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Mystery & Suspense in The Lodger

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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Xs111uH9ss[/youtube] You can only get the Suspense element going by giving the audience information.—Alfred Hitchcock Suspense, Hitch always insisted, was fundamentally different from Mystery. Because the press so often mislabeled his movies as Mysteries, he took more than one occasion to get specific about the difference. The most famous of these was in an interview […]

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Mise-en-scene & Concentrated Exposition in John Huston’s
In This Our Life

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1942’s In This Our Life has become a footnote in John Huston‘s esteemed filmography. Coming after the knock-down drag-out success of his first film, The Maltese Falcon—its powerful, and historically unusual, portrayal of institutional racism is electrifying, but it is this subplot alone that garners any and all critical affection the film receives. This last, as a matter of fact, […]

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Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer—John McNaughton—1986

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Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is a film of profound emotional impact. It takes subject  matter familiar to the movies—the psychosexual killer—makes it wholly its own, and it does this on the tail end of the biggest wave of cinematic Psychomania in history. Formally it is masterful in its deployment of mise-en-scene, cinematography, and sound […]

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From Dusk Till Dawn—Robert Rodriguez—1996

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This year marks the 15th anniversary of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s cult artifact, From Dusk Till Dawn. Like everything Q.T. has put his hands on, it’s reception has been polarized, and predictably even those that have praised it couch their attaboys in meaningless platitudes about “fun” and “exploitation.” “…made to order for the stimulation […]