You can still read my festival overview at the Portland Mercury, but below are two mini-reviews I wrote as part of my note-taking process for the piece.
PITFALL (1948), dir. Andre de Toth
Detour could use a little more heat. It's well-acted and nicely constructed, but also a bit conventional. Strangely, it builds to a rather pitiful state. Powell's character does't get much of a showdown; rather, what makes the last 15 minutes interesting is how the women--including Jane Wyatt as the insurance man's wife--rise to the occasion and prove they're tougher than their fellas.
[Screening tonight, September 20, 7pm]
THE WINDOW (1949), dir. Ted Tetzlaff
A "boy who cried wolf" tale based on a Cornell Woolrich short story, with Disney star Bobby Driscoll (soon to be the voice of Peter Pan). Tommy is a kid who likes to tell tall tales, and his lies are well-known enough that, when he spies a murder through the window of his upstairs neighbor, no one believes him. This efficiently paced thriller makes the most of the scenario, with Tommy digging himself deeper the more people he tells. The climactic chase scene in intense, with a great use of space by director Ted Tetzlaff. Driscoll and the rest of the cast are strong, and The Window stands as a testament of how a good storyteller can do a lot with very little.
[Screening September 23, 7pm]
Current Soundtrack: Kanye West & Various Artists, Cruel Summer
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All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich