Movie Diary 5/16/2023

Ulzana’s Raid (Robert Aldrich, 1972). Tough, strange, mournful, non-didactic western, written by the talented and mysterious Alan Sharp. Plenty of Vietnam overtones at play, but the movie is never just that – nobody comes out unscathed, really. Burt Lancaster has one of his best roles, and his physical presence is huge, still a big man, but exhausted.

Rancho Notorious (Fritz Lang, 1952). You really have to be watching this rigorously rendered series of forceful spaces, as Lang plays out his revenge story in an elemental way: interiors, doorways, false corners of the desert, people standing in mathematical ways. All arranged around Marlene Dietrich, herself something of an abstract construct. Truly dizzying.


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