Wilder Times & Dangerous Noir November 16, 2008Posted by clydefro in : Classic Films, Billy Wilder, Nicholas Ray , trackback
I’ve given the day to Billy Wilder at DVD Times. A privilege, I’m sure. Sabrina isn’t one of my most preferred Wilder films, but I do find it supremely entertaining. Hopefully I’ve conveyed that appreciation sufficiently. Sunset Blvd., on the other hand, is most likely my second favorite of his pictures (and it’s my 100th review for the site). The film is incredibly nasty without being obviously so porcupine-y. In that spirit, I think my review may be somewhat bristling to the reader who isn’t a Wilder fanatic. It wasn’t intentional, but it is perhaps a happy coincidence. Nothing personal, I assure you. I’ll acknowledge that both reviews are as imperfect as always, but they’re sincere and, I hope, passionate.
I’ve now been able to review four Wilder films at DVD Times and a few more here. If I ever find the time, I want to put together a comprehensive listing of his work and the DVD status of everything. For now, I’m as surprised as anyone that there have been those four new re-issues this year in R1 alone, plus R2 got a standalone release of A Foreign Affair, which I recently picked up. Only Five Graves to Cairo (available in Australia), Fedora (available in Spain) and Buddy, Buddy remain without an edition either here or in the UK. His very first effort behind the camera, Mauvaise Graine, is also due at some point from Criterion. I’m still anxiously awaiting a few of his films where he served as screenwriter, including Hold Back the Dawn and Arise, My Love, which I’ve not seen.
The other filmmaker who gets me through the night is Nicholas Ray and I’m very proud of a piece I did about his On Dangerous Ground for the wonderfully dark and gloomy site Noir of the Week. I had written about it before, but I’ve become less and less pleased with that and a few other reviews here. It’s a constant learning process.