We explore 1947’s Nightmare Alley, directed by Edmund Goulding, and compare it to Guillermo del Toro’s new adaptation of the material, which we find superior in almost every way. Mike in particular finds, in the reflection of Goulding’s version, useful ways to appreciate del Toro’s, which at first blush he found uninspiring. We discuss the portrayal and use of the geek, the differences in the introduction of the protagonist (played by Tyrone Power and Bradley Cooper in the old and new films respectively), del Toro’s greater focus on mood and scene setting, and how thoroughly Goulding’s film adheres to the noir genre. And we express our joy at seeing del Toro’s version at the grand reopening of the Electric, the UK’s oldest working cinema, which we completely forgot to do in the last podcast.
We talk swoony visuals, alcoholism, a femme fatale pastiche, moral descent, Bradley Cooper’s sexual presence and more in our discussion of Nightmare Alley, Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of William Lindsay Gresham’s 1946 novel of the same name.
We thank the Cineteca di Bologna for the 2021 digital offerings and return for the third year in a row to discuss their programme. This year we reflect on the digital absence of major strands such as the Romy Schneider or George Stevens films which were only shown in situ. We discuss difficulties with translation and sub-titling, note how the digital offerings were quite US and Eurocentric, atypical for this festival, and discuss some of the highlights of Richard’s viewing: silent cinema, Wolfgang Staudte films, the only film on the Algerian War made as it was happening (Les oliviers de la justice, 1961), André Dalvaux’ Man Who Had His Hair Cut Short (1965), Lionel Rogosin’s Arab Israeli Dialogue (1974), Govindan Aravindan’s Kummatty (1979) and classics such as I Wake Up Screaming (H. Bruce Humberstone, 1941), Esa pareja feliz (Berlanga/Bardem ,1959) and Nightmare Alley (Edmund Goulding, 1947).