"The cinema is Nicholas Ray"
August 7, 2011 7:15 AM Subscribe
Today is the 100th birthday of Raymond Nicholas Kienzle, better known as Nicholas Ray. The seminal Hollywood-outcast-turned-French-New-Wave idol behind Rebel Without a Cause, Bigger Than Life, Bitter Victory and the hallucinatory Western Johnny Guitar made intensely emotional films about isolated people, often infused with profound desperation and a sense of the nightmarish. Francois Truffaut dubbed him "the poet of nightfall," while Jean-Luc Godard simply declared that "the cinema is Nicholas Ray." He studied architecture under Frank Lloyd Wright, mentored Jim Jarmusch and let Wim Wenders film him as he was dying of cancer. Bob Dylan even wrote a hit song about one of his movies.
Ray Reading and Viewing Online:
Ray Reading and Viewing Online:
- Carloss James Chamberlin's notorious "Regarding Bitter Victory," possibly the greatest piece of film criticism about Nicholas Ray written since his death. (Don't forget to read the footnotes.)
- A few other Nicholas Ray pieces from Senses of Cinema: Adrian Danks on Bigger Than Life, Serena Bramble on In a Lonely Place and Steve Rybin on Party Girl.
- A 1975 documentary about Ray, "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" (parts 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6).
- Jonathan Rosenbaum's 1981 piece on Ray, plus Rosenbaum on a Ray retrospective from the same year and on Bitter Victory in 2004.
- Roger Ebert on Johnny Guitar (" one of the most blatant psychosexual melodramas ever to disguise itself in that most commodious of genres, the Western") and In a Lonely Place.
- David Thomson on Ray.
- The Janitor, a rare French-language short contributed by Ray (Part 1, Part 2) to a 1974 erotic omnibus. (Bonus points: check out who uploaded it!)
- Not Coming to a Theater Near You's exhaustive collection of essays on the films of Nicholas Ray: They Live By Night, Knock on Any Door, A Woman's Secret, In a Lonely Place, Born to Be Bad, On Dangerous Ground, Josef von Sternberg's Macao (on which Ray did uncredited reshoots), The Lusty Men, Johnny Guitar, High Green Wall, Rebel Without a Cause, Hot Blood, Bigger Than Life, Bitter Victory, The True Story of Jesse James, Party Girl, King of Kings, 55 Days at Peking (a financial disaster that effectively ended Ray's Hollywood career), The Janitor and the Wim Wenders documentary Lightning Over Water. Plus, Not Coming's Cullen Gallagher talks about Nicholas Ray at his other gig, The L Magazine.
- Mubi's essays about Homes for Strangers, a 2009 Ray retrospective, including Zach Campbell on 55 Days at Peking, Daniel Kasman on Born to Be Bad and A Woman's Secret, David Cairns on We Can't Go Home Again, Kevin Lee on The Lusty Men, and Evan Davis on Rebel Without a Cause, Wind Across the Everglades, Knock on Any Door, They Live By Night, The Lusty Men and The True Story of Jesse James, Hot Blood and Bitter Victory, A Woman's Secret and On Dangerous Ground, Born to be Bad, Johnny Guitar, Bigger Than Life, and In a Lonely Place.
- Two remembrances of Ray by former students, and a Flickr set by a third.
- Ray's archive has just been acquired by the University of Texas (link includes some great scans of the items being donated).
- Bonus: Tommy Wiseau pays tribute to Nicholas Ray.
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