Movie Reviews

Swamp Water

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Written by Dudley Nichols. From Vereen Bell’s novel.
Directed by Jean Renoir.
1941.

Jean Renoir’s Swamp Water is a troublesome picture. On the one hand, it is, as The New York Times¬†allows, Faulknerian in its scope and, despite its many off-set¬†troubles, an intensely personal movie. On the other hand, it occasionally smacks of a certain attitude toward the backwoods southerner that falls just short of barefoot caricature.

Movie Reviews

Movie Review: The Postman Always Rings Twice

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Written by Harry Ruskin and Niven Busch.
Directed by Tay Garnett.

It’s old, moralistic Hollywood that comes to Frank Chambers’ rescue, that sets Cora Smith’s soul free out in the ocean. The screenwriters believe a confession before a priest and a late-night swim are preferable to darker, nihilistic ends for Frank and Cora, and this generosity of spirit springs from the absolute necessity for justice to be served. But get this: it’s not the murderers but the Law who really comes off badly here, those supposed guardians of justice who in fact joke and gamble in the presence of a blind lady. In the end, justice may be served, but it’s dirty lawyers who administer it! Ah, I love old Hollywood for just this: the moralistic restraint it imposed and the social (and moral) subterfuge that restraint inspired.

“Stealing a man’s wife, that’s nothing, but stealing a man’s car, that’s larceny.” — Frank Chambers

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