Sunday, April 29, 2007

My week of movie watching

Cloak and Dagger – Fritz Lang espionage thriller from 1946, with Gary Cooper and an exquisitely beautiful Lili Palmer. This is not one of Lang’s better-regarded films, but I liked it anyway. Cooper is good as a scientist trying to thwart Nazi research into the atomic bomb, and his exchanges with freedom fighter Palmer are nicely written. It’s ending skirts a little too closely to that of Casablanca, but overall, worth a look.

The Man Who Fell to Earth – First viewing of this. I have a soft spot for the work of Nicholas Roeg – Even stuff that nobody else likes, like Insignificance. This one, though, didn’t really do it for me. It's sexy as hell, of course, but the gaping plot holes just didn’t let me relax and take it in. David Bowie is an alien who comes to earth to raise money to get water to his home planet. Hmmm …Water is pretty much free, isn’t it? How’s he getting it back there? And how does the rival corporation think they are going to get away with the murder they commit?

D.W. Griffith: Years of Discovery 1909-1913 – A collection of early Griffith shorts. It features a terrific commentary track by film historian Russell Merrit, and is a valuable lesson in how Griffith basically invented many of the film conventions that we take for granted now. If you’ve seen Birth of a Nation, Merritt explains how Griffith was perfecting many of the techniques that came to fruition with Birth. There’s also a stunning short named The Redman’s View, which portrays Native Americans in a sensitive, sympathetic light. This was made years before the racist Birth and it’s appalling portrayal of blacks, and makes an intriguing counter-point.


Jeni Q said...

Mmm, I love TMWFTE. I suggest you read the book by Walter Tevis. It's really good, and will help explain a few things that are too subtle to understand when you watch the movie. I hope you got to see the Criterion collection version rather than the crappy version originally released in the US.

Jeff Duncanson said...

Thanks for the info - My "meaning to read" list is getting really, really long.

And yes, I did see the Criterion.

Thanks for stopping by!