Monday, August 3, 2015

Journey Into Fear (1943)


(SLWB - February 26, 2013)

   
Director: Norman Foster, Writers: Orson Welles (screenplay), Joseph Cotten (screenplay), Richard Collins uncredited & Ben Hecht uncredited. Staring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dolores del Rio, Agnes Moorehead, Jack Durant, and Everett Sloane.

 

Pleasantly surprised, what really makes this great is that you never know what's happening next, a caveat to that is you also don't know if this is intentional or if the studio cuts made it more convoluted. Either way the chiaroscuro cinematography, the sound design, studio sets, and the bizarre characters that Joseph Cotten encounters in The Levant aboard a cattle boat are priceless (68 minute cut) 8/10



a short atmospheric vid I put together, enjoy: 
From IMDb:

Of such strokes is suspense made…, 24 April 2005

Author: ironside (robertfrangie@hotmail.com) from Mexico

The operatic approach of adding a musical dimension to menace with a killer-theme on the soundtrack has been greatly used in Orson Welles' glorious suspense film, "Journey Into Fear," where the little killer obsessively played a scratchy old 78 rpm disc of someone singing "Chagrin d'Amour."

The assassin was short and fat; his belly large, his chin and neck flabby... I do not recall him having a line of dialog to speak… But the whole film was spread with heightened menace when he sat, his little round eyes blank behind his little round pebble lenses, listening compulsively to the atrociously scratchy record, confusing the words of the song at the wrong speed, the needle jumping from groove to groove; his nerve-ends, unlike ours, immune to the discordance…

This was a spy thriller set in the wartime Near East, about an innocent American engineer (Joseph Cotten), pursued by Nazi agents and blundering from danger to danger without seeming to know too much of what it was all about…It was essentially a hunter-and-hunted story, with settings that were often seedy but always exotic…

The opening was in Istanbul, the climax in Batum, and all the terrors between were forced claustrophobically between the low ceilings and narrow partitions of a neglected little steamer plowing the Black Sea…

"Journey Into Fear" lives for its portrait gallery, its atmosphere, and for Welles' touches and excesses…

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