Tag Archives: Joan Crawford


Johnny “Guitar” Logan (Sterling Hayden): Don’t go away.

Vienna (Joan Crawford): I haven’t moved.

Johnny: Tell me something nice.

Vienna: Sure. What do you want to hear?

JohnnyLie to me. Tell me all these years you’ve waited. Tell me.

Vienna“All these years I’ve waited.”

Johnny: Tell me you’d have died if I hadn’t come back.

Vienna: “I would have died if you hadn’t come back.”

Johnny: Tell me you still love me like I love you.

Vienna: “I still love you like you love me.”

Johnny: Thanks. [Takes another drink.] Thanks a lot.

The cinema of Jean-Luc Godard—unmatched in its longevity and rigor—is a history of versions, revisions, and doubles, and his new work The Image Book (Le livre d’image) is a filmmaker’s autobiography by a cineaste whose curiosity shows no sign of flagging. The film has five sections, referencing the fingers of a hand, and borrows from a century of footage, including clips from his own durational Histoire(s) du cinéma.

As in all of Godard’s work, standards of continuity, editing, and sound-and-image sync are distorted or discarded. Flows of knowledge and experience are interrupted and memory is questioned. When Godard’s screen turns blank, we can daydream. But when the soundtrack drops out, a chill descends and the world falls through an abyss of silence.

“A truth in art is that which the opposite is also true.” — Oscar Wilde

For Godard, truth appears in fragments. When it comes to the truth, it would be arrogant to think otherwise. In The Image Book, his use of the “lie to me” conversation from Johnny Guitar speaks to something we demand of cinema, something to do with hope. Film is always eluding us—”running away,” as Raymond Bellour wrote. It’s an act of abandonment by a thousand cuts, relieved only by the assurance that there is so much more to come.*

The Image Book is screening twice daily at the American Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre for the next five days. You’ll want to see it more than once.


Daily at 7:30 pm and 9:40 pm. Sunday matinee at 4 pm.

Through Thursday, February 21.

Aero Theatre

1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica.

*Johnny Guitar (1954) was written by Philip Yordan and directed by Nicholas Ray.

Jean-Luc Godard, The Image Book/Le livre d’image, courtesy Kino Lorber.


Fans of MAHOGANY (1975) and LADY SINGS THE BLUES (1972) are in luck. The two Diana Ross vehicles are playing in all their big-screen glory this week on the Westside.

Motown founder Berry Gordy directed the former, the saga of a Chicago shopgirl and struggling fashion designer turned top international model. It’s a classic Joan Crawford scenario transferred to the 1970s, and co-stars Anthony Perkins, Billy Dee Williams, and Jean-Pierre Aumont as Count Rosetti.

MAHOGANY will be followed by a Q & A with Tisa Bryant and Ernest Hardy.

LADY SINGS THE BLUES is, of course, the Billie Holiday story, directed by Sidney J. Furie. It will screen following Waiting to Exhale and an introductory conversation with Suzanne de Passe.


Wednesday, February 14, at 7:30.

Hammer Museum, Billy Wilder Theater

10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Westwood, Los Angeles.



(preceded by Waiting to Exhale)

Thursday, February 15, at 7:30.

Aero Theatre

1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica.

Diana Ross in (top and bottom) Mahogany and Lady Sings the Blues.

Magazine image credit: Rolling Stone.