Two days in the life of priest Father Fred Stadtmuller whose New Mexico parish is so large he can only spread goodness and light among his flock with the aid of a monoplane. The priestly ... See full summary »
Prize-fighter Davy Gordon intervenes when private dancer Gloria Price is being attacked by her employer and lover Vincent Raphello. This brings the two together and they get involved with each other, which displeases Raphello. He sends men out to kill Davy, but they instead kill his friend. Gloria is soon kidnapped by Raphello and his men, and it is up to Davy to save her.Written by
Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>
With 3 short films and a feature (Fear And Desire ) under his belt, none of which had received any notice (in fact, Kubrick bought up all of the existing prints of Fear And Desire, because he thought it was poorly done [not to mention that it was being billed as a sexploitation film]), Kubrick decided to try out something new. He decided to go with Film-Noir.
The film is filled with Kubrick trademarks through and through. He uses boxing (which was the subject of his very first short Day of the Fight ), zooming techniques, flashbacks (also used in his next film The Killing ) and narration. The cinematography is exquisite, as usual, with many shots (particularly in the boxing studio and the train station) being backlit with a soft, grey light to give it a disconnected, almost rear-screen-projection feel. However, it is obvious that this is the early, naive Kubrick at work here. The entire movie, like Fear And Desire, is post-dubbed (much like a Fellini film), with all of the sound effects being done over by a meticulous Kubrick. And, of course, the Film-Noir. Davey Gordon (played to perfection by Jamie Smith) is the almost-stereotypical Noir anti-hero, with Irene Kane (aka journalist Chris Chase) as his anti-heroine. Frank Silvera, who had the lead role in Fear And Desire, is the slimy villain, whom you actually want to die (a good sign [for a villain]).
This Kubrick film can most be compared to 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) or Barry Lyndon (1975), in that, once you get past a slow beginning, the end is absolutely riveting. Kubrick knows that he wants to grab his audience, and he does so with perfection. Some of it is padded (the ballet sequence is not particular interest), but the rest it great, from the initial boxing sequence to the chase scene at the end. If you're a fan of Kubrick, see it. If you're a fan of great cinema, see it. If you're a fan of Film-Noir, see it (but take it with a pinch of salt). If you're none of these things, see it, and you will be.
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