Henry and Kristl were In a lonely place (1950)

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“Dixon Steele is a violent man,” Kristl said..

 

“Dixon Steele is a violent man,” Kristl said while she took a sip from her Rooibos tea.

“Yeah,” Henry nodded slowly. He was drinking hot coffee in a cup filled to the brim . He had made Kristl a tea as at the moment she had sworn off coffee. Just like she had sworn off sugar a few months ago. But Henry knew that this might change tomorrow. It had before.

“That is the key to the story. It is what causes Laurel to doubt him, until it is too late.”

“It isn’t a great leap to think that he might have killed that girl.”

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Happy times in times smoking was an accepted vice.

“And this suspicion breaks the love affair. “ Kristl nodded.

“He is pretty violent considering that he almost bashes a man’s skull in with a rock. If Laurel hadn’t stopped him, he might have. He gives me the creeps.”

“That is the thing and the sad thing is that he gets more violent when more frustrated and he gets more frustrated because Laurel grows distant and cold because she starts to doubt him.. And of course the police increase the pressure, believing him to be the most likely perpetrator.”

“Like a circle. The suspicion causes the violence and the violence increases the suspicion. And so on. And so on.”

“A sad story and a great one. It is an interesting take on a murder story. Not a regular whodunit because is not really important who committed the murder. What is is important is what it causes. It is a thriller, mixed with a drama and a crime story all wrapped into one movie.”

“So you liked it?”

“Did you? I mean, there isn’t much action. So it might be boring.”

“Well, it was interesting. But I asked first…”

“Alright… I found the story interesting and the acting of Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame is good, but the movie loses big on cinematography. It is just so lackluster and by the book filming that it really brings down the whole movie. There are so many moments that could have been handled better. I would have been interested what a Robert Krasker, the director of photography of the third man, would have done. The only moment something remarkable is done is when Steele enacts with two other people what might have happened. The eager fascination and detailed description of him describing the murder coupled with his expression is unsettling and brought out by having his face light up from the darkness around him. It could have been done much better though. And there are a few moments throughout the movie that seem to mood enhanced, like the moment she talks through bars to a person.. which would have been greater later in the movie signifying her being captured in this love affair but I got the feeling this was just an accident. ”

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Humphrey Bogart as Dixon Steele caught up in enacting the killing.

“Ah yes…Gloria Grahame is pretty isn’t she,” Henry smiled, “even though she has this sad expression for most of the movie.”

“Sure.. There is this one thing at the end that made me wonder about her character. “

“Which is?”

“I find it strange that she finds it more important whether Steele is the murderer or not, than the fact that she is about to marry a violent man.”

“Uhmm.”

“I mean.. he gets creepy under pressure, so he will get violent and one day she might be the target of his violence..Brr. A man to avoid at all cost,” Kristl shivered.

“Well…. I don’t know what to say. Most of the people he was violent against seem to ask for it.. Not that is makes it any less of a nono.. but somehow I am somewhat more lenient when he hits a guy who taps ash off his cigar into Steeles friends glass of brandy. Or this guy who shouts at you not to talk to his wife, while his wife started the conversation.”

“Still violence is violence.”

“Yeah, it is..”

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Laurel Gray behind bars… a missed opportunity?

“Despite that last criticism I think it is a good movie. In fact I wonder why there has never been a remake. Maybe one with say George Clooney and… well…. “

“..Angelina Jolie?”

“Angelina Jolie?!” Kristl grinned.

“Hmm.. maybe not a good idea, she probably hits back..”

“Maybe Cate Blanchett would be better.”

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Gloria Grahame as Laurel Gray.

“Yeah. She has that kind of frailty that Gloria Grahame has.”

“Well, maybe someone will make that remake.”

“You never know.” Henry said and rose to get him another serving of coffee. Halfway down the hall he turned and raised his empty cup indicating if she wanted any. Kristl nodded a yes.   ‘Addict’, he thought. he  had known she would change her mind.

Henry and Kristl witnessed The Trial (1962)

“Nowadays you can hardly say anything against Orson Welles without invoking scorn and ridicule,” Kristl mused.

“You were going to?”

“Not on purpose, but I feel a bit apprehensive about it. I mean you have a certain amount of leeway towards almost any other director,

except for Welles.. You have to say he was a great guy..”

“Pff..” Henry said.

“Yeah.”

“You do not have to, with me,” Henry said.

“Thanks.”

“So, I think it is an old boring slow moving that is a bit confusing, to say the least,” Henry said.

“You think so?”

“I mean, black and white in 1962,” Henry said.

“Uh, well..is that such a big thing?”

“Yeah.. and no action.”

“Okay..I feel compelled to come to the defense of this movie.”

Henry smiled, but he hid his smile behind his hand and pretended to

take sip from his tea, “Hot,” he remarked.

“Regardless of anything it’s at least a decent film, although it seems to be all over the place,” Kristl said.

“It looks like someone pasted a lot of ‘scenes’ together without much sense and pawned it off as a coherent movie,” Henry said.

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

“It seems to be quite true to the book.. which means that any coherence in the movie, or any incoherence for that matter, must stem from the

book,” Kristl said.

“Then the books must be a bit of a confusing mess,” Henry said.

“Maybe, but I liked the movie, you know. It was surreal, strange and unsettling. Which seems appropriate to me..”

“Right.”

“For the Kafka story, that is.”

“Oh, did you read it?”

“No,” Kristl shook her head.

“Me neither.”

“I think that goes for most of the audience,” Kristl said.

“Yeah. So how you know?”

“Well, other people say so..except for the ending. Which was thought off by Orson Welles. He felt it to be more appropriate.”

“Yeah. Too old a movie for me really,” Henry said.

“I think it’s a good movie, but not astounding. Perkins is such a dubious choice. At times he is really excellent, but at other times he

seems to be a poor choice. He constantly hovers between assertive and dejected. It’s just odd how he swings from one attitude to the opposite

demeanor.”

“Heh.”

“And there seems to be no development in his character. He just seems to swing between one mood or the other depending on what is fitting

towards the scene. So there seems to be no human reason that drives him.”

“Ah.”

“It is just a bit to fabricated. A very nice fabrication, but a fabrication nevertheless.”

“Ok.. the movie looks like it contains a fabricated story,” Henry said.

“Did you know someone made a sequel to the trial?”

“Yes. Ik know.. Will Eisner made a sequel  called the Appeal. In it justice is done.”

“So.. .”

“I think it was Eisner responding to Kafka. While Kafka painted a surreal world in which a man was the victim of an surreal and merciless

bureaucracy, Eisner seems to say that in a democratic society ‘they’ would not get away with it.”

“Maybe someone should make a movie about that?” Henry said.

“Maybe someone will.”

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