Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day #21,704

Walk km 4638-4643: to a few libraries

Movie #1296 (#116 this year): The Woman On The Beach(1947, Jean Renoir)
A typical Joan Bennett pose from The Woman On The Beach

Hadn't heard of this Renoir before I bought the DVD so I thought it was just a rent-a-director job in Hollywood. IMDB seems to indicate that it wasn't but that RKO took the scissors to this thing and destroyed what could have been a classic. Well, what's left of it (71 minutes) ain't bad at all. Renoir uses Joan Bennett just like Fritz Lang did - as the vixen who can destroy any man she pleases. Joan comes through again and this time it's Robert Ryan who throws over his fiancee when he finds himself under Joan's spell. It may be only 71 minutes but it plays more like 10.

Movie #1297 (#117 this year): Split Second (1953, Dick Powell)

Back in the 30s they had two excellent gangster-in-the-desert-with-hostages pictures in "Heat Lightning" and "The Petrified Forest". Fast forward to the 50s and what's in the desert now? Atomic tests! So, how about a gangster-in-the-desert-with-hostages-and-atomic-bomb? First time director is old song and dance man, Dick Powell. With this plot, he can do no wrong as this is a hoot from beginning to end. I've probably never seen two movies in the same day as good as this and "Woman On The Beach".

Book #293 (#17 this year): Fright (1950, Cornell Woolrich writing as George Hopley)

I'm afraid I read most of this on a long trip while suffering from sleep deprevation. It certainly is a clever plot. However, the characters remain cardboard cutouts so it's hard to work up much enthusiasm for page turning.

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