The Cinema Museum, London

Iain Sinclair 70×70 Screenings: Touch of Evil (1958) & Psycho (1960) PLEASE NOTE LATE CHANGE OF HOSTS

Sat 31 May 2014 @ 19:30 · Events

Portrait of Iain SInclair dressed in white jacket and black shirtThroughout his 70th birthday year, writer and psychogeographer Iain Sinclair has been curating a season of 70 films that have appeared in his novels, presented in cinemas and venues across the capital.

PLEASE NOTE THAT CONTRARY TO PREVIOUS ADVERTISING IT IS NOT NOW POSSIBLE FOR IAIN AND ANNE SINCLAIR TO BE WITH US TO INTRODUCE THE PROGRAMME. Instead Christopher Petit and Christopher Roth will introduce this double-bill with Mordant Music. Director of Radio On (1979) and Content (2010), and author of Robinson, Chris Petit is Iain Sinclair’s most regular collaborator, directing The Cardinal & The Corpse (1992), an expose on London’s literary underground; The Falconer (1998), an occult investigation of Peter Whitehead and Asylum (2000), with Michael Moorcock, Jim Sallis and Ed Dorn.

Christopher Roth is an artist, filmmaker and cultural haymaker based in Berlin. He is co-curator and editor of 80*81 and 60pages with Georg Diez, and director Baader. Roth is also a tutor at the Derek Jarman Lab with Colin MacCabe, currently working on a collection of films with John Berger.

Here Iain describes the two films that Petit and Roth will be introducing at this evening’s screening: Touch of Evil (1958), directed by Orson Welles and Psycho (1960), directed by Alfred Hitchcock, with an underscore by Mordant Music:

Lurid poster for Touch of Evil showing couple in clinch, with an older man looking-on“A film that has been a point of reference since I saw it on its original release (as a second feature) at the Paris Pullman. Now I appreciate the fact that it was produced by Albert Zugsmith, who also produced – one year later – the exploitation quickie The Beat Generation. From Welles, Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh to Steve Cochran, Mamie van Doren, Ray Danton. Films at the end of cycle carry a particular freight. This one shadows the much more  successful (financially) Psycho. Motels with gimpy weirdo handymen. Janet Leigh threatened with gang rape or butchered. I lose interest in Psycho after the death of Leigh: it devolves into television. The opening represents Hitchcock’s response to European cinema and the French critics who championed him. The end reverts to his early German influences, now calculated for architectural shock-horrors.

Alfred Hitchcock holding a clapperboard labelled 'Psycho'But what strikes me, years later, when we hit the San Diego Freeway is how new this landscape is and how trivial the human interventions. Oil donkeys nod on low hills. We are in the Mexico of Hank Quinlan. Orson Welles created a sleazy border town out of Venice Beach for his Hollywood swansong. Death comes, with wheezing Shakespearean flourish, among the fouled ponds of the speculative oil field. Nodding donkeys, pumping away, day and night, take the place of actual animals. ‘Your future,’ as Marlene Dietrich said, ‘is all used up.’ In Los Angeles they dig for oil where other cities have allotments.”

Doors open at 18.30 for a 19.30 start. Refreshments will be available in our licensed café/bar.


Spring Season 2014 ticketing applies.

Advance tickets may be purchased from WeGotTickets, or direct from the Museum by calling 020 7840 2200 in office hours.