Sunday, August 09, 2009

Viewing Log #6: After midnight, searching [8/3/09 - 8/9/09]

by Ryland Walker Knight

for me
for you
—Whatever this world can give to me

  • Notorious [Alfred Hitchcock, 1946] # Yearning to hear those words, to find a way back from poison, how to restore faith. He says it early: Actions speak louder.
  • The Leopard Man [Jacques Tourneur, 1943] Fine vignettes of terror to instigate a lot of early "gaze" theory, but it doesn't hang together all that well. Still, each "hunt" is gripping and frightful.
  • Who Killed Who? [Tex Avery, 1943] Sunday morning cartoons discovered on youtube after reading a Rosenbaum entry way too early. I made note of these over on the tumblr microsite. Watching these in kind of rapid succession kind of gave me a headache but I was laughing a lot, too.
  • The Shooting of Dan McGoo [Tex Avery, 1945] click
  • Red Hot Riding Hood [Tex Avery, 1943] click
  • Little Rural Red Riding Hood [Tex Avery, 1949] click

  • Duplicity [Tony Gilroy, 2009] Not as knotty as some would have you believe, but easily sexy and fun and a little smart and, most surprising, none of it's done with condescension. Gilroy's not hiding any so-called "twist," either, with that credit sequence finger pointing or the emerging ("fractal") structure.

  • I Love You Man [John Hamburg, 2009] About as apt a double bill as can be imagined. This movie makes me feel good and I'm not ashamed one iota. I don't care if it's a simple thing; it works. Maybe more words will come of this.
  • Shaun of the Dead [Edgar Wright, 2004] # "Alright, gay..." There's a real picture of friendship couched inside this zom-rom-com, which makes it easy for me to get nostalgic for a few worlds I've lived in (not just the most recently departed). But, beyond that, it was nice to see again how smart the movie really is at all events. —So many long takes!

  • The Body Snatcher [Robert Wise, 1944] Just the beginning bit. Karloff is great, but I was tired and the Tourneur is real hard to follow. (In fact, I looked back at the zombies instead.)
  • I Walked with a Zombie [Jacques Tourneur, 1943] # Hadn't seen since seeing those Costa pictures. What a tight, humble movie. What night, what walking, what tall grass and what big eyes. In what darkness do we see?

  • A Man Escaped [Robert Bresson, 1956] # As hopeful as anything. Like comfort food, only healthier.

  • The Curse of the Cat People [Gunther von Fritsch and Robert Wise, 1944] Kind of silly, though occasionally pretty. No real consequences here.
  • Cat People [Jacques Tourneur, 1942] # A standby for all time. The dimensions of desire are deep and wide and violent. More said with pictures.



  1. wait, duplicity is worth watching? i love it when movies fly over my radar.

  2. Curse of the Cat People is silly? Wow, I love that film. The plot might be goofy, but as an examination of childhood fantasy and confusion with adult things, it's moving and haunting in totally unexpected ways. There are few films about childhood that so completely capture the communication gap between parents and their children, and the private world that children have, disconnected from adult reality. It's a horror film in which the threat arises not from the ghost who maybe haunts this family, but from all-too-human problems and bitter emotions.

  3. Anonymous, _Duplicity_ is a good breeze if you've got the time and the inclination. By no means is it essential, but it's one of the better Ho'wood products (it is only ever a product) to come out recently. In fact, it's best seen as another of the cinema tourism trend that's dominated glossy movies in the past few years. The most complicated (and maybe the dumbest, tho fascinating) version of this trend that I've seen is the last Bond movie, which literally was postcards from globetrotting.

    Ed, I realize my note is glib, but, yes, I think it's silly. That said, it's quite clear that it's about those fantasies of childhood, and everything you say is true, I suppose, and maybe its childishness is what I'm calling silly. Clearly, I was not moved by it as were you (and I'm sure others), but I did dig all the ghost stuff: how we make worlds of images at any age. "Communication" is such a tricky word...