William Cameron Menzies – Address Unknown (1944)

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Plot Synopsis:
Nominated for Best B&W Art Direction-Interior Decoration and Best Music Score, this World War II drama chronicles the degradation of Martin Schulz (played by Paul Lukas), an American-German art dealer who returns to live in Germany just before the rise of the National Socialist Party. Preying (in part) on his ego, a local baron-Nazi Party member (Carl Esmond) gradually influences Schulz to abandon his principles and his Jewish friend-American partner Max Eisenstein (Morris Carnovsky), with whom Schulz had been corresponding by letter. Peter van Eyck plays Schulz’s son Heinrich, who remains in the States working for Max while Mady Christians plays Max’s daughter Elsa, Heinrich’s fiancée-actress who finds work in Germany and bravely resists a Nazi’s (Charles Halton) censorship, with tragic results. When Schulz finally realizes what he’s lost, it’s too late. The movie’s title doesn’t come into play until the end, which features a twist. Directed by Academy Award winning Art Director William Cameron Menzies (Tempest (1928)), and based on the story by Kressmann Taylor with a screenplay by Herbert Dalmas, the film is a timely and effective reminder of the power of charismatic leaders and the vigilance needed to resist their rhetoric. Emory Parnell and Frank Faylen both appear as letter carriers. – Classic Film Guide Continue reading

William Cameron Menzies – The Maze (1953) (DVD)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Plot Synopsis
from allmovie
The hero of The Maze turns out to be (-spoiler removed-), but that’s hardly the most unbelievable aspect of this one-of-a-kind melodrama. It all begins when Scotsman Gerald McTeam (Richard Carlson) is called away to his ancestral mansion just before his marriage to Kitty (Veronica Hurst). Several weeks pass before it dawns on Kitty and her aunt Mrs. Murray (Katherine Emery, who narrates the film) that Gerald may not be coming back. The two women head to the mansion, where Gerald refuses to see them. The household servants likewise refuse access to Kitty and her aunt, but the two women intend to get to the bottom of the mystery, the solution of which seems to be somewhere in the huge maze in the rear of the castle. And that’s all that can be revealed without giving the game away. Lensed in 3D, The Maze was one of two fascinating fantasy films directed in 1953 by production designer William Cameron Menzies: the other was Invaders from Mars. Continue reading