Author Archives: Alex Good

Quiz the sixty-second: Hostages (Part one)

This week’s quiz lets you play hostage negotiator. See how many of the following films you can identify, without anyone putting a gun to your head.

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The Maltese Falcon (1941)

*. It’s a movie full of deathless lines, one of the better known being Kasper (or, in the novel, Casper) Gutman’s “I’m a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk.”
*. One of the reasons why it has so many great lines is because everyone in it likes to talk. Even Wilmer enjoys a bit of gaudy patter. Roger Ebert thought the whole film “essentially a series of conversations punctuated by brief, violent interludes.” When Sam and Brigid arrive at Sam’s apartment at the end they are greeted by Gutman’s invitation to sit down and talk. He’s looking forward to it, and so are we. And in fact this entire final act of the film will take place in the one restricted set, and consist of nothing but the five principals talking. But is this something that anyone complains about?
*. What makes the dialogue so good? Yes, it’s snappy and well delivered, but it also has a dramatic urgency to it. Even on the phone — and there are a lot of phone calls — it feels electric.

*. If it’s a movie full of great talk it’s also one that’s full of great moments. Not big, showy moments, but lots of little things. Here are a few: the way Spade and Archer watch “Ms. Wonderly” root through her purse; the look of horror on Spade’s face as Joel Cairo enters his office; Wilmer with his hat pulled down so low that he keeps bumping into people on the street while tailing Spade; Cairo’s awkward attempt at a smooth exit from Spade’s apartment when the police come calling; the tears running down Wilmer’s face as he confronts Spade at the end, and the tears smearing Brigid O’Shaugnessy’s makeup as she looks at Sam, realizing she’s lost the game.
*. Just sticking with that last for a moment, was there ever a leading lady represented on screen in such a way before this? Not that Brigid doesn’t deserve it. David Thomson: “Huston never quite trusted women as characters.” Was this a way of putting Brigid in her place?

*. She has to be tough though, as she doesn’t really belong in the all-gay gang of bird thieves. Some people think this homosexual angle had to be toned down here (as opposed to the 1931 pre-Code Maltese Falcon), but I can’t see how it could be made more obvious. Brigid and Joel even get in a fight over a boy. I mean, really.

*. The gang are, of course, a trio of indelible creations. I’m not sure there’s ever been anything else like them. What I find so endearing about them though is their sheer incompetence. Spade delights in mocking them as “a swell lot of thieves.” Even the way they’re often photographed, from below, is sarcastic, making petty criminals seem like giants. Joel Cairo is just there to be slapped around (and like it!). Wilmer is only a “gunsel” (that is, a kept boy, not a gunman). And Gutman, for all his airs of superiority is just a two-bit grifter, not even above palming bills. Is it any surprise these losers got played by the Russian Kemidov in Constantinople? At least Huston sends them off on their next round of travels lightly. In the book and the 1931 film Wilmer turns on Gutman and kills him.

*. Lorre, Greenstreet, and Elisha Cook Jr. are all terrific, but so are veterans Barton MacLane and Ward Bond as the pair of dour cops who get to show up and look unimpressed with all these shenanigans. The weirdos needed some balance.
*. The movie revolves around Bogart’s Spade however, who is in every scene except the one where Archer gets shot. Bogart was actually the second choice for the part, however. And while I don’t think George Raft would have been nearly as good, I think he might have worked pretty well. I can actually see him in the part.
*. It came out the same year as Citizen Kane, both films being directorial debuts. Obviously neither Welles nor Huston went in to the business as complete neophytes, but the results are still astounding. That something like that could happen is one of those things that would seem to say something about filmmaking. I think there’s a certain level of inspiration and energy you have when you’re just starting out that is something special.
*. I could go on, but I don’t want to because it’s not that much fun talking about a favourite film, and I would probably rank The Maltese Falcon in my top three, most days. It’s smart, quick, and no end of fun. What’s more, it plays as lively today as the first time I saw it. I don’t think I see a lot more in it now then I did then, but I enjoy it just as much.

Satan Met a Lady (1936)

*. Based on “a book” by Dashiell Hammett. That’s cold.
*. It is, of course, based on The Maltese Falcon, though it’s a very free adaptation. I guess Warner Bros. just figured that since they already had the rights to The Maltese Falcon they could film it again under a different title giving the characters different names and nobody would be any the wiser.
*. But why this title? Earlier drafts went with The Man in the Black Hat and Men on Her Mind, neither of which seem to have much relation to what’s going on. But what does Satan Met a Lady refer to? I assume the lady is Valerie Purvis (Bette Davis), but then who is Satan? Detective Ted Shane (Warren William)?
*. Bette Davis thought the film crap (or “junk,” to quote her directly) and wasn’t going to do it, but she needed the money. That’s not really an auspicious way to get started.
*. Again we are forced into making comparisons, though given the changes they made there isn’t the same sense of seeing a diminished thing as when putting the 1931 version of The Maltese Falcon alongside John Huston’s 1941 classic. This is a different film.
*. Most of the changes are cosmetic. Instead of a Maltese falcon we’re chasing after the legendary horn of Roland, which is an artefact made of ivory and supposedly filled with precious gems. The Gutman character is now a tough old dame and Wilmer the gunsel is her babyish adult son (who is always just about to tell Shane somethin’). Joel Cairo is a proper English fellow. And the femme fatale is Bette.
*. The biggest shift, however, has to do with tone. This has always been difficult for filmmakers to get right. Only Bogart has managed to project the sense of wry cynicism and physical threat that Sam Spade needs. In the 1931 film Ricard Cortez was a bit too leering, while here Warren William seems to be auditioning for William Powell’s role in The Thin Man (a successful franchise in the mid-’30s).
*. It’s all very lighthearted and farcical, which doesn’t really fit with much of what’s going on. The cuckolding and murder of Shane’s partner, for example, is treated as a laugh. Which, when you think about it, is remarkable.
*. And I don’t mean remarkable in a good way. I mean a misfire, to the point where I’m not even sure what target they were trying to hit. There are a few things to enjoy here, like the big baby Kenny playing at being a gunman, and Bette Davis nearly succeeding in not embarassing herself, but overall this is a mess that doesn’t play well five years after the first Maltese Falcon and seems totally misguided in light of what we’d be getting next.

The Maltese Falcon (1931)

*. This is a movie that’s hard to judge on its own merits today. Meaning that if you’ve seen it, you’ve likely only done so after seeing John Huston’s more famous 1941 version of the same story.
*. That’s hard on Roy Del Ruth’s film, because even though I think most people consider it to be a good little movie, with lots of things in it to enjoy, it doesn’t do one thing better than Huston’s.
*. Just look at the cast. The 1941 film had one of the greatest supporting casts ever assembled, so it’s no surprise that Otto Matieson, though very good, is no Peter Lorre, that Dudley Digges, though also very good, is no Sydney Greenstreet, or that Dwight Frye, who hardly gets to speak but who certainly looks the part, is no Elisha Cook Jr. In sum, the gang of falcon-hunting weirdos is great, but they fall far short of what we got ten years later. The perfect, as they say, is the enemy of the good.
*. The leads, I’m afraid, are an even bigger step down. Bebe Daniels is game, but no Mary Astor. And Ricardo Cortez . . . can we say he’s no Sam Spade, or should we just say he’s no Humphrey Bogart? Because Sam Spade really became Bogie. There are no alternatives.
*. I feel bad just making all these comparisons, but like I say: there’s no way you can watch this movie without its remake in your mind, and the comparisons are all to its disadvantage.

*. Take another point that’s often raised: that this movie was made pre-Code and so could take more risks in its adaptation of a gritty novel. Yes, in theory. But in practice? There’s Sam’s strip search of Ms. Wonderly, which I’ll admit is kind of fun. But the franker depiction of his adultery with his partner’s wife just makes him seem more of a leering creep (and one who even files his nails at one point!). Also, while I’ve heard it said that they could be franker about the homosexual subtext, I don’t think this is played up any more than in the later version, where Lorre’s Joel Cairo is about as swishy as you can get and Wilmer is even more the kept boy.
*. Huston’s Maltese Falcon is sometimes considered the first film noir, though you’ll find lots of people to argue about that. Some people credit Stranger on the Third Floor (1940) and others will push things even further back, into the 1920s. But it made me wonder: if the ’41 Maltese Falcon is the first noir, or even among the first, then what is this movie? What generic distinction would you make between the two to classify the one as noir and the other not? The lighting?
*. I don’t care for the ending, with Spade visiting Ms. Wonderly in a women’s prison. Gone is his big speech about standing up for something, which would only fly past her anyway since she doesn’t recognize any code. And the fact that he is now working for the District Attorney just tastes bad. Sure, Sam may have his principles, but I can’t see him working for the Man after all he’s been through.
*. So it’s a decent movie, and to say it falls short of Huston’s film is hard to hold against it. But even if it had never been remade I doubt this version would be very well known today. The leads just aren’t strong enough, the action not tough enough, the cracking wise not snappy and smart enough. It was, however, a step in the right direction. And that’s more than can be said for Hollywood’s next attempt at the same material five years later: Satan Met a Lady.

Quiz the sixty-first: Drive tapes (Part one)

There have been some pretty easy quizzes around here recently, so let’s mix things up with a quiz that separates the casual cinephile from the true auteur of film trivia. In other words, one that is downright impossible. Yes, it’s a gallery of that most useless cutaway in film: a shot of the car radio! I doubt the people who made some of these movies could identify them, though I think there are a couple that are manageable. In other words: Good luck!

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The Monster (2016)

*. We begin with an epigraph taken from some generic fairy tale. This suits, since as far as stories go it doesn’t get much simpler than this. I mean, even the title is generic.
*. So, mother and daughter are driving through the forest in a rainstorm when they’re in an accident. A monster proceeds to stalk them. Add in a couple of other elements that hardly count as twists: conflict between the two leads (mom is an alcoholic) and a pair of rescue fails (tow truck and ambulance drivers). Mother makes grand self-sacrificing gesture. Little girl shows pluck and resiliency in destroying the monster.
*. You’ll notice I didn’t bother with the spoiler alert. Because really, there’s nothing to this story to spoil. You should be able to tell where all this is going after the first few minutes. There are no surprises.
*. Nor is there anything very scary going on. Writer-director Bryan Bertino also wrote and directed The Strangers, another conventional horror flick that didn’t have any scares in it. I’m not sure what attracts him to the genre. He sets himself a difficult challenge here — making a movie largely bound to a single restricted set — but does nothing to exploit it for suspense or the usual claustrophobic thrills.
*. “No one very much takes this road anymore.” You don’t say. Tow truck companies and ambulance dispatchers also do a shit job of checking in with their employees. This road seems to be a black hole for people and for information.
*. Points for not having a CGI creature. Yes, he looks like a guy in a rubber monster suit, topped off with an immobile head (does his mouth even open?), but at least he isn’t another cartoon.
*. Seeing as the girl’s name is Lizzy, I wonder why her mom has a “Martina” tattoo. Or maybe Zoe Kazan has a Martina tatoo and they just didn’t bother covering it up.
*. Such a simple fairy tale invites being interpreted as a metaphor. This is another movie where the real monster is in fact a bad mother. Think The Babadook. The threatened family has long been a horror staple, but now it is threatened from within, representing a generation’s anxiety over its childraising competence. So Lizzy is the adult in the family, and really the best/only thing her mother can do for her is to just get out of the way.
*. This would all be well enough, and The Monster a decent B-picture, but for the ending. Not only is Kathy a bad mother, she is a total idiot. Her “plan” for escaping the monster is jaw-droppingly stupid. Even as the expression of a death wish it doesn’t hold much water, since it would have doomed Lizzy as well. Then Lizzy’s own plan has no business working but for the strange passivity the monster has toward her, and its even stranger flammability. I mean, it’s slimy, and wet, but is it also covered in oil? That’s the only way I can see it turning into a fireball like that.
*. It’s still not a bad movie. Zoe Kazan and Ella Ballentine are both pretty good, though their interactions become repetitive because the script doesn’t really know what to do with them once their basic dynamic has been introduced. On their way to a better movie, however, their car broke down.

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

*. Almost a really good remake.
*. As with any remake coming this long after the original (thirty years) I find the most interesting part is noticing how the times have changed. Thomas Crown is still involved in some kind of possibly shady financial dealings (director John McTiernan likened him to Donald Trump, then not a candidate for higher office), but he’s moved from Boston to New York City and races catamarans instead of playing polo.
*. This Thomas Crown is also not going to be satisfied with an erotic game of chess. No, he’s going to get naked and dirty with his conquests. On the stairway even, which I would have thought one of the very worst places in the world to go at it. One suspects that he and his lover aren’t that into board games.
*. At the time, McTiernan was best known as an action director thanks to a pair of now iconic films he’d made a decade previously: Predator and Die Hard. So, while in the first film the heist itself was presented in the briefest way imaginable (you could tell Norman Jewison wasn’t interested in it at all), here it turns into a pair of lengthy set-pieces that allow McTiernan to stay in his comfort zone.
*. I wouldn’t want to go so far though as to say that McTiernan flubs on the romance. I think he does what he can. Where I think this part of the film flags is in how totally Rene Russo overwhelms Pierce Brosnan, despite his mastering her in the end. I don’t dislike Brosnan, but I don’t think he was right as James Bond and I don’t think he’s right here either. Steve McQueen was more believable as the tycoon bored with his riches and three-piece suits. He was also more interesting, because Thomas Crown’s money is the least interesting thing about him. Or at least it was.
*. Jewison’s Thomas Crown Affair was notoriously a case of style over substance. The plot itself was a fantasy. The plot is still a fantasy here (would the proctor really let Thomas sit in the Impressionists room and eat a croissant? would none of the proctors on staff not realize three impostors showing up? would painting over the Monet and then washing the paint off with a sprinkler not damage the original just a bit?) but style has been replaced not with the merely stylish but with money.
*. The ’90s version of Thomas Crown is obviously a man of taste, hence his stealing paintings instead of money, but he seems more like the subject of an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous or some very upscale fashion magazine. Unfortunately, this has the effect of making Russo’s character appear even more shallow and mercenary in being seduced by him. Because what does she really see in him other than his wonderful homes, and dining every night at the best restaurants?
*. A lot of people didn’t like Faye Dunaway’s apperance here as Thomas’s therapist. Had she become his mother? According to McTiernan some saw it as a betrayal. Others saw the part as unnecessary, and with this I concur. Remarkably, McTiernan says during the DVD commentary that she serves “the same dramatic function” as the dune buggy in the first film. What?
*. I agree with the general point made by Paul Tatara in his review, which begins by saying that this version is more (or really less) than a piece of fluff, instead calling it “a veritable motherload of Twinkie filling with no actual Twinkie surrounding it.” This didn’t bother him though, since “for once, our fond memories of a classic movie aren’t being trampled by the re-make. The original film was just as empty as this one is.”
*. But while the first time around it was a fantasy, something about it worked. It had an otherworldly dream quality. The feel of this movie is very much a this-world fantasy. There is no sense of seduction to its images beyond the crassness of its desires. We had the feeling that McQueen really did think all of this was a joke. Brosnan’s Crown is much more a part and product of his environment. We couldn’t really imagine him out of it.
*. Still, I found it quite enjoyable. Russo is a force that, at least for the first couple of acts, dominates the screen (and Brosnan), clothes on or off. But then there’s the ending. Whereas Faye Dunaway lost her playboy, Russo gets hers in a totally silly coda. I hated it. In fact, hate isn’t strong enough.
*. I suppose it’s defensible on some level. Jewison thought McQueen and Dunaway were a pair of shits who deserved each other but couldn’t consummate their narcissistic fascination. Here they’re a pair of ultimately vacuous social climbers (though still, in McTiernan’s own judgment, a pair of narcissists, even if Dunaway’s shrink won’t use the n-word). Remarkably, they get exactly what they want. For them, money really can, and does, buy happiness, which is a complete rejection of everything the first film stood for.
*. But then, by 1999 hadn’t we all sold out? Hadn’t we learned to stop worrying and enjoy the simple pleasures of loving ourselves? For wealthy boomers like Thomas and Catherine jetting off to exclusive parts unknown this was the final piece of the puzzle after brief careers of luxury and self-indulgence: a happy ending.

The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

*. The Thomas Crown Affair is a weird movie. Weird, I think, when it came out, and perhaps even stranger now. I don’t think it’s very successful, and there are a lot of things I don’t like about it at all, but somehow it stays in your head.
*. Let’s start with the credits and the song “The Windmills of Your Mind” by Michel Legrand (the composer for The Umbrellas of Cherbourg). “Windmills” was a big hit, won an Oscar for Best Song, and went on to be covered several times, including by Sting in the 1999 remake.
*. I hate it. I think it sounds drippy. Norman Jewison thought the lyrics captured something of Thomas Crown’s rootless character, but I found them so banal they could have been referring to anything. As for tone, what do the lyrics suggest? A heist picture? A romance? It’s hard to see the fit.

*. From the credits we move swiftly into the bank job, which is presented through the use of split screen. I’ve nothing against the use of split screen, but I don’t think it serves any purpose here. What the different gang members are doing isn’t important, interesting, or connected in any significant way. But Jewison had just seen the technique used in some experimental films at Montreal’s Expo so at a late date he worked it in. David Thomson thought it “tiresome” in 1968 and “inane and incredible now.” I just find it pointless.
*. Is this important? Well, the chief accusation against The Thomas Crown Affair is that it is an exercise in pure style. Or, as Jewison puts it, “a film of style over content.” The script, a James Bond fantasy by a Boston lawyer who had never written a screenplay before, was considered to be simple and largely expendable (leading to Roger Ebert’s verdict that it was “possibly the most under-plotted, underwritten, over-photographed film of the year”). Jewison only saw in the script a chance to play variations on a theme. The dialogue, for example, he found to be “just kind of dumb” but it was “something you could play with because it’s kind of unreal.”
*. In an experiment of style over substance (or content, or story) matters of style are important. And by style I mean more than the well-dressed, nay, sensationally dressed leads. As an exercise in filmmaking this was for the time state of the art, with delightful camerawork by Haskell Wexler and editing by Hal Ashby. It’s not flashy because that wasn’t the style in 1968. This isn’t an Ocean’s movie. But it is smooth and achieves the glossy but rich texture of a fashion mag (which is not a dig at fashion mags).

*. They tried different titles out but I think settled on the best. The affair is ambiguous, referring both to the case being built against Thomas and the romance between Thomas and Vicki. It is not a heist movie, and in fact has a curious structure in that regard. The climactic action takes place in the first act and the rest of the film is denouement. I think this was part of the problem Jewison recognized in there not being enough story in the script.
*. Is it as much a woman’s picture and fantasy as it is a lawyer’s dream of James Bond? Vicki is . . . what? Classy, self-assured, well turned-out. But surely not a hotshot international insurance investigator. She doesn’t even know what the word “arbitrage” means. She cracks the case because her instincts on seeing a photo of Crown tell her that he’s the one. She then takes out an ad in the newspaper offering a reward for information that leads to her kidnapping the son of the gang’s driver. With the assistance of the police. This really is a fantasy.
*. But to return to my question, just who is she? Instead of answering directly, when confronted with her professional infidelities by Eddy she responds “I know what I am” and defies his insinuated label. So I guess we know what she is.

*. Then again, who is Thomas Crown? A self-made man? The scion of some Boston old money? His character is a puzzle. He has all the money in the world but he’s bored. He wants excitement. So he fights the Man, the system. Presumably the same system that he has cynically manipulated all his professional life. It’s 1968, you see, and he’s no square. Norman Jewison was at the time a self-styled beatnik, while Steve McQueen fought to be in the film because it would let him wear a suit. That’s quite a ball of irony there: McQueen angling to play Cary Grant if Cary Grant were really Steve McQueen. Grant might have played polo and piloted a glider, but take breakfast on his rooftop without a shirt? Never.
*. Is Thomas a rebel? I have trouble with that. What he seems to be more like is one of today’s tech billionaires, cultivating the image of a rebel while all the while being just another arrogant CEO who feels that rules don’t apply to him. Slugging the cop struck me as crazy, that is until you realize that he probably thinks he can do anything and get away with it.
*. So they’re a dream couple. “It’s a love story between two shits is what it really is,” Jewison says on the commentary. Do they deserve each other? Does he deserve to get away? What exactly do they deserve? The ending is just another bit of fantasy. With or without the evidence of the telegram that Vicki seems to think she has destroyed (surely there will be a record of it), isn’t the fact that his driver arrives at the pick-up in Thomas’s car basically incrimination enough? Or is Thomas planning on jetting away someplace where there is no extradition treaty with the U.S.?

*. Then there’s the chess game. Apparently only two lines in the script that Jewison knew he would take two days to film. It plays off the dinner scene in Tom Jones and it’s all kind of silly and obvious and over the top, even by today’s standards. Nicki’s revelation of some side boob, and the way she fingers her bishop is more than just suggestive. But are they really into each other all that much? They seem more like a pair of narcissists sharing their fascination with themselves. Those matching close-ups make it seem as though they’re looking into mirrors.
*. Easy come, easy go. Thomas is on his jet off to . . . somewhere. Vicki has lost the only playboy of the western world but it was fun while it lasted. That torn-up telegram is an apt gesture, signaling the ultimate meaninglessness of it all. Hey, even the banks had insurance. But perhaps its fantasy texture, easy on the eyes and the head, is what has let it stick around. Everybody has a dream, and the dreams of The Thomas Crown Affair are pretty durable. Money, freedom, beautiful lovers, a beach.

Sleuth (2007)

*. It should have been good, if not great. Anthony Shaffer’s play has a timeless quality about it. Michael Caine and Jude Law are more than capable of holding their own. Harold Pinter did the script and Kenneth Branagh was behind the camera. So what went wrong?
*. To answer that I want to go back to what I said about Deathtrap. Instead of that “timeless quality” Sleuth had that I just mentioned, Deathtrap was very much a film of its time (the early ’80s). The same goes here, with Andrew Wyke’s country manor now being redone as an ultra-modernist dream home that we could never imagine anyone actually living in, complete with a full suite of CCTV cameras (that, curiously, play no part in the plot). Only ten years later it looks silly.
*. Another thing that’s been lost is any sense of Andrew being an author possessed by his genre. Olivier in the original was someone who had trouble separating detective fact from detective fiction, he’d become so steeped in the latter. In both Deathtrap and this film Caine is playing a hack who doesn’t seem that interested in whodunits, which makes his obsessive gamesmanship (in both films) harder to understand.
*. More than this, what’s missing (again, as in Deathtrap) is the sense of fun. In the first Sleuth movie both Andrew and Milo were people who loved playing the game, putting on performances, and besting their rival. Here they just like being mean to each other.
*. The Shaffer/Mankiewicz Sleuth had its dark moments, but was still a comedy. Deathtrap tried to be funny, and maybe it was in 1982, but the jokes haven’t aged. This Sleuth, however, doesn’t even seem to try for laughs. There’s a laboured bit of stale Pinter in the “I’m you, you’re me” scene but aside from that there’s no attempt at levity that I can discern.
*. The homosexual couple in Deathtrap was obviously not a match made in heaven, but it was at least believable and didn’t play to stereotypes. The seduction scene here is, to use the cliché, cringe-inducing. The final third of the film plays the gay angle as something sick, making the nastiness even more distasteful.
*. Distasteful and dull. I mentioned how surprised I was in my notes on the 1972 version that it was so long. This movie is nearly a full hour shorter but actually feels the opposite. The final act (or, in the tennis lingo they use, set) of the original game is disposed of so that the icky and ultimately very boring homosexual angle can be played out, which was more lively and sincere in the original for being left unstated. Here the only thing that happens is that Andrew pretends (or does he?) to fall in love with Milo, who plays along in kittenish fashion until he finally calls Andrew a poofter, which gets him shot. How interesting is any of that?
*. For what it may be worth (and I don’t think it’s worth much in this case) Caine says on the commentary that he thought Andrew only wanted a companion and not a sexual partner in Milo. Hm.I think the sexual angle is played up pretty obviously from the moment he makes his proposition.

*. A proposition, by the way, that Branagh found “touching.” An older man offering to buy a rent boy? I doubt Pinter thought there was anything touching to it.
*. That’s Pinter (interrogating Branagh) appearing in a cameo as the detective on the crime show Andrew is watching on TV. I wasn’t paying much attention and thought it was John Thaw’s Inspector Morse.
*. Branagh wanted to keep things interesting without leaving the confines of the postmodern box of a set he’d constructed, which leads to a lot of irritating camera work. None of it seems natural and it has the effect, I found, of depersonalizing the leads when what should have been driving the film is their personalities. I mean, we don’t even see their faces until about eight minutes in.
*. I’ve mentioned how unnatural the sets and camera work is and I’d say the same about the acting. The way Law in particular uses his body and bellows some of his lines seems very much geared toward playing to a live audience and not to the camera.
*. So Sleuth (1972) is still there, despite Pauline Kael’s saying that only two or three people were still interested in it ten years after it came out. Deathtrap has dated less well but still has some admirers. This movie, however, is already almost entirely forgotten. Which is, I think, probably for the best.