OTTO PREMINGER, S / D

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Just remembered my favourite film joke ever, attributed to some famous director (forget who): "I passed Otto Preminger's house the other day--or should I say, 'a house by Otto Preminger'?"

clemenza, Tuesday, 7 December 2010 00:38 (3 years ago) Permalink

Did you dig it?

Laura? Yeah! I own it -- one of my favorite films.

look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 7 December 2010 00:46 (3 years ago) Permalink

No, no, Bunny Lake is Missing

Kevin John Bozelka, Tuesday, 7 December 2010 00:52 (3 years ago) Permalink

saw Otto in the Nilsson documentary, encased in a groovy blue hippie outfit on the set of Playboy After Dark as Harry sang.

kind of shrill and very self-righteous (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 7 December 2010 07:28 (3 years ago) Permalink

6 months pass...

I just started the Hirsch biography.

Should I bother with In Harm's Way? Not too stodgy?

The Edge of Gloryhole (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 4 July 2011 21:40 (3 years ago) Permalink

I bought a remaindered copy of this a few weeks ago:

I read the Advise and Consent chapter while killing time before a movie. Based on that, I'd never make it through the whole book:

"Appropriately, the dialogue of Advise and Consent is filled with performatives. Senators say 'I move,' or 'I yield,' or 'I ask,' or 'I suggest,' or 'I release,' and their saying these things effectuates the things they say."

Making it the complete opposite of American Beauty, where Kevin Spacey says "Pass the asparagus" and everyone ignores him.

clemenza, Monday, 4 July 2011 21:54 (3 years ago) Permalink

Am reading yet another recently published bio of the guy different from the ones you guys are reading.

Safe European HOOS (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 5 July 2011 00:12 (3 years ago) Permalink

j/k. But the guy does seem to have even more biographers than Nikola Tesla.

Safe European HOOS (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 5 July 2011 00:12 (3 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

oh, In Harm's Way is a must, if only for what Kirk Douglas's character... does.

anyone rep for The Human Factor? Dave Kehr presiding over a screening in Brooklyn Monday. I remember hearing Otto being interviewed by Julian Schlossberg (onetime studio exec) on his WABC radio show "Movietalk" when OP was doing press for it.

incredibly middlebrow (Dr Morbius), Friday, 16 September 2011 19:43 (3 years ago) Permalink

ok, I guess it was WMCA or WOR (ABC was still a music station then)

incredibly middlebrow (Dr Morbius), Friday, 16 September 2011 19:47 (3 years ago) Permalink

4 months pass...

Anatomy of a Murder is so good. Jimmy Stewart's performance is the capstone of his fifties work: we see how his aw-shucks manner is an act, turned on and off for deliberate manipulative effect.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 01:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...

Criterion forthcoming btw.... supplements v intriguing:

http://www.criterion.com/films/27901-anatomy-of-a-murder

Literal Facepalms (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 20:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...

from G Kenny on above:

"Even in the wrong—-that’s right, wrong—-Academy ratio framing of this 1959 film released on DVD by Sony many years back, this picture maintained a great deal of its fluid multi-leveled visual complexity. The correct 1.85 framing and the boosted detail here (some of which, admittedly, conks out briefly for a shot or two at a time—look for decreased forehead-wrinkle levels in a shot in the first Gazzara/Stewart confab about 19 minutes in, for instance) AMPLIFY that quality, which helps in turn to reveal why it is, in fact, one of the Great Films. The shot of Stewart’s character scoping out the awards and newspaper clippings on the wall of the Thunder Bay Inn here shows Preminger as a definite info-fiend precursor to David Fincher. Haven’t explored extras but don’t need to to award this a personal:— A+ "

Literal Facepalms (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 7 March 2012 18:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

LOVE THIS MOVIE

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 7 March 2012 18:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

Seeing Laura this Sunday in its newly restored versh - can't wait.

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 7 March 2012 21:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

awesome

these pretzels are makeing me horney (Hungry4Ass), Friday, 11 May 2012 04:39 (2 years ago) Permalink

Bonjour Tristesse is on now or soon at FF, I believe

The Unbassful Serpent (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 13 May 2012 01:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

^^It's also due to be announced sometime soon on limited edition bluray from Twilight Time.

Leslie Mann: Boner Machine (C. Grisso/McCain), Sunday, 13 May 2012 06:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

6 months pass...

box o' three sleeper/dud '67-71 films:

http://www.slantmagazine.com/dvd/review/the-otto-preminger-collection/2478

saltwater incursion (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 13 November 2012 13:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

so Jackie Gleason tripping balls isn't worth a look?

the little prince of inane false binary hype (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 13 November 2012 15:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

yes

doesn't mean it isn't awful

saltwater incursion (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 13 November 2012 15:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

Need to check out some more stuff by this guy.

Anatomy of a Murder is brilliant – probably the best courtroom drama I’ve ever seen. There’s only one weak acting performance (from the main prosecuting counsel) which sticks out a bit but the rest of them are outstanding. Great score from Duke Ellington too.

Laura is super too. Beautiful theme music drifting through it.

Can't remember much about Bunny Lake is Missing a bit of an oddity as I remember...

Bonjour Tristesse was shown (restored!) at the London Film Festival this year. Didn't like it when I first saw it, find myself liking it more and more as time goes on.

Exodus lasts forever but was ok. The old story about it was that at a pre-release screening, one of the production company’s executives (a jew named Mort Sahl) stood up about 2 and a half hours into the movie and called out “Otto, Let my People Go!” (probably apocryphal)...

River of No Return was good but I’ve forgotten most of it. For years I’ve wanted to see Advise and Consent but have always missed it

Crackle Box, Tuesday, 13 November 2012 15:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

one of the production company’s executives (a jew named Mort Sahl)

uh? Sahl was one of the great innovative post-Catskills standup comics

saltwater incursion (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 13 November 2012 15:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

(still living btw)

saltwater incursion (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 13 November 2012 15:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

Ah yes, my mistake...

"When Exodus was first released, a funny story circulated concerning comedian Mort Sahl. Supposedly, he stood up in the middle of a premiere screening of the film with Preminger present and shouted, 'Otto, let my people go' in reference to the interminable length of the film. Most critics, but not audiences, tended to agree with Sahl."

Crackle Box, Tuesday, 13 November 2012 15:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

Bunny Lake will always be classic to me just because of that one turning point involving a doll

Nhex, Tuesday, 13 November 2012 15:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

Anatomy of a Murder is brilliant – probably the best courtroom drama I’ve ever seen. There’s only one weak acting performance (from the main prosecuting counsel) which sticks out a bit but the rest of them are outstanding. Great score from Duke Ellington too.

Always loved the way that the score runs through the first half of the film, which is lively and jumping as Stewart's record collection, before disappearing completely for the formal courtroom procedural in the second half, only returning in full swing once the film leaves the courtroom at the very end.

Room 227 (cryptosicko), Tuesday, 13 November 2012 16:07 (2 years ago) Permalink

6 months pass...

watched 'bunny lake' for the 1st time - solid until the reveal, then nearly unwatchable

johnny crunch, Thursday, 30 May 2013 23:34 (1 year ago) Permalink

Agreed.

A deeper shade of lol (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 31 May 2013 00:03 (1 year ago) Permalink

i don't know about "unwatchable," but the ending is definitely a letdown. before that there are passages that rival preminger's best work.

bonjour tristesse 4eva

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Friday, 31 May 2013 01:22 (1 year ago) Permalink

briefly available on DVD in spring '08, alas

A deeper shade of lol (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 31 May 2013 01:27 (1 year ago) Permalink

that chris fujiwara book mentioned above is pretty worthless IMO. just superficial "analyses" of films with very selective biographical information. and lots of errors of fact.

xpost

i sold my DVD of bonjour tristesse to ryuichi sakamoto!

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Friday, 31 May 2013 01:28 (1 year ago) Permalink

For the longest time, the Fry's by me kept a copy of BT in their "Foreign" rack.

Mr. Mojo Readin' (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 31 May 2013 02:09 (1 year ago) Permalink

that's understandable, i guess

is it just me who gets annoyed when foreign films are alphabetized by article? so "la ronde" is in the Ls (as are many if not most French films), "il grido" is in the Is, etc. i feel like video stores would be doing the world a service if they stopped this.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Friday, 31 May 2013 02:17 (1 year ago) Permalink

i will always love that ridiculous turning point/reveal in Bunny

Nhex, Friday, 31 May 2013 04:54 (1 year ago) Permalink

boy I can watch Advise and Consent at any time.

A deeper shade of lol (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 10 June 2013 23:35 (1 year ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

Just watched the BluRay of The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell, which is def not top-drawer Otto but is fascinating for its commonalities w/ Advise and Consent (politics, treason, D.C. locations), In Harm's Way (the military as a flawed and even sociopathic institution), Anatomy of a Murder (courtroom drama w/ special Method Actor prosecutor, in this case Rod Steiger). Also its current resonances with "a bad soldier" choosing country over Army -- Gary Cooper as Bradley Manning?

Miss Arlington twirls for the Coal Heavers (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 29 August 2013 13:21 (1 year ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

watched the cardinal, long but p good. feels almost gump-like where the main character gets involved w/ race relations in the us south and the rise of nazism in austria. it's also better when it's personal (his questioning his faith and relationship w/ his sister) than when global. some interesting wiki notes

The Vatican's liaison officer for the film was Joseph Ratzinger,[2]

also i thought tryon was really good - didn't know him at all, interesting life and -Thomas Tryon was born on January 14, 1926, in Hartford, Connecticut, as the son of Arthur Lane Tryon, a clothier[1][4] and owner of Stackpole, Moore & Tryon. - this clothing store still exists downtown hartford

johnny crunch, Tuesday, 26 November 2013 01:38 (11 months ago) Permalink

I love Tryon's book Harvest Home.

tokyo rosemary, Tuesday, 26 November 2013 03:57 (11 months ago) Permalink

5 months pass...

I watched Advise and Consent last night, for what must be the fifth or sixth time (within a window of less than a decade). It’s turning into one of my favorite movies ever, i.e. Top 50 or so. Don’t read this if you haven’t seen it.

Its treatment of politics and politicians is very much of a pre-Vietnam/Watergate moment, and will exasperate anyone with a less accommodating viewpoint--that, as messy as the process may be, you have (mostly) good people trying to (mostly) do the right thing. That’s not what I love about it. (Though I do find it kind of moving when Lew Ayres, seconds after being elevated to the presidency, gets down from his desk and makes his way through the senators.)

It’s the way the story is structured that draws me in and impresses me more and more each time. For the first two-thirds, it’s essentially Leffingwell vs. Cooley. And then, almost out of nowhere, and segueing with a shot that only begins to resonate the second time through--Brig Anderson pulling his car into the driveway and calmly walking towards his perfect house and perfect family--it becomes something else entirely. Alan Drury’s novel was a huge best-seller, so I imagine most people who saw the film in 1962 knew about the big plot twist already; even knowing that it’s coming now, I still find the narrative shift brilliantly rendered.

The film’s treatment of homosexuality is fascinating, spinning off in about six different directions at once. It’s gimmicky--Preminger courted controversy. It’s guilty of the most obvious clichés of its day: the closeted gay character must commit suicide, while another gay character must end up face down in the street, helpless. At the same time, though, Ray Shaff (Anderson’s inconvenient past) is not trivialized or caricatured--he follows Anderson into the street and very rationally tries to explain that he was offered a lot of money, what could he do? Larry Tucker’s character is not a caricature--loopy, yes, but thoughtful. As much as I love the parallel set up between Anderson and Leffingwell, both of them trapped by their pasts, it’s clear that Leffingwell was never actually a Communist, but I think it’s almost as clear that Anderson is gay--the way his wife talks of their marriage seems to make that clear. The other thing the film does...I want to say this carefully; I don’t want to offend anyone who’s gay (or anyone)...is that, via the gay bar, it makes homosexuality the great taboo subject it would have been in 1962, the complete opposite of what almost any kind of art sets out to do today. I can’t remember who it was, maybe Bruce LeBruce or John Waters, saying in an interview that he hated domesticated films like Philadelphia, that he wanted the illicitness of Cruising and the 1970s back. That’s Advise and Consent, at least to a degree. I don’t think it was a film that was discussed very favorably in The Celluloid Closet, but I find those few seconds inside the gay bar, the way that sequence is handled, kind of amazing. (I wonder what Sinatra thought? I would think they would have cleared the use of his song with him.)

Charles Laughton is something else. Not sure I buy the accent, but what a memorable creation. Same for George Grizzard’s Ackerman--in some ways, I find him to be the film’s most interesting character, the one that’s hardest to pin down as a “type” that can be transferred to today.

clemenza, Friday, 23 May 2014 22:52 (5 months ago) Permalink

Though I do find it kind of moving when Lew Ayres, seconds after being elevated to the presidency, gets down from his desk and makes his way through the senators.)

Excellent shot scene, with Preminger's adjudicatory camera noting the space and grandeur of the chamber and the senators' roles in it.

I mostly agree with your take about the gay bar scene. It's a gay place! The bartender, not hiding his effeminacy, encourages him to enter. In fact, the merryness of the bar complements Brigg's moroseness; it's clear Preminger thinks the closet is an awful place.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 23 May 2014 22:57 (5 months ago) Permalink

Lew Ayres was so good at these quiet sad types (in Holiday he gives one of my favorite supporting performances by anyone).

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 23 May 2014 22:58 (5 months ago) Permalink

Kael's wrong about that scene; in this case she's the one who looks like a square.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 23 May 2014 22:59 (5 months 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 (5 months 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 (5 months 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 (5 months ago) Permalink

"about it"

clemenza, Friday, 23 May 2014 23:11 (5 months 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 (5 months 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 (5 months 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 (5 months ago) Permalink


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