The Mask of Fu Manchu
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1 item from 2010

Tuesday Morning Foreign Region DVD Report: "The Shanghai Gesture" (von Sternberg, 1941)

20 April 2010 3:48 AM, PDT | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

Robert Benayoun, in his essay "Zaroff, or, The Prosperities of Vice:""Authentic sadistic cinema is not that which, through a vulgar display of brutality solicits the sadism of the spectator. It is a cinema in which discomfort, vague misgivings, a fascinated paralysis of mind and a twitching of the limbs exceed the frontiers of expectation, a cinema whose elective, even ceremonious climate remains, venomous and intoxicating, that of total perdition."

The essay's title is from the name of the lead villain in Cooper/Schoedsack's The Most Dangerous Game. The genre films Benayoun cites throughout the essay are among the choicest slices of surreal atmosphere-benders one could hope to have evoked. Game, Ulmer's The Black Cat, Brabin's The Mask of Fu Manchu, and more. And, of course, this film, a von Sternberg vision of unusual ferocity and oddness. The simple tale of a powerful man (Walter Huston), his spoiled, petulant, gorgeous daughter Victoria, »

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