Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chat: Silver Lode

Tracy:  I'm surprised the town wasn't just called Witch Hunt.
Natalie:  Ha! It would have been more fun had there been witches or even if they threatened to burn someone at the stake.
Tracy:  I know! I much prefer The Crucible as a McCarthyism allegory. Everyone in this movie was a total cartoon.
Natalie:  Which was beyond infuriating. This is the umpteenth film we've seen with a pretty great premise where the movie completely undermines, doesn't live up to, and makes absurdly boring said premise.
Tracy:  Hah!!! Totally bizarre. As was the dress that she kept inexplicably changing into and out of during the movie. The concept of it--sort of real time--reminded me of the 3:10 to Yuma short story, but rather than have a condensed time frame make it seem more urgent, it just made everyone's reactions seem really forced and unnatural.
Natalie:  Yeah, she had a hard time staying dressed but even that wasn't all that interesting. I agree about the unity of time. It's a grand idea but it rarely actually works because no one is ever worth watching for even all of an hour unless it's a performance--which kind of kills the point of unity of time.
Tracy:  I also thought it was funny the actor's name was John *P*ayne. Sort of in keeping with the low-rent Western it was. But like I said in the blurb, at the presentation my dad and I saw, dude had a clip of Martin Scorsese drooling all over it. I just don't get it.
Natalie:  It's boring and doesn't do what it could do. So, the book says, first and most inaccurately, that it's a "gripping Western." And then continues with “Silver Lode is the Allan Dwan film par excellance: concise, plain, inventive, fluid, ironic, unspectacular-but-beautiful. No Western, probably, has more shots through windows . . . and few make such splendid use of the familiar architecture and décor of the Hollywood Western town. In a single stunning shot, Dwan’s camera tracks with Payne as he runs four blocks across town. Thanks to the director’s visual assurance . . . Silver Lode is one of the best of the American cinema’s many underrated Westerns.” I don't think it's any of those things. and that last sentence is one of the most convoluted, qualified pieces of nonsense ever.
Tracy:  Hah! And how can something be plain and ironic? And yeah, this is one of the best of the Westerns everyone thinks is crap. The script and acting were terrible, I thought, and the execution of the concept was a disaster. I'm also officially sick of everyone swooning over tracking shots. Verdict: boot it.
Natalie:  Completely agreed. Boot it.
Tracy:  So next: Love Me Tonight. I really hope it doesn't also shit all over a somewhat good-sounding premise.
Natalie:  HA! We're kind of due a good one. Or at least a decent one.
Tracy:  Yes. Especially with Das Boot looming.

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