The Fox and the Lion

Dorothy McGuire does her impersonation of a mournful lion in THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN. Beautiful/absurd conjunction via Jean Negulesco.

I’m told David Thomson has called Fox’s 50s output “the antithesis of cinema”. This movie, despite Cinemascope, attractive locations, big stars and a director who could be positively experimental at times, might seem to bear him out. It’s lovely but dull. The above is the only exciting image I could glean from it.

But I’m about to start on a project which should conclusively blow his argument out of the water. A video essay for THIS —

11 Responses to “The Fox and the Lion”

  1. ehrenstein47 Says:

    Well Sam’s a whole ‘nother story. His films are visually dynamic from stem to stern, perfectly welded to characters and situations full of drive. Nobody quite like him.

  2. Suitably inspired, Negulesco could make dynamic images the equal of anybody – crazy dutch tilts and swooping moves. Cinemascope seemed to flatten him.

    Every line in Fuller’s films and every shot has the impact of a typewriter key slamming into a page in ECU.

  3. Nifty line there, Cairns

  4. From Fuller’s autobio:

    “Director Jean Negulesco told me Cinemascope had changed the way he directed, and not for the better. It was like working in a theater, the camera as stationary as the audience. “

  5. So what are some experimental Negulesco’s I can watch as a primer?

  6. chris schneider Says:

    Fifties Fox had Gerd Oswald and Henry Hathaway and a bit of Kazan, not to mention the Ray of TRUE STORY OF JESSE JAMES. I’d cite Mankiewicz, but I suppose that counts as filmed theater.

  7. Mankiewicz is a lot more than filmed theatre, I think, and I can’t imagine Thomson dismissing him. Although his tastes (like everybody’s, really) are erratic.

    I recall Negulsco contributing some crazy stuff to O. Henry’s Full House. And Humoresque?

  8. I wouldn’t call it experimental, but Negulesco‘s THE MASK OF DIMITRIOS is smart and snappy. It’s a great Lorre and Greenstreet team-up, though it’s Steven Geray who gives the heart-breaking performance that really lifts it.

  9. Yes, it’s maybe his best.

  10. Joe Dante Says:

    Where’s CHINA GATE in that Fox package??

  11. Forever missing! I have a cruddy bootleg, but it always seems to be absent. 40 Guns isn’t strictly a wholly Fox production, either, but that’s quibbling because it’s a terrific film.

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