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Watch: Dennis Hopper-Composed Video Essay on Nicholas Ray Looks at ‘The Poet of A Romantic Loner’

Written by on May 2, 2014 

One thinks they don’t need any more reason to admire Dennis Hopper, perhaps because one thinks they already know everything there is to know about Dennis Hopper. But then one hears word of a small video essay he conducted in tribute to his former collaborator and longtime friend, Nicholas Ray — a man we know as the director of They Live by Night, but a man he, in many ways, knew as “the poet of a romantic loner.” The examination is brief, but nevertheless a thorough look at the man from multiple sides — friend, struggling artist, evident genius, and a self-declared legend of questionable greatness — that has the touch of a confidante.

What’s seen here is a fine video essay on its own, but touching, both when those other angles are considered and how much Hopper seems to understand Ray‘s cinema as one made, again, for the lonely sort. Clips from the man’s films are their own treat, of course — I do believe one of the first is taken from Knock on Any Door, a relatively rare title which yours truly has been dying to see — so, at no more than five minutes, there’s essentially zero excuse to skip out — unless you haven’t seen any of his films, but that means some whole other problems are at play.

Watch the segment right below (The Seventh Art, via Cinephilia and Beyond):

What did you think of Hopper’s tribute to Ray? Do you have a favorite film from the director?

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