REVIEW: Der blaue Engel [The Blue Angel] [1930]

“Beware of blondes. They’re special, every one.” It was interesting to discover Josef von Sternberg‘s career started in Hollywood, directing many late-silent era pictures. I assumed the Austrian-born auteur began in Europe because he was the man behind the camera for Germany’s first feature-length talkie, Der blaue Engel [The Blue Angel]. But his helming it was actually at the behest of German star Emil Jannings who—despite reportedly clashing on set of their previous film together, The Last Command, where he won the Oscar for Best Actor—wanted Sternberg to guide him…

Read More

REVIEW: Touch of Evil [1958]

“Your future’s all used up” Back in Hollywood a decade after his The Lady from Shanghai debacle, Orson Welles‘ Touch of Evil almost met the same fate. He presented his rough cut on time yet Universal brought in Harry Keller to reshoot scenes—replacements and brand new—and truncated it to 93-minutes nonetheless. While the studio destroyed any unused footage, they did let Welles take a gander before its bow. Their cut was ultimately released, but seeing it early allowed Welles the opportunity to write a 58-page memo outlying its problems. He…

Read More