I’ve been having Fritz Lang on my mind lately, catching up with movies I missed seeing. Yesterday I saw CLASH BY NIGHT, its a little atypical in that its a drama about “real people” but its so accomplished. Got a terrific cast.
I saw MAN HUNT two months ago and the one about “leaving the Hun unexploded” fits my feeling about this film. The film is really terrifying in the portions when George Sanders’ Nazis close in, the paranoia takes over totally.
A few striking Odets lines in Clash by Night too, and Lang usually shuns showy dialogue. “Take ten women and throw ‘em at the ceiling. The one that sticks is the one for me.”
The novel Rogue Male on which Man Hunt is based is a terrific read — Geoffrey Household spent the rest of his career doing variations on it. Fascinatingly, it’s pre-war, and we never know which dictator the hero was planning to off — he crosses the border from Poland to make his hit, but we don’t learn which border. By the time the film was made, the war was on and that question had an automatic answer. Stalin got off lightly.
The Odets dialog in CLASH can be too poetic given the gritty realism of the piece, but when the colorful misogyny is coming from the mouth of projectionist Robert Ryan it is quite stunning . As usual with Ryan, you believe the guy is that mean. Clash is the word all right, as the couples in the film are caught in a brutal love/hate, sex/violence, battle of the sexes.
All this, plus the raw sensuality of FISH CANNING.
Well, the opening is a rather gorgeous short documentary on the subject. But I couldn’t stop thinking that Marilyn Monroe must smell like fish…