Now With More Than 3600 Reviews! Go Nuts - Read 'Em All!!

WELCOME! Use the search engines on this site (or your own off-site engine of choice) to gain easy access to the complete MAKSQUIBS Archive; over 3600 posts and counting. (New posts added every day or so.)

You can check on all our titles by typing the Title, Director, Actor or 'Keyword' of your choice in the Search Engine of your choice (include the phrase MAKSQUIBS) or just use the BLOGGER Search Box at the top left corner of the page.

Feel free to place comments directly on any of the film posts and to test your film knowledge with the CONTESTS scattered here & there. (Hey! No Googling allowed. They're pretty easy.)

Send E-mails to . (Let us know if the TRANSLATE WIDGET works!) Or use the Profile Page or Comments link for contact.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, June 8, 2012

EXODUS (1960)

Producer/director Otto Preminger didn’t exactly shy away from the clunky dialogue & even clunkier exposition of Leon Uris’s wildly successful novel on the founding of Israel, so you’re never quite sure if the film is working in spite of or because of its blunt design. Dalton Trumbo’s script uses those grinding gears as a dramatic response to the intractable political history of the region, and the simplifications are comforting, dragging you in as it manipulates. Playing the angry leader of the underground army, Paul Newman gives one of his best early perfs, maybe because Preminger doesn’t let him linger. The rest of the huge cast are also kept on an emotional leash (Lee J. Cobb only shouts once), though Eva Marie Saint looks faintly ill from the heat. The biggest surprise is that the story isn’t completely whitewashed, there’s plenty of good & bad deeds & will on all sides. But for film mavens, the real prize comes in seeing the strengths & weaknesses of Otto laid bare. Watch an early fight scene where Sal Mineo struggles with a few British soldiers. Mr. P. seems all thumbs. Yet later, when Mineo is tracked & trapped on his way to a terrorist cell, a score of complicated narrative details are covered with a few handsomely composed master shots. Preminger’s preference for long takes leaves some scenes begging for rhythm & air, but it sure helps this four-hour behemoth go down easy. (Though pulling this off on 4 mill also means you print lots of ‘mike’ shadows & camera gaffes.) But now that homes have larger WideScreen sets, Preminger’s technique finally ‘reads’ properly. Alas, the current DVD edition needs a major upgrade.

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Two films from 1960 claim bragging rights for breaking the blacklist with an on-screen credit to screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. Technically, SPARTACUS wins with its October release. But even with a December debut, Preminger scored points by announcing his intention to give credit first. One of the many Production Code taboos Otto delighted in breaking . . . and publicizing.

No comments: