Critic and filmmaker Dan Sallitt’s original website has always been a great online resource, but evidently that was not nearly enough. Last year Sallitt started his own blog, Thanks for the Use of the Hall, which has specifically linked its content to films, filmmakers, and retrospectives currently going on in New York City.
One of his most recent posts, tying in with Film Forum’s retro on Otto Preminger, is as sharp and preceptive as anything he has written. It is on Preminger’s brilliant Anatomy of a Murder (1959), and can be found here.Sallitt looks at the film’s view of the justice system and use of courtroom conventions, and also questions, while somewhat endorsing, Preminger’s remarkable “objective” style. Here is a sample from that article:
“Maybe all courtroom dramas should really be comedies. Emotional distance is built into the format. What makes Anatomy such a good film is that Preminger and the excellent screenwriter Wendell Mayes intuited what a courtroom film might really be about, on a moment-by-moment level: performance, self-presentation.”