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« #12375 : August 11, 2013, 01:42:23 PM »

I think it is meant to be real cuz there's no other explanation of why she doesn't take that second shot.
There are other explanations, only the film does not supply them. Imagination is required.

Here's one idea: the Stanwyck character has a death wish. She is tired of life. She thought killing her husband would give her greater freedom. She thought taking up with MacMurray would help solve her problems and add spice to her life. It hasn't worked out that way. And after she delivers her final ultimatum to MacMurray at Jerry's market, she realizes she's alienated him and that he will have to come after her. She's lost him, and she wonders if she's ever really had him. Maybe he's just been playing her all along. Maybe he's just the male version of herself. So she gets the gun ready. MacMurray comes, and she's right, he's come to kill her. But she fires first. It's instinctive, the need to survive. She doesn't make a clean job of it; she needs to fire again. If she fires again she will kill him and then she will live. But then what? She will have to explain things to the authorities; she won't get the money; she won't have the man. She will have to start all over, with another scheme, with another man. But she's no longer young. Things are getting harder. And all the planning, the maneuvering...it can make one tired. So very tired. Maybe it would be better to give up and let MacMurray shoot her. Then she wouldn't have to worry about anything ever again. If only there were more time to think things over.

"So long, baby."



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« #12376 : August 11, 2013, 02:41:19 PM »

There are other explanations, only the film does not supply them. Imagination is required.

Here's one idea: the Stanwyck character has a death wish. She is tired of life. She thought killing her husband would give her greater freedom. She thought taking up with MacMurray would help solve her problems and add spice to her life. It hasn't worked out that way. And after she delivers her final ultimatum to MacMurray at Jerry's market, she realizes she's alienated him and that he will have to come after her. She's lost him, and she wonders if she's ever really had him. Maybe he's just been playing her all along. Maybe he's just the male version of herself. So she gets the gun ready. MacMurray comes, and she's right, he's come to kill her. But she fires first. It's instinctive, the need to survive. She doesn't make a clean job of it; she needs to fire again. If she fires again she will kill him and then she will live. But then what? She will have to explain things to the authorities; she won't get the money; she won't have the man. She will have to start all over, with another scheme, with another man. But she's no longer young. Things are getting harder. And all the planning, the maneuvering...it can make one tired. So very tired. Maybe it would be better to give up and let MacMurray shoot her. Then she wouldn't have to worry about anything ever again. If only there were more time to think things over.

"So long, baby."

I don't think she thought taking up with MacMurray would change anything. I think she was going with Nino Zarcotti all along, and planned the whole shtick with MacMurray just cuz he was an insurance man and she wanted to get the insurance dough. Her plan was probably to take the money, and live happily ever after with her boy toy Nino. I do believe that when she says that suddenly now she has the feelings for MacMurray, it's meant seriously, and I just don't think it works on any level.

btw, one thing I noticed that perhaps you could say is a mistake in the movie: on that final fateful night, just before MacMurray comes to the house, you see Stanwyck preparing the place, putting the gun under the cushion - if I recall correctly, that is the only moment in the movie that MacMurray would not have been there to see. the whole story is from MacMurray's perspective - everything we see, is something that MacMurray is telling us, because he has seen. Then you have just that one single moment where we see something that he couldn't have seen, cuz he wasn't in the house yet. Of course, after she shoots him, he figures out that she hid the gun under the cushion, but IMO, if we are seeing the entire movie only through MacMurray's eyes, it's a mistake to have that one moment where we see something he could not have seen. They should have just shown her pulling the gun without showing beforehand how she hid it before MacMurray showed up at the house. They could have kept the narration, where MacMurray says ("My plan was to.... but of course, she had other plans...) without actually showing her actions in the house before he shows up.


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« #12377 : August 11, 2013, 02:44:05 PM »

The problem is that the film is an adaptation, and to make the story acceptable to audiences of the day, the nature of the central character's sexual proclivity had to be falsified. Lisa’s essential masochism is explicit in the Stefan Zweig story from which the movie derives. There the character writes: “I grieved, and I wanted to; I wallowed in every deprivation I inflicted on myself while I thought about you." And: "Mourning was my joy; I renounced society and every pleasure, and was intoxicated with delight at the mortification I thus superadded to the lack of seeing you."

There's no way audiences would have accepted such a kinked-out freak as a heroine in 1948, so Ophuls changed her into a noble figure carrying a torch for LOVE. But anyone--especially any woman--watching the film in 2013 has got to call Bravo Sierra on the proceedings (try showing the film to the women in your life--it will enrage them). Perhaps now is the time for someone (Cronenberg, say) to remake the film and at last do justice to Zweig's conception.

thanks for that, I did not realize that.

Even in this version of the movie, I wouldn't call Fontaine's emotion LOVE. I'd call it OBSESSION. So, even if she is not masochistic, there is definitely something not right with her - to be that singularly obsessed with someone who doesn't acknowledge you for years, there's definitely something not right with you.


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« #12378 : August 11, 2013, 04:44:21 PM »

I don't think she thought taking up with MacMurray would change anything. I think she was going with Nino Zarcotti all along, and planned the whole shtick with MacMurray just cuz he was an insurance man and she wanted to get the insurance dough. Her plan was probably to take the money, and live happily ever after with her boy toy Nino. I do believe that when she says that suddenly now she has the feelings for MacMurray, it's meant seriously, and I just don't think it works on any level.
Not the way I see it at all. I think there's a level of ambiguity operating that makes radically divergent interpretations possible. It's one of the things I like about the film: "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?"

« : August 11, 2013, 04:46:46 PM dave jenkins »


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« #12379 : August 11, 2013, 05:05:15 PM »

Drug War / Du Zhan (2012) - 8/10. In and around Tianjin, China, a police Captain and his too-professional-to-be-believed drug squad takes on an army of baddies using a combination of guile and violence. What starts off as a procedural turns into Armageddon. The story is all business--not a second is squandered on down time. Highlights include the colon-emptying scene, the money-burning scene, the coke overdose scene, and, of course, the climactic gun battle with its very impressive body count. Hey, it's a Johnnie To film, after all.



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« #12380 : August 11, 2013, 06:25:58 PM »


btw, one thing I noticed that perhaps you could say is a mistake in the movie: on that final fateful night, just before MacMurray comes to the house, you see Stanwyck preparing the place, putting the gun under the cushion - if I recall correctly, that is the only moment in the movie that MacMurray would not have been there to see. the whole story is from MacMurray's perspective - everything we see, is something that MacMurray is telling us, because he has seen. Then you have just that one single moment where we see something that he couldn't have seen, cuz he wasn't in the house yet. Of course, after she shoots him, he figures out that she hid the gun under the cushion, but IMO, if we are seeing the entire movie only through MacMurray's eyes, it's a mistake to have that one moment where we see something he could not have seen. They should have just shown her pulling the gun without showing beforehand how she hid it before MacMurray showed up at the house. They could have kept the narration, where MacMurray says ("My plan was to.... but of course, she had other plans...) without actually showing her actions in the house before he shows up.
Slavish observance of a narrative conceit does not always produce good results. Even in Rear Window AH doesn't always stick to the idea of seeing everything from Jimmy Stewart's apartment window (during the dead-dog-in-the-courtyard scene, for example, we see some of the neighbors from perspectives that Stewart can't possibly have). There should be consistency in such approaches, but it doesn't have to be adhered to 100% of the time--especially if, by breaking the conceit, one can enhance the drama or add necessary info. In DI, I believe Wilder was correct to not always follow his self-imposed convention: seeing Stanwyck preparing for MacMurray's visit helps generate suspense; and to quote the Master again, suspense is always preferable to surprise.



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« #12381 : August 11, 2013, 06:37:04 PM »

Not the way I see it at all. I think there's a level of ambiguity operating that makes radically divergent interpretations possible. It's one of the things I like about the film: "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?"

when do you think she started taking up with Nino Zachetti (which I see now is the correct way to spell his last name)? You think she was with him all along, or started messing around with him at some point while she was seeing MacMurray? If the former, then do you think Zachetti was only going with her daughter as some kind of coverup, that it was all part of
Stanwyck's plan? Or was it only after the daughter was going with him for a while (and after MacMurray came into the picture) that Stanwyck started going with Zachetti? To me, the problem with believing that she just recently started with Zachetti is that she is right now ass-deep in an insurance fraud, and she needs MacMurray on her side badly (or at least she needs him to think he is on her side) and she is taking an awful risk if she suddenly decides to start seeing Zachetti behind MacMurray's back. I would think that someone that deep into a scheme would not wanna mess with anything, that she would not see anyone else at all until she had the 100 grand safely in her bank. That, and the fact that she is so coldly calculating all along, is what leads me to believe that she may have been seeing Zarchetti all along, that the plan all along with for her to get MacMurray to commit the fraud and murder, and then take the money and run off with Zarchetti.
Yes, I agree that there are some ambiguities here, intended or not, that allow for differing opinions (as opposed to Body Heat, in which it is clear that Kathleen Turner has plotted it all from the beginning), but in your opinion, what is most likely the timeline as far as what Stanwyck was after, when she decided what, etc.?


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« #12382 : August 11, 2013, 06:43:20 PM »

Slavish observance of a narrative conceit does not always produce good results. Even in Rear Window AH doesn't always stick to the idea of seeing everything from Jimmy Stewart's apartment window (during the dead-dog-in-the-courtyard scene, for example, we see some of the neighbors from perspectives that Stewart can't possibly have). There should be consistency in such approaches, but it doesn't have to be adhered to 100% of the time--especially if, by breaking the conceit, one can enhance the drama or add necessary info. In DI, I believe Wilder was correct to not always follow his self-imposed convention: seeing Stanwyck preparing for MacMurray's visit helps generate suspense; and to quote the Master again, suspense is always preferable to surprise.

if the movie all along had shown us stuff that MacMurray couldn't see, I would have no problem with that whatsoever - the movie could establish whatever rules it wants to. But once it establishes the rule that everything we are seeing is from MacMurray's perspective, I don't agree that it should then break the rule for a single scene toward the end. And I don't think that breaking the rule helps it either; I don't think we needed to see her hiding the gun. IMO,  if we just heard MacMurray's voice saying "but she had other plans..." and then later saw her pulling the gun on him, that would be fine. Suspense may be better than surprise, but I don't see how seeing her hide the gun adds to the suspense. We know from the beginning of the movie that he is shot; as soon as we see her hide the gun, we know she's gonna shoot him. (We don't know if he shoots her, but IMO the audience's focus is on MacMurray's fate, which we know all along anyway).


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« #12383 : August 11, 2013, 06:48:50 PM »

when do you think she started taking up with Nino Zachetti (which I see now is the correct way to spell his last name)? You think she was with him all along, or started messing around with him at some point while she was seeing MacMurray? If the former, then do you think Zachetti was only going with her daughter as some kind of coverup, that it was all part of
Stanwyck's plan? Or was it only after the daughter was going with him for a while (and after MacMurray came into the picture) that Stanwyck started going with Zachetti?
I think it started after MacMurray came into the picture. For one thing, Zachetti was sore when MacMurray dropped the daughter off: what's this slick dude doing with his girlfriend? He became suspicious, and Stanwyck was able to exploit his suspicion. Remember, Stanwyck wants to get rid of the girl--she knows about the death of her mother and might be dangerous to Stanwyck. And the more time the girl spends with MacMurray, the less time she spends with Zachetti, which gives Zachetti more to worry about. And Zachetti only has time to spend with Stanwyck because he isn't seeing his girlfriend as much. I don't think the opportunity is there for Stanwyck to work on Zachetti until the daughter (is her name Lola?) starts hanging around with MacMurray.



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« #12384 : August 11, 2013, 07:00:15 PM »

if the movie all along had shown us stuff that MacMurray couldn't see, I would have no problem with that whatsoever - the movie could establish whatever rules it wants to. But once it establishes the rule that everything we are seeing is from MacMurray's perspective, I don't agree that it should then break the rule for a single scene toward the end. And I don't think that breaking the rule helps it either; I don't think we needed to see her hiding the gun. IMO,  if we just heard MacMurray's voice saying "but she had other plans..." and then later saw her pulling the gun on him, that would be fine.
Once again I am reminded that I'm so glad Wilder made the film and not you. True, we don't absolutely need to see Stanwyck hiding the gun, but it's a powerful image that gets us thinking. Not everyone is gonna put the beginning together with that scene until the gun goes off. We know the MacMurray gets wounded at some point; we don't necessarily know that he's been shot. When we see the gun, it doesn't necessarily mean Stanwyck is gonna use it--maybe Zachetti will. Maybe MacMurray will try to take it away from her and it will go off accidentally. A lot of things could happen. About the only thing we know for certain is that someone's gun is going to go off--as per Chekhov's famous rule. But the image is more powerful than words; in film image always trumps voice-over.



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« #12385 : August 11, 2013, 08:43:51 PM »

I think it started after MacMurray came into the picture. For one thing, Zachetti was sore when MacMurray dropped the daughter off: what's this slick dude doing with his girlfriend? He became suspicious, and Stanwyck was able to exploit his suspicion. Remember, Stanwyck wants to get rid of the girl--she knows about the death of her mother and might be dangerous to Stanwyck. And the more time the girl spends with MacMurray, the less time she spends with Zachetti, which gives Zachetti more to worry about. And Zachetti only has time to spend with Stanwyck because he isn't seeing his girlfriend as much. I don't think the opportunity is there for Stanwyck to work on Zachetti until the daughter (is her name Lola?) starts hanging around with MacMurray.

but why does Stanwyck suddenlt start going with Zachetti then? Does she and/or Zachetti know that MacMurray is seeing Lola, and now Zachetti and Stanwyck are finding comfort from their lovers' cheating ways in each other's arms? Is it that Stanwyck is so sex-deprived now that MacMurray has to avoid her after committing the murder, that she just goes off with the nearest guy, which happens to be her stepdaughter's ex that is young enough to be her son?

If we are to believe that Stanwyck's real lover is Zachetti - that she really does love him (or at least like him) and plans to run off with him once she pockets the 100 grand, IMO that would only make sense if she was with him all along. I don't know if I can buy the idea that while she is in the midst of what could be a major legal battle over the insurance money, and is supposed to be playing the grieving widow, she would be so dumb as to start getting involved with Zachetti. Of course, it may well be that she doesn't give any more of a damn about Zachetti than she ever did about MacMurray - but again, don't you think Stanwyck is being reckless by shtupping Zachetti so soon after her husband's death and while she knows the insurance company is tailing her? I just think that Stanwyck has shown to be very coldly calculating, and I don't think she would be so reckless or or needy of sex that she would not risk it all by shtupping Zachetti. if it turns out that she really was with Zachetti all along, that would make more sense. Because it's one thing to at this point continue seeing your lover; it's quite another thing to start up with a new one.

I'm not in any way married (no pun intended) to this interpretation, I'm happy to be convinced either way.

------------------------------------------
RE: discussion of the scene showing Stanwyck hiding the gun: This discussion reminds me of an argument Powell and Pressberger had, which Roger Ebert quotes in his review of The Red Shoes: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-the-red-shoes-1948
Discussing the script, Pressburger argued that Vicky couldn't be wearing the red shoes when she runs away, because the ballet had not yet started. Powell writes: "I was a director, a storyteller, and I knew that she must. I didn't try to explain it. I just did it." 
 I don't think showing Stanwyck hiding the gun is as important as showing Vicky wearing the red shoes when she dies, but hey, I guess that's what movies are for  ;)




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« #12386 : August 12, 2013, 01:50:05 PM »

but why does Stanwyck suddenlt start going with Zachetti then? Does she and/or Zachetti know that MacMurray is seeing Lola, and now Zachetti and Stanwyck are finding comfort from their lovers' cheating ways in each other's arms? Is it that Stanwyck is so sex-deprived now that MacMurray has to avoid her after committing the murder, that she just goes off with the nearest guy, which happens to be her stepdaughter's ex that is young enough to be her son?

If we are to believe that Stanwyck's real lover is Zachetti - that she really does love him (or at least like him) and plans to run off with him once she pockets the 100 grand, IMO that would only make sense if she was with him all along. I don't know if I can buy the idea that while she is in the midst of what could be a major legal battle over the insurance money, and is supposed to be playing the grieving widow, she would be so dumb as to start getting involved with Zachetti. Of course, it may well be that she doesn't give any more of a damn about Zachetti than she ever did about MacMurray - but again, don't you think Stanwyck is being reckless by shtupping Zachetti so soon after her husband's death and while she knows the insurance company is tailing her? I just think that Stanwyck has shown to be very coldly calculating, and I don't think she would be so reckless or or needy of sex that she would not risk it all by shtupping Zachetti. if it turns out that she really was with Zachetti all along, that would make more sense. Because it's one thing to at this point continue seeing your lover; it's quite another thing to start up with a new one.

I'm not in any way married (no pun intended) to this interpretation, I'm happy to be convinced either way.

I don't think we're ever completely sure what Stanwyck is up to. MacMurray, when he finds out about her seeing Zachetti, assumes that she's lining him up to take care of MacMurray for her. That might be right, but it's an interpretation. Stanwyck counters with a different explanation: she's trying to turn Zachetti against Lola so he can get her out of the way. See, she's worried about Lola--she knows about Stanwyck's possible murder of Lola's mother when she worked as her nurse. And she's close enough to figure things out: maybe she'll accuse Stanwyck of murdering her father, either to the police or to the insurance company; either way, it can cause Stanwyck a lot of trouble. She can end up without the money and in jail. So, Zachetti can be useful--he can at least run interference, maybe even kill Lola if he's amenable. By controlling Zachetti, Stanwyck has options. She doesn't know what MacMurray is going to do ultimately. Maybe Zachetti is her insurance: if MacMurray becomes difficult to control, she's got (she hopes) a guy who can counter him. It's interesting that Zachetti turns up the night of the showdown between Stanwyck and MacMurray. Presumably, he's been summoned by Stanwyck. But why? To help her with MacMurray's body after she's killed him? We can only speculate.

btw, I don't think Stanwyck's character gets much of a kick out of sex. It's all business with her. She uses sex to get men to do what she wants. She's discovered that she can manipulate men up to a point, but that they remain dangerous. It's always prudent to have more than one guy on her string so she can pit them against each other if necessary. So she is promiscuous, but only for a divide-and-conquer strategy. For her, sex is just part of the job.



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« #12387 : August 12, 2013, 03:11:30 PM »

She uses sex to get men to do what she wants.

In other words, she's a woman?  ;)


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« #12388 : August 12, 2013, 07:47:45 PM »

I agree that we don't know much for sure about Stanwyck's intentions - the one thing that's clear all along is that Stanwyck has been planning to kill her husband.

Whether she initially plans to kill him herself, or whether she planned all along to have MacMurray fall so madly in love with her that he would (think that he) thinks up the idea himself, that you can debate. Also, whether she ever knew about or planned to use the double indemnity clause.  And her feelings vis-a-vis MacMurray and Zarchetti.

Again, Body Heat took the ambiguities out of those issues. In Body Heat, it's quite clear that she has planned to kill her hubby all along, planned to have the lover fall so madly in love with him and therefore think that he is the one who actually dreamed it up, and planned to invoke the Rule Against Perpetuities to get all the money rather than half.


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« #12389 : August 13, 2013, 08:24:05 AM »

Again, Body Heat took the ambiguities out of those issues.
Yet another reason I dislike that film.



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