From “Cinéma Cinémas”

Dunaway Chambre 357: Faye Dunaway doing PR for Barfly, interviewed while sprawled across a giant bed in her hotel suite, wearing an elegant suit, looking wonderfully warm, answering questions while chain-smoking and slipping back and forth between French and English. More thoughtful, more attractive as a person than I’ve ever seen her—softer; she runs her hands through her hair as intermittent bits of the love theme from Vertigo are heard. The ending is typical of the series, with the interviewer asking her about her childhood. Dunaway ponders the question and asks aloud “What kind of little girl was I?” Cut, to the little clip from Alphaville that separates the segments.

And Hotel Jacumba, the best thing in the box so far. In 1928 Louise Brooks shot Wellman’s Beggars of Life on the Mexican border, with cast and crew lodging at the local roach-trap. The segment opens with a clip showing Brooks (in the same get-up she’s wearing in my FB avatar) and Richard Arlen jumping onto a moving freight train—it’s clearly Brooks herself sprinting full-speed and hoisting herself up the ladder. A railroad dick appears and clubs her, sends her spinning off the train onto a stretch of rocky ground (in long shot). Cut to the modern day, to the now abandoned and spookily dilapidated hotel. As the camera roves through the rundown grounds and lobby, a woman is heard reading from Brooks’  account of the shoot, describing how she seduced the stuntman who took the spill off the train, how he subsequently asked her—in public—if she was carrying syphilis, then mocked her in front of his girlfriend. The woman’s voice is calm and unruffled as she recites these facts, and weeds choke the life out of Hotel Jacumba.

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