Saturday, October 10, 2015

Episode 71 - Pack of Cammells

In this epic episode we turn our attention to three films from British director Donald Cammell.  We start with Demon Seed from 1977, starring Fritz WeaverJulie Christie and an un-credited Robert Vaughan as the voice of Proteus 4, a new, cutting-edge ( for 1977 ) Artificial Intelligence that has a "curiosity" about mankind and a desire to break out of it's "box".  Based on a novel by Dean Koontz, it is an interesting look at issues that are probably even more pertinent now than in the time the film was made. With great performances and a compelling storyline, it comes highly recommended. We follow that with 1987's White of the Eye, starring David Keith and Cathy Moriarty as Paul and Joan White who live in the American southwest. This is essentially a murder-mystery but it throws in issues of living dual-lives, and infidelity along with large bits of police procedural elements as well. It tries new things but only marginally succeeds for the most part. Interesting but maybe not something you should go out of your way to pursue.  We wrap up the show with 1970's Performance, which was Cammell's directorial debut. It stars James Fox and introduces Mick Jagger as Turner, a reclusive former rock star.  Cammell co-directed with the amazing Nicolas Roeg and, together, they created a truly stunning work of art. A trippy artifact from long ago, this film still has significant impact on multiple levels.  It starts with a gangster tale that evolves into a hallucinogenic story of personal identity, gender, and self-expression.  This is good, heavy, important stuff and it needs to be seen. We recommend multiple viewings as this is a film that reveals more of itself each time.
In 1996 Cammell committed suicide, so we only have a handful of films that he had anything to do with. We've actually covered most of them in this show. We are fascinated by the man and by his work and we hope that you enjoy this look at an artist who truly had something to say.
We also hope that YOU have something to say and that you'll tell us by writing to us at or or post a message on our Facebook page.