Monday, November 7, 2011

The Small Back Room - The Criterion Collection

Also known as Hour of Glory (1949)

Directed by  Michael Powell  & Emeric Pressburger

Written by Michael Powell  & Emeric Pressburger
Based on the novel by Nigel Balchin

Stars: David Farrar, Jack Hawkins and Kathleen Byron

Date of Release:  February 23, 1952

The directing team behind the classic film, The Red Shoes comes back with an introspective look of an scientist Sammy Rice (Ferrar) trying to dismantle a bomb in WWII London.

I believe that one of my friends on Facebook recommended this movie, The Small Back Room to me when I praised the introspective journey of the main character with my essay of The Hurt Locker on my other side. seeing the movie on the shelf at the library. I thought it was kismet. I had to watch this movie.

Instead of writing out the plot of the movie, I wanted to give my impressions of the movie. The movie on the surface is like The Hurt Locker, but they are very different. It is a film noir that has all the tropes of a film of that time. The shadows and limited light brightness up the actors faces.

Overall, the movie was a huge disappoint. At first, I have a huge hang up with British movies. I don't know if it's the accents, the way they carry themselves, something turns me off with those movies. First strikes against it.

The second is the tension was not there. In The Hurt Locker, the score, the way that the camera was positioned, the intensity on the actors faces spoke volumes. Back Room was laying there like a dead fish. There was the ending sequence of the movie that redeemed it a little. I wish that the protagonist was fully fleshed out. He was just booze hound genius that is caught up with a secretary, Susan (Byron) with a tin leg. Big whoop!

Third strike was that I thought the movie was plotting along aimlessly. The beginning was incomprehensible. Asking myself,"Who are these people?", "What the hell is going on?". I was lost. Then, when Captain Stuart (Michael Gough) explains about a bomb explosion happening in the streets that killed some civilians, then I knew what was happening. During the middle of the runtime, I was drifting off to sleep. I was checking to see how long the movie was going to last.

Going back to watching movies is not starting off on the right foot.


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