LA SIGNORA DI TUTTI (Max Ophüls, 1934)

This famous film by Max Ophüls is redeemed some twenty years later by his Lola Montès (1955). Nothing less than his most brilliant (and final) work could manage such a redemption. La signora di tutti is one of several 1930s films that Ophüls, a German Jew, made in other European countries following Hitler’s ascension to […]

DEATH OF A SALESMAN (Laslo Benedek, 1951)

A tawdry, sentimental play, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman nevertheless provides a persuasive critique of the horrors of American capitalism, especially with reference to its traumatic relegation of workers to a low status—the central character is named Loman—and their disposability in a system that won’t acknowledge their humanity and in which the many scramble […]

KAGI (Kon Ichikawa, 1959)

Kon Ichikawa’s pre-Viagra The Key (called Odd Obsession in the puritanical States), from Junichirô Tanizaki’s novel, addresses Kenji Kenmochi’s problem: he can’t much “get it up” anymore. The potency injections he has been taking on the sly aren’t sufficiently helping, and having a younger wife, Ikuko, only deepens his discomfort. But Kenji lights on a […]