Very tired, but I don't want to leave this for tomorrow.
Preminger reminds me, once again, of a con man trying to pass off forgeries as his own work — not for money so much as for the acclaim and validation that he desperately seems to crave. I'm not sure when I became so prejudiced against him (or if my prejudice is at all justified), but I nonetheless resist his showmanship, which usually seems less in the service of the story than of his own self-aggrandizement.
I've always tried to figure Preminger out, and I think you may have it. The closest I got was comparing him to Erich von Stroheim, but I dismissed it as lumping in Austrian filmmakers. I would use ostentatious and self-aggrandizement to describe von Stroheim, but when it works for him the films are doing something really special and unique. I can't say that about Preminger, who strikes me as someone who wants to seen as a John Huston or Sam Fuller, but has never had a drink while working and would never provoke a fight. The cigar he's chewing on stays unlit.
I was only able to find a trailer that heavily featured the Zombies music AND was narrated by Preminger who appears and makes the publicity gambit. That Zombies song is the worst thing about the film because of how it's incorporated, but as a piece of trailer tension, it's pretty good.
Atmosphere is a strong point of the film. It would make an interesting double feature with The Loved One, made the same year, or perhaps any number of subsequent films it perhaps inspired: Blowup, Rosemary's Baby, The Wicker Man.
Good atmosphere is always something I heavily credited to the director, for pulling together the skilled craftsmen - Cinematographer, Editor, Composer - into a striking single vision.
The Loved One is now on my Watchlist.
Anyone watching 2001 for the first time should have to first watch Bunny Lake Is Missing as a prerequisite.
Is this because of Keir Dullea's performance?