Born in Vienna, director Joseph von Sternberg spent much of his youth in New York; his entrée into show business was as a film repairer for the World Film Company of Fort Lee, NJ. After returning to Austria to complete his education, he joined the U.S. Signal Corps as a photographer in 1917, then took assistant director jobs after the end of World War I. It was either actor Elliot Dexter or an anonymous producer who suggested that Sternberg would go farther in the industry if he affixed a “von” to his last name, à la Erich von Stroheim. Von Sternberg went whole hog in creating a “genius” veneer, adopting a strutting, imperious attitude, dressing in regulation beret and puttees, and even growing an obnoxious little mustache so he would be certain to be hated and feared. This posturing tended to obscure his genuine cinematic gifts, especially in the field of photographic lighting and composition (at one point, he was the only director permitted to carry an American Society of Cinematographers… read more
At the end of his career and completely down on his luck, I find it remarkable that von Sternberg could pull himself together to make what I consider to be his best film. As you would expect from such a visual poet, the Viennese-born director created and filmed a sumptuous looking picture set in an entirely studio constructed jungle in Kyoto. A near-masterpiece and an appropriate way for a great director to bow out..
One of the most mysterious, haunting and absorbing films I've seen. Sternberg's dense and textured mise-en-scene cocoons the microcosmic society of the film, in which civilization is lost, re-established, and lost again, until yielding the cyclical savagery of history. "a postscript to the Pacific Conflict"...
A grim and beautiful film, full of light and shadow, movement and horror, and not a little wonder at the destruction man can wreak. I don't feel embarrassed to point out the obvious and say that the jungle is a metaphor for all that's dark inside us, or that it's oddly appropriate that the image of Anatahan at the very end of it could be Mount Fuji at the beginning of any Japanese film.
A propulsive survey of scores focusing on the thriller: procedurals, bank heists, neo-noirs, spy films, giallos, and sci-fi mind-games.
Josef von Sternberg's The Saga of Anahatan announces itself as "a postscript" to the Asian portion of World War II, and for many years the
"Although it occasionally gets carried away by its own reflexive spirit, Independencia is far more than the cute formal exercise its premise
Imagine the final sequence of Stromboli where Ingrid Bergman climbs the volcano streched to an hour and a half and you have this: A masterpiece of the dialectic between mileu and character. I found… read review