Top Fifty Films of the 40s — Number Twenty-Nine

#29 — Laura (Otto Preminger, 1944) There is something about film noir during its heyday that bought out the twisty darkness in every filmmaker who waded into its murky depths. While director Otto Preminger had a career that was varied enough to defy easy categorization, I generally think of his works as clean and resolutely open-eyed, utilizing careful craft to tell relatively straightforward stories. Even a great film fringed with darkness like Anatomy of a Murder becomes methodical under Preminger’s guidance, almost anticipating modern procedurals in its keen attention to the simple progression of events, the whirring machinery of a court … Continue reading Top Fifty Films of the 40s — Number Twenty-Nine

Burton, Keaton, Preminger, Trank, Vidor

Chronicle (Josh Trank, 2012). Chronicle is good enough to almost–almost–redeem the increasingly tired found footage subgenre. This is in part due to the especially clever use of the footage, drawing it from a variety of sources rather than relying on one dedicated amateur documentarian who keeps the camera running no matter what level of craziness is happening (although the film inevitably must rely on that conceit more than is ideal). Security cameras, police car dashboard cams and other fully believable devices provide all the material that’s stitched together into a narrative. If physics-defying mayhem were happening outside of a upper … Continue reading Burton, Keaton, Preminger, Trank, Vidor

Spectrum Check

When last we did this check, I was a meager contributor to the Spectrum Culture site. This week was a far different matter, with my words cropping up all over the place. First, there was my latest contribution to our WTF feature. My previous outing, I opted for horror films, but this time I went for one that was scary in an entirely different way: Otto Preminger’s 1968 disaster Skidoo. If only I could have watched it anew before writing, but the Preminger estate works overtime to keep this one as far from the public eye as possible. Another bit … Continue reading Spectrum Check

Cummings, Hartley, Lord and Miller, Preminger, Truffaut

The Last Metro (Francois Truffaut, 1980). One of Truffaut’s last films, The Last Metro is set in a struggling theatre during World War II. The Germans occupy France, causing the acclaimed owner and director of the theatre to hide out in the basement relaying covert suggestions as the troupe upstairs mounts a production that needs to be a success to keep the business afloat. Catherine Deneuve plays his wife and muse, the person trying to keep both him and the theatre safe. Gerard Depardieu plays an actor cast in the latest production, though its his life away from the stage … Continue reading Cummings, Hartley, Lord and Miller, Preminger, Truffaut