Monthly Archives: August 2016

My Vote for the Great French Film Noir

CAUTION: Contains “spoilers.” Louis Malle’s 1957 “Ascenseur pour l’Echafaud” (“Elevator to the Gallows,” or as it was known in the U.S. “Frantic”) is another example of a perfect film where there are no missteps. It’s a simple enough tale of … Continue reading

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Primitive Grandeur

One of the things that has always impressed me about early sound films is the raw-boned quality of their visuals married to their straightforward narrative style. I recently had the opportunity to watch “Little Caesar” and “Frankenstein” in fairly close … Continue reading

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Kenny’s Hometown

CAUTION: Contains “spoilers.”   Leonide Moguy’s “Whistle Stop” (1945) offers the most acerbic portrait of small town life in the 1940s this side of “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.” Perhaps because the Russian-born Moguy worked mostly in Europe he didn’t subscribe to our … Continue reading

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Perfection

CAUTION: Contains “spoilers.” William Wyler’s “The Letter” (1940) is a wonderful film in which every component–story, acting, cinematography, music–fits together like the cogwheels of a watch. From Tony Gaudio’s dreamy, yet oddly foreboding, opening pan over the sleeping workers on a rubber … Continue reading

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Gangsters, a la M.G.M.

If you compare a pair of M.G.M. gangster movies, George Hill’s “The Secret Six” (1932) and Charles Brabin’s “The Beast of the City” (also 1932) to their Warner Brothers counterparts, “Little Caesar” and “The Public Enemy,” interesting divergences occur. Both … Continue reading

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Bogart Mid-way

CAUTION: Contains “spoilers.” I’ve always wondered about the lack of respect shown to Lewis Seiler’s 1942 film “The Big Shot.” Seiler was a dependable director of action-driven films, and he was working with a script co-authored by three specialists in the … Continue reading

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