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Thread: LET'S GET LOST (Bruce Weber 1988) revisited

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    LET'S GET LOST (Bruce Weber 1988) revisited

    BRUCE WEBER: LET'S GET LOST (1988; reissued 2008)


    CHET BAKER IN LET'S GET LOST

    This is not a review. Just want to remind readers that LET'S GET LOST is still available free on YouTube. Whether you're a jazz fan or not - it's a definitive portrait, in gorgeous restored black and white film, of the renowned and doomed trumpet player and singer Chet Baker, who died in 1988 - it's a work of art. The imagery and the editing provide a melange that's satisfying and never gets old, even if it's always saddening to see an artist who, as I said in my review of Robert Budreau's Stockholm , "seemed to be going downhill pretty much all his life," and was a charmer, a loser, and a deceiver, really a scoundrel.

    There are some interesting quotes about LET'S GET LOST on a page about Ruth Young Baker, the one of Chet's women who's most bitter and cruel in her screen time in Weber's film. Pauline Kael's description of the film is good:
    (1988)"He was bad, he was trouble and he was beautiful.” A James Dean lookalike pretty boy whose jazz trumpeting and melancholy crooning epitomized 50s cool, Chet Baker had become, when famed photographer Bruce Weber finally caught up with him after three decades of fandom, an alcoholic and a junkie, those petulantly angelic looks peeping out from behind a gaunt, valleyed and crevassed face that could have starred for Sam Peckinpah. How did he get there? We kind of find out, as Weber and crew follow Baker on a year-long trek on the road, from the West Coast, to the East Coast, to Europe — including a stop at the Cannes Film Festival — with interviews with Chet, colleagues and friends, including dueling insights from his third wife (a former British show girl who had dated Terence Stamp) and three children in Oklahoma, and from old flame Ruth Young, a sardonically throaty torch singer. Plus evocative photo montages of William Claxton’s iconic 50s photo sessions; clips from old movies featuring young Chet; rare performance footage, including a TV appearance introed by a would-be hip Steve Allen — studded throughout coverage of Baker's tour, shot by D.P. Jeff Preiss in a stark, brooding film noir black & white, never more so than in the recurring close-up of Baker between two women in the back seat of a convertible hurtling down night streets, his long hair blowing over that now-seamy face. A popular and critical smash at its 1989 Film Forum premiere, but unseen since 1993 in any medium (rare copies of an early 90s VHS fetch impressive sums on Amazon), Let’s Get Lost has now been personally restored by Weber himself, its lush imagery providing a striking visual experience. "Let's Get Lost isn't primarily about Chet Baker the jazz musician; it's about Chet Baker the love object, the fetish. Behind it all is a soundtrack made up of Baker recordings that span more than three decades — the idealized essence of the man. And maybe because Weber, despite his lifelong fixation on this charmer, knew him only as a battered, treacherous wreck, in the two years before his death, Let’s Get Lost is one of the most suggestive (and unresolved) films ever made. It's about love, but love with few illusions."
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-21-2024 at 03:34 PM.

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