Monday, January 24, 2011

Fritz Lang.

The Film Forum, the great revival movie house on Houston Street in Manhattan, is running a 22-film retrospective of the films of the Austrian director Fritz Lang. By the time Lang emigrated to the US, he was already regarded as a film genius, having directed "Metropolis" and "M."

Lang came to Hollywood and initially tried to hold out against "Hollywood-style hooey." Eventually, he gave in to the hooey that the public wanted to see. He directed hackneyed scenes where good guys hide behind the curtains and the Nazis don't find them.

In one movie "Hangmen Also Die," his writing collaborator was the great Bertoldt Brecht. Brecht had this to say about the movie “What an infinitely dismal fabrication this hostage film is that I have to occupy myself with these days. What a load of hackneyed situations, intrigues, false notes!” That was the good news, Brecht went on “I feel the disappointment and terror of the intellectual worker who sees the product of his labors snatched away and mutilated.”

No real point today. Except that art is hard. Even the art we do in advertising.


mary said...

no real point either, except metropolis is one of my favourite silent movies. so is chaplins modern times.

george tannenbaum said...

Mary, you can learn so much watching the silents. These are films by people who invented the language we use today of cinematic story-telling, and they did it very sparsely yet directly.

If you liked modern times you should check out Rene Clair's "À nous la liberté," which many people think Chaplin stole from.