Saturday, November 11, 2006

"I Would Have Been So Happy To Be Michael Curtiz"

That's what director Steven Soderbergh says in this interesting article about "The Good German," a post-World War II flick shot in black and white in the style and manner of a Warner Bros. studio film from the Forties. (Think "Casablanca" and you'll make Soderbergh very happy.) Actually, it looks like fun and the most promising Soderbergh film since "Ocean's Eleven." (Which ignores my fondness for "Solaris," which WASN'T promising but proved worthwhile.) Soderbergh is indeed a funky director going all over the map stylistically. I just wish more of his projects proved artistically satisfying.

But anyone who says they wish they had been director Michael Curtiz is fine with me. Curtiz is my personal favorite director of all time. Like Howard Hawks, Curtiz made great films in so many genres, including two movies that belong on the short list of the best films of all time: "Casablanca" (romance-drama) and "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (action-adventure). He also made "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (musical), "Mildred Pierce" (melodrama), "Captain Blood" (the greatest pirate movie), "Kid Galahad" (boxing), "Four Daughters" (an overlooked gem with Claude Rains at his most appealing), "Dodge City" (a western), and many, many more solid movies. And that doesn't even include his European career, which I know nothing about.

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