Terminal Station and Indiscretion of an American Wife

David O. Selznick is an interesting figure in the Criterion cannon, having produced a large number of films from a swath of wonderful directors. With one glaring exception we've barely liked or strongly disliked his other projects. Terminal Station, his 1953 collaboration with Italian neorealist Vittorio De Sica, takes that ambivalence and splits it in two, which is appropriate: we get one movie to love and one to hate.

Selznick so hated what De Sica brought him that he recut the film himself, shaving 25 minutes out and gutting it of it's emotional arc. The resulting film, Indiscretion of an American Wife, is also included on this Criterion release, so we talk both this week.

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Notorious

In 1946 Alfred Hitchcock was still under contract to David O. Selznick and they still hated one another. But Selznick realized a scheme to make a little more money out of the star director: instead of producing Notorious himself, he sold it off to RKO just before shooting started. Of course he still tried to exert a bit of control, attempting to get Joseph Cotten in the lead instead of Cary Grant. Oh that David O. Selznick! This is the last in our short run of Hitchcock/Selznick pictures, and the best of the bunch.

Spellbound

The second of Alfred Hitchcock's films made directly under David O. Selznick, 1945's Spellbound is markedly more Hitchcockian than Rebecca, though honestly not as Hitchcockian as George Sluizer's The Vanishing. It also seems to be out to prove Haxan right about the contemporary state of psychology. But there is a dream sequence designed by Salvador Dali which is a total treat.

Rebecca

When he first started working in America, Alfred Hitchcock was under contract to legendary producer David O. Selznick and by most accounts they hated each other. Perhaps no clearer is that tense relationship more clear in the results of a film project than in their first: Rebecca (1940). We'll be talking about a few other films made under this contract in the next few weeks, but here we start with a film that feels a lot more like the Hollywood dramas Selznick was known for than the Hitchcock we're used to, even the Hitchcock we've seen already. Plus, and I mean this as kindly as possible, the first hour is boring. So boring. So intensely boring.

The Third Man

Carol Reed directed, Graham Greene written, David O. Selznick produced, Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton star. The Third Man (1947) is one of the noiriest noir films and one of my favorite films of all time. I'm not alone in there, as it consistently rates near the top of best film lists.

I owned this movie for a long time. I could watch this movie every day and not grow tired of it. And yet still, viewing it to talk about this week brought fresh eyes and new observations: things I'd never noticed; things I feel kind of stupid for never noticing. Which I suppose is the sign of a true classic. Always something new to discover.