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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Mike Wallace Interviews… Rod Serling, Frost/Nixon, Ayn Rand, Frank Lloyd Wright, Jean Seberg, Dali…

And also Frank Lloyd Wright, Salvador Dali, Jean Seberg, Aldous Huxley and Ben Hecht (transcript only). (And many more from the Harry Ransom Collection at University of Texas Austin.)

With Mr. Hecht:

WALLACE: When you say – you talk about almost as good as keeping you young body – do you mind very much growing old Ben?

HECHT: It’s horrid – sorry to say everybody grows old and you’ll answer that question yourself some day. But we already experienced….

WALLACE: We’ve interviewed other older people… Older than you … Eleanor Roosevelt, Frank Lloyd Wright…. They don’t seem to mind the passage of the years because all of their adult lives, they have been engaged in meaningful work – work which they still do. It … could it be that you engaged in mostly carefree, adolescent work … like writing for Hollywood still … and therefore old age comes as something of a menace to you?

HECHT: No … I haven’t engaged in meaningless work… I’ve written about eight books in the last eight years which I personally like very much … and people who say they don’t mind growing old are just telling sad little lies to you… everybody minds growing old … and when I look back, I don’t only see my youth, as better, my bankbook was better, everything about me was better, and work was easier … you ask any prizefighter whether he minds growing old, … everybody loses the punch sort of, and the people who thin they’re doing important work … Mrs. Roosevelt has been repeating herself like some parrot with three clichés – for the past fifteen years. I don’t’ regard anything she’s been doing as important. I don’t know who else you mentioned, but …..

WALLACE: Frank Lloyd Wright.

HECHT: Frank Lloyd Wright.

WALLACE: No parrot he.

HECHT: No, Frank Lloyd Wright stopped working about twenty years ago. I don’t think he’s drawn a picture in twenty years. He’s been exercising charm and civilization.

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“I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures. I like to subscribe to Susan Sontag’s thought of no highs and lows. I think dismissing popular culture and popular films can be really dangerous because they may seem innocuous, but some are works of art and even when they’re not they can say so much about the culture that they’re reflecting. This also gets into the idea of canon. What is good and isn’t good? Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about that. Specifically, who writes these canons? Mainly, straight white guys — which basically rigs the system. So, if you have a knowledge of female filmmakers, queer filmmakers, African or Asian filmmakers, some people won’t give them the same culture capital. They’ll say, “Oh, that’s nice niche knowledge.” No, it’s not. You’re just seeing it through the prism of something white and male. Like Shonda Rhimes’ ‘Scandal.’ I love that show, but is it a guilty pleasure because it’s a soap on TV? No. I think it has incredible writing, incredible thought and characters, so we should take it seriously. That’s a long-winded answer to say, “Yes, I love Titanic.” I was 10 years old when it came out and my mom took me to see it three times. I was so obsessed with it. A big thanks to my mom who’ll never get those nine hours of her life back.”
~ Toronto Int’l Programmer and Critic Kiva Reardon

“A lot of us felt blindsided,” Van Vliet told me. In the seventies, Van Vliet was drafted out of film school by Industrial Light & Magic, where he worked on The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Now 62 and semi-retired, he said, “Once you get into your fifties, you’re pretty disposable.” Van Vliet was in the middle of reviewing DVD screeners before casting his Oscar votes, a process he estimated would take a hundred and twenty hours. “The Academy is essentially asking us to give them three weeks of labor, and then they’re going to take our results, put them into a ceremony, and sell it,” he said, referring to the seventy-five million dollars that the organization earns from the television broadcast. “Then they’re turning around and kicking us in the teeth.”
~ “Shakeup At The Oscars”