The Wild North

The style is laconic, self-contained and demonstrative rather than explicatory, which is the point.

You fend off a dog to save a kitten (cp. Death Hunt, dir. Peter R. Hunt), you quell a human grizzly bear to rescue an Indian maiden, there is a Mountie to bring you in for murder, he must find himself in the exact same position to give witness (cp. The Man from the Alamo, dir. Budd Boetticher).

“Standard adventure story with avalanche and wolf attacks” (Halliwell’s Film Guide).

Bosley Crowther (New York Times) admired the Ansco Color on location.


The Devil Makes Three

Munich after the war, a ruin coming back to life.

The smuggler’s route to Salzburg.

A fatal business, motorcycle assassins cut short a call to the MPs.

From this perspective precisely The Joyless Street (Die freudlose Gasse, dir. G.W. Pabst) “nach der Niederlage”, question of Nazi gold.

This is a peculiar variation, along the lines of Billy Wilder’s A Foreign Affair and Samuel Fuller’s Verboten! and most certainly George Seaton’s The Big Lift, a Germany restored to itself with the seeds of its own destruction still in evidence.

The key element is later transposed in Goldfinger (dir. Guy Hamilton).

H.H.T. of the New York Times, “curiously disappointing”. Variety, “interesting”. Leonard Maltin, “none too convincing”.

And this is yet another film that goes into Michael Anderson’s The Quiller Memorandum. When Marton arrives at Berchtesgaden, the singer-pianist at the Silhouette Tanzbar has a classic double-take out of The Phantom of the Opera (dir. Rupert Julian). “It’s all there but the heils. We used to see stuff like this in the newsreels.”

Halliwell’s Film Guide, “little to commend it” but location work.

“Some of you guys never give up, do you.” The chase passes under a sign that reads, in less than perfect English,






Kubrick assuredly remembers the finale in The Shining, it unmistakably recalls Rossellini’s Germania anno zero and two other films made about the same time, Werker’s He Walked by Night and Reed’s The Third Man. Marton’s discovery of a “picture window” the size of a CinemaScope screen for his Nazi (Claus Clausen, a performance very like Klaus Kinski) is as they say the crowning touch.



Men of the Fighting Lady

Three films, the main one astonishing in its open candor. A very costly raid is mounted each day from a carrier, the target is a Korean railroad rebuilt each night by the Commies. A railroad is hard to hit, you have to fly low, sometimes you lose planes and even pilots.

A family man aware of all this turns his jet around after a sortie because another plane is briefly missing, flak brings him down on the carrier deck in flames.

Responding to this, still another pilot keeps to himself but is blinded by flak and talked down to the carrier by a wing man.

Michener gets the story from a flight surgeon aboard ship.

Marton’s unequaled technical precision is just the thing.


Green Fire

A straightforward analysis of Huston’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, transposed on location to emerald mining in Colombia.

It clarifies one or two secondary points (Ebert thought the hammock scene with Walter Huston was outré, for example).

Neither Variety, nor Bosley Crowther of the New York Times, nor Time Out Film Guide, nor Halliwell’s Film Guide took any notice of the transposition.

The other place you find emeralds is Siberia, it’s said, “a closed corporation.”


The Thin Red Line

The experience of combat that separates “the sane and the mad”.

The top sergeant knows how it’s done, the private goes from fear of Japs to kill everything and finally “becoming a soldier”.

The lieutenant colonel figures out losses as expenditures in advance, the captain is chary of his men, neither sees the forest for the trees.

Guadalcanal, Army following the Marines, “a classical infantry operation”, swamp to river to Bowling Alley to Bula-Bula Village to “see the Elephant”, a hive in the hills.

This is a crucial formation for Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, which shows the derivation from Dwan’s Sands of Iwo Jima.

During the Depression, some paperboys screwed their limbs after the manner of Lon Chaney at the pictures and went into saloons pleading like Crazy Guggenheim, a guy at the bar would take pity and buy the stack, thus Eugene Archer’s New York Times review, Variety simply adopted a more enthusiastic stance.

Filmed in Spain, cinematography by Manuel Berenguer, score by Malcolm Arnold.

“Weary, routine, realistic” (Halliwell’s Film Guide).


Crack in the World

A notably abstruse science-fiction masterpiece with a very complex structure.

There is a beautiful theory that a part of the earth tore away and formed the moon, leaving the Pacific Ocean behind, here we see the formation of a second moon, full not crescent.

These are the two world wars, in Marton’s formulation. A plan for world harmony, disastrous consequences, successful opposition turning the thing upon itself, another satellite.


Around the World Under the Sea

Marton had just made Crack in the World, and still critics had not an idea in the least what he was getting at here. The Japanese idea of a world-circling sensor belt to predict tidal waves by monitoring seismic activity on the ocean floor is implemented by a civilian crew manning the U.S. Navy’s Hydronaut, the personages aboard mirror and enact the Second World War in a mobilization and disputation over a beautiful Englishwoman, the project comes to an end off the Canal Zone due to volcanic activity undersea imprisoning the craft in subsidence, it must be blown in half to free the forward control area and rise to the surface.

The chess game between a German scientist and an American autodidact is not resumed, a new island is formed, this is the postwar situation dividing the world.

The comparison to space exploration is not made lightly. The guinea pigs’ rescue is an allusion to The Birds, material is variously drawn for Nichols’ The Day of the Dolphin, Yorkin’s The Thief Who Came to Dinner, and Yates’ The Deep.