Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Square (2008)

A small town noir from Down Under

Tales of money, betrayal, lust and murder set in the underbelly of rural small town life are a major thematic strand of film noir. Australia’s contribution to this, released locally to mixed reviews in 2008, is The Square.

The location selected by first time director and writer Nash Edgerton is the central coast of New South Wales, where the laid back life-style and stunning countryside exist side by side with pockets of deep poverty and a highly casualised workforce.

The opening scene of The Square takes place at dawn. Two people are having sex in the back seat of a car to the accompanying drone of cars crossing a nearby overpass. They finish, pausing long enough for us to notice their wedding rings, before going their separate ways.

The man, Ray, pulls into a clearing in the middle of thick bushland and enters the portable office from which he is supervising the construction of a resort for honeymooners. The young woman, Carla, drives to her job in a hairdressing parlour.

Before long, Ray is getting a hard time down from Gil, the developer (long time Australian actor, Bill Hunter) for failing to keep costs down. There’s no need for anything fancy, Gil tells him, all they are building is a place were “couples can root in Jacuzzis”.

But it’s hard keeping costs down when you’re systematically embezzling the project, a fact we discover when Ray asks a concreter for a $40,000 kickback in exchange for giving him the contract to pour the resort’s foundation.

After work, Carla goes home to her husband, Greg, a tow truck driver with a nasty attitude, an old mother and a sports bag full of drug money he keeps in compartment in the roof of their laundry. It only takes one furtive glance of her husband handling the money for Carla to decide this is a deal changer. She suggests to Ray that they steal it and blow town together.

Ray hesitates, unsure how they can steal it without alerting her husband. “You’d have to burn the place down if you really want this money to disappear,” Ray says, adding that he’s joking. “I’m not,” she shoots back with a palpable sense of desperation.

When Ray equivocates further, Carla brings out one of the oldest plays in the book.
“This isn’t about money. I want you to do something. Something,” she says before storming off.

Ray eventually agrees to go along with Carla’s plan, meeting up with local arsonist Billy (co-writer, Joel Edgerton) in a Chinese restaurant. Billy makes small talk about the bull sharks that swim up from the sea into the town’s river, before agreeing to burn down the house for half his fee up front.

The crime is set to take place while the entire town (including Carla and her husband) is attending the local Christmas Carols by Candlelight. Carla has already removed the bag of money. But sipping chardonnay with his wife among the gum trees and fairy lights, Ray has second thoughts. He tries to abort the arson but fails when his mobile runs out of power.

Next thing Ray knows the local fire brigade, who have also been attending the festivities, are speeding off to attend to the blaze. What he doesn’t find out until next morning is that Greg’s mum was sleeping in the house as it burnt to the ground.

“Ray, we have killed someone, we’re murderers,” says Carla in genuine shock. Also alarmed is the arsonist, Billy, who only agreed to burn down a house, not murder someone. To make matters worse, Billy tells Ray in no uncertain terms he wants the rest of his money or else.

Carla’s husband has figured out the drug money was not in the house when it was burnt down and has his own suspicions about who took it. Meanwhile, Ray gets a Christmas card from an unknown source claiming to know what he and Carla did and asking for $10,000 or they’ll go to the police.

Ray believes the card is the work of a shifty local mechanic. The mechanic discovers Ray attempting to break into his house. The two men fight and Ray accidentally kills him and buries the body in the square of land that is soon to be the resort’s foundation.

Ray realises he has killed the wrong man when he gets another card. As if this isn’t bad enough, torrential rain is preventing the concrete from being poured, every hour increasing the possibility the mechanic’s body will be found.

For the most part, Edgerton handles the mounting complexity of cross and double cross well, building the tension gradually throughout the film. He only loses his grip in the finale, a bloody confrontation between Ray, Carla, her boyfriend and Billy the arsonist in the lounge room of Carla’s house. This scene has an almost Cohen brothers black comedy feel that is completely at odds with the stripped back neo-noir feel of the rest of the film.

While the script has its clunky moments, Edgerton also manages to get good performances from a cast of mostly relative unknowns.

David Roberts gives a good performance as a tightly wound everyman, whose greed and philandering have led him into events beyond his comprehension. He may be cunning, but he’s no match for the town’s redneck criminal underclass he suddenly finds himself up against.

Ray stumbles clueless throughout much of the film. The only thing saving him is the intervention of others, including his boss Gil, who in the process of discovering Ray is stealing from him, uncovers the real culprit behind the blackmailing Christmas cards.

Claire van der Boom is excellent as Carla. Although her character has many of the hallmarks of the classic small town femme fatale, she manages to inject much more into the role. While she is prepared to use her considerable sexual appeal to get what she wants, she manages to keep us guessing throughout the film about whether she’s just playing Ray or genuinely in love with him. Whatever the case, it’s impossible not to sympathise with her efforts to get more out of life than a dead end job and cooking dinner for her husband’s sleazy poker playing mates.

The Square is not a brilliant film. But despite its faults the movie is a worthy addition to the small club of Australian cinematic offerings that can claim some sort of noir status.

Written by Andrew Nette

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bedelia (1946)

Expectations of Female Behaviour in Bedelia (1946)

“I was naughty, wasn’t I?”

The British B noir film Bedelia (1946) is an examination of a female serial killer, but the story is not a thriller; instead it’s a study in the psychology of evil and how pre-conceived notions of female behaviour contribute to the destruction of Bedelia’s male victims. For just a few moments when Bedelia begins, there’s a flash of the much more famous and feted noir title Laura. Both films are based on novels from the McCarthy Era gray-listed author, one-time communist Vera Caspary, and both films begin with a glimpse of the portrait paintings of Laura and Bedelia. Laura’s detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) falls half-way in love with Laura from gazing at the painting and learning about her life, but the narrator of Bedelia expresses conflicting feelings of fascination and horror for the portrait subject. Laura is a much flashier, stylish picture--smooth and sophisticated as the story unravels of a corpse who turns out to be … someone else. Bedelia, on the other hand, with its gothic touches, examines murder as a behaviour that defies explanation. The novel is set in 1913 Connecticut, but the film is smoothly updated to 1938 Monte Carlo and Yorkshire. Caspary acted as a consultant on the script which was co-written by her then-lover Isadore Goldsmith, the man she later married. Goldsmith also produced the film. Bedelia was directed by Lance Comfort, a competent and under-appreciated noir director whose resume includes Hatter’s Castle (1942), Temptation Harbour (1947), and Rag Doll (1958).

Bedelia begins in Monte Carlo with Ben Chaney (Barry K. Barnes) painting a simple street scene. This seemingly irrelevant moment underscores the film’s central motif: truth and reality vs. deception and facsimile. Two of the film’s three main characters are not who they appear to be, and while it’s not quite clear what is going on in these opening scenes, it is apparent that there are several intriguing layers of deception. Chaney introduces himself as a “buyer of rare pearls” in an upscale jeweler’s and asks a few questions about a woman who left an exquisite, rare black pearl to be set in a ring. According to the gossipy jeweler, Bedelia, who was once a rich widow is in Monte Carlo on her honeymoon with her second husband, Charlie Carrington.

Using a rented dog (note the male/female pronoun switches), Chaney manipulates a conversation with the Carringtons, and it’s clear that Bedelia (Margaret Lockwood) is not honest with her rather staid husband, Charlie (Ian Hunter). She lies about the pearl’s worth claiming that it’s a piece of worthless costume jewelry--a “cheap little thing” she “picked up in Paris,” even though Chaney is quite aware that the jeweler offered her 100,000 francs for it just hours before. Along with this lie, it’s obvious that there’s something not quite right about Bedelia. She’s a beautiful woman who has an extreme dislike of having her photo taken. Chaney offers to paint Bedelia’s portrait, and while her reluctance is evident, she’s coerced into compliance to please her husband. Chaney seems to make Bedelia uncomfortable. Is this because Bedelia claims that her deceased husband was an impoverished artist? Or is she uncomfortable with Chaney’s lavish compliments? And what about the life insurance agent who swears that Bedelia is a dead-ringer for yet another wealthy widow he knew a few years before?

The Carringtons return to a small village in Yorkshire. Chaney shows up shortly afterwards and rents a cottage with the excuse that he wants to finish Bedelia’s portrait. The script teases out relationships between Bedelia and Chaney and Charlie and his business partner, the very reliable Ellen (Anne Crawford). Chaney makes a minor appearance in the book, but in the film, he frequently takes the psychologist role as he reflects questions back to those who try to interrogate him about his relationship with Bedelia. A delicate game of cat-and-mouse develops between Chaney and Bedelia with Charlie remaining oblivious of the undercurrents in the relationship between his wife and the persistent artist….

Most of the film concentrates on the social interactions of its three main characters--Ben, Charlie and Bedelia, and Bedelia’s past is gradually revealed against the backdrop drama of this strange triangular relationship. Her daily life with Charlie is a sleek performance of domestic serenity, but when pressured, the mask of the perfect, doting wife slips just enough to glimpse something quite terrible underneath. She plays the ‘silly little woman’ role with studied artistry, and if she slips and makes a mistake, or is caught in one of her many lies, she slickly glides in a range of giddy, girlish behavior. At one point she gushingly tells her husband “I’m not intelligent like you are” and this is a comment that’s designed to flatter Charlie and soften him up for manipulation. Of course the truth is that Charlie is pathetically out of his depth when it comes to Bedelia, and while she appears to be emotionally fragile (and has managed to convince everyone of this fact), in reality she’s a serial killer who plans her crimes methodically, racking up victims and watching the bank balance grow with each murder.

In the very first scene between Bedelia and Charlie, she pulls out a doll which she claims is the result of her shopping trip. He indulgently tells her she’s a “child,” and their relationship appears built on that disparity of authority. This allows Charlie to be the indulgent parent--as if he’s the one in control making all the decisions. Later, under pressure from Chaney, Bedelia’s behaviour disintegrates and becomes increasingly illogical and troubling to Charlie. He is so conditioned to her childish whims, he doesn’t see her through her lies. Charlie blames a great deal of Bedelia’s instability on nervous strain, and yet he fails to ask himself what on earth she has to be nervous about. It’s taken for granted by everyone in their social circle that Bedelia’s behaviour is ‘normal,’ yet Bedelia ‘suffers’ from flash headaches, petty jealousies, senseless insecurities, emotional outbursts, she plays with dolls, threatens to smuggle a cat through customs, travels around with “mild sedatives,” and wrings her hands more than Lady Macbeth. No one, except Chaney, of course, knows about the pathological lies Bedelia tells, but in spite of all the unbalanced behaviour Bedelia exhibits in a matter of weeks, she is only deemed “sensitive” by the local vicar--an opinion echoed by the fatuous doctor.

Bedelia is a remarkable film for its examination of female pathological behaviour. The film’s subversive message is that psychotic behaviour in women is ascribed by society to ‘female foibles’ such as sensitivity, nervousness, and a weakness for “pretty things.” It's further implied that these personality traits are attractive and even desirable; Charlie, after all, passes up a relationship with the obviously compatible Ellen for an extremely unsuitable Bedelia, and this is largely because Bedelia seems designed to centre her life on pleasing Charlie--whereas Ellen is an independent, thinking, professional woman. The deeper proto-feminist message is that women are compartmentalized into roles and forced to be submissive, submerging their intelligence and desires in order to gain some power in their relationships with men. Bedelia is, of course, an ultra-warped version of the female submissive ideal. Male expectations of her behaviour have created an unbreachable fissure between her dual personalities--the helpless little girl who craves indulgence and approval, and the embodiment of the evil, beautiful femme fatale who kills the men who are weak and foolish enough to fall in love with her. It takes Chaney to break it gently to Charlie that he's married a dangerous nut-job, and what does that say about the perceptions of acceptable female behaviour?

Yet in spite of the fact that Bedelia is a shape-shifting killer who reinvents herself after each crime, she’s not altogether an unsympathetic character. This miracle is due partly to Margaret Lockwood’s splendid performance as Bedelia--an elegant, almost Victorian woman whose exquisite taste seems wasted on her rather plodding, boring, but well-meaning husband. Bedelia is more appealing than the two main male characters, and there’s something distasteful in the way Chaney and Charlie corner her like some exotic butterfly and then squeeze the life out of her. Perhaps we see these two men as Bedelia sees them. Chaney is the predator who slowly hunts her; he acknowledges a strange fascination for his quarry, but ultimately she eludes him both literally and figuratively. Significantly, Charlie who treats Bedelia like a naughty child, selects and then delivers the punishment in a chilling coup de grace. The film hints at Charlie’s ambiguous motives--Bedelia is, after all, an embarrassment and a terrible encumbrance, and perhaps it’s this ambiguity that leaves a lingering sense of sadness in those final moments.

Laura is often identified as one of the all-time great noir films, but Bedelia has sadly slipped off the noir radar. Laura contains some great elements; there’s no argument here, but in many ways, Bedelia is the better, more complex, and subversive film. While the portrait of Laura segues into meeting a flesh and blood woman who is worth falling in love with, the real-life Bedelia who “radiated a curious innocence, eager to fascinate those she attracted like a poisonous flower” is a cipher. She never stops acting a role, and so her true story remains a mystery buried with lies, deception and multiple identities.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cornered (1945)

In 1945’s Cornered Dick Powell plays a man exhausted, angry, and with little hope for the future. Though almost fatally marred by its serpentine plot, Cornered is worth seeing — it’s even an important film noir. It offers an extraordinarily bleak worldview, precocious even for noir, and helped pave the way for the spate of neurotic, cynical, and dark movies that would define the post-war classic period.

Character and atmosphere trump story here, so let’s cram this into as small a nutshell as possible: Powell plays Laurence Gerard, recently of the Royal Canadian Air Force, who endured the last gasps of the war as a PoW. His young bride got the blindfold and the brick wall as part of La Résistance, sold out by some Vichy prick named Marcel Jarnac, believed by all but Gerard to be dead. His dreams of post-war bliss splintered, Gerard goes on a globe-hopping manhunt for Jarnac. The story shuttles him from England to France to Switzerland and finally lodges in Argentina — destination of choice for gold-laden absconders — Fascists fleeing the tribunals; terrified of the rope. Powell settles into Buenos Aires like a tornado settles into a trailer park; upending not only those eluding justice, but those working for it. By the time this whirlwind of a story blows itself out, its twists, turns, zigs, and zags will have left every viewer not holding a flowchart in the same state as its protagonist, who gets lied to, led astray, and pistol-whipped so often that he spends much of his screen time massaging his temples.

Cornered was brought to the screen by the same team that reinvented Dick Powell as tough gumshoe Philip Marlowe the previous year in Murder, My Sweet. Unlike the 1944 film however, Cornered reflects a less glib, less stylishly expressionistic; and far more irresolute world. Considering the current events of the time it’s easy to understand why the filmmakers would find such convoluted intrigue appropriate, but also situate it among such frightened, neurotic, and selfish people. Yet a filmic idea can be appropriate and damaging at the same time. The plot of Cornered is so overwrought, the vision so depressing, that even director Edward Dmytryk found the film unsatisfactory. Given the significance of the film in his life though, the sentiment is understandable. Dmytryk, producer Adrian Scott, and replacement writer John Paxton were loosely involved with the Communist party during the production of Cornered (Dmytryk paid dues for a mere two months, amounting to a total contribution of four dollars, along with a fifty-cent initiation fee), and the friends actually broke with the reds when party leaders, along with the original screenwriter, tried to turn the project into something of a socialist manifesto. Dmytryk and Scott, both imprisoned by HUAC in 1947 as members of the Hollywood Ten, would cite Cornered as the catalyst for their break: “This is the thing,” Dmytryk said, “which actually got me out of the party.” He would serve four months at an honor farm in my home state of West Virginia, only to become the lone member of the Ten to reappear before HUAC and name names. (That whole story is far too big for this essay, but Dmytryk himself wrote of his experiences with the blacklist in Odd Man Out: A Memoir of the Hollywood Ten.)

In order to peg what makes a difficult film like Cornered worthwhile, it has to be placed within the macrocosm of film noir. The noir movement, genre, style — call it what you will — encompasses numerous generic and thematic types, as well as its share of -isms. The list is almost endless, and seems to become more inclusive with each new boxed-set, dissertation, or edition of The Film Noir Encyclopedia (Invaders from Mars, really?). What makes Cornered important within this grand scheme is its unprecedented view of the world. Certainly no Hollywood film to date had brought to the screen a milieu so desolate or a hero so pathologically dour. Coming so quickly on the heels of cataclysm, previous efforts couldn’t have imagined the world portrayed in Cornered, neither This Gun for Hire or Journey into Fear come close — and no previous film featured a protagonist with so little hope. In terms of global change the Second World War is the defining moment of the twentieth century, and a pivotal one in the development of the noir style. Insofar as this is concerned, no entry is more emblematic of that change than Cornered; whether or not it’s a particularly good narrative film is secondary.

Much of Cornered’s originality comes from Powell’s interpretation of Laurence Gerard. He’s ill tempered, irate, and intent on bowling over anything in his way. Frustrated after spending the better part of the war interned, he needs to get in his share of the licks, and who gives a damn if the hostilities are over. Yet along with this, there’s something in Powell’s performance that goes beyond the clichéd term world-weary — Gerard isn’t just tired, he’s dead tired. This is a man on fumes. He simply wants to find Jarnac and execute him, and he’s incapable of thinking about what happens after. He lives only in the now; having learned that thinking about tomorrow gets your heart broken and your teeth kicked in. It has been said that Cornered might have suited Humphrey Bogart better, an actor for whom tiredness was natural. Yet while Bogart could do angry, his rage seemed to have a leering quality — and while Gerard is reckless he’s no head case. Powell was surely no Bogart, but he nails Gerard.

Cornered is also stark in its brutality, even if its most heinous acts are committed just off-screen. In the film’s climactic scene an important character is shot not once, but seven times. The camera lingers on the gun as the shooter pumps round after round into the victim — not passionately, but in a cold effort to render the corpse’s face unrecognizable to the police. Later in the same scene one character, using bare knuckles, beats another to death; the camera moving in and out of focus with each blow. The beating is administered with so little passion that it barely registers on the perpetrator. Violent acts, especially the up-close, dirty, wet ones, have become frighteningly impersonal in Cornered, as the survivors are now numb to the moral absolutes of pre-war society. It’s in this notion of lashing out, of poker-faced violence, that Cornered also anticipates film noir’s shell-shocked man apart, plagued by some unknown neurosis or forgotten demon.

Like most good noir, the brooding thematic elements of Cornered are supported by the mise en scene, which pushes the dark frame to extremes. Dmytryk, art director Carroll Clark, and cinematographer Harry Wild give us the expected interplay of shadow and light (though some shots are much better than others), as well as numerous offbeat camera angles. In fact the only conventional shots seem to involve one of the film’s two female characters, which is a subtle clue to her true nature. Wild often shoots from behind a pillar, around a corner, or from on high to obfuscate our sense of environment. Filming Powell in tight close-up, making him difficult to place and reinforcing the idea that he doesn’t belong further heightens this confusion. The effect is claustrophobic, disorienting, and perfectly in keeping with the film’s tone. Cornered gets progressively darker and darker as it approaches its climax, eventually to place Gerard in utter darkness, groping and bumbling through a deserted warehouse.

With the end of the war came a gradual return to normal life in the United States. Cornered was a bitter reminder for a people still celebrating victory that not all was well in the world, yet it did well with critics and audiences. It may be a shallow reason, but the film’s box office owes itself directly to the casting of Dick Powell. Preview audiences were ecstatic to see him again in what they described as a “he-man” role, with hardly any comment cards recommending a return to musical comedy. Even New York Times grouch Bosley Crowther lauded the film:
Cornered is a drama of smoldering vengeance and political scheming which builds purposefully and with graduating tension to a violent climax, a committing of murder that is as thrilling and brutal as any you are likely to encounter in a month of movie-going.”
Yet while Don Craig of the Washington Daily News also recommended the film, he referred to the “new” Dick Powell as “ a bit self conscious” and the character Gerard as “plain stupid.” The focus on Powell aside for a moment, Cornered provides a time-capsule vision of a world gone to hell, and it does it early enough in the noir cycle to set the bar for the films of the subsequent ten years.


Written by The Professor

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Mysterious Mr. Valentine (1946)

Republic Pictures was most famous for its Saturday morning serials, but also churned out a long series of 60-minute programmers in a variety of genres. Among the most interesting, and certainly the most curious, of these brief films is Philip Ford’s The Mysterious Mr. Valentine. Republic’s noirs were always fatalistic, dense, and claustrophobic, and the first minutes of The Mysterious Mr. Valentine are so crammed with narrative coincidence as to almost defy description. Philip Ford, (1900 - 1976) the son of actor/director Francis Ford and the nephew of the celebrated director John Ford, was just one of many unsung craftsmen who worked at Republic in the 1940s, and his other films during this period, such as The Timber Trail (1948), The Bold Frontiersman (1948), California Firebrand (1948) and Bandits of Dark Canyon (1947) were mostly program westerns. But when given a darker subject to deal with, as in The Mysterious Mr. Valentine and the interesting horror/noir Valley of the Zombies (1946), Ford more than rose to the occasion.

The Mysterious Mr. Valentine opens up with a whirlwind of narrative frenzy, and then never lets up until the final moments of the film. While driving home on a lonely road late at night, a young woman, Janet Spencer (Republic regular Linda Stirling) has an unexpected flat tire. Walking along the dimly lit road, Janet sights a chemical factory. Entering the building, Janet discovers research chemist John Armstrong (Tristram Coffin), and asks permission to use his telephone to call a garage. Unbeknownst to Janet, John Armstrong has just murdered his partner, and left the body in the back room. While Janet is on the phone trying to get help, Armstrong returns to the back room to discover that the body of his supposed victim has disappeared.

To relax his nerves, Armstrong suggests to Janet that they both have a drink. Moments later, Armstrong’s wife and a police photographer break into the factory and photograph Janet and Armstrong in a seemingly compromising position. Janet flees, stealing Armstrong’s wife’s car. Driving away at high speed, Janet is blinded by the glare of oncoming headlights, and accidentally runs down a pedestrian. The driver of the other car emerges with an associate and offers to dispose of the body at the local hospital, telling Janet to go home and forget the whole thing. Frantic, Janet drives wildly through the streets in the stolen vehicle, sideswiping the car of private eye Steve Morgan (William Henry). Returning at last to her home, Janet discovers the first of a series of blackmail notes from a “Mr. Valentine,” demanding $25,000 for the return of her car, and for not implicating her in the hit and run fatality.

That’s just the first 6 minutes of this 56-minute wonder, which grows more complex with each passing second. In Janet’s quest to extricate herself from the blackmail plot, she enlists the help of Steve Morgan, who has followed her home to collect on the damages to his car. However, Steve operates on the thinnest edge of the law, playing off the protagonists against each other in a series of jaw dropping triple-crosses. These deceptions are all the more disturbing because of the breezy self-assurance with which Steve lies to each character to preserve his own interests.

As Steve weaves his way through the increasingly Byzantine case, he repeatedly informs his prospective victims “You know, I could use you . . . I mean, as a client.” At last, after numerous plot twists, insurance agent Sam Priestley (Kenne Duncan) is unmasked as the mysterious Mr. Valentine; the whole affair has been an elaborate insurance scam. In a final moment of what can only be described as heterotopic insanity, Janet agrees to marry Steve, despite the fact that he has been working against her interests (or, perhaps more accurately, only in his own interests) throughout the entire film.

Unlike PRC, the Republic lot occasionally served as a production facility for John Ford, Fritz Lang, and other “A” list directors, but the bulk of their output consisted of Roy Rogers and Gene Autry westerns, the aforementioned children’s serials, and a modest series of program pictures. Yet the superior production capabilities of Republic lent a sheen to even their most pedestrian work, and yet managed to retain the true fatalism inherent in the noir genre. Not available on DVD, Philip Ford’s The Mysterious Mr. Valentine is a one-of-a-kind film, and certainly a valuable addition to the 1940s noir canon. In 1952, after directing some 40 feature films for Republic, Ford moved to television, where he helmed episodes of such shows as Lassie and The Adventures of Superman, as well as serving an assistant director on 29 more films, and as an actor in silent films, going back to 1916. Thus, The Mysterious Mr. Valentine is the work of a seasoned craftsman, and one whose career spanned more than four decades of cinema history.


Written by Wheeler Winston Dixon

About the Author: Wheeler Winston Dixon is the James Ryan Endowed Professor of Film Studies, Professor of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and with Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, Editor-in-Chief of the Quarterly Review of Film and Video. His newest books include Film Noir and the Cinema of Paranoia (Rutgers University Press and Edinburgh University Press, 2009): A Short History of Film, written with Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, (Rutgers University Press and I.B. Tauris, 2008). His newest book, A History of Horror, (Rutgers University Press), is forthcoming in 2010. As a filmmaker, his complete works are in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art, following a career retrospective in 2003.

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