Dear Spaghetti Western experts,
I hope you all are all doing as well as possible during this disturbing time.
I’m Ted, a fourth-year English major , and a lover of old genre movies. I just watched Django Kill!(If You Live, Shoot)! and I loved it, which led me to the “Spaghetti Western Oddities” page. Fantastic!
Now, I have an odd request for movie recommendations, but I completely understand if you’re busy. I’m looking for genre movies(preferably Spaghetti Westerns but not necessarily) that have an abundance of cryptic, mysterious details that are NOT part of the narrative(so not David Lynch type stuff). I’m working on a critical paper, and I’m hunting for movies I could read in a “paranoid” way as having a subliminal meaning(whose clues, indications of this meaning, are in reality probably accidents). Does anything come to mind? Anything remotely like this. I’d really, really appreciate any suggestions.
I like to think of these movies as genre-wobblers, not genre-benders or breakers, where the narrative accords with a genre, but there is an excess of signifying material-sometimes very subtle, sometimes obtrusive.
Here’s a list of movies that seem to fit into this criterion to give you some idea of what I’m looking for:
The Leopard Man(1943),Tourneur: (The drawn-out, seemingly irrelevant, suggestively ritualistic scene where a nameless relative of a victim of the “leopard” bestows the woman with a flower, the procession of villagers in hoods perhaps?)
Mr. Arkadin(1955), Welles:(the digressive comic scenes, come to think of it Magnificent Ambersons would probably count too-I just remember that its mood strikes a very discordant note)
The Birds(1963), Hitchcock:(The painted backdrops by ex-Disney animator, Ub Iwerks)
If only Hitchcock’s Kaleidoscope had been produced! I suspect it would have been one of these movies
.Marnie(1964), Hitchcock: (Several extended shots of the back of Tippi Hedren’s head, More matte painted backdrops by Iwerks, the tree branch that smashes through Sean Connery’s office window during the suspiciously artificial lightning storm)
Death Laid an Egg(1968), Questi: (As I recall there’s some sort of cabalistic symbol that has nothing to do with anything)
Bird With the Crystal Plumage(1970), Argento: (Argento’s artistic flourishes often have this effect, leading the viewer astray from the plot. beyond the more minute flourishes: the birds in cages, the repetition of the shape of a triangle in the architecture, the many shots emphasizing glass partitions(why this metaphor for screened perception?), dreamlike view of the city during the scene where the protagonist tails Reggie Nalder,)
Four Flies on Grey Velvet(1971), Argento:(the pulsating brain in the title sequence, many red curtains, the decapitation dreams)
Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie(1972), Buñuel: (the dreams within dreams have nothing to do with the satire celebrating the ruling class)
Sisters(1972), De Palma: (The many vignette shots that emphasize the focus of the shot with a circular border(the embryo, the peep-hole the vignette shots in the dream))
Deep Red(1975),Argento:(The recreation of Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” in the background, the giant puppet, the birds in the steam murder scene).
The Shining(1979), Kubrick:(The inconsistencies in the architectural composition of the Overlook hotel, the Alex Colville paintings in the backgrounds)
Does anything come to mind? I understand completely if you’re busy, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.