I know exactly where I saw this one for the first time. It was the exact same theater where I first saw The Blue Angel. That one located on Rue Mouffetard.
Why don't we ever hear the term "homme fatale"? Surely there 's a whole group of films where the term would apply -- where it's the man that's destructive, that brings the woman down, rather than the other way around. I mean I can think of at least a few of these films: Scarface (either version), White Heat, Bonnie and Clyde, and this early Lang noir, You Only Live Once.
Way I see it is this, in order for a noir with a femme fatale to reach its full potential, you have to have a somewhat naive and innocent male counterpart. Same goes for noir with an homme fatale. If that's true, I can't think of anyone better to play the part than Sylvia Sidney. She had those eyes for days and a face that always seemed a frame away from breaking into tears.
It's downright painful, right, watching MacMurray in Double Indemnity and Mitchum in Out of the Past as their respective women bring 'em down. That's how I feel watching this early Lang, too. I can almost hear myself now, "Damn it Fonda, stop it already, can't you see what you're doing to her? Don't you know how she's going to end up?"
I'm fully along for the ride on this one. It's one of my favorite noirs.
7/10/10 I watched Mitchell Leisen's Easy Living. Let me preface any other comments by saying that screwball comedy is probably my least favorite of all genres. It just wears on me after a short while. But there are fine moments in here and overall I would rate it as pretty enjoyable. Even though Preston Sturges penned the script, it really doesn't ever reach the heights of his best work.
7/11/10 I watched Leo McCarey's Make Way for Tomorrow. One of the best depictions of aging I have ever seen in film and full of many gut-wrenching and poignant moments. I didn't fully connect with the character of the aging woman. But otherwise, I found it to be an utterly bold, unique, and powerful work.
7/14/10 I watched Leo McCarey's The Awful Truth. I had seen this one about 15 years ago in a Parisian theater and had a mediocre reaction to it but man was I wrong. This has some of the greatest moments and exchanges of this entire period, particularly the final scene and almost every scene with Mr. Smith, the dog. I still may slightly prefer His Girl Friday, but this is undeniably a great work.
7/15/10 I watched David Hand's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Animation has never really been my thing so I'm not the best judge here. But all in all, it was entertaining, charming, with a couple of very memorable songs.
7/22/10 I watched Frank Capra's Lost Horizon. A movie full of ideas and quite brave for its time. I've never read the original novel, but I certainly felt this to be both the most aesthetically and intellectually daring movie I've seen from Capra. One to certainly revisit as it feels positively dense and fresh.
7/25/10 I watched William Wellman's A Star Is Born. It is at once an extremely tender and tragic love story. Cukor's version is one of my favorite films of all time, but Wellman's original certainly doesn't disappoint. It's a wonderfully felt film, full of unforgettable moments and sincere connections. Highly recommended.
7/29/10 I watched Alfred Hitchcock's Young and Innocent. Probably the least involving film I've seen from the master. He proves to be adept at giving you the inner psychology of his characters, but otherwise everything feels thin and uninspired.
4/21/12 I watched Gregory La Cava's Stage Door. Although at times a little consistent, a very moving tale about the world of theater. Typically strong performances from Rogers and Hepburn, but the real standout is the subplot of Kay and the heartwrenching performance of Andrea Leeds.
8/25/12 I watched Michael Powell's The Edge of the World. Perhaps the greatest of all films are those haunted by either life or death. In this case, there's a cloud hovering over every moment that suggests the latter but a vitality in every frame that leans more towards the former. Either way, this earthy, hefty work is among Powell's very best.
12/29/12 I watched King Vidor's Stella Dallas. I'll admit I'm a sucker for these types of weepies and this one was no exception. It doesn't hurt that Vidor was a real master and unafraid to linger in some very dark, uncomfortable places like the scene in the soda shop. Melodrama like we really don't see anymore and one of the better of its kind.
2/26/17 I watched Sadao Yamanaka's Humanity and Paper Balloons. I know nothing at all about the filmmaker and it was the first of his films I have seen. What impressed most was the film's study of class and the way it examines the idea that there are other things in life of far greater value than money. Yamanaka also infuses the film with a similar strain of poetry that seems to exist in the other great works of Japanese cinema.