Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960)

In today's film climate, it's hard to conceive of a film ending a director's career for reasons other than commercial failure. But Michael Powell's career did effectively end with Peeing Tom, his 1960 thriller starring Carl Boehm as a would-be filmmaker who literally kills with his camera. A review on IMDB compared the furor over this film to that if, today, Steven Spielberg made a graphic film about pedophilia. The film, even today, is shocking in its stark portrayal of obsession and violence, even though there is nothing gory about it.

Boehm is stunning as Mark Lewis, a pathologically shy young cameraman who dreams of becoming a filmmaker. His young neighbor Helen enters his life on a whim and becomes enamored with him, allowing him to let his guard (and camera) down in some situations, but he becomes more obsessed in others. In his secret life, Mark has been killing women and filming their moment of death. Through archival footage of his own family, we find out that Mark's father (played by Powell), a scientist, did cruel and disturbing experiments on the nature of film on his son as a child, something that profoundly scarred the man. The more we find out about Mark, the more we deeply pity yet despise him, a paradoxical mix of emotions that muddles what might otherwise be a clear-cut moral story.

Peeping Tom was released the same year as Psycho, which became the more famous of the films. Hitchcock was hailed while Powell was shunned. But looking back on the two films today, because of Tom's obscurity, it still retains a definite shock value, and leaves the viewer unsettled, whereas Psycho has become ingrained in popular culture so that its shocks mean nothing anymore. Powell, one of the finest filmmakers of his generation, made a daring and brilliant film, full of horror and beauty (the colors and overall cinematography are stunning), that deserves to be seen.


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Comments on "Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960)"


Blogger Kino said ... (3:02 AM) : 

one of my all time favorites


Anonymous sleepyworm said ... (8:45 AM) : 

Hahaha...peeing tom? Nice.

Sounds like an awesome movie, though!


Blogger racky said ... (1:38 AM) : 

oh my


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