared behind the name of the stars. In this latest episode of the podcast, Dessem traces his movie upbringing to his eventual project searching through every piece of the Criterion canon, and eventually to his interest in exploring the legends of Hollywood that never made it, whether a screenplay or a collaboration. The two then go in depth on his new biography of Clyde Bruckman, a man with legendary credits but no legend until now. Finally, the two switch to a different legend, Brad Pitt's turn as the notorious outlaw and Casey Affleck as the man who shot him in The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, which both embraces the mythology of the classic American genre, while also exposing it at its most ugly.

0:00-2:24 Opening
3:24-9:51  Establishing Shots - Mistress America
10:36-47:26 Deep Focus - Matthew Dessem
48:35-50:48 Mubi Sponsorship
51:42-1:08:37 Double Exposure - The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominick)
1:08:40-1:10:40 Close / Outtake 
Purchase The Gag Man through The Critical Press or Amazon. Check out Matthew's blog here, as well as his work for Slate and The Dissolve.
Subscription Options
Notes and Links from the Conversation
More on Mistress America from Vadim Rizov and Richard Brody.
—Knoxville now has an excellent world cinema program called The Public Cinema, run by friend of the show Darren Hughes.
—More on The Alloy Orchestra
—Author Jim Shepard
—The making and unmaking of McCabe and Mrs. Miller
Brazil and Charade on Criterion
—Matthew on Digital Film Preservation
—UCLA's Moving Image Archive Studies
Rogue Nation's "Steal the Data" sequence
—Matthew on the unproduced scripts for Edward Ford and Michael Mann's Hollywood noir.
—On the relationship between Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder
—The Margaret Herrick Library
The Gag Man, as originally published for The Dissolve
Lantern, UW's Media History Digital Library
—James Agee's "Comedy's Greatest Era"
—On the Greatest Pie Fight Ever Made
—The New Republic discussed The Gag Man in relations to the "Fat Jew" scandal
Calum Marsh on the revival of The Assassination of Jesse James
Ray Liotta's death scene from Killing Them Softly

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