Watched a few movies recently that were recommended by Wellesnet members, so I thought I’d give my comments about them. (Haven’t seen the latest installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, so I can’t comment on that.)
MY DARLING CLEMENTINE. Saw the release version which I picked up at a local Hollywood Video store. I thought it was a decent movie – a very good movie in fact. Of the three Ford movies I’ve seen (the other two being STAGECOACH and SEARCHERS), I liked this the best. He knew how to make a good movie, that’s for sure, but I have this thing with westerns. For me, watching a western is like listening to country music. It ain’t easy. I guess I don’t share that hokey romantic view of the American west. But it’s probably just a personal thing with me, as every now and then I’ll watch, and fall in love with, some classic Japanese flick (most recently SANSHO THE BAILIFF) then later think to myself that it could have been done as a western. SANSHO blew me away, but if instead of slave traders it had been a band of American Indians breaking up a family unit, with John Wayne or Henry Fonda struggling to reunite the family, it wouldn’t have worked for me.
PEEPING TOM. From reading the comments here about this film, I eagerly looked for it at area video stores, and finally found it. I liked the movie, and found it quite interesting, but apparently not as much as other people on this board. I certainly wouldn’t put it on the level with PSYCHO or M, which are two of my favorite movies, but in a way I was somewhat relieved that PEEPING TOM didn’t have the same positive effect on me. I wouldn’t want to think that I’m predisposed to loving movies about psycho killers.
T-MEN. I just had to see if the movie was as “Wellesian” as Jaime claimed. And as far as that claim is concerned, I would say this: you probably won’t find another movie that shows more strongly the influence of Welles on another movie director. T-MEN really is a textbook example of how Welles influenced movie making: the use of shadows, odd camera angles, long takes without reverse shots, subjects in the foreground with activity going on in the background, etc. The entire movie doesn’t show the “Wellesian” style, and most of it is shot in a conventional manner, but there are plenty of “Wellesian” shots that make it interesting to watch. But the “Wellesian” style is strictly limited to the cinematography. As far as the story goes, and how the whole thing is put together, lets just say – it ain’t Welles.