202 Indiscretion of an American Wife & Terminal Station

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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ando
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Re: 202 Indiscretion of an American Wife & Terminal Station

#26 Post by ando » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:25 pm

once you understand that De Sica's approach is, despite Selznick, akin to what P.P. Pasolini tried to do with films like Gospel and Accatone. Both directors were quite obviously much more interested in capturing something of an authentic Italy; an anthropological truthfulness in composition despite the subject matter. Something of the earth of Italy can be found in both De Sica and Pasolini in whatever film encompassed their imaginations. I think it's the strongest aspect of all their films.
I'm beginning to wonder if this is a particular trait for Italian filmmakers of the 50s and 60s. I've just completed reviewing the Sergio Leone/Eastwood triad and here, especially, Leone lingers on faces and general countenance of even peripheral characters in the films. Perhaps there's a cultural association of visual drama, character and narrative dating back to The Renaissance with some of the Italian directors from this period.

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Re: 202 Indiscretion of an American Wife & Terminal Station

#27 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:07 pm

ando wrote:
once you understand that De Sica's approach is, despite Selznick, akin to what P.P. Pasolini tried to do with films like Gospel and Accatone. Both directors were quite obviously much more interested in capturing something of an authentic Italy; an anthropological truthfulness in composition despite the subject matter. Something of the earth of Italy can be found in both De Sica and Pasolini in whatever film encompassed their imaginations. I think it's the strongest aspect of all their films.
I'm beginning to wonder if this is a particular trait for Italian filmmakers of the 50s and 60s. I've just completed reviewing the Sergio Leone/Eastwood triad and here, especially, Leone lingers on faces and general countenance of even peripheral characters in the films. Perhaps there's a cultural association of visual drama, character and narrative dating back to The Renaissance with some of the Italian directors from this period.
It sounds like De Sica Leone and Pasolini were influenced by neorealism so it would certainly would be an Italian thing.

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Re: 202 Indiscretion of an American Wife & Terminal Station

#28 Post by ando » Thu Aug 06, 2009 6:02 pm

De Sica: "I am like a painter standing before a field, who asks himself which blade of grass he should begin with."
It also seems to me that despite the desire to capture "an anthropological truthfulness" that their (Pasolini, De Sica, Leone) approaches are informed by some of the classic Italian painters (though, in the case of De Sica, I see the Romantics). You can see it directly with Pasolini in films like Mamma Roma and Gospel. De Sica is not so direct but his compositions are certainly deliberately composed. I mentioned earlier that De Sica's framing and blocking reminded me of Hitchcock, but De Sica has, obviously, different influences. Despite the black and white stock, I think he deliberately goes for painterly effects. That's a bit different than the effects that many of the Neo-Realists were after (from what I've gleaned, anyway). De Sica seemed less inetrested in the documentary than in the romance (which displays, frankly, in some instances, a kind of naïvité).

For example, there's brilliant still (or almost-still) of Clift leaning against his car after he's had the big falling-out with Jennifer Jones. His body, slightly bent, against the massive, unyeilding bulk of the car and the passersby in the distance with dusk settling is an absolutely stunning encapsulation of the moment. It actually does what the Jones and Clift performances don't do: capture an ideal picture of the distraught, abandoned lover, alone in the midst of bustling life. I remember pausing the film and staring at the composition for the longest time. It's the epitome of the Romantic sensibility. I do wonder whether the sequence comes from the work of De Sica's cameraman Aldo Graziati or the later Selznick Hollywood replacement. If it's by Selznick's man my whole theory goes up in smoke.

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Re: 202 Indiscretion of an American Wife & Terminal Station

#29 Post by CSM126 » Fri Nov 19, 2010 7:26 pm

So I guess I'm the only person around here who genuinely hated Terminal Station? If Indiscretion truly is worse it must be fatally awful (as in, you'd melt like the Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark if you so much as looked at it), because Terminal Station made me want to rip my eyes out and shove pencils into my ears. God what crap. Schmaltzy, drippy cliche, stupid crap. A couple of schmucks who spent three weeks together apparently just having sex, and/or otherwise talking about how much they want to have sex (if not in so many words, albeit), get all teary-eyed when they have to be apart. This is Twilight fifty years earlier, only far more awful just for the fact that Vittorio de Sica is a great director (who should have known better), which makes Terminal Station a crushing disappointment. The first twenty minutes or so are nice, with all the little asides and neorealist detail, but as soon as Monty Clift shows up the whole movie goes to pot. The central plot is such overwrought, overdone, hilariously overdramatic garbage that it feels like what might happen if someone who absolutely hated melodrama was asked to describe a generic melodrama. "Oh, there's a man and a woman and they're in love but one's married and they cry a lot and blah blah blah". Ugh. The acting is about as lively as a wake, the direction - aside from one or two moments (like the kids eating their candy) and that opening - has zero heart in it (no wonder...de Sica HAD to have felt at least a little silly helming a film so far beneath him), the score is simply wretched (I've rarely heard music so ruthlessly, shamelessly arch and would-be manipulative), and the pacing is so sluggish that after a while I stopped looking at my watch and started holding it to my ear to make sure it was still ticking.

Gah, I can't believe anyone would bother releasing trash like this. If nothing else it would be a kindness to de Sica to let this film gather dust, unwatched. A film this goofy would be a guilty pleasure if only it didn't try my patience so damn hard.

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Re: 202 Indiscretion of an American Wife & Terminal Station

#30 Post by goner » Fri Nov 19, 2010 7:50 pm

I agree that this is not a great film but I think it has facinating story behind it. It is a one of a kind failed experiment. Watching the audio commentary and then the American version greatly enhance the film. I also find the Criterion of Equinox to be the same way, I don't think the film is great but with the supplements it becomes a very interesting dvd.

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Re: 202 Indiscretion of an American Wife & Terminal Station

#31 Post by phantomforce » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:01 pm

Just saw this making the rounds. Great comparison and visual essay between the two edits.

http://vimeo.com/68514760" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


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