Martin Teller's Movie Reviews

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two revisits

Posted by martinteller on December 7, 2014

After showing Witness to Murder to my sweetie, we got into a debate over the quality of the writing.  I realized later that I was mostly making excuses for the film, one because I had spent money on the Blu-Ray and two because I had previously included it in my top 100 noirs.  I have to admit, both were mistakes.  It’s simply not a great script.  It’s fun, largely because Barbara Stanwyck is always fun, even in dud roles like this.  And I like the gaslighting elements and some of the turns the story takes.  But the real star is the glorious cinematography by John Alton.  The implausible ending sequence is raised to stellar heights by the crisp contrast of shadow and light in that half-finished structure.  However, the movie was eclipsed in every other way a month later by Rear Window, which does so much more with a similar premise.  I won’t be keeping the movie in my collection, and Split Second takes its place on my noir list.  Rating: Good (78)

I feel a little better about buying the Tati set after my third viewing of Mon Oncle (I opted not to go for the English-language version, though it’s nice to have the option).  It holds up better than M. Hulot’s Holiday, and the occasional dead space between gags isn’t as troublesome because there’s always something to look at or ponder.  Tati’s vision is more realized, his outlook on the world is more pronounced in this work.  It’s not just a series of gags, but a statement… one that’s simultaneously warm and cynical.  I love all the bits of design that at are odds with functionality, and the way people let their movements be dictated by their arbitrary environments (even Hulot, though of course his idiosyncratic physicality always causes him to bungle it).  Rating: Very Good (87)

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