Movie Diary 12/27/2008

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Agar-riffic: Tarantula

Catching up on a few days of movies watched. It’s a coincidence that Tarantula and Black Widow are in proximity.

Destiny (Fritz Lang, 1921). A decent print of this, from Image — the last time I saw it, on VHS years ago, you could pretty much not see anything through the fog of countless dupes. (“The Fog of Countless Dupes” — an old Moody Blues song?) The opening scenes are still one of cinema’s best approximations of old-school fairy tales.

Black Widow (Nunnally Johnson, 1954). Half-interesting CinemaScope color noir, with Ginger Rogers, Van Heflin, Gene Tierney and George Raft all starting to look puffy and slow.

I Don’t Want to be a Man (Ernst Lubitsch, 1918). Spritzy comedy about cross-dressing, with an exuberant cast led by Ossi Oswalda.

Different from the Others (Richard Oswald, 1919). Fragmentary (but reconstructed) early look at homosexuality in Germany after WWI, amazingly bold in its argument against anti-gay laws. Conrad Veidt looks even more cadaverous than in Caligari.

Tarantula (Jack Arnold, 1955). What kind of movie do you throw on when it’s Christmas night and you’re playing Scrabble?