"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Tag: michael sragow

Million Dollar Movie


From Michael Sragow, here’s Robert Towne on The 39 Steps:

“I think it’s interesting,” he said, “Because most ‘pure’ movie thrillers, especially when you think of Hitchcock, are either fantasies fulfilled or anxieties purged. ‘The 39 Steps’ is one of the few, if not the only one, that does both at the same time. He puts you into this paranoid fantasy of being accused of murder and being shackled to a beautiful girl—of escaping from all kinds of harm, and at the same time trying to save your country, really. A Hitchcock film like ‘Psycho’ is strictly an anxiety purge. ‘The 39 Steps’ gives you that and the fantasy fulfilled. It’s kind of a neat trick, really.”

You're Outta The Sketch!

That’s what Mel Brooks yelled at a nun one day when he was walking down 57th street (get Kenneth Tynan’s book, “Show People” or “Profiles”  for his great piece on Brooks).

Here’s a 1982 Rolling Stone Interview with Brooks conducted by Michael Sragow:

How did you first react to ‘My Favorite year’ ?

Brooks: I said, “Wait a minute, you’re singing my song. What is this – the story of a little Jewish boy from Brooklyn and a guest star on Your Show of Shows? I lived this life.” I looked at Joe Bologna and I said, “That is Sid Caesar.” There’s a certain primitive energy that Joe Bologna and Sid Caesar share, a very basic animal energy . Eat. Go. Sleep. The first thing I wrote for Sid was about a jungle boy who’s been captured and taken to New York City as an experiment to see how he will survive in the big city. He’s interviewed by Carl Reiner. “What do you eat, sir?” “Pigeons. Crave pigeons, go in park, many pigeons in park. Eat pigeons.” “What do you fear?” “Buick, Big, yellow, very danferous. Wait, wait till lights, eyes go out – smash in grille, all night, with club. Kill Buick.” Joe Bologna has the same thing going int he movie.”Send the girl some steaks,” he says, “I’ll send her some steaks.” Nothing romatic, no flowers. To make up with a writer, he sends some tires’ his borther owns a tire store. But they’re very real. I love all the tlittle touches int eh movie. I love when Peter O’Toole realizes that he’s going to be working in front of a live audience. That is the essence of the movie – when he says, “I’m not an actor , I’m a movie star.” There’s a big difference.

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