Or Advanced Guide to Cinematic Survival?
“[My film] is stylized and theatrical because the story is so telescoped we have a life-and-death outcome played out over 20 actual minutes.”
“His plan mirrors Johnny’s, that is, pieces of the plan are known to one person: Johnny and Stanley; and not until the end do we see most of their pieces come into place.
“I don’t need other people. I don’t need help. I can take care of me.”
Note: The humble program note has a long and noble history. Sometimes anonymous, sometimes not, cheered as often as they were reviled, these brief, ephemeral, often illuminating handouts, likely destined for the dustbin the same night they appeared, offer “wisdom in a nutshell,” as one of Ivy Compton-Burnett’s characters aptly put it. This article is the second in Bright Lights’ series of vintage program notes from those heady days of the 1970s when unstoppable auteurists started their own cine clubs and commandeered movie theaters to bring their idea of cine-culture to audiences. Our late friend Roger McNiven continues the series with fascinating write-ups of two more works on the subject of “women larger than life,” in this case Bette Davis in King Vidor’s woefully underrated Beyond the Forest and Barbara Stanwyck in Gerd Oswald’s undeservedly obscure Crime of Passion. This double feature was screened at the legendary Thalia Theatre in New York City on Monday, December 3, 1979. We have added images but not edited the text, deferring to the time and spirit in which it was written.
“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.”
“It was like going down to thebottom of the world”
“Skip is the only one that enacts incest with one hand and bats away communists like flies from a dung pile with the other.”
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