Canyon Passage. Jacques Tourneur’s 1946 Technicolor Western about life in frontier Oregon is now mainly known (if at all) as the film for which Hoagy Carmichael wrote “Ole Buttermilk Sky.” In fact it is, along with Robert Wise’s Blood on the Moon, one of the two most consistently underrated golden-age Hollywood Westerns, a shrewd character study of loyalty and weakness in which Dana Andrews, Susan Hayward, and the unfailingly interesting Brian Donlevy are all at their best and most characteristic. Gorgeous cinematography by Edward Cronjager. Very highly recommended, even if you think you’re allergic to Westerns (TT).
Archives for October 27, 2012
Louis Armstrong and the All Stars, Satchmo at Symphony Hall 65th Anniversary: The Complete Performances (Verve, two CDs). Recorded in Boston in 1947 and originally released four years later, this album documents Armstrong’s postwar combo mere months after its founding. The lineup is nonpareil (Barney Bigard, Dick Cary, Sid Catlett, Velma Middleton, Arvell Shaw, Jack Teagarden) and the performances are electrifying. Co-produced by Armstrong authority Ricky Riccardi, it contains a half hour’s worth of previously unissued material, plus indispensable liner notes by Riccardi. Put it on your short list of must-have Armstrong albums–and order it now, because this is a 3,000-copy limited edition (TT).
The Freedom of the City (Irish Repertory Theatre, on hiatus after Nov. 25, reopening Jan. 2-20). A flawless revival of Brian Friel’s 1973 masterpiece about a Northern Ireland protest march that ended in bloodshed. Not so much a history play as a tragic meditation on politics run amok, The Freedom of the City has been staged by Ciarán O’Reilly with a galvanizing blend of force and subtlety, and the cast is as good as it can possibly be (TT).
Ron McCrea, Building Taliesin: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home of Love and Loss (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, $35). A well-written, profusely illustrated monographic study of the building of Wright’s Wisconsin country estate. Many of the photos are previously unpublished. Essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in Wright, or in domestic architecture (TT).