Sunday, June 17, 2007

June 17th Log

1941, Howard Hawks, United States

Repeat Viewing, DVD

A Billy Wilder screenplay starring Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper under the direction of Howard Hawks, cinematography of Gregg Toland, costume design of Edith Head… how can you possibly go wrong!! Ball of Fire delivers in every aspect. Hawks was a master of narrative rhythm and here it beautifully flows alongside the satirical bite of Wilder’s witty script. The cast is exceptional all around, but Cooper and Stanwyck are given the studio star treatment. Stanwyck especially delivers right from her star entrance (from behind a curtain of a nightclub). Hawks was also a great master of multiple genres and with this film he gives the screwball comedy a lighter and sexier tone. The film underlying presence is that of a battle between intellectual and physical impulses, or the mind and the body. Beautifully shot under the stunning deep focus cinematography by Toland, Ball of Fire takes on an adult reimagining of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Not the best film from Howard Hawks of Billy Wilder, but highly a enjoyable ride and an unforgettably classic performance from Stanwyck.

1956, Yasujiro Ozu, Japan
Repeat Viewing, DVD

Following a short hiatus, Early Spring is the first film Ozu made after his acclaimed 1953 Tokyo Story. Here Ozu is mostly examining the life of one man, and his job and marriage. Different from traditional Ozu, the man is a working class man (recalling his characteristically complex Kihachi films during Ozu's silent era). Above all Ozu sympathetically observes the value of life and this working man's search for meaning. Early Spring certainly rates among his most expression social statements of the Japanese work life and the focus seems to be on the younger generation of Japanese society. A generation of rebelliousness and transition into a more Westernized Japanese world. Maybe not among his very greatest masterworks, Early Spring remains a deeply detailed film and among Ozu's emotionally darkest work.

>>> More on Record of Early Spring @ A2P Cinema's Yasujiro Ozu website HERE

>>> The opening moments from Early Spring:


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