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  • Passage to Marseille

    Passage to Marseille


    Curtiz and Wong Howe do the best they can, but the script is uneven at best, and downright dreadful in the final letter (which one could never imagine Bogey writing) and justified sadism. That being said, they do pretty well.

  • The House of Mirth

    The House of Mirth


    This is much crueler than the book is. The adaptations, elisions, excisions, merges that Davies makes accumulate to the degree that Lily is given less to her credit, fewer friends, greater enemies––she's a much more pathetic figure. Of course, Davies's aesthetics are marvelous, and far more lovely than Wharton's at times excessive prose. But, then again, the narrative itself loses many of the finest moments from the novel, many of the most delicate bits. This is, however, clear a film by Terence Davies, and fits very easily alongside THE DEEP BLUE SEA, SUNSET SONG, and A QUIET PASSION, all films about women suffering internally and externally.

  • Sergeant York

    Sergeant York


    Pure propaganda, morally dubious (like Hawks's later prop film AIR FORCE), but the filmmaking is top notch, the story is perfectly structured, and Hawks's interest in being good at your job is just as pleasurable here as elsewhere.

  • Interlude



    Sirk comments that he had virtually no hand in the story or the shaping of this narrative material, and it shows. It lacks much of the finesse and vibrancy of his other works from this period. Perhaps a second viewing will prove kinder, but especially after watching this immediately after WHEN TOMORROW COMES, this feels less humane, less mature. Its sexual politics in a certain way feel more dated than the older version, and Brazzi is certainly not nearly as charming as Boyer. The climax in the lake is stunning, though.

  • Kiss of Death

    Kiss of Death


    Uneven, Widmark is a little more annoying than scary. The stuff between Mature and Gray is lovely though, done very straightforwardly but sincerely.

  • Man Hunt

    Man Hunt


    Leave it to Lang to make a film that genuinely explores the primitivist Nazi psychology. The ending is obviously a sacrifice to polemic, but despite its blunt edge, the clarity of metaphor in the film is stunning.

  • Beauty and the Boss

    Beauty and the Boss


    An incoherent text, and what a glorious incoherence! Marian Marsh gives a performance that would make Bresson proud, transcendently unobserved and predicated largely on speed and clarity. The scene where she barges into Warren William's office to insist she get the job as his secretary is a tour-de-force of narrative movement. Although the film seems to be generally seen as a justification of workplace sexual harassment it seems to me to be a rather unassming vision of the world of…

  • The Quiet Man

    The Quiet Man


    "And only an American would have thought of emerald green!"

    Tracked ownership and property quite a bit this time: Sean's own preciousness about his returning to his /specific/ bit of land is no different (in fact, less honorable) than Mary Kate's insistence on her dowry.

    Likewise, interesting how Ford quietly depicts everything we need to know through innuendo, gesture, characterization, and non-verbal means before hitting us with an extremely blunt exposition scene, which makes sure no one missed anything.


  • One Way Passage

    One Way Passage


    A peculiar combination of broad comedy and sincere melodrama that works because Frank McHugh is hilarious and because has anyone eyes in cinema been as overwhelmingly heartful as Kay Francis's?

    The ending is wonderfully melodrama: the impossible situation, resolved improbably, with one of cinema's great motifs: broken glasses for broken people.

  • The Return of Frank James

    The Return of Frank James


    There's something vaguely disturbing about the fact that throughout the entire movie, Frank James is never directly responsible for any of the deaths, despite his clear desire for unnuanced vengeance.

  • The Connection

    The Connection


    For Clarke's birthday.

    Evidently, they had a little too much money: the camerawork is, indeed, too beautiful, but this is a rich, strange film that must've looked a million times better in '61, and still looks pretty damn good now.

  • Cluny Brown

    Cluny Brown


    Some subjects for rumination on this film: the place of the body in cinema; bodily re/oppression; political re/oppression; the individual versus society; provincialism versus cosmopolitanism; the role of women in society; the relationship between self-fulfillment and employment (especially re: women); authorial distance in affective narratives; metaphor and innuendo.