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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Agee and Farber, sitting at UT

Fred Brown of the Appalachian Journal reports on the James Agee Trust’s gift to UT Knoxville, including a lost collaboration with fellow cricket Manny Farber [pictured]. Manny Farber149-2.jpgA bounty of Agee notebooks, drafts and manuscripts were delivered to the University of Tennessee Special Collections Library last year. “The fresh news is that cache of Ageeana is now online via UT’s Special Collections Web site. [This is at least a listing; there may be other links.] “Special Collections has four different sets of Agee collections, four manuscript groups and papers that span the period from 1930-1955 when he died at 45 in New York City from a heart attack… “The one piece I know to be nowhere else is an abortive screenplay collaboration with Manny Farber just after WW II entitled ‘Furlough,’ a project which was never completed but provided some of the experience for Agee’s later screenplays. The correspondence is largely new as well.” [O]ne of the more astounding finds in the Agee Trust Collection is a Civil War manuscript, written in Agee’s almost unreadable and microscopic handwriting. The manuscript opens: All through the night and even by early morning smoke lingered on the long, devastated field. The mists were burned off long before noon, but the smoke would not be entirely dissolved before nightfall. Along one edge of the field, among scarred, stumbling trees near a deep ravine two soldiers lay in the deepest part of the ravine. They had lain where they fell, without sound or motion, since late the afternoon before.” [More prose at the link.]

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2 Responses to “Agee and Farber, sitting at UT”

  1. AHorbal says:

    The link on this post (and the url in the source article) is broken. I think that this URL is better:
    http://www.lib.utk.edu/spcoll/agee/agee_home.html

  2. AHorbal says:

    Or maybe it’s just my computer. Anyway…

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“But okay, I promise you now that if I ever retire again, I’m going to ensure that I can’t walk it back. I’ll post a series of the most disgusting, offensive, outrageous statements you can ever imagine. That way it will be impossible for me to ever be employed again. No one is going to take my calls. No one is going to want to be seen with me. Oh, it will be scorched earth. I will have torched everything. I’m going to flame out in the most legendary fashion.”
~ Steven Soderbergh

I feel strongly connected to young cinephile culture. The thing about filmmaking—and cinephilia—is that you can’t keep hanging out with your own age group as you get older. They drop off, move somewhere. You can’t put together a crew of sixty-somethings. It’s the same for cinephilia: my original set of cinephile friends are watching DVDs at home or delving into 1958 episodes of ‘Gunsmoke,’ something like that. The people who are out there tend to be young, and I happen to be doing the same thing still, so it’s natural that I move in their circles.

In terms of the filmmaking, there was a gear shift: my first movies focused on people around my age, and I followed them for three films. Until The Unspeakable Act, I was using the same actors, not because of an affinity for people at a specific age, but because of my affinity for the actors. I like to work with actors a second time, especially if I don’t feel confident casting a new film. But The Unspeakable Act was a different script, and I had to cast all new people. Even for the older roles, I couldn’t get the people I’d worked with before. But when it was over, the same thing happened: I wanted to work with Tallie again in the worst way, and I started the process all over again.

I think Rohmer did something similar around the time of Perceval and Catherine de HeilbronnHe developed new groups of people that he liked to work with. These gear shifts are natural. Even if you want to follow certain actors to the end of their life (which I kind of do) the variety of ideas that you generate makes it necessary to change. And once you’ve made the change, you’ve got all these new people around.”
~ Dan Sallitt