Born in Vienna in 1890, Fritz Lang was brought up in Viennese middle-class comfort by his Roman Catholic father Anton and his Jewish mother Paula Schleisinger who both hoped that young Fritz would become an architect. But like so many middle-class children of the new century, Lang was fascinated by the pulp and fantasy literature of his day, the art world both in and outside Vienna and a potent new form of entertainment that invited artistic scrutiny and craftsmanship, the motion picture. Though the teenaged Lang attended school as his parents wished, he secretly haunted the cafe’s and cabarets of Vienna and intended to become a painter like his idols Klimt and Schile. At aged 21 Lang’s yearning took him to Paris where he lived in Bohemian splendor until the outbreak of W.W.I. Returning to Vienna, Lang enlisted in the Austrian army where he repeatedly saw combat, was wounded at least three times and decorated twice.
It was while on leave recuperating from one of these wounds… read more
Unsung gem of a noir picture from director Fritz Lang. Interesting to see Glenn Ford playing such a conflicted character and Gloria Grahame was never better. The story is a clever transplant of the Emile Zola novel previously turned into a film in France in '38. Picture is well edited with an intriquing subtext. Ending seems very abrupt for a film of the period but works well in context and frames opening scene.
While this is not one of my favourite Fritz Lang films, it is still excellent and I love Lang's use of the train's forward momentum in the opening and closing scenes as a metaphor of life going on regardless. Standout performances from all the leads: Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame and Broderick Crawford.
The film seems to demonstrate that man is inherently drawn to violence with a male protagonist caught between two females, one with a desire to love and the other with a desire to kill. In choosing the latter I was hoping that the protagonist would embark on some really dark territory but instead I feel the story took some shortcuts to reach a hollywood ending, this is a noir after all. 9/10
Also: Sight & Sound’s Gilbert Adair archive, new restorations from the National Film Preservation Foundation and more.
"Not since his days as UFA's leading director has Fritz Lang been in the spotlight as much as he is now," begins Cullen Gallagher at Moving