More Than Meets The Mogwai

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Arkush on Arkush

I've been planning on writing something about the vastly underrated filmmaker Allan Arkush (co-director of HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD and sole director of episodes for such series as "St. Elsewhere", "Moonlighting", "Crossing Jordan", and the recent "Heroes") and his very personal, and somewhat “lost” film GET CRAZY (1983) in the past, but in order to do that I’d like to take in another viewing of the film and my VHS copy is currently in transit.

For now, the above link will take you another blog [Lucy Gray Photography] that's currently housing a video of an interview with the director conducted earlier this year at the Telluride Film Festival. It’s pretty much entirely in Arkush’s own words and amazingly all encompassing when it comes to taking in every facet of his decades long career as a journeyman in film and television, from his days as an editor in Roger Corman's post-production team to his eventual transition to directing television. Think of it as a primer for the next time you happen upon one of his films or hour-long episodes.

One interesting aspect of his films and work in episodic television that I’ve noticed is the fact that almost all of the central characters have impeccable taste when it comes to rock ‘n’ roll – the most famous example being Riff Randell (P.J. Soles) and her love of everything Ramones-related in ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL, but even something as minor as the “Parenthood” pilot features Leonardo DiCaprio with a Lou Reed poster adorning his bedroom wall. This, of course, is a by-product of Arkush’s time accrued as a technician working on lights shows at the Fillmore East in the early 1970s, witnessing trailblazing acts first-hand and musical history going down in the process.



Blogger Mr. Peel aka Peter Avellino said...

So...are there other fans of GET CRAZY? I've always felt kind of alone on that point. But if it's true, then that's terrific. To this day I think the movie's a blast. I once met Gail Edwards very briefly and told her I was a fan. I don't think she looked at me like I was crazy, but I could be wrong. I'l be sure to check out the interview.

7:44 PM  
Blogger Aaron W. Graham said...

I haven't come across a great deal of admirers of the film, but I do think it's something of a prime choice for a cult classic -- it has its fans, but I believe most of them came to the film through its soundtrack (probably through its inclusion of Lou Reed in his first acting role, and his tough-to-locate soundtrack song that was MIA until a Reed box set included it in the late 1990s).

Last month in Toronto, I had Malcolm McDowell sign my LP of the film. He held it up to his face, squinted, and then declared, "ah, my one and only chance at a singing career!" I believe he and Arkush were reunited on a recent episode of "Heroes".

10:22 PM  
Blogger aarkush said...

Thanks for the nice write up.I like being just off the radar. I'm afraid that there will be no Get Crazy DVDs in the future. The original mag soundtrack has been lost. The victem of too many corporate ownership changes & poor book keeping. It resides in a vault somewhere under some long lost shell corp. account #.
Wish they would release one of my fave movies on DVD. "Elvis Meets Nixon" I directed it for Showtime in 1997. Any takers........AA

10:17 AM  
Blogger Aaron W. Graham said...

Mr Arkush,
I have no idea if you'll get this, but let me offer my sincere thanks for writing in. That's really unfortunate about GET CRAZY, as I know it has its admirers (I love LOVE love the visual hommage to the cover of "Bringing it All Back Home", by the way).

Amusingly enough, ELVIS MEETS NIXON is on Canadian television quite steadily (on the Canadian equivalent to the Bravo channel); I've introduced it to many people who've marveled at just how hilarious it is. Here's hoping for a DVD release, too.

5:58 PM  

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