The River. Jean Renoir’s 1951 screen version of Rumer Godden’s autobiographical novel about expatriate life in India is one of the permanent masterpieces of adolescence, a gentle tale of innocence and experience filled with lush Technicolor images of a land of lost content. Renoir summed it up like this: “The discovery of love by small girls, the death of a little boy who was too fond of snakes, the rather foolish dignity of an English family living on India like a plum on a peach-tree: above all, India itself.” David Thomson captured the essence of The River in eleven words: “So little happens, yet you feel the wheel of the world” (TT).
Archives for November 29, 2008
Road House. Ida Lupino was never sexier than in this crisp 1948 thriller about a nightclub owner (Richard Widmark at his craziest) who falls for a hard-edged dame from the big city, then jumps off the deep end when she prefers his best friend (Cornel Wilde). A wonderful, insufficiently appreciated film noir, long overdue for transfer to DVD. This is the one where Lupino sings “One for My Baby” in a hoarse little voice (yes, it’s hers) that sounds as though its owner had just downed a double Drano on the rocks (TT).