Sunday, June 1, 2008

June's Film Of the Month

Greetings, Film of the Month Clubbers! My name's Brian Darr, and I'm a cinephile and blogger born and bred in the fertile movie-watching ground of San Francisco, California. I don't know about you, but my mind's still reeling a bit from the fascinating discussions held here regarding Girish Shambu's May selection the Emperor's Naked Army Marches On.

But it's June, and you may be wondering what the new Film of the Month Club topic is going to be. Chris Cagle, the instigator of this discussion hive, asked me to make this month's selection, and I've decided to go back to a much earlier era this time out, to a film released at the tail end of 1915: Cecil B. DeMille's the Golden Chance, starring Cleo Ridgely and Wallace Reid.

Unlike Girish, I'm not brave enough to pick a film I've never seen before. Just a little background on why I chose it: while volunteering as a researcher for the San Francisco Silent Film Festival last year, I went on a mini-binge of DeMille silents. I also took a closer look at Robert S. Birchard's book entitled Cecil B. DeMille's Hollywood. Starting from the preface Birchard's book pointed me toward this particular film. I found it fascinating, and I hope those who join me in watching and writing this month do too.

Like Girish did, I'm going to give myself a deadline for my own contribution to this month's discussion: June 12th. If others are able to watch the film and post something before then, that's just fine by me.

The Golden Chance is available to view on a region-1 DVD available through Amazon, Netflix, GreenCine, the San Francisco Public Library and certainly elsewhere, I'm sure.


girish said...

Brian, this is just the kind of selection I was hoping for at this club; my paths wouldn't cross with such a film otherwise. I look forward to the discussion.

I've not seen the film, and in fact must admit with some embarrassment that I've seen no De Mille save The Ten Commandments on TV!

There's a brief but appetizing entry on De Mille in Sarris' classic book, The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929-1968. He puts De Mille in the category "The Far Side of Paradise," located right below "Pantheon Directors."

Mike Grost said...

Just a month ago, at a_film_by, I opined:

Some of the De Mille silents have been really good. Favorite so far: a combined women's lib-melodrama-crime thriller-romance, "The Golden Chance". Also really enjoyed "Don't Change Your Husband" - and "Why Change Your Wife?"
Someone needs to dig out Mack Sennett's spoof "Should Husbands Marry?"

Hope everyone really likes this one as much as I did. This film is really "ready for its close-up, Mr. De Mille!"

Brian said...

Girish, I'm so pleased that you're interested. I'm looking forward to a good discussion as well. I actually haven't seen 1956's the Ten Commandments myself, other than a few clips of course. I'm glad you brought up the Sarris designation- the same category in which he placed Frank Borzage, Sam Fuller and Anthony Mann.

Mike, I must confess I haven't been following the a_film_by threads like I once used to, so I appreciate you reposting your comment here. I did not know about the Mack Sennett film- sounds like something to see!

HarryTuttle said...

So the Okuzaki discussion is over?

Chris Cagle said...

Harry, the discussion on May's film can continue, particularly as we transition to the new month. I certainly welcome member ideas of how we should organize the discussion, or if folks are happy with how things are going.

HarryTuttle said...

I was wondering if you considered this post as some kind of clean-cut limit to move on.
Or if you don't mind if both first and second discussions posts overlap?
The June discussion only started halfway through May...
I'm not sure about the rules.

Chris Cagle said...


The discussion can continue on... it just seemed to be dwindling down when I posted.

Brian said...

Thanks to tagging, it should be simple enough to sift through each monthly topic's posts, even if there is chronological overlap. I didn't write this post with the intention of closing off the Hara/Okuzaki discussion. Continue, and I may even join in! The film is still echoing in my thoughts every day.

Peter Rinaldi said...

I don't know, I think a month is plenty of time to discuss a selection. especially since it is called the film of the month club.

Brian's post regarding June's film could not come any sooner for me. I was eagerly awaiting the selection as i will be doing the beginning of each month. My thought is that the ending of the month should be a natural ending to the discussion of that month's selection. If someone has something he/she really needs to post about last month's film they should somehow frame it in a context reflecting the current month's selection. This doesn't have to necessarily be a rule, but something that is just understood.
Just a suggestion.

Another suggestion (this one a lot less serious):
I think it would be interesting if EVERYONE was forced to post something about that month's film. If you do not post something in that month, you are removed by the leader.
I thought of this because with the first month's selection i was actually overwhelmed by the film itself and by the really interesting posts that followed. so i did not post anything. With this month's very interesting selection from Brian, I find myself almost frightened to sit down with a De Mille silent, especially on my TV! But I will do it because i enjoy the idea of being introduced to something that i would NEVER check out on my own. So under my new rule suggestion i would not only be forced to view it, I would be forced to form some thoughts about it. Just like plenty of nice folks all over the country are peer pressured to do right now in there summer reading groups. But then again, under this rule, i would have already been removed from the group!!!!

Sorry for the lengthy silliness! I am truly enjoying this blog.

girish said...

" But then again, under this rule, i would have already been removed from the group!!!!"

Yikes, Peter, we wouldn't want that.

Here's my 2 cents: I think that as long as they don't result in any significant inconvenience, the club and its rules need to be as open, flexible, inclusive, and accommodating as possible.

Which means the discussion on a film should be allowed to proceed and grow (or die) in organic fashion without any real time limits, and also that we should not be all be required to post about a film.

But I see Peter's rationale for his suggestions...

Just my two cents.

HarryTuttle said...

In my comment above : "The June discussion only started halfway through May...", I meant that Girish's film started on May 19, so with Brian's film starting early June it only gives Okuzaki half-worth of a Month discussion (if this is the time constraint agreed).
I don't mind either way. We have to draw a limit anyway, either formally or individually for the investment we put in each discussion, so they don't compete, and keep this blog running. so my comment wasn't meant as a reproach at all. Just so everyone is ready to plan their contributions in advance.

I intended to post for Okuzaki, but apparently I wasted time in commenting other people's contributions (which doesn't seem to be as popular as publishing your own post). And in the last 2 weeks of May I was caught in a busy schedule of the Cannes2008 screenings in Paris. So now I'm left behind. Not that it matters big time. I'll try to do more work next time.

And I would like to suggest again to add the "latest comments" display in the sidebar, to be able to notice if older posts (that slipped off the frontpage) still receive new comments (maybe outside their dedicated month).