Jacques Tourneur

Jacques Tourneur – Easy Living (1949)

from Film Society of Lincoln Center:
Money, sex, and football: the three cornerstones of American life spell doom in Tourneur’s tough, subversive anti-marriage melodrama. Victor Mature is a star quarterback with a fatal heart condition who’s willing to risk death on the field to give his power-hungry wife (Lizabeth Scott) the life she wants, even as she pursues a sordid affair with a Wall Street sugar daddy. Co-starring Lucille Ball—who delivers some of the film’s most memorable moments as a hard-nosed working girl spouting world-weary cynicisms—Easy Living is a Sirkian sports movie with a dark noir undercurrent. Read More »

Jacques Tourneur – Nightfall (1956)

Fred Camper wrote:
This 1957 noir masterpiece by Jacques Tourneur stars Aldo Ray as a man fleeing a private investigator and Anne Bancroft as the barroom acquaintance who agrees to help him. Ray’s past is revealed gradually in a series of flashbacks, which are intercut with the couple’s flight and the investigator’s pursuit; by developing each narrative in a parallel space or time, Tourneur movingly articulates the theme of a character trapped by his history. The images have a smooth, almost liquid quality, the high-contrast lighting of most noirs replaced by a delicate lyricism that takes the natural world as the norm. Tourneur links this naturalism to Ray’s growing observational skills (“I know where every shadow falls,” he says), but it also contrasts with the story’s acute paranoia. Read More »

Jacques Tourneur – The Comedy of Terrors (1963)

Synopsis:
Waldo Trumbull (Vincent Price) is an amoral undertaker in 19th-century New England who takes to murdering people to have enough cash to support his drinking habit. Desperate for money after a widow stiffs him for a burial, Trumbull and his assistant, Gillie (Peter Lorre), decide to kill the wealthy Mr. Black (Basil Rathbone), their landlord, to whom they’re indebted. But murdering Black proves to be quite a challenge, as he seems to keep recovering from death every time they do him in. Read More »

Jacques Tourneur – Experiment Perilous (1944)

Plot:
Dr. Hunt Bailey (George Brent) is fascinated by a portrait of breathtaking Allida Bedereaux (Hedy Lamarr) – and with the woman herself. Fragile and frightened, Allida confides to him that she and her young son are in great peril. Her husband (Paul Lukas) insists she is insane. And around them, people mysteriously die. Director Jacques Tourneur (Cat People, Out of the Past) brings his celebrated mastery of shadowy menace to this absorbing tale of madness and murder in an outwardly genteel world of wealth. Follow Dr. Bailey as he searches for the truth. And, like him, don’t believe everything you are told. From Warner Brothers! Read More »

Jacques Tourneur – Way of a Gaucho (1952)

Synopsis:
Set in the Argentina of about 1875 in which a customary punishment for killing was a sentence to army service. A young gaucho deserts his army sentence and becomes a bandit leader and also gets his sweetheart pregnant. Seeing the futility of his ways, he takes her to a church to be married prior to surrendering himself back to the army. Read More »

Jacques Tourneur – The Fearmakers (1958)

In this drama, a Korean war veteran, a victim of brainwashing while he was a POW, finally goes back to his home in Washington, DC, where he resumes his job at a public relations-opinion research firm. He soon discovers that his company is being run by communists after his partner mysteriously died. Now pro-communist propaganda seems to be their primary business. To stop them, the vet begins cooperating in a full-scale Senate investigation. Read More »

Jacques Tourneur – I Walked with a Zombie (1943)

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A young Canadian nurse (Betsy) comes to the West Indies to care for Jessica, the wife of a plantation manager (Paul Holland). Jessica seems to be suffering from a kind of mental paralysis as a result of fever. When she falls in love with Paul, Betsy determines to cure Jessica even if she needs to use a voodoo ceremony, to give Paul what she thinks he wants. Read More »