I've been inspired by my good friend Katie. Katie, along with her friend Andrea, has created a blog called Trailer Made. Katie and Andrea will be posting trailers (new and old, popular and obscure) while running commentaries on them. I look forward to following it, and you should do the same. Check it out!
So, one of the things that I love the most about the cinema is the way that connections can be made between two different films. The French New Wave directors were famous for citing American films and filmmakers like Ford, Hitchcock (not an American, but worked within the American studio system), and Minnelli. I love seeing when an older film is cited, but I love even more when the connection seems so tenuous that at first it takes me a moment to realize, "Hey! I've seen this..."
Case in point:
So, Night of the Hunter is one of my desert island films. Or time capsule films. However you would rank your movies (since I don't believe in favorites), Night of the Hunter is up there for me. It's a chilling movie. However, it's also incredibly unique. It fits no formula that I was familiar with before seeing it, and is an absolutely beautiful film that calls upon a expressionistic style.
The scene above is one that stands out in a film full of stand out scenes. Robert Mitchum (who I had thought was overly campy when I saw the film for the first time) is amazing in his intensity. If you watch him...you can see the cold blooded killer lying in wait under the guise of a priest. What's even scarier about his character...and you can see it in the video...is that he feels absolutely justified and sanctimonious in his actions. He's going to try to kill those kids, and he feels that he's justified.
Amazing, right? Updated. Do the Right Thing was released in the summer of 1989. That's thirty-four years after Night of the Hunter. I love the inclusion of the "story of left hand - right hand" here. It takes on an entirely new meaning within Spike Lee's film. What Mitchum had made chilling through his lack of sincerity of belief in the story is suddenly made poignant by Bill Nunn here. What was unsettling is suddenly hopeful...even though Radio Raheem will be killed and Do the Right Thing ends leaving the audience in a moral or ethical quandary (kind of), there's nothing insincere about Bill Nunn's performance.
Anyhow, I just love these moments when cinema cites cinema, and is able to utilize such a similar piece of dialogue in two separate yet connected ways.