Musings

The Craftsman's Hands: How Samson Raphaelson Shaped Classic Hollywood

Paradise1.jpg

For Musings, I wrote about Samson Raphaelson, a playwright and screenwriter most notable for his nine-film collaboration with Ernst Lubitsch. I discovered Raphaelson after watching the Criterion release of 1943's Heaven Can Wait, which featured among its extras a thirty-minute PBS documentary about Raphaelson, who was then in his 80s. He came at the screen a man possessed, shaking his hands and extolling the virtue in screenplays of human characteristics above all else. To say I fell somewhat in love would not be inaccurate. He wrote a book called The Human Nature of Playwriting[footnote]Available on Kindle.[/footnote], drawn from a course he taught in 1948, that's just as illuminating. The Craftsman's Hands: How Samson Raphaelson Shaped Classic Hollywood

May We Always Go on Singing: Sunshine and Making Peace With the Past

sunshine4.jpg

For Musings, I take a look at Sunshine, a sweeping historical drama that stars Ralph Fiennes in three lead roles across three generations: grandfather, father, son. Before rewatching the film for this piece, I'd only seen it once. I rented it on a whim in the fall of 2000, when I was a freshman at college. The video store down the street[footnote]Actual VHS tapes.[/footnote] offered one free catalog rental every day in a different genre: comedy, drama, horror, family, etc. I went all the time, always on the lookout. I hadn't heard of Sunshine or its writer-director, István Szabó, before then, and I'd only seen Ralph Fiennes a few years earlier in Quiz Show.[footnote]I would see Schindler's List later in 2000, and The English Patient sometime in the next year.[/footnote] But the film rocked me back and stayed with me, and I would find myself thinking of it regularly for years. I wanted to revisit it with older eyes, and I was happy to find it's still beautiful, sad, operatic, and ultimately big-hearted.

May We Always Go on Singing: Sunshine and Making Peace With the Past