Movie Diary 5/16/2009

Saboteur (Alfred Hitchcock, 1942). The leads are drab and the movie stops for patriotic declarations, but still a fun, if episodic, exercise. The absence of music during the finale is a godsend.

Other Men’s Women (William Wellman, 1931). Begins as a knockabout thing, complete with pinwheeling James Cagney (pre-Public Enemy) appearance atop a moving train, then morphs into more melodramatic territory. Great opening sequence involving a trainstop and a quick meal of eggs and coffee. Juice provided by kooky Grant Withers, plus Mary Astor and Joan Blondell in great form.

It Takes a Cult (Eric Johanssen, 2009). Inside the world of the “Love Israel” commune, made by someone who grew up with it. Fascinating look at an isolated community, complete with old home-movie footage of hippiedom in flower. (plays at Seattle International Film Festival May 26 and May 28)

The Girlfriend Experience (Steven Soderbergh, 2008). The latest somewhat experimental thingie for Soderbergh, proving he’s still getting away with it. (full review 5/22)