Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jazz Boat: a face on the cutting room floor

Jazz Boat sailed without me. In 1959, circumstances led me to London and consequently to believe that I might have made a brief appearance in a crowd scene in the 1960 Anthony Newley film. Part of Jazz Boat was filmed on the south bank of the Thames. I searched for the film for fifty years but to no avail.

I eventually told the story this year in a February posting called My Film Career (Offstage). Enter the good Matthew Coniam (Movietone News) of London, who read the posting, told me he had a copy of Jazz Boat, and sent a Region 2 DVD copy to me. (I have thanked him separately, and do so here again.)

In late spring of 2010, circumstances again led me to London and provided me the where-with-all to play the DVD. Came the scene, came the one frame at a time, step by step, came the dawning. A lifetime of watching films, with nary an appearance within one, remained unsullied. Jazz Boat sailed without me.

I informed Matthew, who, not surprisingly, summed up my absence perfectly. He told me in a comment:

“So sorry your fifty year quest for Jazz Boat ended up with the disappointing view of the underside of the editor's table from the vantage of the cutting room floor, but hopefully the scene itself brought back some memories, and remember that the camera does not catch all, merely that which fate casts within its four walls - you are still 'there', even if the lens is not sharp enough to spot you.”

Who could add to that?


  1. Gordon —

    I have a Region 1 DVD of JAZZ BOAT; not the best quality but very watchable. I'd be happy to make you a copy. Even if you're a victim of the cutting room, you might want a souvenir.


  2. Dear Sandy:

    Thank you for your gracious and generous offer to provide me with the Region 1 DVD of “Jazz Boat”. However, while in England I purchased a Region 2 player and brought it back with me to The United States. Matthew had already made me a gift of the Region 2 copy, so now I can play Jazz Boat and any other Region-2-only films that turn up. The generosity of those who move about the motion picture web log world continue to astonish this neophyte. Thank you again, none the less. Do you have a site that I might add to those I follow regularly? Best wishes.


    Will send this to your Email address also.

  3. Lovely!
    And I'm proud to have started your Region 2 collection!

  4. You're very welcome, Gerald. I really should get one of those region-free players myself. I've been watching Region 2/PAL DVDs on my computer using an app called VLC.

    No, I don't have a blog currently. I did. but haven't posted in a year or so.

    Matthew —

    I'm an unrepentent Newley-phile, and one film I've not had success in finding is another Warwick production, "Let's Get Married." Have you ever come across that one?


  5. Sandy -
    No, I don't have that one, I'm afraid. I have a few nice ones though, including Merkin. But those Warwick films are terrific. I've written of my love for Newley over at my blog Movietone News. Strange how we always find ourselves apologising for admiring him. When did anyone call themselves an unrepentant Sinatra fan?


  6. Thank you, Matthew. I've checked out your fine blog — it's now in my RSS feed.

    How right you are! Newley seems to engender strong feelings on both ends of the spectrum. But isn't that what an artist is supposed to do?

    I don't want to hijack this blog, so I'll address your fascinating MERKIN review by email.

  7. Feel free Sandy. I enjoy being a bystander to exchanges in which I am not directly involved. And I check Matthew's site daily so, I will follow up on any further activity wherever such should appear.