Imogen Sara Smith
Imogen Sara Smith is the author of In Lonely Places: Film Noir Beyond the City (McFarland, 2011) and Buster Keaton: The Persistence of Comedy (Gambit Publishing, 2008). She is a freelance film writer and librarian living in Brooklyn.
» Allan Dwan: Between the Lines
"Dwan was never afraid of melodrama, so often disdained for its contrivance, implausibility and heightened emotion; nor of farce, with its tendency to reduce characters to spastic puppets or wind-up toys. Dwan's skill at visually expressing relationships — the legacy of his nearly two decades making silent movies — cannot by itself salvage stories or characters that fail that test of engaging us; but when combined with his crisp narrative intelligence and detached yet compassionate eye for human behavior, it gives his best films an apparently effortless power to engross."
» The Music of Words: Storytelling in Two Powell & Pressburger Films
79 - February 2013)
"While Powell and Pressburger were masters of the classic show-don't-tell method, they also daringly broke the rule by telling, not showing. Both techniques ultimately serve the same purpose. Despite the aesthetic of excess often attributed to the Archers' films, they gain power by withholding certain elements, requiring the audience to supply what's not there."
» Trevor Howard: "The World Doesn't Make Any Heroes"
71 - February 2011)
"In between the idealized lover and the cantankerous old goat lay a handful of roles in which Howard managed to simultaneously embody and undermine the archetypal Englishman."
» Maximum Security: Film Noir, Domesticity, and the Female Captive
69 - August 2010)
"While films about men with dangerous jobs showed them returning home to supportive, contented wives, films that focused on domestic settings showed women caught in oppressive relationships or warped by the narrowness of their emotional lives."
» Forgotten Charleys I: Charley Bowers
Silent Comedy's Wizard of the Bizarre
68 - May 2010)
"He is Aladdin and the camera is his lamp." – James R. Quirk
» Forgotten Charleys II: Charley Chase: Mr. Normal Unleashes His Comic Demon
68 - May 2010)
"He could be suave or awkward, likable or pesky, average or eccentric, a winner or a loser, a fussy nerd or the life of the party, all the while remaining Charley Chase.""
» A Lady's a Lady: The Versatile Elegance of Mary Astor
67 - February 2010)
"What is it, love trouble or money trouble? I've seen them all, I've seen all the troubles in the world, and they boil down to just those two. You're broke, or you're lonely. Or both."
» Past Sunset: Noir in the West
66 - November 2009)
"I don't need other people. I don't need help. I can take care of me."
» In Lonely Places: Film Noir Outside the City
65 - August 2009)
"Noir films with non-urban settings exploded the idea that escape into a safer or healthier world was possible, showing how temptation and violence can attack anyone, anywhere."
» Lee Tracy: "A Manic, Scalding Passion for Success"
64 - May 2009)
"With his impish grin, twinkling eyes, and boyish blond hair, he looks like Tom Sawyer crossed with a Tammany Hall fixer."
» Sinners' Holiday: An Ode to Pre-Code
63 - February 2009)
"Code? What Code?"
» Japanese Cinema's Uncommon Man: Tatsuya Nakadai's Dissidents, Outcasts, and Shadow Warriors
62 - November 2008)
"Like Hollywood's new postwar men, he offered a multifaceted, ambivalent masculinity far from monolithic wartime ideals."
» Dana Andrews: The Forties Hero and His Shadow
62 - November 2008)
"It's not difficult for me to hide emotion, since I've always hidden it in my personal life." ~ Dana Andrews
» Plumbing the Depths of Capitalism: On Force of Evil
61 - August 2008)
"It was like going down to the bottom of the world."