Archive for August 22nd, 2013


by Jaime Grijalba

File #6.1 – F.W. Murnau’s ‘Phantom’

Did you miss this? No? Well, here I come back not with the full feature that you’ve been used to, but with an Addendum to the sixth installment of this particular series of essays on the Masters of Horror. This comes up now because I had finally the time to watch one of the movies that I had piled up in watching schedule, a movie that wasn’t part of my retrospective of the horror films of F.W. Murnau, because in my personal database it wasn’t named as such, it was catalogued as in the ‘fantasy’ genre, and while it did have a horror-like name, it wasn’t included in my list because of what I said earlier. So, here comes the publishing date of the sixth installment (of a total of seven so far) that have been made, and everyone seems to enjoy and read it quite well, but there’s one particular guy who doesn’t seem to be pleased. You can read here the F.W. Murnau edition of my Masters of Horror feature, and in the comments you can read Peter asking me why I didn’t put ‘Phantom’ (1922) in the survey, to which I replied that I didn’t see it because of the reasons that I’ve already mentioned, but then I made a promise, that I haven’t been able to fulfill until this day, and here we are, reviewing ‘Phantom’ (1922) but not for a little paragraph as I said, but for a full review, as I need to say a few things about this silent movie. (more…)

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© 2013 by James Clark

 We tend to take for granted that ours is a filmic era uniquely endowed with reckless and unpredictable artists (like David Lynch, Lars von Trier, Quentin Tarantino, Nicolas Refn and the Coens (Joel and Ethan), whereas the practitioners of the past were sworn to a sort of Hippocratic Oath tracing out to cryptic but definitely solemn assurances. The grand vizier of that latter company would have to be the sainted Robert Bresson, whom you wouldn’t be surprised seeing photographed in a lab coat or cassock. But, arguably, Bresson was the consummate gamester—fanning whole eras of film experts coming to (slo-pitch) bat for making contact with piety unseen since the waning of the Roman Empire.

There is in fact a world of hidden reaches paradoxically emanating from those melancholy tales of his, a sensual firestorm locked, temporarily, behind bars. And one of the great moments, to date, of that overt bid for a kick-ass jailbreak is the first film that Joel and Ethan Coen brought forward, in 1984, namely, Blood Simple, a work it would be a huge understatement to describe as irreverent. Bristling with indiscretion, this movie is, nevertheless as subtly designed as a Swiss watch; and hence it couches its kinship with the apparently stuffy but razor-sharp elder within a narrative which includes a second, far more flashy associate, namely, that commission to deadly resolve (well known to and beloved by Bresson), the Robert Aldrich/ A.I. Bezzerides noir, Kiss Me Deadly. (more…)

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