Thursday, June 24, 2010
Catching up on a few films I've seen recently...at Bank of America Cinema I saw The Enchanted Cottage (John Cromwell, 1945), a fable of romantic fantasy that has not aged terribly well. Budd Boetticher's Decision at Sundown (1957) is another story, one of the oddest of Boetticher and Randolph Scott's chamber Westerns. As is usual with Boetticher, Decision features a very ambiguous take on the driven, revenge-seeking Western hero and villainous bad guy. Though criticized at Only the Cinema for an undercurrent of misogyny, I found that the film's female characters were far more interesting than is typical in Westerns, making many of the important decisions.
Up at Northwestern's Block Cinema in Evanston...Max Ophüls' 1934 film La Signora di Tutti (Everybody's Woman). An impressive early work from the master, La Signora di Tutti has his usual mixture of glamor and tragedy, with a flashback structure similar to that of Lola Montes, recalling the life of an infamous woman. It's amazing how much of the Ophüls style and subject matter was already in place. Also fascinating to see the different moral standards at work in an Italian versus American film from the early thirties, as well as differing acting styles, with much over-the-top emotionalism from La Signora's older male lover.
I'm glad I waited to see Cobra Woman (Robert Siodmak, 1944) on the screen. Due to overbooking, Block was sent an immaculate master 35mm archival print. This has to be what it was like to see technicolor in all its glory in the 1940s. I just sat back at let the tropical camp sear my retinas. Absolutely amazing. Hail King Cobra!
Photo sources: Only the Cinema, Dvd Beaver, and filmfanatic.org