Monday, April 13, 2009

Healthy and Adorable

In Otto Preminger's Whirlpool, Jose Ferrer plays a man named David Korvo, and Korvo must be one of the most off-putting characters I've ever encountered in a film. When we first meet him, he's just followed Gene Tierney's Ann Sutton into a department store, escorted by the store detective who has caught her shoplifting. Korvo is a respected customer of this particular store, and also that rarest of things, a famous hypnotist. He gets Sutton out of this particular jam, promptly diagnoses her as a kleptomaniac, and wonders why her husband, noted psychiatrist William Sutton (a miscast, but still good, Richard Conte), has so far been unable to reach the same conclusion.

All of which puts Ann a little bit at Korvo's mercy, as she doesn't want her shameful act of thievery to get out to the public. When he invites her to dinner, she assumes his plan is to blackmail her, and tells him so, although she's also prepared to pay him off. He's offended -- or, rather, he acts as though he's offended -- and reveals that, in fact, all he wants is to take her on as a patient. Yeah, okay, Jose Ferrer. Like I even believe you.

As a slightly off-kilter crime film, Whirlpool is a corker. Tierney is wonderful as a damaged woman who is being used in a few different ways, possibly by more than one man, who finds herself accused of a murder that she's pretty sure she didn't commit. Although she does eventually find herself under Korvo's spell (pun!), she's no dummy, and I love the scene at the high society cocktail party she attends with Korvo, after she's convinced herself that he's no blackmailer (and, in fairness, he's not -- he's much worse). Korvo's natural sliminess and arrogance can't go unnoticed for long, and Tierney's delivery of the line "You're very smug!" is very sharp, and if Korvo was the kind of guy who ever gave a shit, he might have been wounded.

And Ferrer is simply outstanding. It's hard to tell if Korvo intended, from the beginning, to frame Ann for murder. It's clear he intends something other than what he claims, but when he starts gathering the items he'll need to put her in the hotseat, Ferrer plays it as though the ideas are just then occurring to him, and he's just going where the wind takes him. Plus, he's just so amusingly hateful on a minute-by-minute basis, in a way that makes you believe that the characters in the movie can buy into his bullshit, while still allowing the audience to comfort themselves that they wouldn't cross the street to piss on Korvo if he was on fire. If he wasn't on fire, then they'd consider it.

But this film is a bit more than the above. There is a dark sexuality to Whirlpool that, while fairly plain to see, is not actually dealt with as part of the narrative, making the whole thing all the more interesting. When Korvo initially takes Ann out for dinner, he makes a self-deprecating reference to his own less-than-pleasing physical appearance. Later, at the cocktail party, Korvo takes Ann into an empty room and hypnotizes her, with her permission. While hypnotized, Korvo is able to get Ann to perform a couple of innocuous tasks before having her take a seat, holding out his hand to her, and saying, "Take my hand, Ann." But, even hypnotized, she won't do it, and a cloud of shame and anger and disgust passes over Ferrer's face that indicates both the limits of his hypnotic abilities, and what he'd do if those abilities were stronger. An amoral man who believes himself to be ugly will do just about anything to be with a woman as beautiful as Gene Tierney.

Not only that, but there are hints that Ann's relationship with her husband is not all sweet and pure. Early in the film, William Sutton tell shis wife that he just wants her to be "healthy and adorable", and later, when Ann comes home from the cocktail party and drops right to sleep, per Korvo's hypnotic suggestion, her husband starts touching her lightly, and undressing her. Under normal circumstances, this might seem perfectly normal: a woman falls asleep fully clothes, and her husband touches her affectionately before undressing her to make her more comfortable. But coming right after Korvo's "take my hand" moment, and seeing where Preminger cuts off Conte's disrobing of his wife, it's hard not to at least wonder if he plans on benifiting from Ann's fogged out state, where Korvo failed to.

Which sort of begs the question: Why didn't Preminger cast his favorite actor, Dana Andrews, in the role of William Sutton? He would have been more believable as a psychiatrist. For all I know, he wasn't available, but it could also be that Andrews didn't really project warmth, and Conte, on occasion, did, the better to submerge, however shallowly, the possibility that William Sutton had a depraved side to his personality.

Preminger is quickly becoming one of my favorite directors. I've enjoyed a whole passel of his films over the last several months -- Where the Sidewalk Ends, Angel Face, Daisy Kenyon, Fallen Angel -- and each one (barring Daisy Kenyon, a great film, but of a different genre) has taken its place among my top crime movies of the 40s. He had a wonderfully elegant and precise way of moving his camera, and placing it in the best, and therefore only, spot imaginable. See the way the camera reveals a woman sitting on a couch at a crucial moment in Whirlpool, or how much it picks up when Dana Andrews is arguing fiercely with his wife at one point in Daisy Kenyon. He may have been a son of a bitch -- Jean Simmons certainly thinks so, and with good reason -- but he knew how to make a film.

And I'd like to briefly thank Glenn Kenny, whose love of Preminger's films, so fascinatingly expressed both on his old blog (which I won't link to, out of a sense of loyalty) and on his new one (which I will, out of that same sense), clued me in to the fact that Preminger wasn't the flat technician I'd been lead to believe he was. There was more to him than just Laura, which, as good as that film is, is starting to look, in the Preminger filmography, as something of an also-ran.

32 comments:

Ed Howard said...

Preminger is one of my favorites, but even I couldn't get behind this one as fully as you do. Ferrer and Tierney are great, and the perverse sexuality of the story is queasily fascinating. Tierney plays her character like a zombie, like a woman desperately trying to maintain the illusion that she embodies 50s ideals about the docile, happy housewife. The truth beneath her placid surface is of course much darker. But, man, the plot is an utter mess and the escalating series of ludicrous ideas leading up to the ending is a bit hard to take. As great a villain as Ferrer is, I can't help laughing at the revelation that he hypnotizes himself in order to be able to walk around commiting evil deeds after a gall bladder surgery. Um, yeah, OK Jose.

Of Preminger's early noirs, I think Fallen Angel and Where the Sidewalk Ends are the best, but for my money things really start to get interesting in his later work: Bonjour Tristesse (one of the greatest Hollywood films), Anatomy of a Murder, Advise & Consent, The Cardinal, the underrated and virtually forgotten Saint Joan. I love the mechanical precision of his filmmaking, the way he methodically examines whatever people and incidents are under his lens, subjecting them to an intense scrutiny, turning them over and over as if attempting to figure out what makes them tick. He's way too often dismissed as either an "issue" director or a technician -- and both descriptions are part of his talent -- but you hear much less about his feel for the emotional and psychological underpinnings of his narratives, or the subtlety of his characterizations, or the ways in which his justly acclaimed skill with the camera goes beyond mere technical virtuosity to reinforce the relationships between people in his frames.

bill r. said...

I can't help laughing at the revelation that he hypnotizes himself in order to be able to walk around commiting evil deeds after a gall bladder surgery

What can I say? It didn't bother me. It's wonky, sure, but any story based around crimes being committed under hypnosis (or not, as the case may be) is going to be at least a little wonky. So you have to decide if the filmmakers and actors sell it well. And I was sold. Enough, anyway. In any case, it's worth it for Ferrer's last line.

Fallen Angel is really great, as is Angel Face. I love Jean Simmons's face in the last shot of the latter. Just perfect. I saw Anatomy of a Murder ages ago, and remember very little, but I recently bought a copy, and will be watching it again soon.

Where did the "only a technician" label for Preminger come from, anyway? He's a technician in the same way that, say, the Coens are, or, for that matter, Jean-Pierre Melville. Each of those filmmakers uses their technical mastery to achieve their artistic ends. It's the same as writers who are also grammarians. I would HOPE they would be, and now let's see what you can do with it. Preminger does a LOT with it. And you're right, Preminger is as interested in the psychology of his characters as Hitchcock ever was. I don't know where Preminger's reputation stands at the moment, but I feel it's not as great as it should be, and he's due for a massive reevalutation.

Ed Howard said...

Yeah, this is one where you either go with the plot or you don't. I didn't: I loved a lot of the pieces, both for Preminger's direction and the acting, but the whole didn't really hang together for me.

I think you're right that Preminger is currently undervalued. Part of this stems from the impression that he was most important as a historical figure in terms of the treatment of sex and taboo subjects, someone who stretched boundaries of what was acceptable in a Hollywood film. Since he's remembered as the guy who broke the Production Code and broached the subjects of race, drug abuse and sex at a time when these things were very much off the radar, there's a tendency to look at his films for their social significance rather than their aesthetic value. But to reduce a complex, multi-layered masterpiece like Anatomy of a Murder to being the first Hollywood movie where someone says "panties" is to badly miss the point.

I've browsed through the Foster Hirsch biography about Preminger, and it seems to propagate a lot of the usual cliches about him: the tyrant on the set, the hype-obsessed producer, the master technician. When even a major critical book toes this line -- and takes a dismissive attitude towards his work, as populist entertainment rather than personal art -- it's not hard to see why these stereotypes have persisted. I recently bought the Chris Fujiwara biography of Preminger, though, which is supposedly much better. I'm looking forward to delving into it.

bill r. said...

But to reduce a complex, multi-layered masterpiece like Anatomy of a Murder to being the first Hollywood movie where someone says "panties" is to badly miss the point.

I love that movie that first showed a toilet flushing on-screen. What was it called again? Psychopath?

But that's an excellent point, and now I'm all fired up to rewatch Anatomy.... Glenn Kenny brought up both those Preminger biographies recently, and my memory informs me that he preferred the Fujiwara, but I wouldn't trust me if I were you.

The dismissal you describe in the Hirsch book reminds me of Roger Lewis's biography of Anthony Burgess, in which he makes it perfectly clear that he detests Burgess the man, and is not all that crazy about Burgess the writer, either. I find such biographies extremely hard to credit (and most people don't give any credit to Lewis for the book), because they reek of agenda. Lewis, at least, comes off as a guy who wanted to smear Burgess as thoroughly as a could. And he did.

Marilyn said...

As a whole, this creative team would not encourage me to watch this film, particularly because of my lack of regard for the Preminger Abomination. Yet, Bunny Lake Is Missing is one of my favorite films (also kind of a crazy deux ex machina). He was a Teutonic Hitchcock.

bill r. said...

As a whole, this creative team would not encourage me to watch this film...You don't like Tierney or Ferrer?

I agree, the parrellels between Preminger and Hitchcock are striking. Hitchcock has a leg up due to his innovation, but otherwise they had a lot in common.

I'd forgotten about Bunny Lake is Missing! I haven't seen it because I want to read the book first, which, due to your inadvertant reminder, I'm going to do shortly.

Greg said...

I haven't seen this film yet so I can't get involved in the great Ed/Bill debate about the film in particular but can about Preminger in general.

I do know Marilyn hates The Man with the Golden Arm and for good reason and others find Premminger lacking in style, which is to say from Laura to Advise and Consent there is the same flat look, static shots, etc.

Ed said, but you hear much less about his feel for the emotional and psychological underpinnings of his narratives, or the subtlety of his characterizations and I have to say that I don't agree that Preminger has ever had a feel for "emotional and psychological underpinnings" or was possessed of even subtlety. I find him visually flat and his stories filled with characters who are surface layered and astonishingly unsubtle.

And yet, I do like several of his films. This may sound strange, but I'm not saying Preminger is bad, just that he is not visually inventive or very good with characters. In other words, that flatness and obviousness are strengths for him, in the same way that Charlton Heston can consistently entertain me in movies by not being Montgomery Clift.

Make any sense? I do like Preminger, but the stuff of his I like, I like precisely because it is so roughshod. There's always a feeling that taken just a little further, with lesser actors, you'd be fully immersed in camp.

Ed Howard said...

Bunny Lake is pretty interesting, though I'm really not too sure what to think of the ending.

I think Preminger and Hitchcock were primarily similar -- beyond their shared status as prominent producer/directors and two of the few directors to be box office draws at the time -- in their treatment of actors, a rough, demanding way of shaping performances and getting what they want. Their visual aesthetics and thematic interests are quite distinct, though.

Ed Howard said...

Greg said: "I have to say that I don't agree that Preminger has ever had a feel for "emotional and psychological underpinnings" or was possessed of even subtlety. I find him visually flat and his stories filled with characters who are surface layered and astonishingly unsubtle."

Really? When I think of Preminger, I think of the incredibly nuanced emotions and relationships on display in something like Bonjour Tristesse (the complex triangle between Jean Seberg, Deborah Kerr and David Niven) or the characterization of James Stewart's washed-up lawyer in Anatomy of a Murder. His stories were often unsubtle -- especially something like The Cardinal with its checklist of social issues -- but his characters were usually complex and well-drawn.

And "visually flat" is just plain baffling. Nobody moved the camera as fluidly or as purposefully as Preminger, whose roving, inquisitive camera is one of his trademarks. To me, his style gives the impression of an investigation, the camera probing over the details of a given scene in order to explore its meanings and emotional texture. He's as far from "flat" or "static" (!!!) as it's possible to be.

Marilyn said...

Tierney is beautiful, but she's a fairly mediocre actress. Jose Ferrer really is not one of my favorites. Cyrano and Moulin Rouge are two examples of his rather hysterical style that I find grating.

Greg said...

Really? When I think of Preminger, I think of the incredibly nuanced emotions and relationships...
You're thinking of another director then. I'm thinking of Otto Preminger, the guy with the sledgehammer.

And "visually flat" is just plain baffling. Nobody moved the camera as fluidly or as purposefully as Preminger, whose roving, inquisitive camera is one of his trademarks. ...
And now if I may bitch for a second. I tire (not of you Ed, I'm speaking generally) of people forgetting about lighting. The camera may mofe but if the lighting is flat (see Anatomy of a Murder) it's visually uninteresting. Also, a camera can move all over the place without purpose. Just because someone moves the camera doesn't mean it's interesting.

He's as far from "flat" or "static" (!!!) as it's possible to be....
Not to me but clearly we disagree. I think elevating Preminger is a bet that's going to ultimately lose. It's not like the guys films were lost for decades and are now being rediscovered. His films have been readily available for years. His work has been pretty thoroughly assessed and come up short. He's entertaining and I like several of his films as I stated in my previous comment. But elevating him beyond the level of "decent to good" filmmaker is just a dead end as far as I'm concerned.

bill r. said...

Greg, I'm as baffled as Ed. Have you checked out any of the particular movies I've mentioned recently? You're hammering on Anatomy of a Murder, which I haven't seen in years so I can't defend it, but his crime films with Dana Andrews, as well as Whirlpool and the non-genre Daisy Kenyon are really beautifully made. The lighting is good in all of them, I promise.

If the majority of the critical establishment has decided there's not much to him, then honestly that's their problem.

bill r. said...

Marilyn, I have no doubt that you've seen more Ferrer films than I have, but, for me, I think he's superb in at least Whirlpool and The Caine Mutiny.

Greg said...

Well, I'm thinking of Advise and Consent too. I think his earlier works were much better than his later works.

Anyway, I apologize for baffling you and Ed. I don't think it "their problem" for deciding there is not much too him, I think that there is in fact, not much to him. I am in agreement with the critical consensus here and have seen all too often, a decent or good or mediocre filmmaker elevated to the level of greatness by the blogs that was undeserving. I feel that is what is happening with Preminger as well.

Ed Howard said...

Not to keep flogging my favorite Bonjour Tristesse too hard, but the camera indubitably moves through that film with purpose, weaving power relationships between the characters. And I'd challenge anyone to find a more nuanced and emotionally complex set of characters in Hollywood film. Preminger also makes very interesting use of the contrast between the sunny, lurid Technicolor of the scenes set in the past, against the noirish, moodily lit black and white of the present (the reverse of the usual tropes about memory and nostalgia, where the past appears in b&w - Godard picks up on Preminger's trick for In Praise of Love). This is the film I'd hold up as the prime example of Preminger's visual genius.

I do see what you mean about the flat lighting of some of Preminger's later films, like Anatomy or Advise & Consent (his noirs tend to have typical noir lighting schemes, as does the melodramatic Daisy Kenyon, and the photography on Bunny Lake is sumptuous). Given the variety of Preminger's visual approaches, it seems obvious to me that when he opts for "flat" lighting, it's probably a conscious stylistic choice. I think it works to promote the leveling of different perspectives that Preminger is aiming for in these films, which are both essentially filmed arguments. The fluidity of Preminger's camera and the unobtrusive lighting schemes work together to create an atmosphere in which ideas can compete on even ground.

If elevating Preminger is a lost cause, so be it, but I don't buy the argument that just because his films are readily available that he's achieved his "proper" reputation. Critical reputation is formed on the basis of a complicated set of factors, availability of films being only one of them.

Ed Howard said...

And Marilyn, I think you're right about Tierney. What I like about her in Whirlpool is precisely the blankness she emanates, like a porcelain doll. It comes across in the film like a satire of the "model wife," so Tierney is perfect for this film, but maybe not so much for roles that might require more nuance.

bill r. said...

I don't think it "their problem" for deciding there is not much too himOf course it's "their" problem, if I don't agree with them, which I don't. Your argument implies that the reputation of every artist is currently as it should be, providing we have access to their work, and no reevaluation is necessary, but I don't buy that at all. Vladimir Nabokov has the reputation he has today -- the one he deserves -- because of reevaluation. Same with Budd Boetticher, same with Val Lewton, and on and on. Some of Boetticher and Lewton's work was hard to come by, but the major critics certainly had access to it in prints and screenings, and those guys have been raised up to their appropriate place over time. I believe the same will happen to Preminger.

Greg said...

it seems obvious to me that when he opts for "flat" lighting, it's probably a conscious stylistic choice. ...
Ed, I completely agree with that and fully admit I'm concentrating on his later efforts. And I think he opted for that style of lighting to achieve a more "realistic" look. I put that in scarequotes because I think you can have gorgeous shadows and still be realistic.

But you're right about it being a purposeful choice.

Over time I'm sure I will see many of his films again and think about this conversation. But I really don't think there is much to Preminger. I'm sorry, but I don't.

And this: And I'd challenge anyone to find a more nuanced and emotionally complex set of characters in Hollywood film....
Does that mean "American" or by Hollywood do you mean studio produced? Either way, I assume you're being rhetorical right?

Ryan Kelly said...

Haven't seen the film in question, so can't comment too much at length, but I'll certainly concur that Preminger was more than just a technician. Every cut, every piece of staging, the lighting...everything in his films is a flawless merging of style and substance, his visuals move the plot along economically as well as establishing character psychology and motivation. Great appreciation of the movie.

Greg said...

Your argument implies that the reputation of every artist is currently as it should be, providing we have access to their work, and no reevaluation is necessary, ...
First, I really should have emphasized in BIG BOLD LETTERS that I liked many of his films because that has either been forgotten or conveniently ignored. I will not make that mistake again.

Second, do you really, honestly believe I was making that argument? Seriously? You know what I was saying. I was saying that there has been no shortage of evaluation of his work. With Budd Boetticher and Val Lewton there was a shortage. I've been reading film books since I was six or seven and I can tell you (and I still have the old film books to prove it) that Boetticher and Lewton were barely if ever mentioned. Not so with Preminger. He has had ample evaluation and so I'm just saying I don't buy into an argument that paints him as a forgotten figure whose time has come to be rediscovered.

Ed Howard said...

Greg: "Does that mean "American" or by Hollywood do you mean studio produced? Either way, I assume you're being rhetorical right?"

Just a bit of rhetorical exaggeration on my part. I love that film and think the treatment of the three main characters is exhibit A in the argument against Preminger being "unsubtle" or not good at dealing with complex characters. There are so many psychological and emotional layers to all three -- including the character who is at first treated as the "villain" of the piece and soon comes to be viewed in a much different light -- that I find it hard to countenance the idea of Preminger's characters being superficial. I don't know if you've seen Bonjour Tristesse or not, but I think it's a masterpiece.

Greg said...

Ed, I haven't seen it but it is now, along with Whirlpool, at the top of my queue. I look forward to watching them both. I'll let you and Bill know if I have a major urge to re-evaluate Preminger afterwards. I'm sure I'll enjoy them though regardless.

bill r. said...

Greg, you didn't say it, but it's implied by what you did say. If an artist's work has been available and assessed and come up short, there's no need to reevaluate it. That's clearly implied by what you said.

And I know you like some of his movies, which is irrelevant to our discussion.

Greg said...

Okie dokie.

bill r. said...

I'm glad you've come around.

Campaspe said...

At the risk of provoking not only my host's displeasure, but Ed's and the not-inconsiderable wrath of Glenn Kenny, I confess to being more in the Greg (and James Wolcott/Pauline Kael) camp on Preminger. I am not really part of the wave of yes, re-evaluation there has been lately. I personally trace the Preminger revival to the resurfacing of Daisy Kenyon. Zach Campbell, for one, wrote a wonderful piece about at his blog after seeing a screening in his home town. Anyway, since then it's been fascinating to see so many critics take up the topic of Preminger. I may not be a fan myself but shaking up the conversation is a good thing. Preminger made a couple of reputedly dreadful movies in the 60s--I say reputedly because I haven't seen Skidoo or Hurry Sundown, maybe they're really swell, although Exodus was ghastly. Anyway, Otto fell out of the conversation for a long while. I see the point about Lewton and Boetticher, although they both got attention from David Thomson, for one. But even the big-name guys go through periods of being less fashionable. I can recall in the 1980s when Billy Wilder was routinely dismissed as lightweight and cynical. And Richard Schickel has been on an anti-Ford tear for yonks.

Where was I? Oh yes, Whirlpool. Bored me, frankly. I found my mind wandering to questions about why Gene Tierney isn't better remembered (although this wasn't her best performance, I think we all agree), why her hairstyle was so frumpy and why Richard Conte was so stone-faced even when told his wife killed someone because she was cheating on him. The direction kept emphasizing the obvious. Look at how Ferrer is hanging over Tierney like a vulture! see the camera come in tight on them because she's trapped by him, get it? Now let's have the camera track her in a robotic fashion as she walks around a room, hypnotized ... Wolcott cites this as one of the few Premingers he likes, and I don't know what he sees that I don't. Other than Gene Tierney.

I still say Laura is Preminger's best, with Angel Face a close second and Anatomy of a Murder and Advise & Consent excellent codas. (Must re-watch Bonjour Tristesse, liked it but saw it so young I remember little.) As Greg says, sometimes conventional wisdom is correct--but I am still enjoying the new writing on Preminger, including this post.

bill r. said...

The direction kept emphasizing the obvious. Look at how Ferrer is hanging over Tierney like a vulture! see the camera come in tight on them because she's trapped by him, get it? Now let's have the camera track her in a robotic fashion as she walks around a room, hypnotized...I don't know, Campaspe...what you call "obvious" I see as "appropriate". I'm also not seeing what is so robotic about the tracking shot. What could be done to make it less so?

It's starting to become clear that I'm coming to Preminger from the best possible angle. That doesn't mean that when I get around to his later films that I might not like those more than most people, but everyone seems to be in agreement that this first clutch of films from Preminger is the best of him. So okay, if that's true, shouldn't that still be enough to bump the guys credibility up a couple of notches? I think so. At the very least, he had about ten years of stellar work. About the same as F. Scott Fitzgerald. I know, bad comparison. Maybe.

an anti-Ford tearI didn't know there was such a thing.

Ed Howard said...

Bill said: "but everyone seems to be in agreement that this first clutch of films from Preminger is the best of him."

Just to be contrarian, I don't actually agree with that. I love the early noirs but for me the mid-50s through mid-60s period (roughly, Saint Joan through In Harm's Way) is where Preminger's absolute best films mostly lie. That may be a true minority opinion, though.

Campaspe said...

Bill, part of it may be that Tierney's playing of a hypnotized woman is just a few steps removed from the arms-in-front sleepwalking of a cartoon character. The scene where she is breaking and entering is her worst. The shot I'm thinking of was elegant and clinical, but not especially revealing in terms of theme or character. I'd compare it to something like Ophuls swirling around Madame de... on the dance floor, with the camera managing to become her very giddiness at being in love, a common enough trope--but somehow the swoop of the shot also signals her recklessness.

I did like Barbara O'Neil in Whirlpool, I should add that. And Ferrer was most enjoyable. That voice of his was so beautiful that you could understand his hold on women and believe that he could make a specialty of hypnosis. I liked your point about the importance of Korvo's physical ugliness. Overall, though, for me Whirlpool is too plodding to be an involving melodrama, and too on-the-nose to be taken as anything more subtle.

bill r. said...

Bill, part of it may be that Tierney's playing of a hypnotized woman is just a few steps removed from the arms-in-front sleepwalking of a cartoon character.That would have been awesome.

The shot I'm thinking of was elegant and clinical, but not especially revealing in terms of theme or character.But it doesn't have to be to be good, does it? And is it the same shot that reveals O'Neil on the couch? Because that's a wonderful shot! Really elegant, and it pays off the suspense beautifully.

Overall, though, for me Whirlpool is too plodding to be an involving melodrama, and too on-the-nose to be taken as anything more subtle.Well, in the case of this particular film, I'm not claiming subtlety, although I think certain aspects of Conte's character are handled pretty quietly (and I must be in the minority in thinking he's really not all that bad in this). "Plodding" I do take great exception to, however, and I will probably challenge you to a duel at some point, when I can get around to it. I thought this movie whisked along, and was, for me, both gripping and unusual.

bill r. said...

Goddamn blogger and their weird spacing issues! What's going on here?

Fox said...

Goddamn blogger and their weird spacing issues! What's going on here?---

Hit "RETURN", then "---" then RETURN twice. It's a temporary solution to whatever is going on with Blogger right now. It's annoyin' ain't it???

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