Thursday, May 31, 2007

Crisis (1946)

Modest B-movie, centering on a young woman and the two matriarchs in her life, has enough charm and panache to keep it from fading into background noise. It may have been forgotten by history anyway were it not the directorial debut of Ingmar Bergman, who would go on to make sharper, more important, more scintillating work; still, we all gotta start somewhere, and Bergman's first bow is thankfully free of embarrassment. The melodramatic aspects of the stock plot are well-handled, with overstatement kept at a minimum, and Bergman even seems to be having a little fun with the film's (obvious) origins as a stage play, what with the opening narration that speaks of "pulling back the curtain." Stig Olin as the seedy, secretly needy Jack is the film's live wire -- his presence promises to push the film in unexpected and fascinating directions. That it stays mostly within the well-trod path of '40s female drama isn't his fault, but his occasional gooses to the proceedings are welcome. (His exit scene is pretty awesome as well.) Again: Not world-shaking, but a good start.

Grade: B


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