Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"Nice Guys Don't Work In Hollywood" by Curtis Harrington

A wonderful memoir by a man of great taste and sort of the bridge between American avant-garde filmmaking and Hollywood.  It's strange one doesn't get the sense that Curtis Harrington passed away a couple of years ago by reading "Nice Guys Don't Work In Hollywood."   It sounds like he is very much with us, and alas, at least in this book, he is.

For those who are not in the know, Harrington was very much into the underground and overground of American cinema.  He knew and worked with everyone from Kenneth Anger to Bette Davis.   My favorite film of his is "Night Tide" starring Dennis Hopper as a sailor who comes upon a mermaid in Venice, California.  Or is it a mermaid?   Nevertheless it is one of the great Los Angeles films, that is both haunting and beautiful at the same time.  One of the great extras you get with this book is his short story that became "Night Tide."  Its a great little narrative, and its nice that its included with this book, as well as his essay on the films of Josef von Sternberg, which is compact and full of information regarding the slightly decadent work of this fillmmaker.  As I mentioned Harrington had taste.

My only complaint is that he didn't write more about working with Kenneth Anger or the artist Cameron.  I imagine there are readers who will go to this book for more information regarding these two remarkable artists - but still, this is an enjoyable read on a figure that's important to the Los Angeles landscape.

"Night Tide" (Complete film)

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