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<  Third Eye Archives - Specialty Forums  ~  Director's Series: Fred Zinnemann

Ghulam
Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 9:59 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 4724 Location: Upstate NY
My summing up of the Zinnemann forum:- I did enjoy seeing and re-seeing his movies. He remains one of Hollywood's top-tier directors of his time. He is great in creatng atmosphere which is appropriate for the place and the time, very attentive to detail and effective in maintaining the narrative flow. He is also good in eliciting finely tuned performances from his actors.

Although he made several outstanding movies, I am afaid the only one he will be remembered for is High Noon, the saga of courage and a man's being true to his conscience. Nun's Story and Julia are also fine movies, but since the books they were based on and the characters in those books are no longer hot topics, they will attrite from inattention. Some of his major movies, such as A Man For All Seasons anf From Here to Eternity have clearly dated and may not appeal to today's audiences. The Men, The Search and Behold the Pale Horse, while they all have some merit, do not have outstanding characteristics that can keep them in public eye.

My summary will of course be shot down, but that's what it is intended for, so that we can get more posters involved in giving Mr Zinnemann a fond farewell.
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billyweeds
Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 10:22 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20424 Location: New York City
I am afaid the only one he will be remembered for is High Noon.

This is probably true. and in a sense rightly so, since it's his only film that combines his usual skill with a story and a mise-en-scene and acting that all complement each other forcefully. Some extra something is always lacking in his other films. And, of course, there are many, many film buffs who regularly knock High Noon for being pretentious. Sobeit. At least we've managed to bring the wildly overrated From Here to Eternity down to size.

High Noon and The Sundowners remain my favorite Zinnemanns, and High Noon remains one of my all-time favorite films.
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bocce
Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 2:51 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 24 May 2004 Posts: 2428
i'll buy into that, too...

as one of the twin pillars of the american western (the other being "stagecoach"), HN will survive. over time, only the very curious will want to find out more about who directed it and what else he'd done.

one thing i got from viewing and this discussion was that zinnemann is revered more as a craftsman than a creative force, more a conductor than composer. he doesn't actually synthesise elements to evolve a new image. rather, he arranges them skillfully enough into a cohesive pattern. there is a talent to that but nothing that will break thru.

i think his closet shot at true creativity was "behold a pale horse" in which he tried to synthesise documentary with dramatic style. cinematically and themeatically, it's a bold venture for fred which ends in what ghulam relates was critically assessed as a "noble failure". there was nothing like it in his previous work, and there would be nothing close to it afterward.
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billyweeds
Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 3:43 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20424 Location: New York City
Behold a Pale Horse does indeed qualify as "noble" and "underrated," but not really "good."
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bocce
Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 3:59 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 24 May 2004 Posts: 2428
did i say "underated" or "good'...

where are these quotes coming from that i never made?

billy, you've swallowed too much joevitus/mcbain wine.
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mo_flixx
Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 5:35 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 30 May 2004 Posts: 12533
"Well-crafted" is a good adjective for Zinnemann. I'm not sure that he consistently drew out remarkable performances from his actors in retrospect. I'd put Katy Jurado up at the top of the list.
In other cases, I think he elicited fine (but perhaps not truly outstanding) performances from a number of the top stars of the day.
Sorry I missed THE MEN (Brando) and THE SEARCH (Monty).
And I'd rank BEHOLD A PALE HORSE and HIGH NOON as my personal favorites of the ones I was able to see.
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ehle64
Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 7:08 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
Zinnemann's Kid Glove Killer (1942) is being aired on TCM on August 9th @ 6am EST. It stars Van Heflin, Marsha Hunt and Lee Bowman. Just FYI.
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billyweeds
Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 8:40 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20424 Location: New York City
bocce wrote:
did i say "underated" or "good'...

where are these quotes coming from that i never made?

billy, you've swallowed too much joevitus/mcbain wine.


bocce--I wasn't even referring to your posts. THe quotes were mine and mine alone.
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billyweeds
Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 8:41 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20424 Location: New York City
ehle64 wrote:
Zinnemann's Kid Glove Killer (1942) is being aired on TCM on August 9th @ 6am EST. It stars Van Heflin, Marsha Hunt and Lee Bowman. Just FYI.


ehle--Thanks. I'm thinking of catching that one. I looove Van Heflin.
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censored-03
Posted: Sat Aug 07, 2004 2:54 am Reply with quote
Joined: 24 May 2004 Posts: 3058 Location: Gotham, Big Apple, The Naked City
I think it's too bad we never discussed the possibly over-looked and slight but thoroughly enjoyable, noirishly dark Act Of Violence by Zinnemann. As I mentioned a few months back, the tired out but savvy prostitute played by Mary Astor is one of Zinnemann's finest performances to have directed.

The simple plot is about a WW2 veteran (Van Heflin) living a pleasant life in a small town with his wife and small son. The man's life is sent into a tailspin when a former fellow POW (Robert Ryan in a crazed but controlled performance) comes to town to do an act of revenge on him. This is by far the most moralistic film by Zinnemann, including High Noon I think. The story is nowhere near as compelling as High Noon's, but the angst caused by a moral decision of the antagonist during the war is possibly more profound than the sherrif's dillemma in High Noon. See for yourselves sometime.

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censored-03
Posted: Sat Aug 07, 2004 3:11 am Reply with quote
Joined: 24 May 2004 Posts: 3058 Location: Gotham, Big Apple, The Naked City
One more thing about Zinnemann. I find that every time The Day Of The Jackal comes across my TV screen I stay for the ride. I think it just improves with age and it is by far Zinnemann's most fluid film. It just unfolds with a most watchable tenseness. The almost auto-pilot villain played so cooly by Edward Fox is a guy you tend to find yourself rooting for right up until the awesome crescendo of an assasination plot ending.

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mo_flixx
Posted: Sat Aug 07, 2004 9:02 am Reply with quote
Joined: 30 May 2004 Posts: 12533
Who do we kick around next??
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Marc
Posted: Sat Aug 07, 2004 10:57 am Reply with quote
Joined: 19 May 2004 Posts: 8423
How about a B-movie director? A forum on Roger Corman productions might be fun. Or noir.

Do we want to stick to directors? Any interest in discussing genre?
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lissa
Posted: Sat Aug 07, 2004 11:03 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 2148 Location: my computer
Quote:
Do we want to stick to directors? Any interest in discussing genre?


Yes.

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lissa
Posted: Sat Aug 07, 2004 11:04 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 2148 Location: my computer
Okay, to elaborate. When Genre is discussed, there is usually a broader range. Directors' films (hence specific films) aren't always widely available, but EVERY video store/cable channel will be offering films in most genres, available to any who wish to partake.

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