Monday, January 23, 2012

Max Ophüls night

TCM is spending tonight showing several films directed by German-born filmmaker Max Ophüls. One that I saw the last time it showed up on TCM, but don't have quite a good enough recollection of to do a full-length blog post on, is Letter from an Unkown Woman, airing at 11:15 PM.

Louis Jourdan plays a pianist/composer in turn of the last century Vienna who comes home one one night looking to make a quick getaway: it turns out he's been challenged to a duel, and unbeknownst to him, the duellist is waiting for him at the entrance to his apartment building. But before he can leave to try to make his escape, his servant hands him a letter. Cue the flashback, as if we haven't seen that before....

The letter, it turns out, was written by Joan Fontaine, who knew Jourdan years ago when she was a teenager living in the same apartment building as Jourdan. She and her family move away, but years later she meets Jourdan and has a brief affair with him. Parts of it remind me of Brief Encounter, one of those women's pictures that is well made, even if I find it a bit hard to stomach. From memory, however, Letter from an Unknown Woman isn't quite as much a "women's picture" as Brief Encounter.

To be honest, though, I'm looking forward to The Reckless Moment, kicking off the night at 8:00 PM. It sounds like an interesting thriller about a mother trying to hide the murder committed by her daughter. Supposedly both movies have been released to DVD, as Amazon lists them as available for purchase, but the TCM web-site doesn't: the DVDs are listed as imports from Korea.

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