Movie Diary 3/18/2018

The Red House (Delmer Daves, 1947). Edward G. Robinson in gothic form, warning the young people not to go into the woods on his property – yet adopted daughter Allene Roberts (a strange presence) and teen handyman Lon McAllister keep poking around in there. The boy also has a sweetheart at school (the young – but not that young – Julie London), and brooding Rory Calhoun hangs around the woods, and Judith Anderson is Robinson’s stoic sister. You can see why this movie spooks people. Daves already has a fluid, almost conversational approach with the camera. The music’s by Miklós Rózsa, so enter the woods at your own peril.

Mine Own Executioner (Anthony Kimmins, 1947). Very odd tale about a psychologist (Burgess Meredith) applying psychoanalytic techniques to a war-traumatized, potentially violent patient (Kieron Moore). The movie’s quite serious about presenting therapy sessions, and about Meredith’s perpetual unhappiness, which has him torn between wife Dulcie Gray and possible mistress Christine Norden. The film is artily shot (no wonder Hitchcock hired cinematographer Wilkie Cooper a couple of years later), very talky, and Meredith makes for a watchably peculiar protagonist – he gives half his performance with his pipe – no stranger to Freud, he.

Jîn (Reha Erdem, 2013). From the Turkish director of Times and Winds, another lyrical study of childhood lost. This time the focus is a teenage Kurdish girl fighting in the mountains; the world of war and terror is contrasted with the world of animals and clouds and rocks. Hauntingly enhanced with music by Hildur Guðnadóttir.

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One Response

  1. The Red House is one of few films that actually scared me. Not all the way through, but that first night excursion into the woods … yeeks! (I was around age 12.) Add to the credits roll cinematographer Bert Glennon, who shot some of Ford’s best movies.

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