by Ryland Walker Knight
Wow, this is counterintuitive. But it's a treat nonetheless since the film has no Region 1 DVD. I went ahead and embedded the film here but you should definitely watch it full screen, and loud. It deserves to be seen just like its title declares (asks?) it to be. That way, the outsized colors that feed this melodrama will pack more punch and, we hope, shock you into a powerful feeling. I saw the film last summer before my Telluride trip (see the bottom and the comment thread of this post) and it kick-started a Nick Ray fascination that has only grown since (a recent example). In fact, I've had my favorite of his films, On Dangerous Ground, at home from Netflix for a little too long now. I sure would like to write something coherent about it, but that will probably have to wait since I'm on the hook for a long-form piece about James Gray for a certain publication to be named later. In any case, watch James Mason shiver and rant his way through an illness and addiction whose consequences hit home in more ways than one. New media, baby. It'll take over your life. Get it?
And, a reminder: my last Dreyer Diary shall hit The Notebook shortly, I'm told, and the link will appear in the link dump post below. While I'm here: March was rough stuff for a variety of reasons but the Dreyer films were a fine project to keep my brain active. I'm happy I met the films on the big screen (as with this Ray above, and On Dangerous Ground) since each is meant to be felt with the eyes (as a portal to the heart). For what it's worth: Ordet was/is my favorite. I'd like to write about it again, and better, some day. It has a lot to give. And, to reiterate what I tweeted @ Brian, all that nonsense comparing Silent Light to Ordet misses the fact that, plot point be damned, Reygadas' project is much more about tactility whereas Dreyer's project is about reorientation.
video unavailable; maybe again, some day, in a different form
What's really cool about On Dangerous Ground is that it's about both! I might say that those two films, along with some Hitchcock and Buñuel, are my favorites of the 1950s. I know it's a rich decade, as every one is, and that I cannot compare with some cinephiles' viewing history, but, are there any takers? Or, what's your favorite Nick Ray picture? And, for that matter, which Dreyer?
—Do we still have readers out there in the sphere? Can I provoke a response? To echo our stooly mope above: hit me.