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Old February 4 2011, 06:48 AM   #144
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

23. The Servant (B)
24. Videodrome (A)
25. Johnny Guitar (B)

The Servant: This was an odd little movie. In the first half, I was convinced that I was watching a mild-mannered class drama about the relationship between a manservant (played by Dirk Bogarde) and his upper-class employer (played by James Fox). Then, in the second half, the movie seems like a portrait of the upper-class employer's total psychological breakdown. Having re-watched portions in a class, I can see elements of each interpretation present in both halves of the movie. As with many of the films I'm watching for class this quarter, the cinematography is absolutely excellent.

Videodrome: This is probably David Croneberg's best work of bodily-horror. It's also a superb example of cinematic science fiction. I'll be watching it again this quarter for a class, so I'll provide more thoughts in a week or two.

Johnny Guitar: An enjoyable western about two feuding factions, both of which are led by women, rather unusual for the genre in the period (mid-50s). Of course, Sterling Hayden and Ernest Borgnine are here too, and both leave a strong impression in their roles.

Still, the film belongs to the two women: Joan Crawford as Vienna and Mercedes McCambridge as Emma Small. McCambridge in particular eats up the screen in the role of the villain. When she's finally killed, it's a long time coming, and it's hard not to get wrapped up in the moment. Emma Small might be one of the screen's great villains.

At times it drags, though. It seems like an eternity is spent in Vienna's bar after Johnny arrives before we can get and be reminded that this is no B-Western.
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