|Southbank, London, April 2012. ©Ehsan Khoshbakht|
Vincente Minnelli & the matter of design, today on MUBI's Notebook.
Second part of Minnelli's reminiscing of how he worked with Katherine Hepburn, Robert Mitchum and Robert Talylor in his only film noir, Undercurrent (1946). Part one can be reached here.
Undercurrent was one of the few Minnelli's films, outside his familiar territory of musical, melodrama and comedy. Surprisingly, it was a film noir. Probably one of the oddest films in Minnelli's career, it still bears some of key themes of Minnelli's world, especially those related to the darker side of him. Last night's screening of Under the Clock [US: Clock] at NFT, showed how ready was Minnelli for noir genre in the 1940s. In Under the Clock, there is a scene when newly married couple enter a run-down bar, where a mad woman and a loquacious drunk, in a low-key photography, talk about un-Americans, madness, corruption and "dogs" which is a disturbing scene, almost like a mistake, in a sweet melodrama. I thought that scene can be approached as an equivalent of Halloween sequence of Meet Me in St. Louis, made one year earlier, where a sudden destruction of the dream world shocks the Minnelli's characters. Here, from his autobiography, I Remember It Well, Minnelli, charmingly, tells the story of how he worked with three major stars in Undercurrent. This is part one of his memoirs about Undercurrent. Film will be shown tomorrow (8 April, 18:30) at NFT, and the second screening is 18 April, 20:40.