Friday, 10 June 2016

Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome

The Kino Blu of Curtis Harrington’s 1961 film Night Tide arrived in the post yesterday and the plan is to catch the film (for the first time!) this weekend. To preface the screening, I revisited Kenneth Anger’s 1954 fantasia Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome yesterday evening, the connection being that Curtis Harrington and Night Tide actress Marjorie Cameron appear in Anger's film. Marjorie Cameron was cast as the Scarlet Woman, no doubt for her occult preoccupations, and she looks particular fantastic in the film, her red hair inflamed by Anger’s psychedelic lighting; while Curtis Harrington, appearing as Cesare the Somnambulist is straight out of Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. I made two passes of the film, the second accompanied by Anger’s commentary, in which he briefly mentions Night Tide and his admiration for the film, calling it the “nicest thing (Curtis Harrington) done”. Harrington followed Night Tide with a string of B-movies but a closer inspection of his filmography reveals some close associations with Underground Cinema – before Night Tide, Harrington made a number of interesting experimental shorts, including The Wormwood Star (1955), an excellent 10min portrait of Marjorie Cameron. Incidentally Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome includes a few images borrowed from Anger’s earlier film Puce Moment (which always reminds me of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet) and I mention this because Harrington is credited on the imdb and Wikipedia as cinematographer on the film Kennth Anger's film but I can find no evidence of this elsewhere, either in the booklets that accompany the Fantoma and BFI editions or Anger’s commentary track…

Marjorie Cameron as the Scarlet Woman
Curtis Harrington as Cesare the Somnambulist

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