Direkt zum Hauptbereich

The Stranger (Orson Welles, 1946)

Professor Rankin, a teacher in a small town in Connecticut marries the daughter of a Supreme Court Justice. She has no idea that the man she loves has a very sinister past.

There is something comically surreal about the whole plot. Although the film shows some signs of a typical film-noir, it is more a political satire on post-war America. Undercover war crime agents hunting Nazi sleepers is a rather blunt set-up and many of the actions in the film verge on the ridiculous.

When the 'bad guy' is finally uncovered, Welles' character goes through an inconsistent zigzag of confiding the truth to his wife, and at the same time lying to her. On the other hand he is a amateurish murderer with very weak planning ahead for such an allegedly super-smart war crime architect. His escape attempts towards are lame and stupid - packing a bag or hiding in his favorite spot in the church tower when the whole town is searching for him.

I can understand why Welles didn't like this film in particular. Nevertheless, it was a box office success at its release

One could well argue that this film is not so much about 'evil Nazis' but about the perception of their folklore in the US after the war. It seems that most of the concentration camp footage was not publicly known yet, so this was the first time the Americans got confronted with the atrocities visually - it must have had quite an effect.

There are one or two scenes that are rich in suspense and were enjoyable to watch - even if the actions therein made no sense:

- When Rankin is found by Heinike, he gets lured into the woods. While Heinike gives a long speech about finding God and redemption, Rankin decides that he will kill the man - and you can see it in his eyes.

- Rankin holds a great speech about the evil spirit of the Germans (being himself a Nazi, of course) and promoting their complete annihilation. Edward G. Robinson's dead-pan reaction to all of this made it even more hilarious than it already was.

- The finale with Rankin being killed by an angel carrying a sword was outright bizarre. In a very funny way. 

The way Welles used depth in the camera was quite interesting, too. The camera is often placed really low. Close-ups were possibly often shot giving the faces (Welles' head, mostly) a strange distortion, while a lot of stuff was happening in the background at the same time.


Kommentare

Beliebte Posts aus diesem Blog

They drive by night (Walsh, 1940) #DTC #161

Two truck-driving brothers dream of a better future and financial independence in a sea of good and bad fortune.

Although the film has all the ingredients of a film noir, like the selfish femme fatale, Bogart, and many night scenes, this is something you could consider a feel-good movie. It pretty much surprised me with its turns and twists and I also wasn't prepared in the least to see Bogart as the sidekick, instead of the lead.

In terms of interesting characters, Ida Lupino as the selfish wife that tries to seduce George Raft's Joe she is definitively at the most intense when she slowly sheds all the layers of sanity towards the end. Although her motives are a bit unclear - the amazing thing about her behavior is that she values love over money. In that perspective the movie feels like a tragedy, as (except for the loan shark) everybody has comparatively sophisticated understanding of emotion and life.

Au revoir les enfants (Louis Malle, 1987)

During second world war the monk running a boarding school for upper-class kids hides Jewish kids.

This highly personal movie is very touching and manages to avoid all the pitfalls of being overly emotional. Music and editing are very subdued and carefully used to underline situations. This makes the story ring true (which it was) and gives the viewer good time to settle into the universe that these kids live in.

There are many quite complicated scenes and I was interested in one particular: When Jean gets invited on parent's day by the mother of his new best friend into a posh restaurant. In that very restaurant there are Nazis at one side of the room and an elderly Jew sitting on the other side. The table of the family is right inbetween. Many things about France during the war are told during this scene, I'll just try and focus on camera placement.


The focus shifts twice in the scene: From the family table to the French Jew's table  (who I have been told wears the red …

Glory (1989, Edward Zwick)

A young commander in the civil war is asked to recruit and lead the first all-black Confederate battalion into the Civil War.

I am not too interested in details of the American Civil War but the film managed to stir my interest in some ways. I might want to look up the difference in treatment of the many Chinese laborers that were employed in the development of the West and what kind of legacy this particular group of people has to suffer from in contrast to the better-known fate of African-Americans.

There are some interesting scenes in the film. I decide to examine the battle scene in the beginning. It introduces Broderick's character as a naive and brave but inexperienced soldier - a great choice of casting, especially in contrast to the hardened appearance of Washington. According to imdb footage was used from re-enactment groups and intercut with the staged film.

Before the battle scene commences Broderick walks in row of soldiers and talks over the pictures of the gathering…