Sunday, February 26, 2006

Home Agin, Home Agin, Jiggedy-Jig...

I'm back to the Blogosphere after a healthy few days away. I've much to share, and here it comes, piecemeal today -- I'll post a few posts, just to catch up and bring you all up to snuff.

My website pro Jane Wilde and I got together a week ago to pull together the homepage graphics for the Bissette website under construction. This was a key turning point, and it's at last beginning to fall into place. Soon, my site will be up and running, with mucho art, pix, articles and fun!

Among the hinderances every step of the way -- which I've bitched about here before, and which is pending as a Marlboro Town Meeting issue -- is the fact that we poor louts here in Marlboro have no access to high-speed internet services of any kind. Thus, building this site has been a slow-mo process, as everything takes two to five times longer than it should, particularly where loading images is concerned.

One of this week's distractions was the necessary every-couple-of-months weedout of email. Being away for a few days, email always gets completely out of hand, and I spent yesterday plowing through 200+ emails. The process is extenuated enormously due to dial-up-only access; what takes seconds on my high-speed access friends' computers takes literally hours to move through. When a hog-ass banner ad comes up, the email message won't open, necessitating 'refresh' (sometimes two and three times) before the damned email letter is even visible. The system will freeze up at least once every two hours, necessitating rebooting and then cleaning up the fragmented debris from the freeze/crash -- it's an endurance test and a major waste of time.

Hence, the blog sabbatical.

Amid the sabbatical, I also avoided checking everyone else's blogs.

This morning, I caught up reading my friends's blogs (I'll catch up on other online fun later in the week, or not at all). Among the fine reading there was Tim Lucas's Video Watchblog, sporting an amazingly detailed review of the new Warner The Adventures of Superman: Season 2 DVD set. Worth a read, particularly for you vintage TV show and Superman buffs, and Tim's words of wisdom await you
  • here.
  • Enjoy!

    This was posted on the blog in the past day or two, in reference to my two-part writeup a month or two back of Abel Gance's J'Accuse and Joe Dante's Homecoming episode of Masters of Horror. I've no idea if Paul will catch this followup reply here, but here's my best shot. Paul posted the following comment on 2/25:

    "Hi, I've just found this page and was intrigued to know how I could get hold of a copy of the silent version of J'accuse - I've looked everywhere for it but without success! I know there was once a 148 minute version on NTSC vhs, but I have never found it - is there any way I can get a copy? Thank you! Paul"

    Hmmm, you know the silent J'Accuse was available? It took me a decade to luck into a watchable bootleg (with the original French intertitles) of the silent J'Accuse, which to my knowledge never saw a legal (or, for that matter, accessible "gray market") release of any kind. The copy I have certainly isn't 148 minutes; I've never heard of the film running that length (if you see this reply, email me directly, Paul -- -- and let's talk).

    Gance's stunning 1937 remake, however, did enjoy a legal home video release, as noted in my two-part blog essay. That was a vhs-only release via Connoisseur Video Collection copyrighted 1991, clocking in at 125 minutes and now long out-of-print. In a full year of scouring eBay regularly for all things Gance, I've never seen a copy up for sale, nor a DVD copy of either version of J'Accuse, though 'gray market' boots of other key Gance works (like La Roue) do surface from time to time, usually from UK sources (and hence playable only on 'all region' DVD players). As I also noted in the two-parter, Sinister Cinema did offer a vhs version of the US edited version of the 1937 J'Accuse under its US roadshow title That They May Live. That may still be available from Sinister, and is worth tracking down if access to the relatively complete (it seems there are no truly complete Gance films in existence!) Connoisseur Video Collection edition.

    Anyhoot, Paul, I've no idea if you'll see this reply -- if so, write me. Best of luck!

    Speaking of looking for curios and elusive movie-related thingies online:

    One of the odd occurences of the past week that will only make sense to the more rabid collectors out there was the frustration of not being able to identify, or coax a proper identification from the eBay and Abebooks dealers of, a particular book I have been seeking for some time.

    The book in question is Volume 2 of the 1985 Harvard University Press Cahiers du Cinema, which is subtitled
    The 1960s: New Wave, New Cinema, Reevaluating Hollywood, and edited by Jim Hillier, who also edited the first volume in the series. I long ago picked up volumes 1 and 3 in a nearby used bookshop, and they're great collections of key Cahiers texts (Cahiers du Cinema was, for those of you who don't know, one of the seminal magazines on the medium, wellspring of the auteur theory and the springboard for the entire French "New Wave" movement of the late 1950s and '60s: Godard, Truffaut, Chabrol et al wrote for Cahiers before making films). But finding the elusive second volume has been a fool's errand.

    I've ordered no less than three copies over the past year via online venues, and in every case, the dealer sends me (unfailingly) the first volume! I am refunded in each case, though I'm losing $$ with the return shipping costs. The 'stock' photo used for all online listings is of volume one, and given the constant burn of ordering what is clearly listed as volume two turning out to be the same book I've had for ten years, I have taken the precaution of asking in advance if it is indeed the second volume I'm purchasing -- but that, too, fails!

    Here's this week's exchange with an eBay dealer offering "three copies" (most likely, volumes one, two and three, not three copies of the same book) of the elusive volume online. I wrote:

    Item: Cahiers Du Cinema - Hillier, Jim *NEW (4613822476)
    This message was sent while the listing was active.
    stevebissette is a potential buyer.
    Thanks for your time -- This is a THREE-VOLUME set of
    books originally, and I'm wondering WHICH of the three
    volumes you have for sale. Please read carefully:
    I need volume 2 (CAHIERS DU CINEMA: The 1960s:
    New Wave, New Cinema, Reevaluating Hollywood,
    edited by Jim Hillier) -- I already HAVE vols. 1
    (CAHIERS DU CINEMA: The 1950s, pictured with your
    listing) and vol. 3 (CAHIERS DU CINEMA: 1969-1972,
    ed. by Nick Browne), and do NOT wish to bid/purchase
    on those.
    Please reply ASAP and please help me -- reliable eBay
    buyer (see my rating) -- THANK YOU! Steve Bissette,
    [email and phone number provided]
    Respond to this question in My Messages.
    Item Details
    Item name: Cahiers Du Cinema - Hillier, Jim *NEW
    Item number: 4613822476
    End date: Mar-17-06 00:34:45 PST

    Clear enough?

    Here's the reply I've received, in duplicate, from the dealer in question:

    From: "Regina - Movie Mars, Inc."   
    Subject: RE: Question for item #4613822476 - Cahiers Du Cinema - Hillier, Jim *NEW
    Date: Tue, 21 Feb 2006 12:03:01 -0500

    Thank you for your interest in our item.  The auction page has all of the information that we currently have.  I have requested this information from our supplier, however they may not get back to me beofre the auction ends.  You may want to look on for the information as they have the same supplier that we do, we are just a bit cheaper.  I would also like to mention that we have a 30-day satisfaction guarentee on all items.  We do hope that you will deicde to make a purchase from us.

    Customer Service

    Movies. Music. Madness.

    The other three dealers haven't bothered to reply at all.

    Well, reckon I won't be bidding on or buying that book.

    Anyone out there have any bright ideas, I'm all ears. This has been the single most frustrating online non-experience I've had -- and promises to remain such.

    A few Lucio Fulci book updates, from my associates in Italy:

    Posted as a comment on the Fulci book blog posting from Tuesday are these links from "nuvoleonline" -- thanks, C! -- which I want to alert you to in case you don't read the comments (particularly those from past posts):

    "Hi! News on the book Lucio Fulci - Poeta del macabro:
    you can see some previews online
  • here

  • and
  • here.

  • Bye!

    And the man who invited Daniel and I to submit work to the book, Smoky Man himself, wrote me with a different link to share:

    "...take a look to
  • Comicus
  • (scroll the page) there you can see some posts of the Fulci book..."

    Thanks, Smoky Man!

    I've got about 9 inches of snow to go shovel, folks, and will be talking to Coke Sams before the morning is out...

    More later today.

    Nice to be back!


    Blogger bob said...

    Hey Steve. Is this the book you're looking for? Has the right picture, at least. Unless Powells was already one of the sources you tried that sent the wrong book. Amazon and Barnes&Noble also pull up the book with that cover if you search the isbn 0674090659.

    Blogger HB3 said...

    I've got the 1937 J'Accuse...I've been meaning to start backing up my VHS tapes onto disc....maybe this would be a good excuse to start.

    Blogger SRBissette said...

    Yo, Bob -- you've done it again! I indeed checked the Powell's site via the link you provided, and ordered with a bit more confidence than I had before. Powell's rep is excellent (I've been to their actual shop twice, and wish I could go more often -- damn continent in the way!), so thanks for that search and find. I'll let you know if the right book arrives -- which has NOT been my experience with the Amazon and Abebooks dealers and others thus far, hence the frustrated post.


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