Sunday, July 24, 2016

Episode #82 - James Schamus (The Tall T)

"When adapting, the fundamentals you are left with are the words and gestures and actions and interactions of characters."

How does one reconcile the ideas of artistry in cinema, the kind of magic of cinephilia that we see each time we look up at the screen, with the business practices that often painted as limiting it? James Schamus has somehow made a career of toeing this (likely constructed) dichotomy, helping produce some of the early independent films of the 1990s before becoming the co-founder of Focus Features, which made films like The Pianist, Atonement, Brokeback Mountain, and Moonrise Kingdom, as well as a collaborator of Ang Lee, writing the screenplays for The Ice Storm, Ride With The Devil, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. James discusses this work between the politics of making art for specialty audiences, as well as his interest in the very nature of art through his work as a theorist and professor at Columbia University. They then turn to his directorial debut, an adaptation of Philip Roth's Indignation, and what it means to modulate performance. Finally, the two discuss Budd Boetticher's 1957 hostage western The Tall T, and what a specialty art house producer can learn from watching Randolph Scott contemplate existence in this low budget western.

0:00-3:57 Opening
5:08-17:11 Establishing Shots — 4 Years of The Cinephiliacs
17:56-1:06:20 Deep Focus — James Schamus
1:07:21-1:11:32 Sponsorship Section
1:12:33-1:22:44 Double Exposure — The Tall T (Budd Boetticher)
1:22:50-1:27:00 Close // Outtake
Subscription Options
Notes and Links from the Conversation
—Learn more about James Schamus and learn how you can see Indignation
—Check out James's book, Carl Theodor Dreyer's Gertrud: The Moving World
—View films written by James: Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, The Ice Storm, Ride With The Devil, Crouching Tiger, Hidden DragonHulk, Lust, Caution, Taking Woodstock
—Brief history of The Million Dollar Movie
LA Times critic Charles Champlin
Troma Entertainment
American Playhouse
—1988 Writer's Guild of America Strike
—Learn more about the New Queer Cinema in B. Ruby Rich's study
—List of highest grossing foreign language films
Something New and Talk To Me
—NYTimes profile of James which discusses his Columbia seminar
—James's Top 10 Criterion
—James's essay on Andrew Sarris appears in Citizen Sarris
—James accidentally said Maureen O'Hara when he meant Maureen O'Sullivan and apologizes for the mistake
—The DP on The Tall T is Charles Lawton, Jr.

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