Otto Preminger was not spared the brunt of bad reviews and publicity towards the end of his career. At times, the critics were quite savage in their analysis of his latter films. In my opinion, this was a time where he shined the most, and was in top form. He tackled new ground and continued to break taboo without audiences knowing. From TELL ME THAT YOU LOVE ME JUNIE MOON to SUCH GOOD FRIENDS to ROSEBUD and finally to THE HUMAN FACTOR, this was another renaissance for Preminger. Agreed, ROSEBUD was not a masterpiece. Elements such as Cliff Gorman’s atrocious acting, loose ends and implausibility hold it back from reaching its ultimate goal, but it was not the turkey that Leonard Maltin (et al.) made it out to be. On the contrary, it is a highly atmospheric thriller, at select times noble of the work of Antonioni, that really hits home on a topic which still plagues the world. Preminger, who was always willing to take his horizons to new oceans, tackles the subject of terrorism. With technical charisma and an expert’s eye, he presents the film like a master, even if it is by no means his best work.
The story follows CIA agent Larry Martin (Peter O’Toole), who goes under the guise of a Newsweek reporter to rescue four young girls from the hands of Palestinian terrorists who vow the end of Israel. The girls, taken captive from a private luxury liner called “Rosebud” (“The name of it comes from some old film”), have very powerful fathers who must watch their daughters struggle with the many hardships. The film deals with four primary aspects: the suffering of the girls, the plight of their fathers, their attempted finding and international terrorism in retrospect.
Saul Bass’ title work was extraordinary, as his the rest of his work. The music, at times avant garde in its use of synthesizers, added to the hypnotic quality of the film. The script sometimes had minor lapses in credibility and was a tad too verbose, but was overall agreeable. Erik Lee Preminger, Otto’s son, was after all a novice screenwriter who was proud to find a new project for papa.
+Commentary by Daniel Kremer
3.02GB | 2h 06mn | 1024×436 | mkv