Set in Vienna, 1900, same as La Ronde. My third Ophuls movie, and the third with horse-drawn carriages.

Seems a straightforward old-hollywood love story at first, then seems a lot more grown-up and complex than its contemporaries after it’s over (and especially after checking out the DVD extras which conveniently explain everything so I don’t have to put in much thought myself).

Joan Fontaine lives in the same building as a famous concert pianist and falls madly in love with him. She lives her whole life thinking of him, but only meets him twice… once for a dream date at the end of which she gets pregnant, and again years later in a sad imitation of that date, where she desperately hopes he’ll recognize her, but he just recycles the same lines he used years earlier. She flees again, and as she and their son are dying of cholera, she writes him a letter telling her life story. He stays up all night reading it, forgetting to flee the duel he’d agreed to the night before with her husband. Nice.

Lots of graceful camera movements, one sick super excellent part I didn’t notice until watching the documentary (bottom screenshot) where she stands atop a staircase and watches him enter his apartment with a girl, repeated again later in the movie with the same camera position but with her as the girl. The kind of movie I like somewhat while watching, and like a lot more when it’s over… worth seeing again.

The novel by Stefan Zweig was filmed at least four other times. Ophuls made this between The Exile and Caught during his Hollywood period. The same year Welles made Macbeth, Hawks made Red River, Hitchcock made Rope, and the Italian Neorealist movement was taking off.

Joan Fontaine, star of Rebecca, Suspicion and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt:

Candy apple scene:

Louis Jordan, also of The Paradine Case, The VIPs, Octopussy and Swamp Thing:


Fireworks (1947) – the one where young Ken daydreams that he is beaten by sailors and a roman candle is set off in his pants.

Didn’t blow me away as much this time, but maybe I’ve seen it too many times. Would still recommend to everyone as the definitive statement on being gay & 17, the United States Navy, American Christmas, and the Fourth of July. Just unbelievable that this was made in 1947, with practically no precedent… before even Stan Brakhage had picked up a camera. I guess Anger wasn’t old enough to know that this kind of thing was not done.

Fireworks sailors:

Puce Moment (1949) – the one where a glamourous actress lives in her glamorous house, and a bunch of classic hollywood dresses are paraded in front of the camera.

Guess I didn’t see the point because I don’t care about dresses and glamour. Commentary was the best part. Anger’s mom or aunt or someone was a costume designer for the silent films, so he’s filming these dresses in vivid color which have only been seen on screen before in black and white. Part of a longer movie that got scrapped.

Puce woman:

Rabbit’s Moon (1950) – the one where mimes do a dance in a forest, and one tries to reach the moon to impress a girl and I’m pretty sure he dies in the end, oh and there’s pop music playing.

Really neat, wasn’t expecting to find a mime movie on here. Anger says the film was commissioned and the actors were hired from the Marcel Marceau school. He talked about the storyline too, but I can’t remember much of that. Cool little movie – the one from this disc that I’d show off to people in my never-gonna-happen short-films fest.

Rabbit mime:

Eaux d’artifice (1953) – the blue-tinged one where Ken just photographs water in some garden fountains and sometimes a woman (actually a very small woman) runs by in a fancy dress.

Maybe my favorite of the bunch. Just light sparkling through water, opera music playing. Peaceful.

Eaux d’artifice:

Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954) – the slow one where people in fancy costumes stand around and do stuff and finally blend in weird montages (or “the one with Anaïs Nin”).

I was dozing off, should watch again with the commentary on. A long, pretty, entrancing and colorful movie. Maybe best to watch while dozing, really.

Pleasure Dome montage:

Fantasia is exactly how I remember it. A drowsy opening, some pretty business, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, some more neat stuff, then the conductor announces the halfway point and I fall asleep, only waking up for the Night On Bald Mountain segment and the closing credits.

I guess the animation purists love it, but I just find it a pleasant excuse for a nap. Sorry!

Katy thought Belle was dumb and the final scene looked crappy/fake and bits were stolen from Cinderella, but even she was impressed by the handheld candelabras.

One of the most beautiful movies ever, of course. Lighting, set design and costumes are completely perfect, acting and story and effects are all great. Probably not much needed to say since I’ve seen this a bunch of times now.

Learned from commentary: actor Jean Marais (Avenant, The Beast, The Prince) was Cocteau’s lover and suggested he make this film. René Clément (Forbidden Games, Purple Noon) co-directed. Beauty Josette Day starred in Cocteau’s Les Parents Terribles, which I barely remember. Given the post-WWII shortages, Cocteau’s illnesses and all the other problems involved in making this, it must be one of the biggest film triumphs in history.

Delightful comedy, light and funny. Jimmy is a serious writer stooping to cover a society wedding with photographer Ruth. Katharine is marrying some schlub and Cary is her ex-husband, C.K. Dexter Haven, intent on making everything difficult for everyone. Katharine has important rich parents and a typically movie-precocious younger sister. K. almost falls for Jimmy at the end, but decides to remarry Cary, leaving Jimmy with Ruth and the schlub to wander off alone. Exactly the kind of movie they don’t make anymore (sorry, Intolerable Cruelty). Katy watched with me and was delighted.

George Cukor: My Fair Lady, Adam’s Rib, Bhowani Junction, fired from Gone with the Wind the year before.

Katharine Hepburn: after Bringing Up Baby and Sylvia Scarlett, before Adam’s Rib, Summertime and The African Queen.

Cary Grant: after His Girl Friday, Only Angels Have Wings and The Awful Truth, before Suspicion, Notorious and Arsenic & Old Lace.

James Stewart: after Shop Around The Corner and Mr. Smith, before Wonderful Life, Northside 777 and Rope.

Philadelphia Story: in the IMDB top 200, won two oscars (screenplay and jimmy stewart), nominated for four more, got beaten by Rebecca, John Ford, and Ginger Rogers (also playing a girl from Philadelphia).

Everyone who worked on this movie is dead (Ruth Hussey died last year).

Not optimal viewing conditions – I wasn’t paying strict attention and the sound on the tape was no good. Anyway, a lot more humorous and lighthearted than I’d expected, until the end when it all turns bad for everybody.

Georgie is a spoiled kid who grows up and thinks he can marry a girl who doesn’t seem to like him too much. Meanwhile, his dad dies and his mom’s ex tries to win her back, which would be extremely easy if not for meddling Georgie who spoils everything for them and for himself. Family fortunes are lost and family names are forgotten.

An easily watchable, entertaining movie, well acted and shot… no reason not to like it. Will have to watch it again sometime for it to stick, I guess. That goes for all the other Welles movies too! Wonder which scenes were cut out.

Not really a comedy like I’d thought, except for the parts with Grandpa in ’em.

Heaven Can Wait

Guy marries girl he likes, then when he dies, insists he deserves to go to hell but is wrong. I kinda don’t remember much already.

I don’t know much about Tourneur, don’t even know how to pronounce Tourneur, but every time I hear about this movie it’s a (producer) “Val Lewton movie”. So maybe Tourneur isn’t the auteur here. Don’t think I have to care about that. Neat movie, mostly worth watching for Simone Simon. Funny how I’ve recently seen two of her movies (la bete humaine, devil & daniel webster) and didn’t recognize her.

Good scene in a swimming pool, some good psychiatry (“what does one tell a husband? one tells him nothing”) and probably a pretty good (if predictable) ending. Not positive about that, cuz my tape cut off right as Simone entered the panther cage. Loved how she fell in “love” with our generic male hero in less than two days, and lovely the way he proposes to her. She’s trying to tell him about her dark past, and he cuts her off, “We’ll get married and you can tell your stories to our children”. Wow! Of course he’s actually in love with his co-worker, and who can blame him. Not sure about this being one of the greatest thrillers in history, but I enjoyed it.