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Filmspotting Message Boards => Movie Talk => Directors => Topic started by: MartinTeller on October 18, 2010, 01:54:29 PM

Title: Tourneur, Jacques
Post by: MartinTeller on October 18, 2010, 01:54:29 PM
1. Out of the Past
2. I Walked with a Zombie
3. Nightfall
4. Cat People
5. Night of the Demon
6. The Leopard Man
7. Berlin Express
8. Experiment Perilous
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 18, 2010, 01:55:51 PM
I've only seen Night of the Demon, but I really liked it and I want to explore more of his work.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: sdedalus on October 18, 2010, 01:58:35 PM
1. Out of the Past
2. Cat People
3. I Walked with a Zombie
4. Stars in My Crown
5. Nightfall
6. The Leopard Man
7. Night of the Demon
8. Berlin Express
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: pixote on October 18, 2010, 01:58:51 PM
I'm torn between Out of the Past and Night of the Demon. Stars in My Crown is up there, too. Not a huge fan of Cat People, but I Walked with a Zombie has its moments.

pixote
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: kmccubbin on October 20, 2010, 01:11:29 AM
I was recently asked for a list of my favorite horror films.  I gave 20.  6 of them were the Val Lewton films.  I love Out of the Past and Night of the Demon, but, for me, it's i Walked With A Zombie all the way.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: kmccubbin on October 20, 2010, 01:29:05 AM
I've always preferred his Lewton films to Night of the Demon, which is just basically a tribute to Lewton.  But, seriously, Cat People at the bottom?  I used to think it was a really light film, but watched it again recently.... It's magnificent!
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: worm@work on October 20, 2010, 02:12:28 AM
Only seen two.
1. Out of the Past
2. Night of the Demon
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: roujin on March 19, 2011, 11:40:56 PM
(http://i53.tinypic.com/jzbggg.jpg)
Wichita Jacques Tourneur, 1955

The town of Wichita wants two things: to be safe and peaceful, livable; but they also want to become a cattle town and host a bunch of cowboys. When Joel McCrea shows up, he's all wanting to settle down and open up a business, but all he finds are bars, loose women and drunken cowboys. After the tragic death of Michael Jackson, it becomes obvious that there are things that are more important than the capitalist impulses of the town. To make things safe for everyone, McCrea makes himself an opponent of the progress that everyone wants. He instead points the way for a tougher, but more morally upright way of doing things. I really wanna read the Fujiwara book now and start going thru this guy's films. I can't get quite a handle on him. I really enjoyed this film, but there are depths to it waiting to come out. Well, at least it didn't totally leave me dumbfounded like Canyon Passage did. That's progress, right?
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: sdedalus on March 20, 2011, 01:13:33 AM
I've got that book, but I don't think I've seen enough of his films to read it yet.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: roujin on August 10, 2011, 11:26:25 PM
(http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn43/jimmyeds/vlcsnap-00125-1.png)
Experiment Perilous Jacques Tourneur, 1944

George Brent is some city doctor who's returning to the big city after a trip. He meets up with some crazy old lady on the train and because of that encounter gets caught up in the mysterious shenanigans of her family, who may or may not all be insane. Soon enough he's all up on Hedy Lamarr (who's all stifled and going insane) and talking about daisies and poetry. It's never a big mystery exactly what's going on and I don't think the film makes a big deal out of that aspect of the film. It instead goes after  more of a feeling of unease, which seems to hang around all of the film's sets. The field of Daisies of Lamarr's past soon gets attached to other painful memories. But Tourneur can't infuse the material with any sort of momentum or energy. The possessive fervor of Lukas' character barely registers at all on the film, and it all comes off rather dispassionate. Shrug.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: sdedalus on August 11, 2011, 12:11:06 AM
I don't think I've ever heard of that, but if it's got Hedy Lamarr, I'll see it.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: roujin on August 11, 2011, 12:16:54 AM
She looks quite good in this, yes.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: Drew_Hunt on October 19, 2011, 07:59:09 PM
Love Tourneur...

1. Canyon Passage
2. Cat People
3. Easy Living
4. I Walked with a Zombie
5. Out of the Past
6. Stars in My Crown
7. Night of the Demon/Curse of the Demon
8. The Fearmakers
9. Experiment Perilous
10. The Leopard Man
11. Wichita
12. Berlin Express
13. Anne of the Indies
14. War-Gods of the Deep (this is actually one of the very worst films I've ever seen)
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: Totoro on October 19, 2011, 08:21:12 PM
Out of the Past (B+)

 :-\
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: roujin on January 21, 2012, 11:57:44 PM
(http://i42.tinypic.com/2mrbkvt.jpg)
Stars in my Crown Jacques Tourneur, 1950

Had no idea why I thought this was an actual western. It's more a of a small town community picture, like Ford's The Sun Shines Bright or To Kill a Mockingbird. Tourneur creates a vivid sense of community and place here. You get the schoolhouse with the well, the ailing doctor and his son, the great Arthur Hunicutt playing some guy named Chloroform (lol), some random black guy named Famous who teaches the Boy With the Green Hair how to fish or whatever. And then there's the wonderful Joel McCrea as the town parson, who for his first sermon, walks into a the saloon with his bible and his gun and starts preaching. I liked the tension between the doctor and the parson and how both men and their beliefs fit within the community; how they were different and how they complimented each other. The whole thing gets surprisingly dark for something I thought would be all nostalgic Americana. The film's portrayal of racism and hatred arising from economic instability is scary. The film's racists are just frustrated everyday folk looking for somebody to blame. Its reconciliatory vision is one that I found useful and deeply moving. Plus: other weird stuff that I already forgot.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: sdedalus on January 22, 2012, 11:20:25 AM
Such a good movie.  It's the film people want To Kill a Mockingbird to be.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: roujin on January 22, 2012, 05:19:11 PM
That's one I need to revisit. Hopefully it can work for me as an actual movie without any of the school curriculum baggage that I always associate with it.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: Antares on January 22, 2012, 05:27:12 PM
Out of the Past

Cat People

I own the Val Lewton set, but still haven't watched The Leopard Man or I Walked with a Zombie.  :-[
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: roujin on June 28, 2012, 01:38:07 PM
Nightfall Jacques Tourneur, 1957

I had words, but then I found this by a Mr. Greg X at mubi.com

"Nightfall can be considered a mistaken noir, or a film that starts as if it were a noir using all the familiar tropes or conventions of the genre, a paranoid loner on the run in a foreboding urban landscape pursued by both ruthless criminals and a government man with a femme fatale for a companion, and then undermines them all one by one, the woman is true and only seeks to help, the government man turns out to be an insurance agent whom he befriends and even the thugs are given a soul, if not fully redeemable, the dark night of the city gives way to a country morning in a field of blinding white."

So, yeah, great movie. It's been a while since I've seen a film start off with such an aura of mystery - whatever ails the protagonist feels like something almost hidden deep down, but all expressed thru the film's mise en scene (the street corner with the cigarette, the bar counter, etc). I think I'll be ordering that Fujiwara book after all.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: roujin on February 09, 2013, 08:10:43 PM
(http://i1258.photobucket.com/albums/ii537/roujinz/film%20500/theflameandthearrow_zpse58d4bd9.jpg)
The Flame and The Arrow (Jacques Tourneur, 1950)

Burt Lancaster is a mountain man and as such he is free to do the things we are not. Like challenge the occupying forces of this one other kingdom. In the ensuing struggle, his kid is kidnapped, so he has to get him back. The whole thing's a lot of rollicking fun, full of those wonderful technicolor shadows, ala Canyon Passage, and elaborate staging. Lancaster's able body is the star, and the film's final moments are fantastic - acrobatic trojan horses, revolution, roujin.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: roujin on February 23, 2013, 04:14:31 PM
(http://i1258.photobucket.com/albums/ii537/roujinz/film%20500/GreatDayInTheMorningTourneur1956_snapshot_003525_20130223_160849_zps248bf839.png)
Great Day in the Morning (Jacques Tourneur, 1956)

This is Canyon Passage-level of mysterious, complex mise en scene, meaning it's a masterpiece. Each scene full of confrontations, counter-balances, opposing ideologies, fluid characterization, pictorial beauty, self-destruction, and an acknowledgement of people's unknowable nature - the final shot (scene) is just incredible.
Title: Tourneur, Jacques
Post by: 1SO on March 30, 2013, 12:44:10 AM
1. Canyon Passage
2. Out of the Past
3. Stranger on Horseback
4. Night of the Demon
5. Wichita
6. Stars in My Crown
7. The Flame and the Arrow
8. Great Day in the Morning
9. I Walked With a Zombie
10. Cat People
11. Circle of Danger
12. The Fearmakers
13. Easy Living
14. Way of a Gaucho
15. Nightfall
16. Experiment Perilous
17. The Leopard Man
18. Nick Carter, Master Detective
19. The Comedy of Terrors
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on April 24, 2013, 12:37:06 PM
The Flame and The Arrow. Acrobatic Lancaster thank you for the reminder roujin.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: pixote on June 17, 2013, 04:51:03 PM
(http://i50.tinypic.com/krlfs.jpg)
Canyon Passage (Jacques Tourneur, 1946)
For whatever reason, I was expecting a melancholy western, where the white hats face off with the black hats at high noon on a mountain trail and a few people get shot and the survivors ride off into the night, their hats now a shade of grey. Canyon Passage really isn't a western at all, though, especially not one of the gunslinger variety. Tourneur's film is a novelistic tapestry of frontier life in Oregon. It might well be the first film to emphasize, rightly, the thick mud of main street in a frontier town like this (something the series Deadwood was celebrated for fifty-plus years later). The narrative is appealing slack and the thematics resonantly underplayed, both of which give way to the overall mood of time and place and me and us.
Grade: B+

pixote
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: 1SO on July 19, 2013, 11:38:10 PM
Stars in My Crown
I was hoping for a companion piece to Canyon Passage, but this is more of a spiritual drama told through the eyes of a child, (and in crisp but disappointing black and white.) Still quite good, but not really a western. Joel McCrea is rather amazing. I wish the rest of the cast could match him. Every time he started a story I was glued. Whenever someone else started monologuing I did what I could to stay interested. Really liked the relationship between McCrea's parson and the young doctor. Two sides of a coin, each just as important. There's a confrontation with The Klan at the end that spins in an unusual and brilliant direction. John Ford could hardly do it better. Plus, African-Americans playing Indians in a medicine show. Sometimes it's those little touches.
RATING: * * * - Good

I'm adding Wichita and Stranger on Horseback to my Watchlist. Possibly Way of a Gaucho too.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: 1SO on July 24, 2013, 12:19:24 PM
Wichita
Though Joel McCrea is way to old to be playing young Wyatt Earp, this is like the excellent first film in a trilogy we never got. I would love to have seen Tourneur and McCrea continue onto Dodge City and Tombstone. Again, Tourneur splashes the buildings and furniture with some lively colors to break up all that brown and yellow. The story moves swiftly and character loyalties shift nicely between good and evil. Cattlemen are the bread and butter of Wichita, but they also bring violence and destruction. You need law, but you want them to spend their dollars. It's like turn of the century Spring Break. Doesn't reach the heights of Canyon Passage but a little better than Stars in My Crown.
RATING: * * * - Very Good
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: 1SO on August 11, 2013, 12:22:08 PM
Stranger on Horseback
Another Joel McCrea western, and I'm sure it would look great if the VHS wasn't horrible. This has become an unbeatable formula for success. McCrea plays a judge who rides into town and becomes curious about a recent "self defense" killing involving the son of the family that owns everything in the town. The ensuing search for justice in a town too afraid to say how afraid they are reminds me of a good film noir. Not only is it very entertaining, nobody even appears to be breaking a sweat making it so good. Would love to see it again on Blu Ray.
RATING: * * * - Very Good
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: roujin on March 02, 2014, 02:54:44 PM
Stranger on Horseback (Jacques Tourneur, 1955)

Joel McCrea rides into town to bring law to it, but the town will have none of it. The bloodied history of the American Dream (this land is MINE) meets its logical conclusion as its offspring amorally decide the fates of people.

The final decision made by the patriarch is done with the weight of blood and violence (something he says late in the film that he hates) that shaped not only him, but the land. The film ends, not with the hero riding off, but with a moral choice to no longer pursue violence, and instead let the structure of government take over (no matter how painful it may ultimately be).
Title: Re: Tourneur, Jacques
Post by: 1SO on August 11, 2015, 09:04:21 PM
The Leopard Man (1943)
* *
Such a pale attempt to re-capture the success of other Val Lewton/Jacques Tourneur works. The atmospheric scenes are few and tend to be more silly than scary. Then there's the rest which is awfully lifeless for a 65 minute movie. Tourneur has made plenty of good films - I prefer his westerns to his horror anyways. This is like a sorry sequel that makes you question if the success of the original was more accidental.
Title: Re: Tourneur, Jacques
Post by: Knocked Out Loaded on August 12, 2015, 12:33:39 AM
Val Lewton showed up on my radar a year ago or so and I would like to do a marathon on him or something. I've tracked down most of the titles of his except Please Believe Me from 1950. There also is a documentary titled The Man In The Shadows that seems worthwhile to dig into.
Title: Re: Tourneur, Jacques
Post by: 1SO on June 18, 2016, 11:08:17 PM
Circle of Danger (1951)
* *
Ray Milland plays an American who travels to England to learn why his brother was the sole fatality during a commando mission in World War II. Murder mystery potential wasted because Milland isn't trustworthy, which means you literally have nobody you can believe, and Tourneur spends too much time on unimportant things, like a romantic sub-plot and conversations about etiquette and automobiles.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Jacques Tourneur
Post by: 1SO on May 27, 2017, 02:51:11 PM
The Flame and the Arrow (1950)
Boldly invites comparison to The Adventures of Robin Hood and manages to capture some of the same fun and adventure while remaining constantly under the shadow of the cinema supreme. Burt Lancaster is no Errol Flynn, Virginia Mayo is no Olivia de Havilland and Jacques Tourneur is no Michael Curtiz, but each is hugely talented in their own way. In particular, Lancaster's acrobat background fits the action better than I expected (which is to say Gymkata this is not.) Not Tourneur's best work, but there are touches that remind me of him so this isn't a work-for-hire out of his element. The film's weakness is sometimes taking the events seriously at which point the drama goes flat, mostly in the middle. When the emphasis is on comedy, action and fun, it's no Robin Hood but it satisfies. 
RATING: * * * - Okay
Title: Re: Tourneur, Jacques
Post by: oldkid on May 28, 2017, 01:23:19 AM
I'm reading through these reviews and wondering why I've never seen this director highlighted.  These sound like a number of fantastic films.  Especially Canyon Passage and Stars in my Crown
Title: Re: Tourneur, Jacques
Post by: 1SO on May 28, 2017, 09:08:19 AM
Back when we did the Director Ratings Project Tourneur came in at #72 (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=13595.msg824361#msg824361).

Here is Sandy's review of Canyon Passage (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=11769.msg727634#msg727634) and my own (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=12091.msg728465#msg728465) * * * * review.
Title: Re: Tourneur, Jacques
Post by: Sandy on May 28, 2017, 06:21:46 PM
Thanks for posting that link, 1SO. :)

Also, re-reading your review makes me want to re-watch Canyon Passage to see what deeper layers I can discover too!
Title: Re: Tourneur, Jacques
Post by: Knocked Out Loaded on June 13, 2017, 05:25:17 AM
I Walked With A Zombie, 40
Night Of The Demon, 35
Wichita, 30
Title: Re: Tourneur, Jacques
Post by: 1SO on January 05, 2019, 12:14:57 AM
Updated Rankings (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=9089.msg728460#msg728460)

Experiment Perilous (1944)
★ ★
Gaslight Goth Noir is the dud I always read it was. The script is a textbook case of how not to build momentum, with a structure that has the lead sitting down to read a two-part flashback. Tourneur finds small moments to create unique imagery, but the characters are all lifeless and I have to blame the cast of 2nd stringers. George Brent, Hedy Lamarr and Paul Lukas can be good, but they need strong actors to play off of.


I Walked With a Zombie (1943)
★ ★ ★ - Okay
I've only seen 3 films that attempt to deal realistically with zombies. White Zombie I hated, and The Serpent and The Rainbow was a long time ago, though I liked it a lot. So while I can't compare, this is in line with Serpent. The highlight is definitely the "walk" scene where two women travel through some increasingly ominous terrain towards a voodoo village. The rituals feel very real and respectful to the religion. (I like the earlier line about their religion being as much about faith and belief as Christianity, though the practices of the two couldn't be more different.) I wish there was more of this.

What didn't work for me was the relationship between the new nurse and the people she's hired to work for. It's given no development and I didn't take it seriously when the nurse falls in love with one of the men, though apparently I'm supposed to. Typical of early horror films, Zombie discards logic or any sort of story/character development in order to keep things short, but Tourneur sustains the atmosphere of shadows and dread for most of the film.