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 ?.?..

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