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Focus on Fritz Lang


MissGoddess
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I thought it was a silly movie. The dame marries a guy she hardly knows, while on vacation in Mexico. She goes back home with him and finds out that he acts strangely most of the time. He lives in a large house and has several rooms made up to look like famous spouse-murder scenes in European history.

 

Doh.

 

That?s when I (if I were a girl) would have left the house, without bothering to pack my bags, and I would have gone as far away from that guy as possible.

 

Then, at the end, she decides to go into the room he has obviously made up for the murder of her, and she hopes to ?reason? with this crazy guy, so he won?t murder her and so they can ?live happily ever after?.

 

Doh.

 

Then Mrs. Danvers burns the house down.

 

Doh.

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Ha! Oh, I shouldn't have read your post before watching but you did make me laugh.

Wow, it really does sound like a Rebecca rip-off. Some of it sounds a bit like *Dragonwyck*,

too. I do like that style of film, though, the spooky old house and the mysterious husband.

But from what I glimpsed, Michael Redgrave is no Olivier and just comes off as cold-weird

as opposed to excitingly sinister. I mean, a girl may take a risk if it's exciting, but if it's cold

and chilly, why bother?

 

If I can focus elsewhere than on Redgrave, I'm sure I will find much to enjoy.

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> {quote:title=MissGoddess wrote:}{quote}

> Michael Redgrave is no Olivier and just comes off as cold-weird

> as opposed to excitingly sinister. I mean, a girl may take a risk if it's exciting, but if it's cold

> and chilly, why bother?

>

> If I can focus elsewhere than on Redgrave, I'm sure I will find much to enjoy.

 

 

That?s exactly right. As ?husband material?, for a good looker like Joan Bennett, the guy was ?borderline? to start with. Then he started acting weird, and there was absolutely nothing that could have possibly attracted her to him after that. Then when she learned about his murder rooms, she should have walked out the front door.

 

But you might enjoy watching the film anyway, since the photography is good and the mood is certainly noir, and I loved her narration, although somewhere in it she should have said, ?Boy, was I stupid to marry that jerk!?

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And to go all the way to Mexico, where there all those Latin lovers,

only to end up with the coldest of fellow tourists...oh, I really need

to watch it tonight. :D

 

I did see the part where she first laid eyes on Redgrave, and I remember

thinking she looked a little kooky, all mesmerized and spellbound, and

that Redgrave wasn't my idea of the kind of man to inspire that degree of

intense interest from so beautiful a woman...unless she's as crazy as him.

 

Okay, I'll lay off poor Michael now, lest I offend his fans. :)

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**************Some spoilers below--Beware****************

 

 

 

 

Since I'd enjoyed *Man Hunt, The Big Heat, Fury* & *The Blue Gardenia* so much in the last few months, I decided to give this a look see. It held my interest right up until the "running in the fog" scene. Then, it just fell apart. The ending where Joan says "I'd rather die than live without you"---WHAT THE ???? "My mommy locked me in my room." What a stupid ending.

 

Should we blame Lang or the writer?

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I thought the film was absolutely fascinating. It's definitely the most "Hitchcockian" of Lang's films. It's Rebecca, for sure, plus Spellbound and even some Notorious. You're also right to mention Dragonwyck and I'd say Jane Eyre and The Spiral Staircase, too.

 

It's the most psychological of Lang's films. I loved that. It's also one of the most "female" of Lang's films. It makes some interesting comments about love and marriage.

 

I don't believe a "literal" film watcher will like it, though. That is for certain.

 

Interestingly, Michael Redgrave reminded me of Alec Baldwin.

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> {quote:title=FrankGrimes wrote:}{quote}

> I thought the film was absolutely fascinating. It's definitely the most "Hitchcockian" of Lang's films. It's Rebecca, for sure, plus Spellbound and even some Notorious. You're also right to mention Dragonwyck and I'd say Jane Eyre and The Spiral Staircase, too.

>

And shades of SUSPICION, too.

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> {quote:title=helenbaby wrote:}{quote}

> **************Some spoilers below--Beware****************

>

>

>

>

> Since I'd enjoyed *Man Hunt, The Big Heat, Fury* & *The Blue Gardenia* so much in the last few months, I decided to give this a look see. It held my interest right up until the "running in the fog" scene. Then, it just fell apart. The ending where Joan says "I'd rather die than live without you"---WHAT THE ???? "My mommy locked me in my room." What a stupid ending.

>

> Should we blame Lang or the writer?

 

Hi, helenbaby!

 

I did hear that part going on while the movie played in the background, so I do know what the "key"

Redgrave's issues was, but I have to see how it leads up to that. Maybe, as Grimes says, it's a

movie heavy in psychological symbolism. Which I can believe, coming from Lang. What I am

hoping is that Lang isn't completely SOLD on Freudian explanations. I am trusting

his natural skepticism will mitigate this aspect of the film.

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> {quote:title=FrankGrimes wrote:}{quote}

> I thought the film was absolutely fascinating. It's definitely the most "Hitchcockian" of Lang's films. It's Rebecca, for sure, plus Spellbound and even some Notorious. You're also right to mention Dragonwyck and I'd say Jane Eyre and The Spiral Staircase, too.

>

 

Well, now I'm really intrigued!

 

> It's the most psychological of Lang's films. I loved that. It's also one of the most "female" of Lang's films. It makes some interesting comments about love and marriage.

>

 

Oh, then it may be one of his most "accessible" films, for me. I find it sometimes

difficult to feel emotionally satisfied from Lang's films.

 

> I don't believe a "literal" film watcher will like it, though. That is for certain.

>

 

Hmmm...I guess I better take my literal cap off. :P

 

> Interestingly, Michael Redgrave reminded me of Alec Baldwin.

 

You're NOT helping his case. :D

 

(No, I don't hate Alec Baldwin! I'm just not attracted to either though

Alec has A LOT more going for him than Mikey)

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Well, now I'm really intrigued!

 

You should be! Lang and Hitchcock have often crossed paths in their works but this is the most blatant of Lang's looking to imitate Hitchcock. I'd say Rebecca and Spellbound are the two films that I was most reminded of with Secret Beyond the Door. But musicalnovelty's mention of Suspicion is very apt, too. And all three of those Hitchcock films feature a woman as the primary lead. Plus we get Hitchcock's famous "mommy issues," which he would powerfully bring forth with his "Mother" trilogy in the early-60s.

 

Oh, then it may be one of his most "accessible" films, for me. I find it sometimes difficult to feel emotionally satisfied from Lang's films.

 

I don't think you will feel "emotionally satisfied." Lang kind of mixes the female and male dynamics in the film and this makes for a messy end. From the female point of view, I think the film is rather fascinating. Who is it that you love? Do you know when you marry? Did you make the right choice? Lots of female fears.

 

Hmmm...I guess I better take my literal cap off. :P

 

You will have to. If you don't, you will definitely walk away from the film thinking it's absurd. The film is mostly metaphorical. If you think "opening a door" means opening a door, you will hate this film.

 

You're NOT helping his case. :D (No, I don't hate Alec Baldwin! I'm just not attracted to either though Alec has A LOT more going for him than Mikey)

 

I didn't say it to help his case! I just thought he reminded me of a toned-down Alec Baldwin.

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> You should be! Lang and Hitchcock have often crossed paths in their works but this is the most blatant of Lang's looking to imitate Hitchcock. I'd say Rebecca and Spellbound are the two films that I was most reminded of with Secret Beyond the Door. But musicalnovelty's mention of Suspicion is very apt, too. And all three of those Hitchcock films feature a woman as the primary lead.

>

 

That is a switch, at least in terms of the films he did with Bennett. She usually was the focus,

but not the one who's point of view was examined.

 

> I don't think you will feel "emotionally satisfied." Lang kind of mixes the female and male dynamics in the film and this makes for a messy end. From the female point of view, I think the film is rather fascinating. Who is it that you love? Do you know when you marry?

>

 

It sounds like a set-up ripe for possibilities and discussion. I hope so!

 

> You will have to. If you don't, you will definitely walk away from the film thinking it's absurd. The film is mostly metaphorical. If you think "opening a door" means opening a door, you will hate this film.

>

 

That does remind me of *Spellbound*.

 

> I didn't say it to help his case! I just thought he reminded me of a toned-down Alec Baldwin.

 

Interesting. I guess you mean his appearance? I don't really have any opinion of Baldwin

on film since I've never seen any of his movies.

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That is a switch, at least in terms of the films he did with Bennett. She usually was the focus,

but not the one who's point of view was examined.

 

It really is a switch for Lang. I think of Lang as being mostly a "masculine" director. The only other films I have seen of his where the woman is the primary lead is Clash by Night and The Blue Gardenia. Hitchcock was very good at both male/female, hence his having a following with both sexes. Lang has featured female dilemmas (Destiny) and fears (M) in his films before, but this one is arguably his strongest.

 

It sounds like a set-up ripe for possibilities and discussion. I hope so!

 

Ohhhhhh, it's loaded for discussion. It's far from simplistic unless you view it that way.

 

That does remind me of Spellbound.

 

The Spellbound angle is in the woman falling for a man with a hidden secret. Can she help him conquer what is conquering him? It's the mind as a maze.

 

Interesting. I guess you mean his appearance? I don't really have any opinion of Baldwin

on film since I've never seen any of his movies.

 

Yes, I thought he physically reminded me of Alec but also his delivery seemed similar.

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> It really is a switch for Lang. I think of Lang as being mostly a "masculine" director. The only other films I have seen of his where the woman is the primary lead is Clash by Night and The Blue Gardenia. Hitchcock was very good at both male/female, hence his having a following with both sexes. Lang has featured female dilemmas (Destiny) and fears (M) in his films before, but this one is arguably his strongest.

>

 

I'm interested in how he presents her basis for being attracted to such a man in the first place.

I saw enough of their initial meeting to be very surprised. The whole knife fight, Joan's narration

about the fights she's seen compared to this one, and then her fixation on Redgrave seemed

unusual. I'm just wondering how Lang will set this up. Will we understand why she felt as she

did? Or is he indicating she was a bit crazy herself from the start.

 

> Ohhhhhh, it's loaded for discussion. It's far from simplistic unless you view it that way.

>

 

Lang is never simplistic.

 

> The Spellbound angle is in the woman falling for a man with a hidden secret. Can she help him conquer what is conquering him? It's the mind as a maze.

>

 

Well, this part may be really interesting, since it sounds like a switch from woman-in-peril

to man-in-peril and that Joan really ends up saving him from his demons. I am unsure I'll enjoy that

but we'll see.

 

> Yes, I thought he physically reminded me of Alec but also his delivery seemed similar.

 

That would be remarkable. Redgrave is usually so passive.

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Yes, maybe I was looking at the film too literally, but I just found the ending so dissatisfying. I thought the cast did well for what they had to work with.

 

If I'd have been Celia (Joan), I'd have headed for home once he turned against me for locking the door and then telling 2 lies immediately. She hardly knew him. So I guess I failed to just go with the improbabilities.

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I'm interested in how he presents her basis for being attracted to such a man in the first place.

I saw enough of their initial meeting to be very surprised. The whole knife fight, Joan's narration

about the fights she's seen compared to this one, and then her fixation on Redgrave seemed

unusual. I'm just wondering how Lang will set this up. Will we understand why she felt as she

did? Or is he indicating she was a bit crazy herself from the start.

 

She makes a comment about it at the time and I think it makes perfect sense. Lang (via Mark (Michael Redgrave)) even makes a comment about the sexes while the couple is in Mexico that Celia (Joan Bennett) takes umbrage with. Is it true? We'll see what you think (or is it feel?) about it.

 

Lang is never simplistic.

 

You're right about that. He's only made a handful of straightforward films. Man Hunt is one that comes to mind. That's one of his most accessible films.

 

Well, this part may be really interesting, since it sounds like a switch from woman-in-peril

to man-in-peril and that Joan really ends up saving him from his demons. I am unsure I'll enjoy that

but we'll see.

 

The pay-off isn't the greatest. Even Spellbound's pay-off isn't the best, at least with what's upsetting John (Gregory Peck). What I liked the most is what Celia has to conquer, herself. I'm pretty sure you will understand what I'm talking about when you watch it. But I do suggest paying attention to her and her side of the story. It's really about her just as much as it's about him. And that is definitely Spellbound-esque. Suspicion is also similar, but it tends to be on the opposite side of the spectrum of Spellbound. In this regard, you're gonna get an In a Lonely Place vibe, too. I'm very confident that you will see what I'm talking about.

 

That would be remarkable. Redgrave is usually so passive.

 

That's why I said a "toned-down" Alec Baldwin.

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Okay, Michael Redgrave's manner isn't bothering me as much as I feared it might. He talks way too much and an awful lot of nonsense, but I think I'll be able to deal with him. I like the movie so far. Joan's really screwed up! :D

 

Fred---she looks great for any age. And so darn skinny!

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Well I finally finished watching *Secret Beyond the Door*. It was very interesting but left me with mixed reactions. I agree it's very Hitchcockian. The Hitch film I was most reminded of, after *Spellbound*, was *Marnie*. Only Mark wasn't "Mark" in *Marnie*, Mark in *Secret* was "Marnie". If that makes sense. "First there are the three taps..." The flowers, "Oh, we can stand gladiolas!". And *Dragonwyck*, too, only I like the ending of *Dragonwyck* better.

 

Who is it that you love? Do you know when you marry? Did you make the right choice?

 

I don't believe Celia was in love. She was infatuated with some idea, a rather twisted idea, in her own mind. Maybe she sensed Mark was twisted, too, and that attracted her just as he was attracted by her. The female fears you mentioned are definitely here, but Lang seems to indicate that their realization is something that can be "conquered" by Freudian psychology and love, as in *Spellbound*.

 

It is sounding a bit like *In a Lonely Place*. I think my reactions must be based on the personality of the man in question. Because I can understand women sticking it out with Peck, Olivier and Bogart, but I can't understand their being with Van Rhynes or Rampheres (is that another Dutch name? What's with the sicko Dutch in upstate New York???? And Pennsylvania???) No, it's not that. Mark was beyond sick in many ways, not just the obvious spectre of murder hovering over him. Maybe there are some things I find harder to deal with than the idea of a man murdering his wife. It must be all the Hitchcock I've seen.

 

If you don't, you will definitely walk away from the film thinking it's absurd. The film is mostly metaphorical. If you think "opening a door" means opening a door, you will hate this film.

 

So there was no Eleanor and she didn't die because of him? I don't quite know what is metaphorical and what isn't. I know locked doors, secrets, masks, fogs and all that...but are we to believe the story or not? I'm confused.

 

And I'm afraid I can't stand Mark. And NOT because of the actor. It's the character I feel no sympathy for.

 

Edited by: MissGoddess on Sep 21, 2010 8:48 PM

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The Hitch film I was most reminded of, after Spellbound, was Marnie. Only Mark wasn't "Mark" in Marnie, Mark in Secret was "Marnie". If that makes sense. "First there are the three taps..." The flowers, "Oh, we can stand gladiolas!".

 

Hey, that's pretty good. I can definitely see that. Mark pulls back a couple times in the film.

 

I don't believe Celia was in love. She was infatuated with some idea, a rather twisted idea, in her own mind. Maybe she sensed Mark was twisted, too, and that attracted her just as he was attracted by her.

 

I was thinking Celia felt something inside of her was telling her that Mark is her guy. "He's the one." So, I am agreeing with you, I believe it was an infatuation. They didn't build love, they jumped off a cliff into love.

 

The female fears you mentioned are definitely here, but Lang seems to indicate that their realization is something that can be "conquered" by Freudian psychology and love, as in Spellbound.

 

This is true. It's Lang's "Love Will Conquer All." Celia's first instincts are to run. Even Mark's tend to be this. But Celia eventually starts to confront her fears.

 

I love that Lang made a film about some of the fears of woman. "What if he's a murderer?!"

 

It is sounding a bit like In a Lonely Place.

 

Isn't it, though?

 

I think my reactions must be based on the personality of the man in question. Because I can understand women sticking it out with Peck, Olivier and Bogart, but I can't understand their being with Van Rhynes or Rampheres (is that another Dutch name? What's with the sicko Dutch in upstate New York???? And Pennsylvania???) No, it's not that. Mark was beyond sick in many ways, not just the obvious spectre of murder hovering over him. Maybe there are some things I find harder to deal with than the idea of a man murdering his wife. It must be all the Hitchcock I've seen.

 

We Pennsylvania Dutch are loving! That does make us sick. :P

 

You are right about the kind of man being a major factor in drawing sympathy or not. Mark does have some serious issues going on. His "felicitous rooms" is a huge one. But I view all of that as being metaphorical, more than anything.

 

So there was no Eleanor and she didn't die because of him? I don't quite know what is metaphorical and what isn't. I know locked doors, secrets, masks, fogs and all that...but are we to believe the story or not? I'm confused.

 

I thought Eleanor (an unseen character!) existed since they had a son together but I don't think she died because of him. He's carrying guilt over her death, blaming himself. I'd have to listen to the dialogue again, though.

 

And I'm afraid I can't stand Mark. And NOT because of the actor. It's the character I feel no sympathy for.

 

I can definitely understand that. Mark isn't the most comforting of men. He really doesn't invite Celia into his life even though they are married. He's withholding from her. She has to sneak around to find out the answers. Lots of trust issues.

 

It just occurred to me that Secret Beyond the Door and The Prowler are actually quite similar! I mean, both involve a woman in love with a man she only thinks she knows, but who conceals a desperate secret(s).

 

Interesting! I'm hoping to watch The Prowler, later tonight.

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