André Bazin, the Critic as Thinker: American Cinema from by R. J. Cardullo

By R. J. Cardullo

André Bazin (1918–58) is credited with virtually single-handedly developing the learn of movie as an permitted highbrow pursuit, in addition to with being the religious father of the French New Wave. between those that got here less than his tutelage have been 4 who could pass directly to turn into the main well known administrators of the postwar French cinema: François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, and Claude Chabrol. Bazin is also thought of the central instigator of the both influential auteur thought: the concept, when you consider that movie is an paintings shape, the director of a film needs to be perceived because the leader author of its targeted cinematic style.

André Bazin, the Critic as philosopher: American Cinema from Early Chaplin to the past due 1950s comprises, for the 1st time in English in a single quantity, a lot if now not all of Bazin’s writings on American cinema: on administrators equivalent to Orson Welles, Charles Chaplin, Preston Sturges, Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, John Huston, Nicholas Ray, Erich von Stroheim, and Elia Kazan; and on motion pictures equivalent to High Noon, Citizen Kane, Rear Window, Limelight, Scarface, Niagara, The purple Badge of Courage, Greed, and Sullivan’s Travels.

André Bazin, the Critic as philosopher: American Cinema from Early Chaplin to the overdue 1950s additionally contains a big scholarly gear, together with a contextual creation to Bazin’s lifestyles and paintings, an entire bibliography of Bazin’s writings on American cinema, and credit of the movies mentioned. This quantity hence represents an immense contribution to the nonetheless turning out to be educational self-discipline of cinema stories, in addition to a testomony to the ongoing impression of 1 of the world’s pre-eminent severe thinkers.

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Just as the miniatures of the Christian devotional Book of Hours served as models for the statuary and the stained-glass windows of the cathedrals, this western literature, freed from the bonds of language, finds a distribution on the screen in keeping with its size—almost as if the dimensions of the image had become one with those of the imagination. Jean-Louis Rieupeyrout’s book The Western, or the American Cinema Par Excellence [for which Bazin was here writing the preface], by the way, will emphasize a little-known aspect of the western: its faithfulness to history.

In order to redeem himself in his charmer’s eyes and merit forgiveness, our knight must now pass through a series of fabulous trials. He ends by saving his elected bride from a danger that could be fatal to her person, her virtue, her fortune, or all three at once. Following which, since we are now near the end of the film, the damsel would indeed be ungrateful if she did not feel that her suitor had repaid his debt, and allow him to start dreaming of fathering lots of children. Up to this point, such an outline—into which one can weave a thousand variants, for example by substituting the Civil War or cattle rustlers for the Indian threat— comes close to reminding us of the medieval courtly romances by virtue of the preeminence given to the woman and the trials that the finest of heroes must undergo in order to qualify for her love.

What I will criticize about High Noon, in spite of its evident and even exceptional qualities, may be those qualities themselves. Without question, this is one of the three best westerns since Stagecoach (the other two being The Westerner and My Darling Clementine). But my admiration for it is not without qualification. More precisely, my admiration is for the film more than for its protagonist. I was certainly drawn in by the vigorous action, which respects the unities of time and place until it becomes a challenge to do so, but in the end my nerves and my intelligence were affected more than my heart.

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