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Baker's Dozen

Films for Big Eyes: Charlemagne Palestine’s Baker’s Dozen
David Moats , August 22nd, 2019 15:52

Former Film Editor David Moats is brought out of retirement for Charlemagne Palestine’s Film Bakers Dozen They discuss his Jewish heritage, lucky breaks and vomit vision.


Dark Passage - Delmer Daves, 1947
I really like this film. I think I saw it randomly, so I was not prepared for the long first person P.O.V. sequence at the beginning or the completely psychedelic plastic surgery scene.

By that time I saw it, I had already done all my "subjective camera" films, I thought I was one of the earliest to do that. Because I was up at CalArts, I even thought that some of John Carpenter's uses of it could have come from seeing some of my videos. But then I saw Dark Passage which was made like in 1947, right? And there it is: more than a half an hour of it! I mean, it's different in that the camera work is so perfectly stable and there's no jumping around. It’s really beautiful. When I did my subjective camera I called it "vomit vision" because when you watched one of my films for a while, you'd sort of get sea sick and you’d feel like vomiting because the screen was bouncing up and down. I didn't use any stabilizers for the image. But Dark Passage is so perfectly choreographed with such a stable and perfectly moving camera for such a long time!

The other, romantic thing is that it was one of the earliest films that Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall did together. And you see her through his eyes for that first half an hour! She was actually a model, a Jewish girl from Brooklyn, so that sort of entered into my gestalt of how I saw the film, from a point of view of this Jewish girl from Brooklyn getting involved with this with this weird like [Hollywood] culture.