Wednesday Double Feature
A few weeks back I was playing around with trying to make a list of as many “Alphabet Films” as I could think of. When I say that I mean is films who’s title Is just one letter or has a single letter as part of the title. It made for an interesting Facebook thread but in the end I only managed to fill out half of the alphabet. I figured I’d go with two of the first films I thought of when I started this list and the result was two films from two of my favorite directors, which other than the quirk of their title have absolutely nothing in common.
The first up was another Orson Welles film, F for Fake, which is to the best of my knowledge his only documentary, and definitely the only color piece by him I’ve ever seen. This film is mostly nonfiction as Welles is the first to admit this is a story about fraud. It’s story is mostly about art fraud especially notorious forger Elmyr de Hory though this is only a jumping off point. The film goes off on numerous tangents regarding the “authorized autobiograph”y of Howard Hughes and other hoaxes culminating in a faked Picassos based on 27 paintings that may or may not have been stolen from the artist.
While this may have not not been Welles greatest work I enjoyed it immensely. Welles uses and almost lyrical editing style and Welles himself is fantastic as combination master of ceremonies and narrator simultaneously participating in the story and standing outside of it observing.
The next film Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder was a film I was not expecting to enjoy as much as I did. It was one that despite being a big fan of Hitchcock’s work I had never gotten around seeing having written it off as one of his minor works and an adaptation of a stage play, no less.
Hictchcock is at the top of his game here and while Dial M For Murder certainly starts out feeling like a filmed play as it goes along it just gets better and better taking full advantage of closeups and different camera angles to provide us with little clues that don’t become apparent until the very end.
The cast is fantastic with Ray Milland playing Tony our villain protagonist as a cold calculating sociopath as he plans the perfect murder of his wife and when that fails comes up with a backup plan to get her convicted for her killing her attempted murderer in self defense. Grace Kelly is wonderful as said wife but best of all is John Williams who in the beginning we mistake for one of Hitchcock’s boilerplate incompetent detectives ends up saving the day even when characters we expected to be rooting for as the heroes nearly screw the whole thing up in front of him.