Probably cheating to count this as a Lubitsch as auteur film, even if Jean-Marie Straub does. This does feel like the genesis of the Lubitsch touch, though, with a lot of the same themes and tricks that he’d later come back to. The earlier section of the film anticipates elements of Shop Around the Corner, the later pauper to prince to pauper section suggests a lot of what would later come in his Ossi Oswalda films and Chevalier musicals.
This first film seems to get a much better reception on home turf, where it’s considered at least the equal of Fury Road. But internationally, the reception is a little cooler.
I don’t want to say that there’s something only Australians understand about the film, but there’s an innate Aussie-ness to the proceedings. Whereas the latter three films could generally be set anywhere, with only the desert landscape and some cultural touchstones giving away the setting, the location of this…
It feels so harsh to speak ill of something that is so well intentioned and which will no doubt bring so much joy to people, but I found this thing to be totally mediocre.
I still haven’t read the novel, and my only prior experience of this story comes from Gillian Armstrong’s film version, which I know a lot of fans of the book (my mother included) have issues with.
I find Armstrong’s film on its own terms to be magnificent,…
Loose notes only, still coalescing my thoughts:
- Could be the worst Clint since J. Edgar, but then I haven't seen the latter since its release and feel like I'd re-evaluate it more favourably today
- My final opinion of the film rests upon how knowing Clint is with the jingoism presented. Experience suggests that of course he understands the blinkered nature of such thinking, this is the guy who made Gran Torino.
- But the evidence before our eyes…