Saturday, January 23, 2010

We Were Strangers...

I dont usually zero in on one particular film but, oh well, the times they are-a-changin'!

I'm a huge John Garfield fan and I've had this vintage Lobby Card in my collection for about 10 years but never saw this film until tonight! It's quite bleak and grim as hell but John Huston's direction and excellent performances from the entire cast make it a winner! The story deals with the times just before the Cuban revolution circa late 1930's while at the same time weaving in a love story, of course!

Russell Metty contributed some beautiful black and white cinematography to the picture. There were several incredible shots of Jennifer Jones and John Garfield. My only complaint was there was a truly excessive use of rear-screen shots in the outdoor scenes, so much so that even someone like Hithccock might say "Doooon't you think you used toooo many of thooooose?"

The always excellent Gilbert Roland (far left) nearly stole the show from everyone in what I feel might be the best role I've seen him in yet! Pedro Armendariz also excelled as a sickenly corrupt police official. He was truly despicable!

Anyhoo, it was nice to see a "new" classic film and as of now I have only 3 more Garfield films left to see (Daughters Courageous, Under My Skin and Breaking Point) and 2 of them I have on tape here!

There will be a big John Garfield tribute posting here in the near future, so for those that care about such things, stay-tuned!


Margaret Benbow said...

What a fine tribute to a memorable film. Pedro Armendariz was truly terrifying, wasn't he? The excruciatingly long-drawn-out scene where he's alone with Jennifer Jones, menacing her with (unspoken) threats of rape, drinking to violent drunkenness and eating, no, destroying those shrimp AND the furniture as he glares lustfully at her--while she tries to conceal her fear, and Garfield listens,agonized, in hiding, unable to help her --what a great scene! It took at least ten years off my life.

Recently saw Garfield's early film Four Daughters--what a pleasure, but not a surprise, to see this skinny youth already with all the authority of his talent and charisma.

Artman2112 said...

Margaret - YES that scene was soooooo tense!!! definitely one of the best in the film. And Jennijer Jones barely said a word, but one look at her face and you knew everything she as thinking and feeling!
Four Daughters, i have not seen in a LONG time but i will agree with you 100% about Garfield in that. He was one of those actors that had a solid start but continued to get better and better as the years went on.

Ginger Ingenue said...

I just saw my very first John Garfield film a week or so ago!

I'll give you one guess what it was. ;)

Ginger Ingenue said...

P.S. Three things I forgot to mention...

1) I love your header.

2) This write-up is great.

and 3) Despite my distaste for Jennifer Jones, that lobby card is lovely.


I hope you're well!