Movie Diary 10/21/2018

Halloween (David Gordon Green, 2018). A direct sequel to John Carpenter’s masterpiece, conveniently ignoring all the Halloween mythology since. And it works, in no small part because of the presence of Jamie Lee Curtis. (My review here.)

Address Unknown (William Cameron Menzies, 1944). A wildly stylized anti-fascist film, shot on what looks like a low budget but with visual élan to spare. The story has a German art dealer (Paul Lukas), a longtime resident of the U.S., relocating back to Germany in the 1930s. He becomes increasingly Nazi-fied, to the distress of his Jewish business partner (Morris Carnovsky) back in the States; their betrothed children (Peter van Eyck and K.T. Stevens) are also affected. The narrative takes an odd turn in the final act, but otherwise presents some powerfully effective wartime stuff on fascism and anti-Semitism. The film is incredible to look at, as Menzies and cinematographer Rudolph Maté create a series of forced perspectives and dynamic frames – the influence of Citizen Kane is so strong Orson Welles could’ve been credited as co-director. It bears some resemblance to Menzies’ visualization of Invaders from Mars a decade later.

Terminus (John Schlesinger, 1961). A day in the life of Waterloo Station, done without narration or storyline (but with a lot of music). This kind of thing was in the air in British film at the time (Lindsay Anderson and friends had recently done their Free Cinema screenings), and Schlesinger’s approach brings out the glories of the observational documentary but also an almost subliminally Pythonesque humor. 33 minutes is just the right length for it.

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