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The Reeler Blog

Pennebaker Meets Ellington, And Other NY Stories

It's not that often that I get a chance to reciprocate the generosity of the godfather of all movie blogs, GreenCine Daily, which easily packs more world cinema links and information per square inch into its dispatches than any other film site on the planet. But today David Hudson directs readers further into the GreenCine web, where Jonathan Marlow chats with D.A. Pennebaker on the occasion of a special-edition DVD rerelease of Don't Look Back.

Among the most notworthy moments are its first, with Pennebaker recounting the making of his 1953 debut short, the kinetic, kaleidoscopic Third Avenue El journey Daybreak Express:

I have to freely admit that it owes a little something to [Duke] Ellington! ... I began by wanting to use that song and that's why the film has no title. It's known as Daybreak Express but that’s the title of the song. I didn't want to co-op the song to my little film. I had to show it to Ellington because, at the time, I didn't know anything about making a film. I didn't make a print or anything. I took the original stuff, which was Kodachrome… I had to show it to Ellington in his office on a little projector with a tape recorder to run the sound. By present standards, it would have been unbearable but it looked great. He loved it.

And those comments are actually the edited bookends of a totally different, equally engaging aside. Don't let me screw it up any more; just have a look for yourself.

Posted at February 28, 2007 11:32 AM

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