DVD Event of the Week: No, it's not the just released 10,000 BC, the Cavemen in Chains shlockfest which we had a little fun with earlier this month; rather it's the stunning new Criterion Edition version of Anthony Mann's 1950 Freudian western classic The Furies , starring Walter Huston and Barbara Stanwyck as a father/daughter rivalry that would have given shpilkes to King Lear.
From Criterion's synopsis:
In 1870s New Mexico Territory, megalomaniacal widowed ranch owner T. C. Jeffords (Huston, in his final role) butts heads with his daughter, Vance (Stanwyck), a firebrand with serious daddy issues, over her dowry, choice of husband, and, finally, ownership of the land itself. Both sophisticated in its view of frontier settlement and ablaze with searing domestic drama, The Furies is a hidden treasure of American filmmaking, boasting Oscar™-nominated cinematography and vivid supporting turns from Judith Anderson, Wendell Corey, and Gilbert Roland.
There's more of course, including an astounding Oedipal reversal involving Stanwyck throwing a pair of scissors into the eyeball of a woman Huston wants to marry, but it really needs to be seen to be believed. Criterion's single-disc edition features the usual knockout transfer, plus extras including a 1957 Cahiers du Cinema interview with director Mann and a paperback reissue of the Niven Busch novel the film is based on. Order it here immediately.
But speaking of cinematic Freudianisms, and since, as usual, things are going to be pretty quiet around here for a few days, here's a little project to tide us all over:
Best Movie Featuring a Shrink (Strict Freudian or Otherwise)!!!
And my totally top of my head Top Five is:
5. The President's Analyst (Theodore J. Flicker -- 1967) Hip New York City shrink James Coburn listens to the most powerful man in the Free World, but in the finale to what is still the funniest paranoid conspiracy flick ever discovers that the real power lies elsewhere -- just a monthly utilities bill away, in fact.
4. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene -- 1920) The original Expressionist classic, and probably the first serious film featuring a psychiatrist. Avoid the 60s remake, despite the comforting presences of Dan O'Herlihy and Glynis Johns.
3. Lovesick (Marshall Brickman -- 1983) Dudley Moore is a Jewish(!) therapist who falls in love with an adorable patient (Elizabeth McGovern) and is visited by visions of Sigmund Freud himself (Alec Guinness). With a pre-wingnut Ron Silver in a hilarious turn as an egomaniacal actor clearly modeled on Al Pacino, and Christine Baranski as a nymphomaniac.
2. Dressed to Kill (Brian DePalma -- 1980) Michael Caine stars as a NYC psychiatrist who's also a cross-dressing serial slasher (hey -- it happens all the time). Angie Dickinson has what you think is a nude shower scene, but unfortunately it's a body double.
And the number one shrink flick, like there could possibly be any other choice, so why are you bugging me? is --
1. Dracula's Dog (Albert Band -- 1978) Also known as Zoltan, Hound of Dracula. In either case, B-movie tough guy actor Michael Pataki stars as a mild-mannered shrink who encounters the titular Satanic pooch while on summer vacation. With Arlene Martel, Mr. Spock's scheming fiancé from the classic Star Trek episode "Amok Time."
Awrighty then -- what would your choices be?