Archive for December 4th, 2008

by Sam Juliano

    One of the internet’s most effervescent film enthusiasts and a dear friend of Wonders in the Dark and FilmsNoir.net, the incomparable Dark City Dame is running a fascinating month-long tribute to director Alfred Hitchcock, featuring scholarly reviews by historian Joel Gunz.

    Dark City Dame is also running various polls asking readers to choose their favorite Hitchcock films in certain periods and in various genres.

     So far, the Gunz pieces have included “Hitchcock’s Greatest Film,” “Hitchcock’s Head Collaborators,” “Sometimes You Hate the One You Idolize” and today’s “Nevinson, World War II and the Dream Sequence in Vertigo.”  It’s challenging and engaging reading, but methinks it’s essential for anyone who admirers one of the greatest of all film directors.

    DCD has promised that any questions for Mr. Gunz are welcomed and will be answered promptly.  As usual the “Dame” of Film Noir has meticulously and religiously updated her site daily so that Mr. Gunz’ most worthwhile pontifications will be refreshed regularly.

    I urge all readers to go to the blogroll on the right and click on “Dark City Dame” to access this Alfred Hitchcock treasure trove.

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by Allan Fish

as a precursor to the imminent 1940s poll – during the course of which I will be doing a reverse countdown of my top 25 films of that decade (this time not announcing them beforehand) – one of those that missed the cut, but which remains still imperishable.

(USA 1941 100m) DVD1/2

The stuff that dreams are made of

p  Henry Blanke  d/w  John Huston  novel  Dashiell Hammett  ph  Arthur Edeson  ed  Thomas Richards  m  Adolph Deutsch  art  Robert Haas  cos  Orry-Kelly

Humphrey Bogart (Sam Spade), Mary Astor (Ruth Wonderly/Brigid O’Shaughnessy), Gladys George (Iva Archer), Peter Lorre (Joel Cairo), Sydney Greenstreet (Kaspar Gutman), Barton McLane (Det.Lt.Lundy), Elisha Cook Jnr (Wilmer Cook), Ward Bond (Det.Tom Polhaus), Lee Patrick (Effie Perine), Jerome Cowan (Miles Archer), James Burke (Luke), Murray Alper (Frank Richman), Walter Huston (Capt.Jacoby),

In his Film Guide Leslie Halliwell describes John Huston’s film as showing the difference between excellence and brilliance.  Huston’s debut was indeed brilliant, but his statement was referring rather to his review of the excellent 1931 original version of Hammett’s tale which, if truth be told, is actually closer to the spirit of Hammett’s original.  But if Halliwell was right, what is true of films is also true of their directors, and Roy Del Ruth, who directed the said original, was an excellent journeyman who made fast paced, entertaining early talkies and whose credits include such fun pre-code stuff as Blessed Event, Lady Killer and Blonde Crazy.  Huston, meanwhile, was made of worthier stuff, and though not perhaps one of the all-time greats, is guaranteed a place in cinema’s hall of fame for directing The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Asphalt Jungle, The African Queen and The Dead.  However his debut film remains his best and the likes of David Thomson have been quick to knock him, so do I also have doubts? (more…)

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