Otto Preminger is in the midst of reappraisal. Foster Hirsch just published a new bio about the bald and fulminating showman (here's my review), the New Yorker's David Denby recently discussed the director/producer on the occasion of Hirsch's book and Chris Fujiwara's more analytical book The World and its Double: The Life and Work of Otto Preminger, and there was also a retrospective of Preminger at NYC's Film Forum. There are times when it seems like there's very few big rediscoveries to make in Hollywood cinema. The longing that maybe there's someone out there who has been overlooked strengthens the idea that Preminger needs new viewers and new understanding. Skidoo, for instance, which I'll be writing about shortly, is an astonishingly strange film, strange in that mind-roasting way that makes it really distinguished. Preminger's less-seen films deserve a revival, but his best work hardly needs a defense. The 1959 Anatomy of a Murder is a juicy, involving court-room drama with a splendid Duke Ellington soundtrack. It's about the wolf-like ardor for the law, a legal duel over a pair of wasted lives, held in a small town that sits right on the line between "picturesque" and "squalid."
categories Features, Cinematical