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February 08, 2009


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Wow, that's some double feature. Turner's print of Man's Castle wasn't great, so I wish I could see this. Wrong coast, alas. Dare we hope this bodes well for a DVD release?

Ryland Walker Knight

In fucking deed. Talk about light! Talk about smears! Talk about 2-for-1!

Dave Kehr

Glenn, is this the censored reissue version or has Columbia finally found a decent print of the pre-code cut?

Ryland Walker Knight

Also, tho, it's in the 50s out there today. It'll be hard to go inside (if I do) after I leave this house.

Glenn Kenny

@Dave: Given that this version features Tracy's (or his body-double's) bare-ass dive into a representation of the East River (Borzage seems to have been quite the advocate of skinny-dipping!), and doesn't quibble about Bill knocking up Trina without benefit of clergy (they are later married by Walter Connolly's character), I would say pre-code. Although the way it cuts together, it seems there are one or two shots missing from Tracy's penthouse encounter with Glenda Farrell. So maybe it's a not-quite-complete version of the pre-code version. In any case, it's really beautiful, and that final shot really clinched, for me, its affinity with Vigo...

D Cairns

Awesome movie. If anyone has the chance to encounter it for the first time on the big screen then they're crazy not to do it, whatever the weather. And American Madness is pretty good Capra, even if you're not a fan.

John M

I saw it today and loved everything but Loretta Young's character--is this sacrilege? She seemed to have well-polished marbles in her head.

Glenn Kenny

No, it's not sacrilege; it's pertinent. The sexism inherent in the portrayal of Young's character is something, I infered, that made Vadim queasy in his process of assessing the film, and I came down on that harder than I should have in responding to his post at "The House Next Door":


(I'm now assured by Vadim that this was not in fact the case; and so I'm interested in finding out what the specific factors that contributed to his queasiness were.) But the film's sexism is not entirely intractable. Young's character assures Tracy's that she'll care for the kid with or without him, and I was inclined to believe her. Still, what you cite does represent a certain hump to get over...

John M

Ah, interesting. There was a certain anxiety about the sexism, but that wasn't really it. I guess it was the constant drumbeat of Trina's happiness-in-spite-of-it-all that was hard for me to swallow. Bill is a remarkably fleshy character, so convincing that his repression is somehow seductive, and Trina's his polar opposite, all big-eyed sunny magic. They seemed so naturally opposed in temperament that I couldn't help but find the relationship a little nauseating (queasy is a good word, because so much of the film is beguiling), and plenty schematic.

To me, the lovers in L'atalante make a good deal more sense--there's an evenness there. Both have a rough integrity.

This isn't to say that I didn't strongly like the film, but Trina's characterization kept me a little in check. I just couldn't buy her.

Ryland Walker Knight

I feel _kinda_ funny (weird) about this, but, here's a plug: My piece on this fabulous film is now available over at The Auteurs...

It was funny seeing the film a second time Sunday nite (two weeks after that first viewing), getting that never-fail reminder that films will always rearrange themselves in one's brain after a single (distant) viewing. Another element in complicating my writing on this Borzage rite away was my afternoon following that first viewing: I jumped uptown to see that Straub-Huillet and Ophuls double bill pretty much directly afterwards. That was a lot of film to process in one day......

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