Thursday, 16 March 2017

Noel Bjorndahl's personal history of film (9) - A succinct note on Jacques Tourneur

Jacques Tourneur
Jacques Tourneur was in my opinion the greatest small to medium budget film maker in cinema history. He did so much with so little. Among his best work, I'd include several superior Westerns (Canyon Passage, Stars in My Crown, Great Day in the Morning and Wichita); a knockout of a Film Noir (Out of the Past) with Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer); several atmospheric Val Lewton so-called Fear films (Cat People, The Leopard Man, I Walked with a Zombie), the latter an extraordinary riff on Jane Eyre set in a studio fabricated Haiti);
a well directed pirate film, (Anne of the Indies) starring Jean Peters as the leading pirate (Tourneur seemed to relish this role reversal in an established male genre); and a superlative horror film (Night of the Demon), set in English locations with Dana Andrews as a sceptical psychologist coming
face to face with supernatural events that challenge him and his spunky co-star (Peggy Cummins) to the core. It contains some brilliantly stylish set pieces.

1 comment:

  1. Barrie Pattison17 March 2017 at 20:22

    One of the most interesting things I did was run STARS IN MY CROWN and LE MAIN DU DIABLE (his father's film which he had never seen)for Jacques Tourneur and his family in the Grasshopper theatrette in Endel Street in London.

    The guys from Movie Magazine showed up and,having got an appointment for an interview, bolted for the door at the end of STARS, for fear someone expected them to talk to them, and I didn't want to come out of the box because the final scene left me with tears trickling down my face. Tourneur noted the exodus and thought everyone had hated the film. He was gathering up his hat when I came out dabbing my eyes and got a conversation that ran an hour going.

    Should have been more days like that.


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