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August 25, 2010


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Appel's "Nabokov's Dark Cinema" is an incredible book. You do indeed carry on the tradition of the crazy quilt style of cultural associations and everything filmic. You have been bubbling over the last few days---Sax Rohmer...Edgar Wallace..what's up?


Thanks so much, Glenn.

Ehsan Khoshbakht

a shot from Surrender, 1927:


'Surrender' exists, and a copy is held by the National Center For Jewish Film at Brandeis University; they've been hoping to get a DVD release of the film out for over a year but have had budgeting considerations, as have we all.



A long clip of a Mozzhuhin performance (silent French film) is in the wonderful Brownlow series about silent-era European studios THE OTHER HOLLYWOOD. As I remember, he dances, drinks, and cavorts in high emigre-Russian style.

Robert Cashill

I had Appel, Jr. as a professor at Northwestern University, where he taught contemporary American literature, and showed movies like THE KILLERS. Wonderful, witty man, an inspiration. He recalled seeing THE SNOWS OF KILMANJARO once in Paris and shushing the cacklers behind him--only to find that they were Ernest Hemingway and Gary Cooper.

Jesse M

Having just finished my second reading of Ada, or Ardor, and running across this post, I made a special trip to the Performance Art wing of the New York Public Library, up in Lincoln Center, to get a look at the Nabokov/Cinema book. Unfortunately, the hour I had to look through it didn't count for much, since the book appears to be written in a hybrid anecdote/musing/scholarship mode that would only reward a methodical chapter-by-chapter read-through. Perhaps, when I'm a little richer, I'll consider buying the $50 copy from Amazon.

What I was interested in discovering was some cinematic equivalent for Nabokov's sweeping, hyper-romantic, dreamy prose style, which uses an almost kitschy melodrama for both comedic and sentimental effect -- and also to emphasize his sparing subtexts of devastating longing or tragedy. What I picked up from a quick browse of the Appel was that I should delve deeper into the works of Charlie Chaplain and Buster Keaton, with whom I only have cursory experience.

Also, I plan to watch The Last Command (as cited in this post) and Flesh and the Devil, which was referenced early on in Appel's book. Can you suggest any other required viewing for a combination cinema/Nabokov enthusiast?

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