All the films that Dan Sallitt has given the Red designation to on his wonderful color-coded lists, in roughly chronological…
An American Tragedy
A social climber (Phillips Holmes) charms a debutante (Frances Dee), seduces a factory worker (Sylvia Sidney) and commits murder
Whoa! Went into this one pretty much unprepared for what lay ahead—Sternberg's critical reading of Murnau's Sunrise is a forgotten masterpiece of the American cinema! The film also represents one of Sternberg's subtlest formal experiments. The opening 45 min.~1 hr. form a fascinating dialectic with the final 30 min.
The last half hour is throwaway, but everything before that - a thick black-and-silver doomed love hallucination - is as great as anything Sternberg ever did.
Sylvia Sidney was stunning in her role as Roberta. Sadly Phillips Holmes in the lead as the troubled Clyde Griffiths didn't match her presence. Holmes came across hollow and empty which close to killed any sympathy for his character. And just every actor over-powered him with their performances. In way I guess thats what director Sternberg wanted as to show that Clyde's was a weak man, but without much else going for him in his role it left something to be desired. Still a good movie.
Preserving this list for posterity as it will disappear from here:
- after number 70, "In a Land…
This list should not be construed as a definitive "greatest films" package, but as an alternative compiled by a group…