Thanks Jerry, this video-essay is my introduction to Tag Gallagher. His thoughts on passion, love. obsession, subjective worlds are insightful and informed, not merely concerning Ophul’s Letter from an Unknown Woman, but the source story of Stefan Zweig as well, and even unto the disembodied psychic character of Lisa. I’ll look for more Tag Gallagher on his website. Thanks once again.
I might as well join in.
It was this Senses of Cinema article of Tag’s that helped me get my head round Straub/Huillet when I first encountered them. (Plus to be fair, Richard Brody’s video on Not Reconciled) And since then, there’s a mounting gratitude not least for the subtitles Tag has made for so many of their films.
And if I’d not read his Rossellini work I’d have missed out on so so so so much lovely much.
Oh, and finally today I watched a Ford film I loved, and there was Tag to tell me why I should love it even more. Thanks Tag.
Speaking of Letter From An Unknown Woman, look at what I stumbled upon:
It’s being put out by an Olive Films which seems to be an up and coming Blu-Ray/DVD distributor.
Hasn’t Tag Gallagher done a video essay on Hawks’ (very underrated) The Big Sky? I think it’s called “the Third Man” or something. I would really love to see that one, does anyone know where/how you can find it?
Gallagher on Abel Ferrara
Here’s a nice compendium of Gallagher’s on-line criticism compiled by Catherine Grant.
great insight here
Damn, it’s gone. “The YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated due to multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement”.
Presumably, the presence of the video itself wasn’t infringing any copyright, but the user who posted it had violated copyright with other materials. Just a guess.
I just now got around to watching Tag’s video essay on Stagecoach provided in Matt’s link. Here’s the direct link:
May be Tag’s greatest video essay. Just extraordinary.
Great video. While I was watching some ideas popped into my head. Although I consider Ford one of my favorite directors, I haven’t seen any of his films in over a year—so I may be off base with this analyses. I need to go back and watch his films with a pair of new eyes…
As Gallagher suggests, Ford is comparable to the American Romantics because his idealization of nature, which expresses itself most clearly when characters make a journey from civilization—>wilderness—>civilization; this structure is clearly seen in “Stagecoach,” with the implications being that civilization gives us a false construct of reality and morality: The Ringo Kid is the outlaw and the Banker is revered by society. But when the group enters the wilderness, these false social constructs are inverted and a truer version of reality is presented. When the characters get back to civilization the must make a choice. In “Stagecoach” the choice is clear: go back to the wilderness.
But in his later films, does Ford become a Modernist? Is there a higher degree of social and moral ambivalence? An epistemological weariness not found in his earlier films? And where does that start? For example, in “The Searchers” and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” this journey—more literal in the former film,—suggests that the reality of the wilderness, in which the nominal fascist Ethan is the most powerful figure, is moral wasteland free from the constraints and supports of the community. Society—whether that be the Native American or the White American community—is a saving grace compared to the savage brutality of Ethan (..but then again, if Scar is the other side of the coin, so speak, then this idea may be flawed—the point I guess, is in the ambivalence).
I mention this because I just finished reading Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and noticed a similar plot structure (civilization—>wilderness—>civilization). There is another example of Ford’s Modernism when compared to Conrad: Marlowe lies to Kurtz’s wife at the end of the novella ( in direct opposition to his moral code), which reminds me a lot of “Fort Apache” and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” with the fatalistic suggestion that reality is unbearable or unknowable and extremely painful, and in comparison the lie is the more honorable of the two.
J&K: You make some really good points. Late-Ford-as-Modernist is an approach that is largely embraced by Fordophiles today. I think the modernism began (more or less) with Wagon Master and is marked by the ambivalence to wilderness you speak of, as well as a more abstract approach to form.
There has been a recent Mubi embrace of Tourneur, and , yes, Tag has done him, too:
Is this recent? Hadn’t had any idea that Tag had written a piece on Tourneur.