PHANTOM INDIA (Louis Malle, 1968-9)

Louis Malle made his 6¼-hour documentary L’Inde fantôme for French television. Its first episode, translated as “The Impossible Camera,” does not bode well for what follows it, but it is a start. I am committed to watching the entire series.      Malle co-authored (with Guy Bechtel) the film’s narration, which he speaks as voiceover. He is […]

DUEL IN THE SUN (King Vidor et al., 1946)

From Niven Busch’s novel, this extravagant western, produced by David O. Selznick, upon its original release was condemned as immoral and mocked by being dubbed Lust in the Dust. King Vidor signed it as the last director standing; parts were directed by Josef von Sternberg, William Dieterle, Sidney Franklin, William Cameron Menzies and Selznick himself. […]

THE STRANGER (Luchino Visconti, 1967)

Almost immediately, Albert Camus’s L’Etranger combines present, past and future tenses to suggest that the present impresses time into its own domain. Camus’s 1942 novel, begun in the late 1930s, had absorbed its own brace of history: the death that Camus, as a tubercular teenager, narrowly escaped but whose shadow thereafter dogged him; the Moscow […]