Spike Jonze and John Malkovich on-set of Being John Malkovich (1999)
The Five Obstructions. 2003.
I once asked Akira Kurosawa why he had chosen to frame a shot in Ran in a particular way. His answer was that if he’d panned the camera one inch to the left, the Sony factory would be sitting there exposed, and if he’d panned an inch to the right, we would see the airport-neither of which belonged in a period movie. Only the person who’s made the movie knows what goes into the decisions that result in any piece of work. They can be anything from budget requirements to divine inspiration.
Fake criterion for A Face In The Crowd, directed by Elia Kazan. 1957.
When he passed away, my Twitter feed exploded with recommendations for this film. They were all absolutely right. I saw it over the weekend & tweeted that it would make a hell of an American Cynicism double feature with Ace in the Hole.
Oh my. Loophole (Harold D. Schuster, 1954). The underrated, versatile Barry Sullivan plays a nice bank clerk who is blamed for a theft, straight from his bank drawer, that he didn’t commit. Watching Sullivan anxiously figure out his losses at the end of the workday and wondering just what the hell he’s going to do about it is almost unbearably painful. He waits through the weekend and then reports the situation on Monday — which then makes him a prime suspect in the robbery.Enter the unstoppable terminator of second chances — a police and bank insurance bond investigator played by the great Charles McGraw and Sullivan’s life becomes a never-ending nightmare where, even after he’s fired from his job, and the police lose interest in the case, McGraw makes it a mission to destroy any chance for this guy to keep any kind of employment. Sullivan and his wife (played by Dorothy Malone) just get poorer and poorer as he can’t keep any damn job thanks to this psycho force of crooked bureaucratic hell. I don’t know if I’ve ever hated McGraw in a movie, but I hated him (as we are supposed to hate him) in this one. Kafka would have loved this movie.
This was in Noir City in 2011. I remember viewers being frustrated by the bad decisions Sullivan’s character kept making, but it rang true to me. He wasn’t a devious mind, didn’t know he was living in a movie, and couldn’t anticipate the plans of crooks.
Eddie Albert rides a bike. To work. With shirt in basket.
Snipe: “Eddie Albert pauses to catch his breath on Cahuenga Pass, between Hollywood and Universal City, on his way to work at Universal-International studio in “Smash-Up -The Story of a Woman.” Back at the Hollywood grind after wartime service as a naval officer, Eddie couldn’t get a new car, so his wife bought him a bicycle and told him the exercise was good for him.”