DARK PASSAGE (Delmer Daves, 1947)

The 1940s was Hollywood’s principal decade of noirs. One of the finest examples is Dark Passage, a dark descent into questions of identity and of innocence or guilt. The story here, from a David Goodis novel, fascinates. Wrongly convicted of his wife’s murder, a San Quentin escapee, Vincent Parry, in the dead of night undergoes […]

I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE (Howard Hawks, 1949)

Among the loveliest and most oddly moving American film comedies, I Was a Male War Bride blends genres seamlessly. This generic crossbreeding wasn’t unusual in the late forties and early fifties: Mildred Pierce (Michael Curtiz, 1945) crossbred the “woman’s picture” with film noir; It Happens Every Spring (Lloyd Bacon, 1949), the sports film with fantasy; […]

MEMENTO (Christopher Nolan, 2000)

Like his later, demented Insomnia (2002), Christopher Nolan’s Memento is so odious and dreadful that one must wonder what spiritual or intellectual deficiencies would account for someone’s finding the film the least bit attractive. How often can one say this about a film?: There isn’t a single interesting shot in Memento. Something else: it’s silly. […]