Otto Preminger

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jojo
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Re: Otto Preminger

#76 Post by jojo » Tue May 12, 2009 2:15 pm

Anyone here have any comments on Carmen Jones? It's on a short list of films I *might* check out this summer at the Preminger retrospective in Toronto, but I'm somewhat undecided if I should go for it. I already have Bonjour Tristesse, Anatomy of a Murder, and Bunny Lake is Missing on my "must see" list. Laura, Angel Face and Advise and Consent I've already seen before.

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LQ
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Re: Otto Preminger

#77 Post by LQ » Tue May 12, 2009 2:20 pm

I like it a lot. It's been a while since I've seen it, so I can't say too much on the subject save that it's shimmering with color and life, and Dandridge is fantastic. It's a tad cheesy in its earnestness but I would definitely recommend it. (Especially if you like the melodies of Bizet's opera!)

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GringoTex
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Re: Otto Preminger

#78 Post by GringoTex » Tue May 12, 2009 10:43 pm

jojo wrote:Anyone here have any comments on Carmen Jones? It's on a short list of films I *might* check out this summer at the Preminger retrospective in Toronto, but I'm somewhat undecided if I should go for it.
I love Carmen Jones and Linklater has it in his 10 greatest films of all time list, if that means anything to you. Is Fallen Angel playing in the retro? That's my favorite Preminger.

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domino harvey
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Re: Otto Preminger

#79 Post by domino harvey » Tue May 12, 2009 10:55 pm

Lineup here-- Why anyone wouldn't be circling the rarer films on their calendar before readily available ones is a mystery to me

Vic Pardo
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Re: Otto Preminger

#80 Post by Vic Pardo » Wed May 13, 2009 10:35 am

domino harvey wrote:Lineup here-- Why anyone wouldn't be circling the rarer films on their calendar before readily available ones is a mystery to me
MARGIN FOR ERROR (1943) with Milton Berle as a Jewish cop in NYC protecting Nazi consul Otto Preminger would be the deal maker for me. I don't care if it's good or not, it's the "wtf" factor of it that intrigues me.

CARMEN JONES is not a good movie but you should see it anyway. Dandridge and Belafonte are magnetic and it's a rare chance to see sexy Dandridge in a passionate romantic relationship onscreen with an equally charismatic black male star. The badness stems from the musical and vocal choices. but it's a fascinating badness. E.g., both Dandridge and Belafonte, two accomplished popular singers, are both dubbed by other voices!

BUNNY LAKE IS MISSING is a fascinating movie, particularly if you like a mobile camera.

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Fierias
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Re: Otto Preminger

#81 Post by Fierias » Wed May 13, 2009 1:57 pm

Could someone give me, someone who has never seen anything by Preminger, advice on what to see at the Cinematheque Ontario retro? Preferably harder-to-find films and must-sees-in-the-theatre rather than necessarily his 'better' or more famous films. I already have tickets to the following:

Advise and Consent
Bunny Lake is Missing
Laura
Anatomy Of A Murder
The Man With The Golden Arm

any help is appreciated.

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domino harvey
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Re: Otto Preminger

#82 Post by domino harvey » Wed May 13, 2009 2:05 pm

Exodus was stuffed onto a non-anamorphic MGM disc, I would kill to see it in the theatre on the big screen. The 13th Letter has never been released on VHS or DVD, so it should be high on your list (It's one of only two Preminger titles in the retro I haven't seen, the other being Such Good Friends). Whirlpool and Angel Face are personal favorites, but readily available. I enjoyed the rarer Forever Amber and the Moon is Blue (you can read my thoughts on them a page back). Margin For Error is the only truly avoidable film in the retro. I think a lot of the board is quite taken with Bonjour Tristesse as well, though it ranks somewhere in a lower tier for me.

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justeleblanc
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Re: Otto Preminger

#83 Post by justeleblanc » Wed May 13, 2009 3:13 pm

As for Exodus, I'm crossing my fingers for an MGM set of new transfers of all five of their Preminger films: The Moon is Blue, Saint Joan, Exodus, Rosebud, and The Human Factor.

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reno dakota
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Re: Otto Preminger

#84 Post by reno dakota » Wed May 13, 2009 3:29 pm

For those who have access to TCM, you can catch these Preminger films in the next few months (perhaps helping you decide what to see at the retrospective):

Anatomy of a Murder: May 20 at 6:30am / Jun. 23 at 3:15pm
Angel Face: Jun. 23 at 11:30am
Bonjour Tristesse: Jun. 23 at 6:00am / Jul. 11 at 11:30pm
Bunny Lake is Missing: Jun. 23 6:00pm / Jul. 23 at 6:00pm
Carmen Jones: Jul. 02 at 3:45pm / Jul. 18 at 10:15pm
Exodus: Jun. 23 at 8:00am
A Royal Scandal: Jun. 23 at 1:15pm / Jul. 08 at 8:00pm

jojo
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Re: Otto Preminger

#85 Post by jojo » Wed May 13, 2009 3:30 pm

domino harvey wrote:Lineup here-- Why anyone wouldn't be circling the rarer films on their calendar before readily available ones is a mystery to me
In theory I pretty much agree with you, although I have an uncontrollable predilection for singling out widescreen/scope films for big screen viewing, regardless of whether they are rare or not. I can't help it!

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Gregory
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Re: Otto Preminger

#86 Post by Gregory » Wed May 13, 2009 3:34 pm

Fierias, I adore all the ones you've chosen so far except for Man With the Golden Arm, which to me is a decidedly minor work. Additionally, I would -love- to have the chance to see Angel Face, Bonjour Tristesse, In Harm's Way, Daisy Kenyon, and Whirlpool on film (but if forced to choose among these to see in the theater, I'd probably go with the first two). If you're deciding based on DVD availability, of course, the choice is very straightforward. Like domino, I haven't seen 13th Letter or Such Good Friends.

Vic Pardo
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Re: Otto Preminger

#87 Post by Vic Pardo » Wed May 13, 2009 5:01 pm

Fierias wrote:Could someone give me, someone who has never seen anything by Preminger, advice on what to see at the Cinematheque Ontario retro? Preferably harder-to-find films and must-sees-in-the-theatre rather than necessarily his 'better' or more famous films. I already have tickets to the following:

Advise and Consent
Bunny Lake is Missing
Laura
Anatomy Of A Murder
The Man With The Golden Arm

any help is appreciated.
Good list, but I would add WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS, easily one of his best films, a gritty New York cop thriller, and FOREVER AMBER, a big-budget Technicolor costume picture based on a famously sexy novel that everyone said could never be filmed, but Fox managed to do it anyway. Not a great movie, but a fascinating one, like so many studio-era Hollywood movies with troubled histories.

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domino harvey
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Re: Otto Preminger

#88 Post by domino harvey » Wed May 13, 2009 5:08 pm

Depending on whether Fox struck a new print, Forever Amber's hyper-lush Technicolor would probably look gorgeous on the big screen.

jojo
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Re: Otto Preminger

#89 Post by jojo » Fri Jun 12, 2009 5:54 pm

I missed Anatomy of a Murder. Just curious--if anyone here went to catch the screening in Toronto last Sunday, can anyone comment on the aspect ratio? Was the print shown widescreen (approximate ratios) 2.35:1, 1.85:1, or 1.33:1? It's been a long running controversy around the web.

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david hare
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Re: Otto Preminger

#90 Post by david hare » Fri Jun 12, 2009 6:21 pm

THere are two DVD versions circulating - one 1.85 which was Columbia's official post 1953 ratio and a 1.33 open matte. I think you need to have both, certainly the open matte does not look bad, even though I'm fully aware it goes against Columbia policy. But it does look good despite Preminger's total mastery of widescreen and Scope composition.

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Fierias
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Re: Otto Preminger

#91 Post by Fierias » Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:49 pm

jojo wrote:I missed Anatomy of a Murder. Just curious--if anyone here went to catch the screening in Toronto last Sunday, can anyone comment on the aspect ratio? Was the print shown widescreen (approximate ratios) 2.35:1, 1.85:1, or 1.33:1? It's been a long running controversy around the web.
it was 1.85:1

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domino harvey
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Re: Otto Preminger

#92 Post by domino harvey » Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:59 pm

Can I get a mod to kindly update the first post with the following information:

Margin For Error (BFI R2)
A Royal Scandal (BFI R2)
Daisy Kenyon (Fox R1)
The Fan (BFI R2)
the Moon is Blue (Warners Archive R1)
the Man With the Golden Arm (Warners R1)
The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (Needs a disclaimer about not being in the original aspect ratio)

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david hare
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Re: Otto Preminger

#93 Post by david hare » Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:33 pm

A heads up here Anatomy of a Murder will be released on BluRay in Germany in October! I am guessing as a Sony title it will be region free.

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doghouse reilly
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Re: Otto Preminger

#94 Post by doghouse reilly » Sun Aug 09, 2009 11:49 pm

Something I found interesting in the Bunny Lake trailer is how prominent The Zombies are featured. All the performance footage seen in the film is in the trailer and I believe Preminger even implicates them as possible suspects in the disappearance. So when I finally saw the film, I was a little surprised at how meager and pointless their role was.

A few months later, I caught Advise and Consent (weak) on Turner and a similar thing is done with Sinatra. His music is in the trailer and his name is in the opening credits, but his entire involvement in the film consists of a song played over the silly gay club scene. I think it was that same sort of hey-look-who's-in-my-movie exhibitionism that led Preminger to offer a role to Martin Luther King, Jr.

I don't know what point I'm trying to make, other than I wish The Zombies had abducted Bunny Lake.

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domino harvey
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Re: Otto Preminger

#95 Post by domino harvey » Wed Aug 12, 2009 5:02 pm

It's a great day in America, as I just got ahold of four rare Preminger titles, plugging quite a few of my gaps.

First up is the surprising In the Meantime, Darling, a minor little film which certainly exceeded low expectations. Preminger starts off the picture like a (not particularly funny) homefront comedy before taking a left turn into its gradual theme: the ineffectual humbling of a college educated woman by other army wives. Preminger's film, while never undermining the military, more or less refuses to change Jeanne Crain's selfishness any more than just enough to squeak the film past the studio. The whole film is spent waiting for a comeuppance that really never comes-- even though the narrative is constructed under the assumption that it does! The film stands proudly the Affairs of Dobie Gillis as some of the best, most unapologetic paeans to selfishness ever filmed. Couple all this with Eugene Pallette's easily-flummoxed businessman father and the absurdly attractive Gail Robbins bedding down with Stanley Prager's Kevin James-prototype and this whole thing went down real nice.

It's really too bad Preminger fired Pallette midshoot for being a racist Nazi sympathizer, because his amusing part is relegated to more or less a cameo-- though he still got off at least one classic Pallette moment: After a soldier falls asleep on his shoulder and angrily decries being awoken by the large man, Pallette incredulously replies:

Image
"WAR-- The great leveler!"

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david hare
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Re: Otto Preminger

#96 Post by david hare » Wed Aug 12, 2009 5:27 pm

I havent watched this yet but indeed Chris Fujiwara thinks a lot of it too in his excellent Preminger book. I assume you've read this? If not you must.

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souvenir
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Re: Otto Preminger

#97 Post by souvenir » Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:48 am

I don't think anyone's mentioned (and domino didn't have it in his updates list) that Rosebud was released in the UK by Optimum earlier this year. DVD Times reviewed it.

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domino harvey
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Re: Otto Preminger

#98 Post by domino harvey » Sat Aug 22, 2009 9:08 pm

david hare wrote:I havent watched this yet but indeed Chris Fujiwara thinks a lot of it too in his excellent Preminger book. I assume you've read this? If not you must.
I've actually been putting it off until I can polish off as much of my unseen Premingers as possible. And subsequently, my only regret as I work my way deeper and deeper into Preminger's works is that I will have fewer and fewer opportunities to see his films for the first time.

And I moved one step closer to the end today with Preminger's first musical, 1946's Centennial Summer. The film outwardly appears to dabble in Meet Me in St. Louis-type nostalgia for a bit before Preminger pulls the rug out in the last third. That's when the bawdy jokes (!) and the comedy tag team of Cornell Wilde (as a Frenchman!) and Walter Brennan take over and the film steamrolls to an immensely satisfying finish. For a musical, Preminger is rarely interested in his numbers, and in fact seems to shove them along as quickly as possible, despite having some very catchy tunes at his disposal. But undoubtedly the finest moment comes with the completely superfluous, showstopping "Cinderella Sue" number, performed by Avon Long and backed by an all-black cast of dancing ragamuffins. The number's interjection, in the midst of the film's most dramatic moments, is jarring in its total spontaneity and lack of connection to anything else in the film-- and it works completely.

Though there's a somewhat wayward quality to the middle of the film, it does open strong with another of Preminger's intense long takes, and this one's clever to boot. A lengthy crane shot of Pres. Hayes speaking to a crowd of hundreds in 1876 Philadelphia moves from his place on the podium out into the furthest reaches of the massive crowd. The reverse shot then picks up Brennan crying out for the President to speak up so he can hear him. The camera stays with Brennan as he picks a fight and, in what I'm sure amused Preminger to no end, pejoratively accuses his sparring partner of being a Republican! The camera then follows Brennan as he drags his family through the thick crowd and this is how Preminger introduces his two starlets, Darnell and Crain: By shoving them through a throng of people with only a brief glimpse allotted for the audience. And then the scene ends, with no coverage and no introductory close-ups. Total genius.

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domino harvey
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Re: Otto Preminger

#99 Post by domino harvey » Sun Aug 23, 2009 4:24 pm

And now, with That Lady in Ermine, comes the other side of the coin. I was (and am) one of the few defenders of the other Preminger-rescued Lubitsch project, A Royal Scandal, but I have nothing good to say about this total disaster. I'm not sure the surprisingly lifeless Samson Raphaelson script could have been salvaged by Lubitsch at the throne, but Preminger is less interested in making his own movie from someone else's material (as he was in the previous project) than sort of guessing what Lubitsch might have done and poorly treating the final product with a reverence it doesn't deserve. As a result the film feels like nothing at all. For a comedy, there's really no jokes and the dialog is banal save one good line, which I will repeat in a spoiler so that no one will ever have to waste an hour and a half on this pic, should it ever reach a wider release:
SpoilerShow
Betty Grable: "Oh I don't care if you shoot him, or shoot yourself, or slightly injure me!"

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reno dakota
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Re: Otto Preminger

#100 Post by reno dakota » Sun Aug 23, 2009 4:38 pm

domino harvey wrote:I was (and am) one of the few defenders of the other Preminger-rescued Lubitsch project, A Royal Scandal
I loved every moment of this one, and can't remember when I've laughed as much at such clever word-play, so it surprises me to hear that it has few defenders. Is it possible that it just has few viewers?

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