realism & artificiality in 2 great american films.
watching 2 movies this evening, i found that my favourite part of each film contrasted realism & artificiality.
1. realism: the end of the docunoir film the naked city (jules dassin, 1948) where willie garzah runs to his death on the williamsburg bridge, hunted by barry fitzgerald. this film throughout has the grittiness of a neo-realist film, but especially the death scene at the end, which is really quite spectacular.
2. artificiality: the beginning of the most dangerous game (irving pichel, ernest b. schoedsack, 1932) where a (miniature) boat navigates through the rough sea (or a tub of water).
this artificiality has such a beauty to it, the real thing would pale in comparison. also of note is the very atmospheric hunting scene towards the end (see image). the sets of this film were recycled from king kong.
these scenes make me think of jack smith and his love of josef von sternberg's visual style, with its abstractions and bizarre artificiality.