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.
And here’s a snippet:
There‚Äôs 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 (‚ÄúYou‚Äôll notice the movie gets more colorful when we get to California‚Äù) 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‚Äîwhich he repeats at least two or three more times‚Äîabout how Wexler ‚Äúgot an Academy Award for ruining my movie.‚Äù You can feel the audience sort of collectively holding its breath as Carradine says the film ‚Äúlooks like it was shot through a glass of milk.‚Äù When he explains what he wished the look of the film had been, which is grittier, again, it‚Äôs a lucid point, but the way he‚Äôs 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‚Äôm pretty sure I hear gasps go up at this point. Carradine says he talked Ashby out of firing him, ‚Äúbecause if you fire somebody, they just go out in the parking lot and steal your hubcaps.‚Äù I‚Äôm pretty sure that‚Äôs a metaphor, but the audience doesn‚Äôt know what to do with this image other than to nervously titter. There will be a lot more of that‚Äîoh, yes, there will.
Here are two sound files: