Every Friday, Fandor’s curators serve up a newly available film worthy of special attention. This week’s Featured Release is Don’t Expect Too Much, a documentary by Susan Ray about her late husband, the filmmaker Nicholas Ray.
“…remarkably informative about the legendary director, his experiment with collective filmmaking and the changing cinematic landscape of the early ’70s.” – Ronnie Scheib, Variety
This week’s featured release is kind of a double feature—we’ve recently licensed Nicholas Ray’s seminal experimental masterwork We Can’t Go Home Again as well as Don’t Expect Too Much, a documentary in which Ray’s wife Susan revisits her husband’s earlier work.
You probably remember Ray as the director of classics like Rebel Without a Cause and Johnny Guitar. After a series of professional and personal setbacks, Ray embarked on an entirely different path for what would be his final feature, We Can’t Go Home Again, a semi-autobiographical hybrid film made in collaboration with his students at SUNY Binghamton. The project was experimental both in form and process; Ray and his students adopted a strictly communal ethos, living and working together with Ray’s dictum that “you can only learn film-making by making films” as their guiding principle. Truly a treat for cinephiles, this visually transcendent, powerfully immersive work (“the most complete, newly restored version”) is available now on Fandor.
Don’t Expect Too Much is ostensibly an exploration of the revolutionary methods behind the filming of We Can’t Go Home Again. But it’s also a thoughtful study of Ray’s unique approach to filmmaking and a fascinating chronicle of the director’s departure from Hollywood. Told by the woman who knew Ray best, the documentary is a wonderful tribute to the filmmaker and an illuminating look at one of his lesser known, but no less defining, creations. Click here to watch a preview.
To dive deeper into Ray’s life and work, visit Keyframe to read Adrian Martin’s superb essay on the filmmaker and Jonathan Marlow’s conversation with Susan Ray:
Nicholas Ray: ‘Let It Become Clear’ (January 31, 2014)
Susan Ray: ‘Action!‘ (January 31, 2014)
We Can’t Go Home Again (1973) directed by Nicholas Ray