Tuesday, July 09, 2024


Cursed AF Alright — Writer Declares Bring It

BOOM! like a critically amplified mic-drop. (Side-note first: The true title via the onscreen credit of this 1968 Tennessee Williams adaptation is Boom, no exclamation point... It would be too much, the daitô-katana slash that severed equilibrium.) The first of two 1968 films by Joseph Losey (Elizabeth Taylor months later will play the protagonist among the glazed green tiles of Secret Ceremony) is the film maudit of Joseph Losey, and thus must occupy a high position in any survey of the genre — the 'cursed' film, the movie that doesn't 'fit in,' the 'misfit movie.' Strangest film of his I've seen since La truite [The Trout, 1982], his final work in cinema.

A Sixties prism of ancient Tragedy, Boom in its spaces and setting (a palatial rock island respite only a hop skip and a jump to and from Capri) takes as its specific ur-text Jean-Luc Godard's Le mépris [Contempt] of five years earflier.

A single-published-volume poet of middle age, played by Richard Burton, wanders on-site one day under obscure pretenses to pay visit to the troubled, wealthy widower given life by Liz Taylor, empress of a handful and vice-versa. Shortly afterward, he dons vintage samurai garb.

Boom's something of part of a continuum, if not wholly without precedent or without representing something new under the Mediterranean blues. I've been catching up with a lot of 1960s post-studio films and certain international coproductions I've been neglecting for years... and Losey's Boom has become a personal favorite of mine. Ignore the Hateship.


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