The storytelling device of the Nazi hunter in search of German war criminals scattered to the four winds after World War II has been around so long, it's hard to imagine a time when it was really fresh. And so it must have seemed especially visceral for audiences to watch Orson Welles' 1946 film noir classic The Stranger, released just 17 days after the first anniversary of V-E Day. The central plot of The Stranger concerns Mr. Wilson (the ever-brilliant Edward G. Robinson) of the United Nations War Crimes Commission and his hunt for the infamous Nazi war criminal Franz Kindler. Wilson releases a German prisoner and confederate of Kindler, Konrad Meinike (Konstantin Shayne), in the hopes that he will lead him to Kindler. Before long the story shifts to the bucolic New England town o
Completely by chance, I was perusing the March 22, 1948 edition of Life magazine on Google Books -- hey, I never claimed to lead an exciting or glamorous existence -- and stumbled across an article on The Naked City. I had heard of it before, but never really made an effort to seek it out. But the internet being the wonder it is, I was on YouTube and watching it within minutes. And the internet being the pain in the ass it is, the fifth part of the movie was missing. I was already invested in things by then, so after a brief delay I managed to find an alternative source. Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more. I'm always wary of watching these old movies. They so rarely hold up well. Something about the acting or directing back then just seems so stuffy now. Not sure why that is, but 9 ...
Due largely in part to a recent tweet from Roger Ebert, I decided to check out The Third Man recently. It's apparently considered to be pretty good, as evidenced by its inclusion on AFI's original list of the 100 best American movies of all-time (it was at #57, but was cut from the most recent list). I also wanted to check it out because I haven't really taken the time to explore film noir as much as I'd like, and also I figured it had to be good since it had pre-puffy Orson Welles. Score one for social networking, because it definitely is an enjoyable film and has held up fairly well since it was released in 1949. So what's it all about? The film takes place in post-World War II Vienna, a defeated city divided into four occupied zones (American, British, French, and Russian), a
When I first discovered the secret of Hank and Dean Venture - that they're merely the latest in a series of clones whipped up by their father - I was pissed. Even within the kooky world of the Ventureverse, where henchmen die left and right, it seemed to devalue their value as people. It made for some good sight gags (particularly the death montage in "Powerless in the Face of Death"), but felt empty otherwise. I posted as much on Jackson Publick's blog, and he didn't take too kindly to the criticism. But I think what I objected to in truth was that having the boys as clones gave Jackson and Doc a sort-of Venture Plot Etch-A-Sketch, where they could simply hit Reset and still get to off them in increasingly gruesome ways. So when they removed that crutch at the beginning of this seas