He Ran All the Way (John Berry, 1951). Re-visiting this taut little noir, which features John Garfield’s last performance – a very uncompromising turn as a cop-killer. Three-fourths of the picture takes place inside an apartment, but cinematographer James Wong Howe is up to the challenge of making that space interesting. Shelley Winters co-stars. Berry got blacklisted almost immediately after making the film.
The Party (Blake Edwards, 1968). Peter Sellers doing his Indian voice in Edwards’ zany tribute to a silent-movie style of gag-making. I had forgotten many of the set-ups here – but one could never forget Sellers’ deployment of “birdie num-num,” of course.
Berlin Express (Jacques Tourneur, 1948). Odd little postwar item, seemingly conceived as a gesture toward multinational cooperation, stylishly directed. There are a few suspense sequences that suggest somebody had been studying their Hitchcock. Lots of shots of the ruins of Frankfurt and Berlin. It has an official “good neighbor policy” air that limits it; see Billy Wilder’s A Foreign Affair for a more biting survey of Berlin in the rubble.
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