Friday, January 29, 2010

A Duel with Clint Eastwood

..or Hitchcock films by other people. Steven Spielberg's "Duel" is brilliant. Simple. Perfect...and so charmingly Hitchcockian that had he been on set with Spielberg I don't think the film would be very different...perhaps a young Hitch anyway.
Then there's Clint Eastwood's "Play Misty for Me" as his Hitchcock and I'd be hard pressed to say who's first film is better or more like the master. Both Directors moved on to tell their own tales in their own ways but to swap directors on these...again, might not change 'em much. Both are relentless pursuit tales...both end with the antagonist taking a plunge...and both came out in '71(in fact, they were released two days apart)...and who'd be the top two names now?
If you watch them back to back I suggest "Duel" first, only for the fact that it takes place by day...then "Misty" make the shadows scary...and for the fact that I do consider "Misty" marginally better...more repeat viewings...more to soak up...and as fun as it is to watch Dennis Weaver go crazy...Jessica Walter is absolutely sublime. Clint also has some real fun with the score...very artistic touches and the little 70's details are worth paying attention to...the touches of 2 future masters...but I am a sucker for 1st films, pilot episodes, first seasons...the raw over the refined. This is not to say these films are anything but perfect...but both storytellers moved into more complex realms film by film. These are two of my absolute favorites ...two amazingly forward driven narratives...time-travelling to a coastline of 1971...and getting to learn from two of the best...
...and what is #4 in the ten of 2010 ?.?..

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Ten of Twenty Ten that list is just too short...and a tad depressing.
A more fun approach might be the(my) most study-able ten flicks...The 10 of 2010...that can function as how-to templates for a quirky director-to be such as myself. These aren't the "best" or my absolute favorites...more a grouping of skillsets and personal experiences that made these just a bit more worthy than the rest. Worst case - I end up knowing far too much about a handful of geniuses and write a book case...this cat becomes a respected filmmaker...
In no order...Citizen Kane - This (like Casablanca)is worthy of it's stature. You want to understand film something about it...then watch it again. I feel like I'm in a film course that Orson Welles is teaching...forever. To open a film with the death of the protagonist and an outline of the plot might seem ..well - crazy ..but each time, I am more intrigued by Kane...Why? Is it the writing? Is it the technical mastery? Does Tarantino's assembly of Pulp Fiction differ much from this? Brilliant. Next...Steven Spielberg's "Duel"...