Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Man in the Shadow

1957, US, directed by Jack Arnold

Jeff Chandler versus Orson Welles hardly seems a fair fight, but Chandler holds his own in this fine example of the politically-minded B picture (though it's a B purely in terms of the lack of top-shelf stars rather than in its ambition). The allegory isn't far beneath the surface, though the politics are still a touch muddled -- even the characters sympathetic to the investigation of a migrant worker's murder aren't quick to use disparaging terminology. The whole thing looks absolutely spectacular: the black and white CinemaScope is used to excellent effect, exploiting both the format's capacity to show the widescreen landscapes and to pack a good deal of information into the frame in sequences on the ranch sets where much of the action occurs.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States