Lie to me. Tell me all these years you've waited...
June 18, 2004 10:06 AM Subscribe
The poet of nightfall Twentyfive years ago, film director Nicholas Ray died in New York. Like Jacques Tati and Samuel Fuller, Ray did a lot of living before he ever got around to filmmaking: he was of part of Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin Fellowship, a devotee of southern folk music, an avant-garde theatre director. He had made Rebel Without a Cause and survived James Dean, and the title of the film seemed to dramatise his terrible, self-destructive battles with Hollywood. His films (They Live By Night, In a Lonely Place, On Dangerous Ground, Johnny Guitar, The Savage Innocents, King of Kings) were in love with imprisoned life, but the dark edge of mourning was always there, too. He was idolised by the young Cahiers du Cinema critics who would become the directors of the New Wave. François Truffaut once noted: "There are no Ray films that do not have a scene at the close of day; he is the poet of nightfall, and of course everything is permitted in Hollywood except poetry." Contrasting Ray and Howard Hawks, he added: "But anyone who rejects either should never go to the movies again, never see any more films". Jean-Luc Godard offered another sweeping panegyric: "There was theatre (Griffith), poetry (Murnau), painting (Rossellini), dance (Eisenstein), music (Renoir). Henceforth there is cinema. And cinema is Nicholas Ray. These days, lucky Chicagoans can admire one of Ray's greatest works, Bitter Victory -- the film about the dangerous games men play with macho self-images... (more inside)
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