Kim Walks Amuck

Sometimes you just want to grab a shot, isolate it, and hold it up to the light. A walk, a mermaid dress, an elegant camera move. In this case, for some reason the soundtrack refused to come with it, so we have to do without.

The first time I watched THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM I was bothered by the unconvincing, claustrophobic sets. This time round, I had the experience of having been to New York and the production design seemed to capture something authentic about the place — perhaps that very enclosed feeling. Though director Otto Preminger would abandon the studio, pretty much (that last scene in THE HUMAN FACTOR seems to violate his locations-only rule about as brazenly as you could wish for), his earlier films do make sensational use of the ability to film interior and exterior in the same shot, something that’s tricky out in the real world unless you have very bright lights to make the stuff indoors almost as bright as the stuff outdoors.

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9 Responses to “Kim Walks Amuck”

  1. The sets of this film are very reminiscent of the Kammerspielfilm a style of German filmmaking Preminger knew well and was influenced by.

  2. David Boxwell Says:

    Recovering from influenza, I just watched YOYO for the first time and then read your superb notes on Etaix. A sickbed experience has never been more delightful!

    Sinatra was the greatest “first take” actor in the business, apparently. If that’s true, his performance in TMWTHGA is downright astonishing.

  3. I think he was willing to do retakes on his earlier films, and I can’t imagine anybody saying no to Otto’s demands. Nor can I imagine those involved takes working first time out, or not consistently anyhow. It was later than Sinatra became a one-shot wonder, and though he was never less than effective onscreen, I do think the lack of commitment kind of shows in his last films.

    Glad to enjoyed the Etaix. I was thrilled just to hold the booklet!

  4. It’s a shame Sinatra didn’t take himself more seriously as an actor, because when he was on his game as in From Here to Eternity, Some Came Running, The Manchurian Candidate and The Man With The Golden Arm he was beyond amazing.

    I suspect he found the waiting around between the takes too much to bear.

  5. It can be a very boring job, if you don’t have Ava Gardner around, or else a fondness for crossword puzzles. When you’re actually working, it’s anything but dull, but 90% of an actor’s job is waiting. I wonder if he’d have enjoyed Dogme.

  6. Christopher Says:

    hunky Novak and scrawny Sinatra always seemed like a strange pairing..Shes passed out on top of Frank!..better bring in the Crane boys!

  7. Yeah, she could doubtless snap him in two. But in that movie, he’s the best catch there is. Who else is she going to fall for, Arnold Stang?

  8. It’s a great film about addiction.

  9. With Eleanor Parker as the monkey on Frank’s back.

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