Sunday, 20 December 2009


I was preparing a talk about Bergman, death and light a month ago, and while doing that I felt that I couldn't possibly talk about death without talking about Only Angels Have Wings (1939), so I begun there. What else I couldn't possibly leave out was Robin Wood's writing on Bergman's The Seventh Seal (1957), and his criticism of it. In fact, mentioning Wood, like Sarris or Agee and a few others, is something I like to do as often as I can.

When I got the news on Friday that Wood had died, I felt surprisingly sad. I had never met him, just read his books on film, but since they're so personal, and so good, I felt like I knew him. Sort of at least. And I wish I had been able to meet him.

Wood once thought he was about to die, and as he was being taken to surgery, he thought about Hawks and the attitude to death in Hawks's films, especially Only Angels Have Wings, and it gave him strenght and peace. I hope it worked this time as well.

Someone who has met him is David Bordwell, and he writes here about Wood. On Dave Kehr's blog there's also a lot about Wood.

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