48ONIRAM’s review published on Letterboxd:
Both chilling and elegiac. Karloff gives a beautiful performance. Really, a heartbreaking one for the ages (and it's fun to see Bogdanovich INCREDIBLY young, basically playing himself).
I want to talk about two simple shots. The film has a lot of long takes, some very stylish and impressive. But my two favorites were really quite simple and lovely.
In the first, Karloff has just angered his assistant, who he seems quite close to, and she has left him in his hotel room. Someone knocks and he answers, revealing room service. Then we cut to a shot of Karloff behind his counter as the room service guy sets up off frame. The camera pans out, very slowly. It doesn't wind up panning out THAT much, changing the image noticeably but not extremely. Still, this shot so clearly visually conveys how alone Karloff is in his big hotel room as he waits for the food with no companionship. Then, the camera quickly pans over to the dinner, set for two. Says so much with just the imagery.
Later, the other lead in the film, the murderer, is waiting for his father to set up the targets he will shoot later. He sights down his gun, aiming at his father directly. The camera very slowly, and again very slightly, zooms in on his face. The face, does not change much. But that slight zoom creates a feeling of such menace. We basically know, right in that moment, that he has come to a decision. Later, he seems a little confused and like he wants to talk about these feelings. But we already know what is going to happen, strictly from the framing and slight movement.
I think Bogdanovich's quote about Hawks is very very relevant "Boy, he really knows how to tell a story."