The Big Clock

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domino harvey
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The Big Clock

#1 Post by domino harvey » Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:23 am


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Re: The Big Clock

#2 Post by Godot » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:15 am

From the press release:
Synopsis: Adapted by acclaimed screenwriter Jonathan Latimer from a novel by the equally renowned crime author Kenneth Fearing, The Big Clock is a superior suspense film which classily combines screwball comedy with heady thrills.

Overworked true crime magazine editor George Stroud (Ray Milland, The Lost Weekend, The Pyjama Girl Case) has been planning a vacation for months. However, when his boss, the tyrannical media tycoon Earl Janoth (Charles Laughton, Witness for the Prosecution), insists he skips his hols, Stroud resigns in disgust before embarking on an impromptu drunken night out with his boss's mistress, Pauline York (Rita Johnson, The Major and the Minor). When Janoth kills Pauline in a fit of rage, Stroud finds himself to have been the wrong man, in the wrong place, at the wrong time: his staff have been tasked with finding a suspect with an all too familiar description... Stroud's very own!

Directed with panache by John Farrow (Around the World in 80 Days), who stylishly renders the film's towering central set, the Janoth Building, The Big Clock benefits from exuberant performances by Ray Milland and Charles Laughton, who make hay with the script's snappy dialogue. A huge success on its release, it is no wonder this fast-moving noir was remade years later as the Kevin Costner vehicle No Way Out.

Special Features and Technical Specs:
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation transferred from original film elements
Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
New audio commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin
Turning Back the Clock, a newly filmed analysis of the film by the critic and chief executive of Film London, Adrian Wootton
A Difficult Actor, a newly filmed appreciation of Charles Laughton and his performance in The Big Clock by the actor, writer, and theatre director Simon Callow
Rare hour-long 1948 radio dramatization of The Big Clock by the Lux Radio Theatre, starring Ray Milland
Original theatrical trailer
Gallery of original stills and promotional materials
Reversible sleeve featuring two original artwork options
First pressing only: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Christina Newland

Very exciting announcement! Particularly for the new Adrian Martin commentary, but nice to see another visual analysis and Laughton feature. The Universal DVD was very nice for its time (I'd been watching a VHS copy I recorded off late-night TV, complete with commercial breaks, since I was a teen), and I bought the German Koch blu-ray set which has fantastic clarity (combined with Dark Mirror and Ministry of Fear). I don't think Big Clock is as affecting a noir as the Siodmak or Lang films, but it still fascinates with its play on the philosophical "man searching for himself" central conceit. Like in Phantom Lady, characters are searching for difficult to find and barely remembered people to reinforce their alibis; in this case, the best witness is played by Elsa Lanchester, suitably odd and funny as an artist (we meet her defending her work in a gallery). It also features a unique play on noir's use of modern art to represent the unseemly, corrupt, warped, dangerous influence of modern life (see also Crack-up, Kiss Me Deadly), here with
Lanchester painting a portrait of the man she saw with the victim on the night of the murder, to identify him for Laughton's security detail, but painting him in a modernist/cubist style which ultimately tells them nothing of value about the subject
Henry Morgan plays an intimidating, silent enforcer, and the shadowy pursuit through the Art Deco-styled building is visually interesting. The tick-tock-race-against-a-deadline plot engine is well used, like in the remake No Way Out, but Milland comes off a bit drab when surrounded by fascinating actors like Lanchester, Laughton, and George Macready (and even Morgan in his few scenes commands your attention with his unwavering intensity, no matter how much else is populating the frame).

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Re: The Big Clock

#3 Post by david hare » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:59 pm

The movie also sports a number of Farrow's signature long serpentine takes, Including the opening shot which cheats with an optical when it "goes inside". The substantial homosexual text in the movie is another delicious aspect. Adrian Martin will undoubtedly not gloos over this in his bonus piece.

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