Tag Archives: Adrian Garvey

The Youssef Chahine Podcast with José Arroyo and Richard Layne, No. 11: Alexandria Why? / Iskandariyya …leh?, 1979

alexandria for real picture intro 2

 

A discussion of Chahine’s autobiographical film, the first of what would be called the Alexandria TrilogyAlexandria, Why?/ Iskandariyya….leh? (1979), An Egyptian Story/ Haddouta Misriyya, 1982), Alexandria, Again and Forever/ Iskandariyya, kaman wa kaman, 1989 — and would then expand to include a fourth film, Alexandria….New York, 2004.

I made a trailer for the film and the podcast that should give you a flavour of what it’s about if you haven’t already seen it:

Our special guest star is Dr. Andrew Moor from Manchester Metropolitan University who specialises in, amongst other things, LGBTQ cinema and whose enthusiasm for Chahine films at last year’s Ritrovato festival in Bologna is what introduced many of us to these great works.

dyer
with thanks to Adrian Garvey for the image from Richard Dyer’s lecture above

Richard Dyer would use Alexandria, Why? to illustrate a lecture on ‘A History of Gay Cinema in Ten Films, and it could just as profitably be deployed in relation to Queer cinema. The podcast discusses the very interesting ways the film depicts all kinds of intersectionality in a bildungsroman about a young man who wants a career in the arts just as British Occupying Forces are forced to contend with the Germans arriving in El Alemein. We discuss the way the film mixes genres (the musical, the melodrama, the social problem film). It’s a rare director that elicits commentary in relation to a mix including Ken Loach, Shakespeare, Vincente Minnelli and Shakespeare. The film is also an important contribution to a discussion of colonialism from the perspective of the colonised.

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There´s a very interesting review of the film by Jesse Cataldo here:

Richard Layne was thrilled to discover 70s British heart-throb Gerry Sundquist as one of the stars of the film and quickly dug up one of his works, as you can see above. Richard also provided more information for those who want to follow up on that aspect here below:

Review of “Soldier and Me” (his first lead role) which features the best summary I’ve seen of his career and what went wrong
This is by his co-star in “Soldier and Me”. I had the book with Gerry on the cover when I was a kid 🙂
Clip from “Soldier and Me” – Gerry is the guy who rescues the kid from the bullies
The film he made after “Alexandria .. Why?” – British “Saturday Night Fever” rip-off “The Music Machine”

Clip from “The Bill” from 1992, first acting work in 8 years following his drug problems, he died the following year. Gerry is the dodgy guy with the ponytail

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGtoimaJFy0

Very sad story!’

 

 

Here are some clips referenced in the podcast that you might find interesting:

 

a tiny excerpt that is from a film that Chahine himself made as a student:

 

The very moving search fro the British Soldier:

with

 

….and the witty conclusion with the arrival in New York:

 

…and here is the glorious opening scene , which introduces all of the film’s main themes: Hitler promising to get to Alexandria cut to Esther Williams in Bathing Beauty, unruly occupying forces and anti-colonial struggles, the reality of occupation next to the fantasy of Georges Guétary singing ‘I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise’ in Minnelli’s An American in Paris, anachronistically deployed here as the film starts in 1942 and the film would not be released until 1951; a young lad and his mates living their youth in a beautiful port city under difficult circumstances, a city made up of diverse peoples, represented inclusively and dramatised with feeling and depth. It’s a beautiful film.

The podcast barely scratches its surface but will we hope enhance viewer’s appreciation and interestingly links it with is oeuvre to this point

José Arroyo

Facelifts and Lawman

Burt Lancaster and Robert Ryan in Lawman. Ryan was four years older than Lancaster. One’s had a facelift, the other hasn’t. And Burt in this film is the same age as Tom Cruise, so the technology has improved.

 

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Adrian Garvey has reminded me that male facelifts are much less commented on than female. Gary Cooper is the only star of the classic period whose facelift was noticed and much commented on, as you can see below, courtesy of Adrian:

gary cooper

The facelifts made him lose that bit of alquiline tilt at the tip of the nose that added to his gorgeousness as a young man.It’s a tiny thing, and seen only on side angles, but it has an effect.

José Arroyo

In Conversation with Adrian Garvey on James Mason

 

A long, wide-ranging and informative discussion with scholar Adrian Garvey on the career of James Mason , the subject of Garvey´s interest and research for over a decade now. We touch on various aspects of the particularities of Mason´s career and achievements but with a particular focus on his work in the UK in the forties, and then in the United States in the 50s. The conversation ranges from the differences in his level of stardom in the UK and the US, his choice of projects, the quality of the people he sought out to work with, how a star becomes a lasting star in spite of never quite becoming a box-office star in America, what his star persona was in the UK and how that was re-deployed but also re-inflected in America. We touch on the directors he worked with: Reed, Ophuls, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Minnelli, Nicholas Ray; we compare his career to that of other British stars of the period and after– Stewart Granger, Dirk Bogarde, John Mills, Richard Burton, Peter O´Toole, Richard Harris, Alec Guiness…. A must-listen for anyone interested in James Mason.

José Arroyo