DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (Victor Fleming, 1941)

Surely it is apocryphal that Clark Gable wondered aloud why he couldn’t act as well as Spencer Tracy while he watched his M-G-M co-star in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a turgid, overstuffed, over-fogged big production aiming to remake the 1931 Rouben Mamoulian version, which is better, rather than draw direct inspiration from Robert Louis […]

FEAR (Roberto Rossellini, 1954)

Roberto Rossellini’s stunning La paura, which updates Stefan Zweig’s 1920 novella Angst, finds one kind of jealousy masquerading as another. Research scientist Albert Wagner knows that Irene, his wife, has been having an affair with Erich Baumann because Baumann’s previous girlfriend, Johanna Schultze, striking out at the woman who replaced her, has told him this. […]

INTERMEZZO (Gustaf Molander, 1936)

Gösta Ekman is wonderful as concert violinist Holger Brandt, who has an affair with his child’s piano instructor, Anita Hoffman. A point of interest of Gustaf Molander’s moving melodrama Intermezzo, from Sweden, is the contrast between Ekman’s old-style, somewhat grand but extraordinarily disciplined acting and 21-year-old Ingrid Bergman’s moodier, less contained acting, to which she […]

JOAN OF ARC AT THE STAKE (Roberto Rossellini, 1954)

Ingrid Bergman is a miracle of sensitivity, giving a luminous performance, in Roberto Rossellini’s Giovanna d’Arco al rogo. (Actually, I saw the French-language version, Jeanne au bûcher, but with Bergman’s irreplaceable voice, not Claude Nollier’s.) How can Bergman be brilliant here when she was dreadful in Joan of Arc (Victor Fleming, 1948)? Answer: Rossellini.      Like […]

JOAN OF ARC (Victor Fleming, 1948)

Maxwell Anderson’s play Joan of Lorraine, for which Ingrid Bergman won a Tony, alternates between historical and contemporary scenes, those of Joan’s history and those of a cast of actors who consider this history, which they are rehearsing to perform. Hollywood’s decision to strip the film version of the contemporary scenes, expanding the historical material […]