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Bound for Glory's Carradine Sings, Attacks Wexler, Talks Cocaine

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 21, 2009 at 8:55AM

My old EW colleague Chris Willman posted a long detailed account on Facebook of a night at the Aero in Santa Monica with Bound for Glory cinematographer Haskell Wexler and stars David Carradine and Ronny Cox. The Depression era movie marks one of Carradine's best performances, as Woody Guthrie; he appears to have been quite feisty at the Q & A session, to say the least.
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Carradinesong

My old EW colleague Chris Willman posted a long detailed account on Facebook of a night at the Aero in Santa Monica with Bound for Glory cinematographer Haskell Wexler and stars David Carradine and Ronny Cox. The Depression era movie marks one of Carradine's best performances, as Woody Guthrie; he appears to have been quite feisty at the Q & A session, to say the least.

Here's Jeff Wells, who supplied the photo. UPDATE: Willman's full account at Huffington Post.

And here's a snippet:


There’s a moment of calm. Since the presumptive moderator is just sitting there, smirking and stunned, an audience member takes it upon himself to shout out a question about the cinematography. Who knew this would be a more dangerous subject than unions? Wexler talks about color desaturation (“You’ll notice the movie gets more colorful when we get to California”) and gives some technical specs. Carradine breaks in and starts talking about crane shots and suitcase cameras. Wexler, visibly irritated, goes back to the specs. And this is the point at which Carradine really kind of goes off the rails, albeit it in a subdued, passive-aggressive kind of way. He uses the line—which he repeats at least two or three more times—about how Wexler “got an Academy Award for ruining my movie.” You can feel the audience sort of collectively holding its breath as Carradine says the film “looks like it was shot through a glass of milk.” When he explains what he wished the look of the film had been, which is grittier, again, it’s a lucid point, but the way he’s making it is either tone-deaf or just evil.

Then he tells the story of how Ashby, the director, hated the look of the film, too, and was insisting on firing Wexler during the making of the film. I’m pretty sure I hear gasps go up at this point. Carradine says he talked Ashby out of firing him, “because if you fire somebody, they just go out in the parking lot and steal your hubcaps.” I’m pretty sure that’s a metaphor, but the audience doesn’t know what to do with this image other than to nervously titter. There will be a lot more of that—oh, yes, there will.


Here are two sound files:

Aero 1

Aero 2

This article is related to: Obit, Celebs


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.