RBCM Archives

Item AAAB7643 - Stan Fox interview

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Stan Fox interview

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  • sound recording

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AAAB7643

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  • 1988-06-20 [date recorded] (Creation)

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4 audio cassettes

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CALL NUMBER: T4349:0001
PERIOD COVERED: 1936-1946
RECORDED: Victoria (B.C.), 1988-06-20
SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Family background. Fox grew up in Kitsilano area, studied English and history at UBC. Interest in photography began 1942; led to job with photographer R.H. Marlow, ca. 1945-48, and interest in film. Drove taxi 1951-53. Studies at UBC. Early movie-going; reaction to films of John Ford. Post-war interest in foreign films, especially Russian and German silents. Vernon Van Sickle. "Reverent" attitude to classics. TRACK 2: Influence of German and Russian silent films; earlier impressed with wartime dramas (especially Russian), British features, NFB documentaries. Films were screened regularly at Kitsilano High School when Fox was there. Silent comedians "resurrected" by critic James Agee. Other critics: Paul Rotha, Lewis Jacobs. Post-war revival of National Film Society's Vancouver Branch. The Film Survey Group of the Labour Arts Guild; screened silent films at John Goss Studio Theatre, starting May 1946. Vernon Van Sickle. John Goss's experimental theatre. Prior history of the film society since mid-1930s. Post-war revival led by Dorothy Burritt, Moira Armour, Jack Shadbolt and Van Sickle. Van Sickle and Peter Varley shot a film at Leon Shelly's film studio. Fox impressed by the studio and quality of 16mm film.

CALL NUMBER: T4349:0002
PERIOD COVERED: 1946-1953
RECORDED: Victoria (B.C.), 1988-06-20
SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Met Peter Varley latter part of 1946, when Varley shooting film with Vernon Van Sickle at Shelly studio. Film was an occult story featuring clairvoyant Nettie Gendall and Van Sickle. Fox shoots and processes his own first footage. Fox met Dorothy Burritt late 1946; she was supportive of Fox's filmmaking interest, and loaned him husband Oscar's movie camera. Her interest in the arts; her qualities, manner; interest in occult; voice; sensitivity. Dorothy and her friends as "early hippies". Fox met Oscar Burritt much later (June 1953) in Toronto. TRACK 2: Oscar Burritt: his interests, appearance, habits, voice. The Burritt's relationship; Dorothy difficult in her last few months. Dorothy brought American avant-garde filmmaker Maya Deren to Toronto [1951]. Oscar's creativity later stifled. The Burritts introduced Fox to modern art, modern music; had John Vanderpant's unusual record collection. Fox's photographic influences. Film society was "run into the ground". Dorothy's influence on Fox. With Merwyn "Binky" Marks, she revived film society in late 1940s with summer screenings at Boilermakers' Hall. Other venues: quonset hut on Burrard Street; Vancouver General Hospital Christmas Seal auditorium. Fox's problems with hospital bureaucracy over society's use of auditorium.

CALL NUMBER: T4349:0003
RECORDED: Victoria (B.C.), 1988-06-20
SUMMARY: TRACK 1: More about film society screenings, venues. Fox's impressions of people in Dorothy Burritt's circle: film librarian Moira Armour, film editor Maureen Balfe, painter Peter Bortkus. Novelist Malcolm Lowry and his wife Margerie attended film society screenings. Fox's impressions of Lowry; his behaviour, reputation, response to film, etc. The film society's membership; other filmmakers, etc., of Fox's age. The young Allan King. Norman Newton. Careers in film not considered feasible. Jack Shadbolt's influence on local creative life. The School of Art crowd. Homer Powell, a film editor who came to Vancouver from Hollywood. TRACK 2: Homer Powell's uncompleted film noir. Powell married a Citanovich girl, as did film director Spence Crilly, who later claimed to have made films in the Eastern Bloc. Frankie and Lena Citanovich. Other professional film people: sound man Shirley Wilson, art director Marguerite Roozeboom (nee Goulding). Wally Hamilton and Trans-Canada Films. Arla Saare. Jack Ammon. Fox's own filmmaking activities: the making of SUITE TWO (June 1947) with Dorothy Burritt. Film screenings at Burritt apartment; preparing "scores" for silent films. SUITE TWO as a historical record. Fox's film GLUB (1947), which satirized the works of Maya Deren; involvement of Tom Baird, Rolph Blakstad, Dorothy Burritt. Fox's unfinished ABELARD BEFORE A MIRROR (October 1948), which employed life masks made by Blakstad and a complex script by Norman Newton. The inspirations behind the film; its story. Derivative effect caused by viewing and re-viewing films.

CALL NUMBER: T4349:0004
RECORDED: Victoria (B.C.), 1988-06-20
SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Continues discussion of ABELARD; the story of Abelard and Heloise. Film intended as symbolic statement; interest in expressive use of realistic masks. Genesis of IN THE DAYTIME (shot May-Sept;ember 1949), a documentary depicting "a day in the life of Vancouver". European influences; the "city symphony" films. Film society president Arthur Lourie convinced society to sponsor film; total cost, 60 dollars. Locations used. Norman Newton's poetic commentary, read by Roy Daniells; recording it. Good and bad points about the film; allusions. Premiere. Collaborating with Peter Varley. Details of shooting, film stock, etc. TRACK 2: Fox's last significant amateur film, THE SUETONIUS VERSION, made in 1953 with Gerald Newman. Film was a silent comedy-drama; Newman's story idea played off British film THE BROWNING VERSION. "Literary influence" on filmmaking ideas. Newman appeared in the film, as did Janet Cates, Fox's future wife; Fox lit and photographed it. 8 minutes, b&w. Musical knowledge from assembling "scores" for silent film screenings. Not much filmmaking activity by Fox 1950-53; people and money unavailable. Economics of amateur production. Knew no other serious amateurs in Vancouver area. (End of interview);

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Dennis J. Duffy, 1988-06-21

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A digital copy is available.

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  • Copying Restriction: Copying requires permission of donor.
  • Use Restriction: Use requires permission of donor.
  • Copyright Status: Copyright Dennis J. Duffy.

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Accession number(s): T4349

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speaker: Stanley Fox, interviewer: Dennis John Duffy

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