While we expect to soon hear some casting news on Quentin Tarantino’s final feature The Movie Critic ahead of a shoot later this year, the small details being doled-out will have to suffice. In the meantime, he joined the latest episode of the Pure Cinema Podcast to promote a forthcoming all-film IB Technicolor Fest taking place at his newly acquired Vista Theatre in LA. As part of this discussion, he shared the notable update that he plans to write Cinema Speculation Vol. Two, a sequel to his 2022 book of film analysis. He confirmed the book will feature his insights on Peter Bogdanovich’s 1972 comedy classic What’s Up, Doc?, and shared a tease. The director also shared quite an interesting take on Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller.

Speaking about Bogdanovich’s hilarious comedy, which he says “was made for I.B. Technicolor” and is “as close to [Frank] Tashlin as you are going to get,” Tarantino noted, “Peter [Bogdanovich] would actually say that his jumping=off [point] for the chase scene at the end––which I think is the greatest comedy chase scene of all time––was Mack Sennett, and he’d be right. But it also looks pretty similar to the end of [Tashlin’s] The Disorderly Orderly to me.”

Tarantino then goes on to tell the story of how Bogdanovich changed a key scene on the day. “That was actually a situation,” Tarantino says, “so she’s walking across the street and Peter goes, ‘It’s boring watching her walk across the street. Let’s have a car stop. And then another car hit it.’ And [the crew] go, ‘Well, we weren’t planned for that.’ ‘Well, we got a little bit before we’re doing it. Jut go to Hertz Rent-a-Car, just rent a couple of cars where the box says insurance, X it, then come back here.’”

He added, “Then [Bogdanovich] goes to Barbra: ‘Okay. So, Barbra, what I want you to do is to walk across the street. This car’s going to see you. It’s going to stop to ogle you, and that guy’s going to hit him in the back. But you don’t look at it. You just keep walking.’”

“’No one said we were going to do that.’” 

“’Well, we just kind of came up with the idea to do it.'” 

“’We’ll be safe?’”

“’Yeah, we’ll be safe… well, I mean if you are too chicken…’”

“’I didn’t say I was too chicken! I can do it. I can do it. I can do it.’”

“’But don’t look at it. That’s the thing.’”

Tarantino adds, “I am a big fan of everybody in this movie, but I’m a particularly big fan of Ryan O’Neal’s job as Howard Bannister. I think it’s one of the great straight-man comedy roles. I think he’s really, really terrific. And as a matter of fact, it reminds me of something. I love Bringing Up Baby as much as anybody––especially as much as a Hawks lover would love it. I actually think Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal are better than Grant and Hepburn in there. They’re so terrific together, combined by the fact also that Ryan O’Neal is acting opposite to comic tornados, in the case of both Barbra Streisand and Madeline Kahn. And he’s just bouncing back and forth between these two whirling dervishes and he’s a magnificent partner. He vibes with both of them. He has a wonderful chemistry with both of them, and it’s slightly different with each of them. He sets them all up for their best jokes.”

“But it’s actually interesting because the set-up situation of the madcap girl who picks the bespectacled bookworm and turns his life upside-down, that’s similar to Bringing Up Baby, but the dynamic that the two them have together isn’t exactly the same,” Tarantino says. Comparing it to Ralph Bellamy and Margaret Lindsay’s chemistry in the Ellery Queen films of the early ’40s, he says Ryan O’Neal doesn’t keep up with Streisand’s pace. “He’s about a couple of steps behind. But his rhythm is impeccable. It’s just two beats off.”

When it comes Robert Altman’s snowy western masterpiece McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Tarantino didn’t mince words. “I have an interesting relationship with this movie, because I think the first reel of the movie is the worst-mixed reel in the history of Hollywood cinema. It’s so badly… there’s a level of incompetence to the mix that Hollywood never really goes below. Hollywood maybe doesn’t reach its heights every single solitary time, but it doesn’t reach the lows. There is a strong level of mediocrity that it never goes that further down. It’s terrible. [Altman] is a fucking pothead who doesn’t know any fucking better. He thinks it sounds good. A lot of people think that Warren Beatty was actually kind of the co-director on that movie. I asked Warren Beatty about that once, and he goes, ‘Well, you don’t think that pothead could have gotten that performance out of Julie Christie, do you?’ ‘No, he probably couldn’t have. Say no more.’ And Warren Beatty is fantastic and it’s obvious Warren Beatty is directing himself. He’s not listening to Altman.”

Tarantino also shared a humorous story about (almost) gifting a print of the film to another major director. “So I tried to watch the movie, like, twice on VHS in the big green Warner box and it’s just so ugly. I just wasn’t into it. The sound was just awful. And it transferred so terribly to VHS, I can’t even tell you. It was a mess. It was, ‘Yuck, this movie is terrible.’ So I tried two different times to watch it. ‘Fuck this movie’. And then I noticed that there was an IB Technicolor print available and it wasn’t that expensive. And so I picked it up and I bought it for Rick Linklater, because he loves this movie. He was a big fan of it. So I thought I was just going to buy it for him and send it to him as a gift. Then I had the movie and I go, ‘Well, I mean, if I’m going to give it another chance, now would be the time.’ An IB Technicolor 35mm print before I sent it off to Rick––I should probably sit down and watch it from beginning to end. And then I really, really liked it. The first 20 minutes, the sound mix is still dreadful. It’s abysmal. But you get caught up in the movie and it envelops you and Beatty envelops you and Christie envelops you, and then the whole end––I think it’s just perfect.

So did Linklater ever get it? Tarantino adds with a laugh: “No, he never got it. No, cut to: I’m showing it in my theater. It was, like, 15 years ago that I got it.” He even confirms Linklater never heard this story. Perhaps if the director isn’t too busy prepping for the March shoot of his New Wave-inspired film on the making of Godard’s Breathless, he can visit Tarantino’s Vista Theater on February 26th and 27th to experience it.

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