I don’t think that I am going out on a limb when I say that World War II changed everything. Among other things, women made it into the workforce, had control over their bodies, and proved they were capable of running their own lives. Needless to say, society (read “men”) was determined to push them away from this new normal as fast as possible.
What is it about tales of the ancient British royalty that brings out the stiffness in filmmakers? So many of these stories are filled with “thees” and “thous” more appropriate to biblical epics while other lines hit the ear with a thud when said by actors who can’t even approximate an appropriate accent. Believe me, if you’ve ever seen Black Shield of Falworth and heard Tony Curtis cry out, “Yondah lies da castl
The Coronavirus has impacted everything. For many Americans, the loss of two pastimes is particularly irksome: Sports and sex. And it’s even more acute at the moment because it is spring, the season for both baseball and nookie.
We frequently turn to the movies to provide us with those things we feel are missing in our lives. If so, could there possibly be a better time to watch Bull Durham.
War movies run in relatively predictable cycles during post-war years. Conventional wisdom holds that once the war is over, no one wants to see a movie about combat. The post-World War II years, for example, produced relatively few war films and those that were made (Twelve O’Clock High, Command Decision, Battleground) were far more interested in the impact of combat on the soldiers and officers than on the actua
Dramatically if not legally, Austrian-born producer-director Otto Preminger was always fascinated with criminal proceedings. Beginning with his tutelage in Vienna under the legendary stage impresario Max Reinhardt, Preminger was drawn to plays that ended with courtroom theatrics. When he shifted to film directing in America he frequently sought out opportunities to stage scenes overseen by judge and jury.
There are many filmmakers I love, but only a few that I hold in awe. At the top of my list are the great Japanese minimalist Yasujiro Ozu, and the extraordinary British maximalist team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.
Film noir was the synthesis of a number of movements: an Americanizing of German expressionism and French poetic realism with a little Warner gangster film thrown in for good measure. More a mood than a genre, these movies hit their full flowering in the postwar years because the gloom on display perfectly suited the existential angst and accompanying social breakdown that inevitably follows global conflict. As the nation
Billy Wilder created several classic films leading up to his twin masterpieces, Some Like It Hot and The Apartment. Most studies of his work stop there, referring to his post-1960 output as his slide down from the mountaintop. Admittedly, few if any movies could stand comparison to those two, or, for that matter, to his earlier Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard and Ace in the Hole. But
“I know it when I see it.”
We all have that human tendency to define the inexplicable in this way, particularly if it requires a closer inspection than we may be willing to give it. We assign terms like “undefinable” and “inexpressible” when we fear that any real exploration of the charismatic will somehow steal what is special from it.
John Frankenheimer was always an enigmatic filmmaker. Just when you thought you knew what he was about, he would fling a cinematic monkey wrench at your assumption.