OTTO PREMINGER, S / D

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Not just the best Mr Freeze opposite Adam West's Batman, but a long-take widescreen master of the noir, "the problem picture," the provocative censor-baiting melodrama. Subject of a just-begun NYC retro:

http://www.filmforum.org/films/preminger.html

Some primers:

http://www.panix.com/~sallitt/blog/2007/12/otto-preminger-film-forum-january-2-17.html

http://www.villagevoice.com/film/0801,pinkerton,78751,20.html

My breakdown...

Masterworks: Laura, Bonjour Tristesse

Major works: Anatomy of a Murder, Advise and Consent

Search: Where the Sidewalk Ends, Carmen Jones, The Man with the Golden Arm, Saint Joan

OK: River of No Return, Bunny Lake is Missing

Meh: Angel Face (why some think this is a nifty noir I dunno; good laffs tho)

Destroy w/ extreme prejudice: Skidoo

Unseen but intrigued: Daisy Kenyon (fixing this tonight), Margin for Error, Fallen Angel, Forever Amber, The Fan, Whirlpool, The 13th Letter, Porgy and Bess, Exodus, The Cardinal, In Harm's Way, The Human factor

Dr Morbius, Thursday, 3 January 2008 16:08 (8 years ago) Permalink

i am extremely under-premingered.

s1ocki, Thursday, 3 January 2008 16:11 (8 years ago) Permalink

Fallen Angel is great, definitely a major work.

Anatomy of a Murder is my favorite. Resaw Advise and Consent a few weeks ago: the first 90 minutes are just wonderful...then the hamhanded homo drama kicks in.

Walter Pidgeon missed his calling...he should have been a majority leader intead of actor.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Thursday, 3 January 2008 16:12 (8 years ago) Permalink

'Resaw' now.

That one guy that hit it and quit it, Thursday, 3 January 2008 16:15 (8 years ago) Permalink

ya... that a new year's resolution or something?

s1ocki, Thursday, 3 January 2008 16:16 (8 years ago) Permalink

Never seen Bonjour Tristesse...just stuck it in my Netflix queue.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Thursday, 3 January 2008 16:17 (8 years ago) Permalink

good, you won't suffer NY hipster assholes chuckling through the climax like I did at MoMA.

Dr Morbius, Thursday, 3 January 2008 16:19 (8 years ago) Permalink

The Pinkerton intro's much better than the Apatow essay.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Thursday, 3 January 2008 16:20 (8 years ago) Permalink

In Harm's Way is really good. Great cast.

C. Grisso/McCain, Thursday, 3 January 2008 18:02 (8 years ago) Permalink

I learned a new word.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Thursday, 3 January 2008 18:34 (8 years ago) Permalink

brummagem.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Thursday, 3 January 2008 19:20 (8 years ago) Permalink

I'm rather under-premingered too. Only seen Saint Joan and Bunny Lake is Missing, both of which were great. I kind of get why you might say the latter is only okay, but I recorded it by accident and got very drawn into the whole thing.

I've always been wary of watching The Man with the Golden Arm as I loved the book and don't want it spoiled, even though EVERYONE says the film is awesome, hm hm. I didn't even realise that Bonjour Tristesse had been filmed - I think that might work better as a film than the book...

emil.y, Thursday, 3 January 2008 20:14 (8 years ago) Permalink

Deborah Kerr is amazing in it, and Jean Seberg is better than she is in Saint Joan.

Olivier is very smart and funny in Bunny Lake, but I find the whole gothic bro-sis psych-horror plot a bit wheezy.

Dr Morbius, Thursday, 3 January 2008 20:23 (8 years ago) Permalink

...Golden Arm is mad overrated: less cool than you'd expect from the accurate descriptions of the Preminger style in Pinkerton's essay. Sinatra's terrific, though.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Thursday, 3 January 2008 20:29 (8 years ago) Permalink

maybe i should see advise & consent? river of no return could be interesting.

good, you won't suffer NY hipster assholes chuckling through the climax like I did at MoMA.

is MoMA noted for audience annoyance? I had to suffer thru commentary and kissyface at Fitzcarraldo.

gabbneb, Thursday, 3 January 2008 20:31 (8 years ago) Permalink

I think that might work better as a film than the book
Ha, I was just thinking the same thing, that the film is better than the book.

Man, I hope I get to see some of these.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Thursday, 3 January 2008 20:32 (8 years ago) Permalink

gabbneb, you in particular would eat up Advise & Consent.

kissyface at Fitzcarraldo.

lol - huh?

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Thursday, 3 January 2008 20:33 (8 years ago) Permalink

srsly

gabbneb, Thursday, 3 January 2008 20:34 (8 years ago) Permalink

I think what you heard was just some loose denture hydroplaning, gabbneb.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Thursday, 3 January 2008 20:36 (8 years ago) Permalink

must've been the naked injuns.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Thursday, 3 January 2008 20:37 (8 years ago) Permalink

this couple was not geriatric

gabbneb, Thursday, 3 January 2008 20:37 (8 years ago) Permalink

MoMA is better known for people clacking their dentures (haha xpost), eating plums and punching each other, but occasional the younger Film Forum Snicker Brigade wanders in.

Yes 'neb, you will be riveted by Advise & Consent (even though it's based on a novel by a conservative -- the villain is a blackmailing peacenik Commie dupe).

Dr Morbius, Thursday, 3 January 2008 20:38 (8 years ago) Permalink

this def was not the Lincoln Plaza audience

gabbneb, Thursday, 3 January 2008 20:38 (8 years ago) Permalink

Not just the best Mr Freeze opposite Adam West's Batman
If only they had gone ahead with the original plan to have Cesar Romero play Gene Tierney's Latin Lover, Laura would have had yet another Batman villian associated with it.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Friday, 4 January 2008 01:41 (8 years ago) Permalink

Or if Dame Judith Anderson had been on Batman instead of Star Trek.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Friday, 4 January 2008 01:51 (8 years ago) Permalink

Daisy Kenyon is almost worth all the recent blogger ecstasy, especially for the first 2/3; here's something on it:

http://mattzollerseitz.blogspot.com/2008/01/you-jury-joan-crawford-otto-preminger.html

Dr Morbius, Friday, 4 January 2008 20:31 (8 years ago) Permalink

Dana Andrews is a hella good actor.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Friday, 4 January 2008 20:33 (8 years ago) Permalink

He's quite the antihero in DK.

Dr Morbius, Friday, 4 January 2008 20:33 (8 years ago) Permalink

I wanna read that Geoffrey O'Brien thing about him (or is it Luc Sante)

James Redd and the Blecchs, Friday, 4 January 2008 20:49 (8 years ago) Permalink

thing? about Dana Andrews?

Dr Morbius, Friday, 4 January 2008 20:57 (8 years ago) Permalink

Yeah. It's in OK You Mugs. I think C0L!n said that was the best or only thing worth reading in there.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Friday, 4 January 2008 21:12 (8 years ago) Permalink

i've been seeing that book remaindered pretty much since it came out, and every so often i'll look in the contents to see if i recognize any of the contributors' name now. i *never ever do*. subtitling it 'writers on actors' was kind of oxymoronic.

That one guy that hit it and quit it, Saturday, 5 January 2008 14:25 (8 years ago) Permalink

Geoffrey O'Brien, Luc Sante, Manny Farber, John Updike? Never heard of 'em

James Redd and the Blecchs, Saturday, 5 January 2008 15:01 (8 years ago) Permalink

Actually I remembered that I had already read that Dana Andrews piece in Castaways On The Image Planet.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Saturday, 5 January 2008 15:01 (8 years ago) Permalink

are they rly in it? obviously farber and updike i know. heard of sante.

That one guy that hit it and quit it, Saturday, 5 January 2008 15:39 (8 years ago) Permalink

Table Of Contents
ILX favorites Frank Kogan and Greil Marcus too.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Saturday, 5 January 2008 16:08 (8 years ago) Permalink

oh klawans too huh.

That one guy that hit it and quit it, Saturday, 5 January 2008 16:12 (8 years ago) Permalink

Fun fact: Godard seeked out Jean Seberg to be in Breathless after seeing Saint Joan (I've only seen Bonjour Tristesse).

Carmen Jones, yes. Amazing it was made when it was.

I really love Bunny Lake is Missing. Although it's harder to watch after the spoilers of a first viewing.

freewheel, Saturday, 5 January 2008 16:15 (8 years ago) Permalink

Saw Bonjour Tristesse. What an odd little film. Preminger rather slyly doesn't shy away from the sexual tension between sticky-wicket Niven and Seberg. She's awkward when bantering or acting most adolescent, but she and Kerr (who's really superb and looks great in Preminger's extended great) have great chemistry.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Monday, 7 January 2008 16:41 (8 years ago) Permalink

I love the MoMA film audience. It's always like 20% Jewish 75+ psychoanalysts.

Hurting 2, Monday, 7 January 2008 16:43 (8 years ago) Permalink

has "great" gone viral in Alfred's last line?

Its oddness is inseparable from its greatness. I wonder if Eric remembers it?

Dr Morbius, Monday, 7 January 2008 16:44 (8 years ago) Permalink

Also when I see things at MoMA someone usually starts talking to me without prompt, which I like.

Hurting 2, Monday, 7 January 2008 16:45 (8 years ago) Permalink

whoops typo.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Monday, 7 January 2008 16:46 (8 years ago) Permalink

Carmen Jones, yes. Amazing it was made when it was.

Why? It's a beautiful film, but it's also a segregationist document in its own way.

Preminger was bold, but he was also careful and canny. He wouldn't have stepped over any boundaries if he thought there would be real repercussions.

I think he's one of the greatest Hollywood directors mind.

amateurist, Monday, 7 January 2008 16:47 (8 years ago) Permalink

I've got Where The Sidewalk Ends arriving tomorrow.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Monday, 7 January 2008 16:48 (8 years ago) Permalink

I wonder if Eric remembers it?
Film criticism is the art of pretend forgetfulness.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Monday, 7 January 2008 17:10 (8 years ago) Permalink

I remember the movie, just not writing about it. No way in hell am I gonna read that piece now.

Eric H., Monday, 7 January 2008 17:14 (8 years ago) Permalink

A bunch of the earliest essays I wrote for Slant's 100 are painfully earnest, I bet. The ones on trashy movies are probably a lot better.

Eric H., Monday, 7 January 2008 17:15 (8 years ago) Permalink

Resaw Advise and Consent a few weeks ago: the first 90 minutes are just wonderful...then the hamhanded homo drama kicks in.

How would you prefer Kennedy-era studio films dealt with homosexuality?

Eric H., Monday, 7 January 2008 17:15 (8 years ago) Permalink

With less handwringing and a better actor than Don Murray. I don't mind the gay bar scene.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Monday, 7 January 2008 17:17 (8 years ago) Permalink

That's definitely the feeling I take away from the film. I understand Kael's complaint ("...it's such a lurid, evil place that the director seems grotesquely straight"), but I'm more apt to put that down to a) Preminger loving controversy, and b) the simple fact that it's 1962, and what else would you expect from a big-budget Hollywood film. But it's much more complex than that--Anderson's wife apologizing for what may be (child notwithstanding) a sexless marriage, the eloquence of Anderson's letter, the seeming decency of Ray Shaff.

Found the background to Drury's conception of Anderson interesting (didn't know about any of this):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lester_C._Hunt#Son.27s_arrest_and_Hunt.27s_suicide

clemenza, Friday, 23 May 2014 23:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

That's what I mean though: even after watching it the first time ten years ago that bar did not look not lurid or evil.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 23 May 2014 23:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

The way that Harley Hudson is shut out of everything and self-deprecatingly jokes about is excellent--every VP should see the film. Anderson, at his lowest moment, telling Hudson that he may be the most underappreciated man in Washington is another nice moment.

clemenza, Friday, 23 May 2014 23:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

"about it"

clemenza, Friday, 23 May 2014 23:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

The conception of Hudson is the most dated element actually, but not to the film's detriment. It's impossible after 1980 to imagine an impotent vice president (even Quayle got invited to Cabinet meetings).

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 23 May 2014 23:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

Just watched Laura for the first time since I was a kid, I think it must have been the 2012 release cos I recall from a Bradshaw review that this cut has the original credits restored with the war bond advert "Buy Yours In This Theatre". I don't think I could express anything that hasn't already been expressed how good this movie is. I was shocked at how well preserved the source cut must be for a movie from '44. It is in more pristine condition than many 60's/70's movies I have seen recently. Tierney, Webb and Andrews are all perfect and Price's against type dim lothario is brilliant as well.

xelab, Thursday, 5 June 2014 19:59 (2 years ago) Permalink

i think that was Price's type at that point.

images of war violence and historical smoking (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 5 June 2014 20:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

Sorry, yeah it probably was. I just meant against my narrow perception of his type.

xelab, Thursday, 5 June 2014 20:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

Not seen too many of his early roles.

xelab, Thursday, 5 June 2014 20:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

watched it for the first time this week, was also startled by Price

rage against martin sheen (sic), Thursday, 5 June 2014 22:16 (2 years ago) Permalink

The way in which Preminger, the writers, and Webb depict Lydecker's sexuality is bizarre to say the least; I don't think it's supposed to make sense.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 5 June 2014 22:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

I hadn't noticed before that Laura walks back into her apartment almost exactly halfway through the running time

Brad C., Thursday, 5 June 2014 22:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

I'd avoided In Harm's Way because I've found better things to do than watch Kirk Douglas and John Wayne as Navy officers for three hours. Turns out it's a solid movie, in his second tier, with his usual long takes and cool performances. Patricia Neal sets her eyes on Wayne and doesn't quit until she beds him: his best screen partner since Angie Dickinson.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 24 August 2014 23:16 (1 year ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Whirlpool is a bananas noir followup to Laura, and in its way almost as good. Gene Tierney as an unhappy klepto married to a prosperous shrink, and Jose Ferrer is the villainous quack hypnotist who's supplied with some phenomenally acid lines by Ben Hecht.

son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 28 September 2014 04:08 (1 year ago) Permalink

I only listened to a little of Richard Schickel's disc commentary, but he called Tierney "Fox's resident somnambulist."

son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 28 September 2014 15:58 (1 year ago) Permalink

that trailer's kinda spoilerrific, sorry

son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 28 September 2014 16:03 (1 year ago) Permalink

I've almost checked Whirlpool out several times. Thanks for the push.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 28 September 2014 16:44 (1 year ago) Permalink

Gene Tierney's hair though...

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 28 September 2014 16:45 (1 year ago) Permalink

what of it? i really can't tell if women's hair is good or bad, esp retro

son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Monday, 29 September 2014 03:35 (1 year ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

I just watched Whirlpool last night (actually over the course of three nights, which I almost never do.) Found myself wishing it was a bit MORE bananas tbh, although most of the plot twists are pretty ludicrous, and Jose Ferrer is wonderfully oily in it.

Deliciously hard yet very accessible (Dan Peterson), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 18:12 (1 year ago) Permalink

heh how COULD it be nuttier? w/out being bad?

Let's hope this Laura remake never happens given, to quote Film Comment, the adapter's "feather-light touch":

http://www.avclub.com/article/james-ellroy-write-fox-2000s-remake-1944-noir-clas-208587

things lose meaning over time (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 20 November 2014 16:41 (1 year ago) Permalink

Nuttiness in plot contrivances, yeah, but Tierney is glacial and Conte is wooden, I dunno, I just found it slow (hence why three nights to finish it; I kept falling asleep.)

Deliciously hard yet very accessible (Dan Peterson), Thursday, 20 November 2014 17:39 (1 year ago) Permalink

4 months pass...

Confession: I don't quite get what's so great about Laura. At least when Clifton Webb isn't on screen.

That shit right there is precedented. (cryptosicko), Saturday, 28 March 2015 17:01 (1 year ago) Permalink

Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney's instant chemistry on first meeting. He's been hearing about Laura for days and here she is!

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 28 March 2015 17:02 (1 year ago) Permalink

I love the scene where they're drinking Shelby's cheap whiskey.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 28 March 2015 17:03 (1 year ago) Permalink

Another confession: when she first appeared in the apartment, I assumed it was a dream sequence. Maybe the way Preminger shot everything prior to her arrival was meant to throw the audience off in such a way?

That shit right there is precedented. (cryptosicko), Saturday, 28 March 2015 17:05 (1 year ago) Permalink

yep

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 28 March 2015 17:06 (1 year ago) Permalink

I didn't particularly pick up on or respond to the chemistry between Tierney and Andrews, which is probably why the middle section of the film felt so saggy to me. Awesome first 30-45 minutes, though, and it certainly picks up again when Webb re-enters the picture towards the end.

That shit right there is precedented. (cryptosicko), Saturday, 28 March 2015 17:36 (1 year ago) Permalink

I've seen it two or three times, not for a few years. I think I'm basically with you; I like it, but not nearly as much as Double Indemnity or The Big Sleep (which I mention because of historical proximity--I realize all three are very different), not to mention Advise and Consent. My mom would always name either Laura or All About Eve as her favourite movie.

clemenza, Sunday, 29 March 2015 13:30 (1 year ago) Permalink

Who's gayer -- Shelby or Walter?

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 29 March 2015 13:35 (1 year ago) Permalink

What might make the film odd viewing in 2015 is accepting Waldo and Shelby as Laura's suitors.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 29 March 2015 13:46 (1 year ago) Permalink

when men had CLASS

(yeah, vs Neil Patrick Harris in Gone Girl, gimme a break)

the increasing costive borborygmi (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 29 March 2015 13:59 (1 year ago) Permalink

what's that got to do with this thread, gramps?

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 29 March 2015 14:47 (1 year ago) Permalink

seems kinda obvious

the increasing costive borborygmi (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 29 March 2015 15:41 (1 year ago) Permalink

keyboard dipped in olive water

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 29 March 2015 17:13 (1 year ago) Permalink

Haven't you heard of science's latest triumph, the Flag Post?

Big Iron Shirt Wearer (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 29 March 2015 17:15 (1 year ago) Permalink

7 months pass...

more otto acid anecdotes:

Nick's thirteen-year-old boy, Griffin, had heard Janis Joplin was going to make an appearance at the party, so he talked Lenny into letting him go. At some point in the evening, a bald German man who seemed to be experiencing a bad acid trip latched onto the boy, asking his help getting settled somewhere. "I thought it was Colonel Klink" from the television show Hogan's Heroes, Griffin said. It was the film director, Otto Preminger.

johnny crunch, Thursday, 19 November 2015 17:44 (7 months ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Laura is wonderful

Is twin peaks an extended homage?

The difficult earlier reichs (darraghmac), Saturday, 9 January 2016 22:37 (5 months ago) Permalink

if you haven't yet, watch Where the Sidewalk Ends next dmac.

calzino, Saturday, 9 January 2016 22:44 (5 months ago) Permalink

Thanks but just launched into 1944 The Lodger. Will put on list.

The difficult earlier reichs (darraghmac), Saturday, 9 January 2016 22:49 (5 months ago) Permalink

Is twin peaks an extended homage?

among many other things, yeah

German dictators and their loving coombes (wins), Saturday, 9 January 2016 23:00 (5 months ago) Permalink

I have said this before, but Vincent Price as the dim lothario in Laura is an odd sight when you have grown up with the old creepy one.

calzino, Saturday, 9 January 2016 23:01 (5 months ago) Permalink

otm

The difficult earlier reichs (darraghmac), Saturday, 9 January 2016 23:56 (5 months ago) Permalink

Watch Daisy Kenyon.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 10 January 2016 00:43 (5 months ago) Permalink

I can't think of another movie with two homos as putative love interests.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 10 January 2016 00:44 (5 months ago) Permalink

re Laura.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 10 January 2016 00:44 (5 months ago) Permalink

Ach ye lads claim everyone

The difficult earlier reichs (darraghmac), Sunday, 10 January 2016 00:55 (5 months ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

Such Good Friends has some bright lines (written by Elaine May, mostly) that are in the later Mazursky/Woody skewering-Manhattan-neurotics mode, and Dyan Cannon has her moments, but God what a 'hip' mess.

Here's the Glenn Kenny piece at the time of the Olive DVD/BR release, if you want to see Burgess Meredith's nude bit w/out watching it:

http://somecamerunning.typepad.com/some_came_running/2011/06/preminger-and-the-new-freedoms-such-good-friends-1971.html

we can be heroes just for about 3.6 seconds (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 30 January 2016 16:58 (4 months ago) Permalink

Dave Kehr: "The expansive use of widescreen and the carefully choreographed camera movements are gone... replaced by crowded, shallow images of claustrophobic spaces. Packed with some of the most garishly tasteless 1970s décor imaginable, the film’s Park Avenue apartments start to resemble the hamster cage owned by Julie’s two quarrelsome sons. (It’s unclear whom the hamster is supposed to represent, but he remains the film’s most empathetically observed figure.)"

we can be heroes just for about 3.6 seconds (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 30 January 2016 18:32 (4 months ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

i just read the novel Laura, v much worth it. The Clifton Webb character is tall, obese and even gayer if that's possible; the Vincent Price character is just a desperate Southern 'aristocratic' horndog. Narrator changes with every "part," which i was meh about. Many nice NYC references from the early '40s that will be pleasurable for local history buffs, like Jefferson Market being a women's prison.

we can be heroes just for about 3.6 seconds (Dr Morbius), Friday, 15 April 2016 02:45 (2 months ago) Permalink


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