Tag Archives: Esmond Knight

Jean Renoir – The River (1951)

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky wrote:
Is there a more pathetic object of desire than Captain John (Thomas E. Breen), the one-legged American who becomes a figure of romantic fantasy in The River? Breen was all of 26 at the time of filming, though like so many of the World War II generation, he seems a good decade older. His red hair is gelled back in sticky waves, his pants are belted mid-abdomen, and his shirts and jackets are cut baggy. His clothes drape awkwardly over his body, and at the pivotal moment of the film—the moment when Captain John’s false leg gives out from under him—they seem to drift an inch behind him, like parachutes unfurling too late. Read More »

Alfred Hitchcock – Waltzes from Vienna (1934)

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A bizarre entry in Alfred Hitchcock´s filmography: Johann Strauss Jr. is the son of the famous conductor and composer, and plays the violin in his father’s orchestra. He hasn’t had any of his own compositions performed or published because Strauss Sr. sternly discourages it. Not dismayed, Strauss Jr gives singing lessons to his gifted sweetheart Resi, the daughter of a pastry chef, and dedicates all his songs to her. Then he meets a Countess who has written some verses and asks his help in setting them to music. When her husband hears from a servant that a young man is upstairs with his wife, he storms into the music room, but the name of Strauss placates him. Later, Resi isn’t so easily placated, for she senses a rival. However, the Countess essentially has Strauss Jr’s best interests at heart. With a publisher friend, she successfully plots to have the elder Strauss delayed one night so that Jr’s new composition, “The Blue Danube” may receive a performance. Strauss Jr. conducts the waltz himself, becoming the sensation of Vienna. Soon afterwards, though the Prince’s suspicions have briefly been aroused again, everyone is finally reconciled.
In his interview with François Truffaut in 1964 and in many other interviews, Alfred Hitchcock referred to this film as “the lowest ebb of my career”. Read More »