“When Fortuna spins you downward, go out to a movie and get more out of life.”
-- John Kennedy Toole, from A Confederacy of Dunces
“Ain’t it funny. Two men is friends, then a girl comes along, and then pretty soon they ain’t friends no more. And now with one of ‘em walking out on what the other one woulda give his right arm for, I kept wonderin’ what they’d do to settle it.” — Arthur Hunnicutt (Uncle Zeb) summarizing Big Sky (and a lot of other Hawks films.).
Hawks & Co. try a bit to hard to repeat earlier success (“Hey, what if we remake…
Locked-in movie during the corona lockdown. The forlorn trumpet leitmotif both harkens back to the Alamo siege and foretells Moriconne's scores for Leone. The film opens like a silent movie and even adapts the spittoon scene from Von Sternberg’s silent Underworld (which Hawks worked on). This seems like Hawks’ response to High Noon. Instead of Gary Cooper running around asking the townspeople for help, John Wayne is telling the amateurs to stay away and leave it to the pros.
About 40 minutes into Psycho, Norman removes a print hanging on his wall of “Susannah and the Elders,” a story from the Book of Daniel of two men spying on a naked bathing woman. Norman then spies through a peephole at Marion undressing to bathe. There’s an extreme close-up of his eye in the darkness lit by a beam of light from the peephole. Here we have the ultimate metaphor for moviegoing, the audience-as-voyeur, sitting in the dark spying on…
“When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs you do, you can relax and use more normal means of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock -- to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures.”
― Flannery O'Connor
Spike Lee’s fine genre pictures (25th Hour, Inside Man) are masterclasses in finesse and unsurpassed…