Kehr’s Weekly Recap: The Pirate (1948)

A broad and beautiful Vincente Minnelli musical (1948) with a rich score by Cole Porter. In a Technicolor Caribbean, traveling player Gene Kelly is in love with demure maiden Judy Garland, but she has lustier fantasies, pining after the magnificent pirate Black Mococo. Lively, colorful, and lyrical—Minnelli was married to Garland at the time, and it shows in some of the most romantic close-ups ever put on film. 102 min.

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Kehr Capsule of the Week: The Big Clock (1948)

John Farrow directed this tasteful film noir (1948), which is something of a contradiction in terms; it’s reminiscent of Fritz Lang without Lang’s hysteria. Ray Milland stars as a crime reporter working for a magazine run by Charles Laughton, and his investigation of a murder leads him right to the boss’s office. Farrow creates a coldly threatening atmosphere, mainly through his expert use of the styles and shapes of modern architecture. Not a great thriller, but not bad. Based on a novel by Kenneth Fearing; it was remade almost 40 years later as No Way Out. 95 min.

They Caught the Ferry

De Naede Faergez (which translates literally as “They Reached the Ferry”) was a road safety film commissioned by the Danish government, shot by Dreyer five years after Day of Wrath and another six prior to Ordet, his next feature to be shown publicly. It is somewhat regrettable that the version available here is unsubtitled, if only because the precise facts uttered in the minimal dialogue are functional parts of this adept Hitchcockian exercise. Devoted almost exclusively to the tension and exhilaration of speeding down a country road, it is one more demonstration that Dreyer’s art, principally praised for its spiritual qualities, in fact rests on its concrete realisation of material experience. Despite its effective cautionary ending, the general thrust of this short is to convey the excitement of speed along with its dangers — a significant object-lesson for spectators who equate the director with slowness.